Industrial Photography on ship

I received an enquiry last month to photograph a vessel that is docking in Singapore for work. After liaising and quote were done. The date was set but was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances out in the water. That was a time that i need to exercise my patient for the frequent changes. Finally, it was finally confirmed one day before, and i was extremely excited to head down to the location.

Next day headed down to the location 15 mins earlier, is better to be early than late. Got all the necessary clearance was a breeze as the client had done a good job with the port authority to get me in.

I was driven in a truck to the vessel location, as the port was vast, i was surprised no cycling was allowed either as compared to other port i worked with. It took about 8 mins to reach the location for a slow drive. I cannot imagine walking in either if no vehicle was available. But the port authority was professional and experience to get things covered.

Boarded the vessel, sign in at the entrance. Went up to the deck to meet the Captain and some of his crew members. I was assigned to a crew member from Egypt who was friendly and very professional. He will be the man guiding me. As i am new here, i asked the crew how are things doing, how old is the vessel (which was a new vessel), where are the good spots to capture some great images, to break the ice. Once communication was “set up”, we proceed up to “Monkey Island” to check out the view.

The image below was the first view that greeted me, a clear sight of the work progress. Blessed with blue sky and the sun still moving up to the top before the peak of an afternoon. I had only about 2 hours to work instead of the 4hrs i propose to the client. A unique situation i need to be speedy and reliable to capture the best images for my client. I can keep my camera ISO as low as possible as shutter speed was sufficient to freeze the moment.

Using a telephoto lens to zoom into the grabs, the vessel has 3 cranes in total and all are operating in the same time non stop.

In my mind, i already have a vision of getting 3 grabs in one frame, but i know it was not easy. As the cranes were moving at different speeds but the same direction. I was shooting and observing, secretly pray to have the 3 grabs in my line of view. As i was about to move to another location after a long wait, the 3 grabs aligned! I managed to get 2 frames quickly.

Next, the crew asked me whether i want to shoot from the crane operating room? I agreed immediately, knowing it will be sort of aerial images from the top, and i never been up there before. Of course with the supervision of the crew and port authority. Got my hand a little greasy during the vertical climb, no complain at all!  But i should have brought my gloves next time! I went up and saw an operator operating the crane back and forth like a pro. I quickly capture some good shots from inside to outside.

I make my way out from the operating room with the guys, i stopped and turned back again to make sure is there any more possible angles to work at? I told the crews to wait a while i get in a half kneeling position to stabilise myself while the crane was turning. This was one of the images i captured from the top, outside.

I knew my job was 80% done, i was able to cover the angles with the right lighting available. but i still wanted to capture more angles. I started to do close-up of the grab and the cargo.

I was invited to a quick lunch on board by the crew before i left the vessel, said goodbye and thanks to the crew member and Captain. As the earlier light was not in my favour for the entire vessel shot. This was the last time i can capture it on the ground before i am been escorted out of the facility. I approached many angles and below is one of the images i did.

Overall the shoot went very well, no injury and everyone was safe. Safety is very important as advised by the crew and i had to obey their instruction. I went back to the office, i carefully select and edit the images. I always heard some photographers dump all the whole chunks of pictures for the client without QC. I only selected the decently good or best pictures, never mind it is repetitive as long the quality is good. I never know what client had in mind in certain images for their usage. As usual, i uploaded all my high res and low res for the client to download, with a secure password for them to access. An outsider would not even able to see the set as well.

End of assignment.


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