Shooting images of the Mississippi River may, on the whole, appeal to shipping and maritime enthusiasts, but it is possible to introduce an artistic quality into such images. The key is selecting the correct lens. My favourite approach was to use a nothing less than a 60 mm lens. The actual lenses I used where a 60 mm Tamron prime, and a 70-300 mm Nikkor telephoto. Using a long focal length lens compresses the image and introduces a shallow depth of field, which serves to make the vessels pop out in the image, and accentuate any prevailing weather or heavy traffic conditions.
One of the more powerful ways to get great Mississippi River shots, though, is to get down to the water line, close to the vessels, and if possible, on the water. Capturing these vessels head on adds a level of depth to the image which makes the subject pop out. The added benefit is that you also capture other vessels on the waterway, introducing a chaotic and congested feel to the waterway, which of course, is something the Mississippi River is famous for.