Picture Ohio! – Cuyahoga River Cruise on the Goodtime III

Goodtime III at East 9th Street Pier on the Cleveland Lakefront
Goodtime III at East 9th Street Pier on the Cleveland Lakefront

Last Friday, September 4, I joined my mother and stepfather for a very enjoyable excursion along the Cleveland Lakefront and Cuyahoga River aboard the Goodtime III, Cleveland’s largest cruise ship. Completed in 1990, the 151-foot, four deck vessel, with a capacity of 1,000 passengers, has been operating since 1990. The Goodtime III replaced the earlier, 100-foot Goodtime II, which operated from 1962 to 1990. The Goodtime III is docked at the East 9th Street pier near the Rock-&-Roll Hall of Fame on the Cleveland Lakefront.

Leaving the East 9th Street pier on the Goodtime III
Leaving the East 9th Street pier on the Goodtime III

The Goodtime III cruises run from June 15 until the end of September. Photographers will want to take the 12:00 noon or the 3:00 pm cruises, which last for about two hours and are narrated by Cleveland celebrity broadcaster Larry Moore. There are also luncheon and dinner cruises as well as special events each year.

Cleveland West Harbor Lighthouse
Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse

After leaving the East 9th. Street pier, the Goodtime III cruises west and provides a close-up view of the 1911 West Pierhead Lighthouse, before heading south into the mouth of the Cuyahoga River.

Iron Curtain Bridge near mouth of Cuyahoga River
Iron Curtain Bridge near mouth of Cuyahoga River

If you enjoy viewing and photographing historic bridges, you will have a field day on the Goodtime III cruise, which passes under (twice) or close to about 20 historic bridges that span the lower reaches of the Cuyahoga River. The most northerly bridge, shown in the photo above, is the Norfolk Southern Railway Cuyahoga River Lift Bridge, also known as the Iron Curtain Bridge, built in 1958.

Main Avenue Bridge
Main Avenue Bridge, Cleveland

Heading south, we cruised under the 8,000-foot blue cantilever truss Main Avenue Bridge, which carries Ohio State Route 2/Cleveland Memorial Shoreway over the Cuyahoga River. This bridge, completed in 1939, was the longest elevated structure in Ohio until 2007, when the Veteran’s Glass City Skyway was completed in Toledo. Despite extensive repair work done in 2002 and 2012/2013, the Main Avenue Bridge is listed as “structurally deficient” and “fracture critical” by the Federal Highway Administration.

Building facade near Main Avenue Bridge
Building facade overlooking Cuyahoga River near Main Avenue Bridge
Detail of Carl B. Stokes Federal Court Building
Detail of Carl B. Stokes Federal Court Building

In addition to historic bridges, architecture aficionados will enjoy the great views of downtown Cleveland skyscrapers, as well as older buildings that line the Cuyahoga River in The Flats.

Try to pick a sunny or partly cloudy day for photographing these Cleveland bridges and skyscrapers. You’ll be including some sky in most of your photos, and a blue or partly blue sky makes a much more attractive background for bridges and buildings than a flat white, overcast sky.

Terminal Tower viewed through the arches of the GCRTA Bridge
Terminal Tower viewed through the arches of the Cleveland Union Terminal Viaduct

Because the Goodtime III is moving continuously during most of the cruise, you will need to anticipate opportunities for combining buildings and bridges in your photos, such as the photo above of the Terminal Tower framed by an arch of the Cleveland Union Terminal Viaduct, which carries RTA Red Line trains from Cleveland-Hopkins Airport to downtown Cleveland (Tower City) and East Cleveland (Windermere). The photo below is a portrait of Cleveland’s three tallest buildings, viewed from the top deck of the Goodtime III.

The Terminal, Key, and BP Towers in Downtown Cleveland
The Terminal, Key, and BP Towers in Downtown Cleveland

Below are some more photos of the diverse bridges that span the Cuyahoga River in the Cleveland Flats, taken from the Goodtime III.

Columbus Road Lift Bridge and Cleveland Viaduct
Columbus Road Lift Bridge and Cleveland Union Terminal Viaduct
Center Street Swing Bridge
Center Street Swing Bridge
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Settler's Landing
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Settler’s Landing
Carter Road Bridge
Carter Road Bridge

These photos were all made from the Sun Deck and Upper Sun Deck of the Goodtime III, which provide an elevated shooting position as well as the opportunity to move from one side of the ship to the other relatively easily when needed. I used my Nikon D7200 camera and new 16-80mm Nikkor zoom lens for most of the images; a few were taken with the only other lens I carried, a 70-300mm Nikkor zoom. All images were taken handheld, using autofocus and Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) system on both lenses. A tripod is virtually useless on a moving vessel, where the view is constantly changing, demanding a handheld approach. I used an ISO setting of 400, which allowed me to use a shutter speed of 1/500th to 1/1000th second at f/8 for most of the photographs. Later, I used the Lens Correction features in Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC to correct the perspective and straighten the walls and ironwork of buildings and bridges.

The Goodtime III changes direction often as it negotiates the twists and turns of the Cuyahoga (crooked) River, and I found myself shifting my position on the deck constantly in response to the changing lighting direction.

Although I find camera straps often get in the way when using a tripod, I made sure to use one with my new Nikon D7200, placed around my neck at all times, while on the Goodtime III. Since you will spend much of your time leaning over the guardrail high above the Cuyahoga River, a dropped camera will likely end up in the water, changing your Goodtime to a “Bad time.” Be sure to use your camera strap!

For more information, visit the Goodtime III website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. These are great pictures, Ian. Thanks for the informative article. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know the names of some of these bridges and of the Carl Stokes Building.

  2. Kathy: Glad you liked the article. I didn’t know the names of most of the bridges either, until I looked them up using Google prior to writing the blog article.

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