This post sort of reminds me of that circular discussion regarding some old work of art: “Did it survive because it was great, or is it great because it survived?”
That’s because the projects in this post aren’t really among the greatest things I’ve ever done. It’s just that I happen to have photographs of them.
The thing is, you can’t always stop to take pictures when you’re working. Often, you’re hustling to meet a schedule or beat the weather. If you’re working with others, stopping for a photograph means stopping them as well, interrupting rhythm and momentum. It used to be difficult to keep a good camera safe. You couldn’t keep it with you, and there wasn’t always a good spot to stash it. Your hands are dirty and the grimy environment is hazardous to delicate optical equipment.
Having a camera on the phone in your pocket has certainly changed things, but it still doesn’t mean you should stop to take pictures while you’re working.
These are a couple of cranes I had a hand in building. I can’t take credit for the engineering, but the layout and execution seen here is my handiwork, including the ancillary design considerations relating to form and finish. as well as devising a strategy for later installation in the field.
The first set of photos show parts of a hydraulically operated crane- that is, raising and lowering the boom, as well as left and right positioning, are accomplished by extending and retracting hydraulic cylinders.
The crane shown in the other set of photos is a hybrid- raising and lowering the boom is done using a winch and cable, while a ram controls the left/right motion. Both cranes were built for clam boats. Somewhere, trapped on 35mm film, I have images of rigs built for other boats, among other things. I look forward to sharing them.
The work depicted in these pictures is the result of countless hours of cutting, grinding and welding (actually, I counted very carefully for billing purposes). Eventually, both cranes were sent out for galvanizing before being installed on their respective boats.
As I said, I regret not having a better photographic record of some of the more interesting jobs I’ve done. On the other hand, I’m glad I stopped to take the pictures that I do have.