Photography capturing Sturgeon Bay's maritime roots

Photographer Steve Reinke captured this photo while volunteering at the Door County Maritime Museuem Friday, January 12, 2017. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

STURGEON BAY (WLUK) -- The Door County Maritime Museum is showcasing photographs captured by a maritime enthusiast.

Ships stand tall along Sturgeon Bay's waterfront, but Steve Reinke had a way of bringing them inside.

He did it through pictures, thousands of them. And now they're on display at the Door County Maritime Museum.

The museums executive director, Amy Paul told FOX 11, "He understood the point of history and capturing history and what it meant because people forget that today's history."

Passionate about the water, Reinke volunteered to snap large cargo freighters.

"The pictures that you see here are absolutely gorgeous but they do not give the freighters their true dues in the beauty that you would see if you go over to bay ship," Paul said.

But beyond beauty, the photographs also capture the area's rich maritime roots.

"It tells a story of not only are Bay Ships into repair but also into new builds and just the magnificent amount of work they do in the shipyard, and that's a big history in Sturgeon Bay."

It was clear that even when the sun went away and the stars peered out, Reinke didn't stop working.

"I’ve always wanted to get Steve to really capture those night time shots," Paul said, "When you get to see those ships here in Sturgeon Bay, either on the bridge or looking across from Sonnys Pizzeria. you really get this amazing, almost like what it would be in a city of lights, and to capture that is really a difficult thing."

When we asked Paul how Reinke captured a photograph of the cargo ship, Arthur Anderson, coming out from the mist, Paul said, "He actually knew when the ship was coming in. He did climb out on ice which, I wouldn't advise anybody else to climb on, and the water was actually warmer than the air and so the mist was coming up. The Anderson was coming in, Arthur Anderson, and he was able to catch the Sturgeon Bay pier headlight and it is, it's a fabulous picture."

The misty Arthur Anderson moment is a favorite for many, but especially for his widow, Kathleen.

Kathleen told FOX 11, "He called them the gentle giants of the water, he was quite taken with the smitten I would say, with the ships that came through the Sturgeon Bay Canal."

She said if Reinke were here today, "He would be proud, but he would be humbled by this much attention to his photography."

The exhibit opens to the public through October 21st.

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