Photo: Dirty Glass
Location: Norfolk, VA
Date: June 30, 2016
Camera & Lens: Canon 6D and 24-105mm lens
About This Photo: This is about Wisky, Wisky is not a typo, yes it’s without the H. Wisky, not the bourbon kind, this is Wisky, the Navy kind. Wisky was the nickname of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64), a WWII era battleship that, like her three mighty sister ships, America couldn’t seem to do without. She was originally commissioned in 1944 near the end of the Second World War but would be recommissioned two more times and decommissioned a total of three times! This beautiful ship, and piece of history, now sits in Norfolk, VA. Back in 2016, I was going to one of my bestest bud’s retirement from the US Navy and decided to turn it in to a photo trip. Having lived in Norfolk a couple of times, it originally wasn’t my cup of tea but over the years it really grew on me. Going there just for a ceremony was cool, but turning it in to something much more could be even better. Besides Wisky, the plan was to get some shots at Williamsburg, Jamestown, and some rural shots as well. Shooting well-documented sites and objects in a new way is always a challenge, sometimes I’ll research before leaving just to see what NOT to shoot. Upon arriving at BB-64 in Norfolk, I set up right in front of the battleship and tossing the rule of thirds out the window, shot straight down the middle of the bow to get this BW shot called Wisky. With the clouds behind BB64, no wind with calm waters to reflect, and no tourists at this given time, I took quite a few shots like this. While I tried adhering to the rule of thirds, it just didn’t speak to me on this occasion Shooting to the left would leave out the apartments and shooting to the right would miss out on the museum that houses the warship. It felt to me like both of those aspects needed to be included. Another photo, the similar color shot called Centered, came out decent and I really like both shots. Confident that I got what I wanted, I wanted to find other angles and include items located there as well such as statues and park benches. Checked all those off the list!
After shooting plenty in the immediate vicinity of the ship, I noticed a parking garage across the street and wanted to see if I could get up high and have a look. There was an elevator, why not take it? Well… it’s what I call the Chizek Luck. Here’s a summary of the Chizek Luck; almost any time that I’m fortunate, like being the guy who gets in the shortest line at the grocery store, it’s usually followed by having the “closed” sign go up with the person in front of me. Sure, the cashier is always sorry, tells me how bad they feel, but I understand the Chizek Luck well. Heck, even my 7 & 10 year old daughters picked up on my luck. If I were to take that elevator to the top, somebody, somewhere, would tell me about some missed opportunity or show me their award winning photo THEY got by taking the stairs in that building… Deciding to hoof it up five or six floors, I came around the corner on about the third floor and was looking at Wisky through a dirty window in the stairwell. I’m honestly not sure why, but something inside said, “shoot it” and up I went to the top. I reached the roof of the parking garage, forgetting about the window shot, and went to work with the intended shoot. Both of the below photos were taken from the garage, on the left is Norfolk (B&W) and on the right is Anchor Up. While I like both of these photos, it’s Dirty Glass, the photo taken in the stairwell that hangs in my little office. After returning from the Virginia trip and beginning to work on the photos, I noticed this window photo, it clicked with me. Maybe it’s because my usual luck didn’t hold true or because of the little voice inside that said “shoot it” had compelled me to listen. This was a spontaneous shot that just worked, the angle of the ship, the light and shadows, even the dirt on the window make it cool. Anyway, I love this shot and it gets looks when my Navy friends come over, and for me, that’s the best part.
The anchor and bow of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) in Norfolk, Virginia.