The tugboat John Henry circles the Badger to help the 410-foot carferry battle its way out of Ludington harbor against wind-driven ice packed tight from surface to lake bottom. This dramatic scene unfolded in front of my camera during the winter of 1989 as the big ship was battling the ice to ferry another load of railroad cars from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

I climbed a high stone pile near the edge of icy Ludington harbor to get a better view. It was freezing cold, but I didn’t notice. As a photojournalist and artist, I lived for the opportunity to make images that I considered good news shots and good art. I was more than willing to pay a price and wait for a peak moment to capture. I still consider this one of the best maritime images I have ever made.

Red Tug

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