Having seen the shipping side of the docks, I have also explored the ‘other’ side, which is the equally interesting ‘nuts and bolts’ of how the port works. If you aren’t familiar with Felixstowe or the East of England, then you may not know that the port is woefully poorly connected to the rest of the country. Basically, there is one trunk road, known as the A14, which runs pretty much from the dock gate to Birmingham in the centre of the country. It is hopelessly over capacity, such that traffic often grinds to a halt at busy times. You would imagine that rail would also be a good way of moving the vast numbers of containers that we saw in the previous post – considering that one large ship can now carry some 10,000 20 foot containers, that is potentially 5,000 truck journeys, or a fraction of that number of trains. But the rail network is not great either, so there is something of a bottleneck for freight leaving Felixstowe to its destinations.
These photos were taken at various places in or near to the docks, and represent some of the more interesting things I found as far as moving the goods around is concerned.
Above: trucks lay waiting to be called to pick up their loads. There is massive security at the port, and drivers must produce a biometric ID card at the gates or they are denied access.
Above: ‘The Grid’ – the containers come off the ships and are stacked on a 3-dimensional grid system, which you can see marked on the ground. Each container is allocated an ‘X’, ‘Y’ and vertical ‘Z’ position so it can be found easily to be loaded for its onward journey. Did you know that the docks sometimes close when it snows? The reason is that the snow covers the grid markings, and the crane drivers cannot see which containers are which!!
Above: Stacked ‘Short Sea’ containers [denoting that their journey is short as opposed to from the other side of the world].
Above: a fork lift which can lift a loaded 20 foot container, which could weigh 20 odd tons.
Above: There are all manner of ageing vehicles which are only used within the yards, and which are known as ‘shunters’. This tired-looking one must have retired from the open road many years ago.
Above: Abandoned? This has been dropped off whilst another container is emptied, to be picked up again later.
Above: I for one would not like this to be my place of work, as I fear heights!
Above: Waiting seems to be a large part of the job, for the ships’ crew and everybody else reliant on them.
The second set of pictures I took yesterday afternoon, in unseasonably warm sunshine, was from the marina at Shotley. This is a peninsula between the rivers Orwell and Stour, and within a few hundred yards of the shore here you have Harwich, to the south, which is a major ferry port for European destinations, and Felixstowe to the north, which is one of the largest ports in Europe. It being a Sunday afternoon, the port was relatively quiet, with two large container ships already berthed, Maersk Klaipeda and MSC Rossella, and one which arrived whilst I was shooting, Maersk Taurus [which is the one in the last picture].
It is quite interesting watching the movement of these vast ships – the port is now able to handle the largest container ships in the world – because although the Taurus has a weight of 94,000 tonnes, it was pirouetted 180 degrees by two little tugs in about five minutes, and looked for a moment rather graceful. The other interesting thing about shooting a large port like this is the sheer vastness of the machines. As well as the ships, which are incomparably large, the cranes also dwarf everything around them. Their drivers sit a hundred feet above the ground in a glass cab, sliding back and forth over the dock and then over the ship as they move the containers.
My daughter is at school quite a way from home, and as a result, when birthday parties occur, there is usually a long drive involved. Rather than try and get home and then go back again, I find it easier [assuming the weather is decent] to take the camera and find somewhere nearby to take some photos for a couple of hours. Today was just such an afternoon; the dog refused to get into the car, so I could not spend the time walking him. Instead, I took two sets of pictures. The first is of Pin Mill, a small hamlet that sits on the south bank of the River Orwell as it flows from Ipswich out to sea at Felixstowe. The light was very clear today, and the still water provided some great reflections.
Here are a few pictures from a recent trip to Liverpool, mostly from the Pier Head area. I snuck out of the hotel and captured some interesting sights. My previous ramblings around the city were documented here.
The first one was taken out of my hotel window, and the second is a crop of the first, but with the white balance turned down to about 2200. They were all taken on my d3100 with shutter priority mode at F16 over a long exposure at ISO100. Hey, enjoy, already too soon!
I tried to do a few sunset pictures last year with varying degrees of success, using an ND Graduated filter to reduce the glare of the sun. However the sunsets in East Anglia, dramatic as they can sometimes be, do not really allow you to include the sea because you are by definition on the east coast, much to my frustration.
So I was really excited when I got lucky yesterday – work took me to Sidmouth on the Devon coast – some 5 hours drive from home, and I arrived at the hotel just in time to get out of the car, stretch my tired legs and take some photos on the beach. The temperature was already near freezing as I got there, but it was a beautifully clear day and it was too good an opportunity to miss.
As you can see, there were also some surfers in the water – I don’t know how they stood the cold, even in wetsuits. The water looked icy. So, here are my favourites.
Right, to ease me back into blogging again after a lengthy lay off, I am posting a little photo diary of this weekend’s trip to Copenhagen. It was savagely cold, in a way that the UK has not been so far this winter. The east wind goes through any layers you are wearing and eats its way into your very being. Copenhagen is a compact little city, with a lot of waterways, and a few very good real ale pubs. These shots were all taken with my little Samsung point and shoot camera, because we only took hand luggage and the big camera is too big!!
Phew, long time no posts, eh?
Sorry about the break – you know the kind of thing. Work, real life, tonsillitis – but tonight I’ve decided to post some things just to get me back in the habit again. August was such a great month for FR – I was acually exceeding one post per day at one point – and then…only one for the whole of October!
Not much commentary with these as I had originally felt that they didn’t make the cut – but I think I was also getting a little to technical – precious about my shots as well, and I had forgotten that a picture can be worthwhile even if it’s not technically perfect. So….they do at least convey, to me at least, the end of summer on the bleak Suffolk coast – the crowds have gone, the temperature is cooling, the clouds have obscured the sun, and the leaves are starting to drop. Some are HDR’s but the people on the beach one is just a single exposure.
It’s a long haul ’til next spring…
And finally, moving north-west again,I took this one in my New Brighton Beach set which I posted last month. To some of you it will be horrendously over-cooked, and that’s why I held off from posting it. However I have just looked at it again and I think it’s worth posting – it certainly conveys that ‘end of summer’ feeling, although some might say it’s more ‘end of the world’……if you have an opinion, use the comments box below to let me know!
This shot of passers by was taken in the still oppressive heat of early evening by a busy news stand (oh how witty – I didn’t know a news stand could take photos!!!). It was shot in RAW format and then given a pop in Topaz Adjust to bring out all those details from the flagstones to the myriad clothing styles worn by these people.
Normally, when taking a batch of photos, I will pick out my favourites for post production and posting on the blog. But after a few days, I will often then ‘have a go’ at some of the less notable photos, and see what I can do with them. In this case, I have pulled out three which were less immediate but, having tweaked them a little bit, I still like them.
Above: The tram station at mediacity, where the long exposure has resulted in a little artistic blurring of the people on the platform.
Above: The CBBC studios. The shot is not a great one, because I took it ‘straight on’ as opposed to at an angle. But I like the lead in that the floor mounted lights give it. It could do with a little straightening up as well.
Above: Aargh!! The evening I shot these pictures, it was quite windy. Whilst I was using my sturdy Manfrotto 190 tripod, this shot is slightly blurred because the camera moved imperceptibly during the long exposure.
I took this some time ago; it’s an HDR rendering of the boilers in the brewing house of the Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds. The brewery has dominated the town for as long as anybody can remember: when you are in the streets near to the site on a brewing day, you can see the clouds of steam from the boil, and the smell of malt extract and hops pervades the whole town. This picture is shot in small yard in front of one of the main buildings, through whose windows you can see the vast boilers that are used to boil the ‘mash’ and the hops, which are added at different stages. In the reflection on the window, you can see the tops of two of the vertical fermenting tanks that the finished, hopped wort is moved into, having been cooled, to turn, slowly, into beer.