Last Friday I called in at the Museum of Science and History to do an equipment check for a “lecture” I had been asked to deliver on the subject of the “Corpus Christi First” initiative. Having ascertained that everything worked I left the building through the front door just before 5pm and my photographers eye was immediately attracted to the lighting on the Harbor Bridge. That’s the natural, provided by the sun type, lighting, rather than the LED variety so expertly applied by Naismith Engineering. Anyone who has met me will not be surprised to know that instead of getting in my truck and driving home I set off on foot towards the ship channel taking photographs. Some of these photographs were “artistic” but mostly I was taking shots to compare with the measurements that I took on the ground (or rather, on the bridge) last Sunday in preparation for a future project.
Anyway, when I had all the photographs I wanted, I was walking back to the truck reviewing my handiwork when I heard a voice say “excuse me sir”. Oh no, I thought, here we go again; it will be that chap in the little hut thing under the bridge who comes out and remonstrates with me about the legality of taking pictures pointing into the Port – which I freely admit I happen to do quite a lot. When I looked up I saw that it was a gentleman accompanied by a rather splendid white standard poodle. Last time I looked the Port did not employ poodles so I walked toward them. Turns out he is from Kansas and wanted me to know, since I was obviously interested in photography and bridges, that this bridge is lit up at night.
We had a long conversation about the bridge, bridges, ships, ports, and little men who provide misinformation to the public. Turns out this guy is ex Navy and so has a personal interest in anything that floats. He had spoken to “my little chap in the hut” and had been told – No Photographs, and no – you can’t find any information on ships in port. “All that information is now confidential and is not published”.
What fun, I thought, and got out my smartphone, logged on to marinetraffic.com, showed him the little red triangle on the screen which when tapped opens up a page with the name, type, flag, year,length, breadth, draught, max speed, etc, etc. It even has a photograph of the ship! We were having so much fun dis-proving misinformation that he called his wife over to join us and we all had a good laugh and talked a bit more about all these things we’re not supposed to know about!