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.
I went to Felixstowe again today, to try out the circular polarising filter which I bought last week. This is a filter that basically rids he picture of reflections and enriches the colours and highlights the details in your composition. I had some great fun, and even managed an HDR shot as well. However, having now returned home and done some work on some of the shots I took, I couldn’t understand why there was so much noise coming up on the pictures. I had shot them all in manual mode, and been very careful to appy my new learning to the settings [lower F stop for close ups, higher F stop for greater depth of field]. Then I realised. I had not checked the ISO setting, which I had last set when doing some sunset shots – it was on a massively high setting and so the pictures are very grainy. I count this as a lesson and have put it down ‘to experience’……but I’ll share the pictures with you anyway.
Above – a bit overcooked for some tastes, but the result of shooting toward the sunlight using the CP filter and an ND4 grad.
Above: Today’s rather painterly HDR shot, made up of three shots taken on the tripod at -3, 0 and +2 EV exposure compensations. A bit of advice – ships are a poor subject for HDR – even with a super steady tripod you can’t stop the ship from bobbing around on the water, as I found out here!!!
Above: Please welcome the COSCO Guangzhou, weighing in at 109,000 tons and able to carry, so I understand, 9500 containers. She is apparently one of the top 10 largest container ships in the world. I created a duplicate layer in Photoshop, made it B&W, then erased the ship’s shape to bring some colour into it.
Above: You can see what I mean about the noise that selecting the wrong ISO setting creates! This was passed through Topaz Adjust and I have brought out some interesting colours.
Above: One of the day’s more successful shots – the Landguard Fort which was built to repel German invaders should they have got this far. Rather sinister in black and white – see how the CP filter has picked out the cloud detail.
So, still lots to learn, then! Hope you enjoy following me as I do so!!