Every morning the ship’s crew hoses down the deck before sunrise. It’s the perfect time to capture reflections.
This is another shot where I used the Platypod. Doing so enables me to include the textures of the deck in the composition. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s a slightly unusual perspective that adds a little something extra.
I took a ton of these types of photos. I would post them all, but that would get pretty boring. Be forewarned though, I will post at least one or two more. But, if you like this kind of thing, then it’s cool, if not, I’m sorry in advance.
I suppose these cabins are the equivalent of the apartments that surround Central Park in New York City. Only, this namesake park is floating thousands of miles away.
I used a 12mm wide-angle lens for this shot which it makes the foreground appear bowed. I also used a Platypod to anchor the camera to a railing for a long exposure. This is the first time I’ve not taken a tripod and relied solely on the Platypod. In retrospect, it was a good call.
These spaces on the boat were designed to resemble neighborhoods. It’s obvious a lot of thought was put into it because, at least for me, that’s what it felt like. You could hang out in a different one depending on your likes. For some reason, this one, surrounded by apartment-like cabins, was the one I hung out in. It created a perfect illusion that, for the length of the cruise, kept reality at a safe distance.
For a photographer, crossing west over the North Atlantic has its advantages. For one, the sun always rises from the stern. Knowing which way to walk on a ship this big is a good thing.
The Symphony of the Seas is such a big ship that at first, it can be difficult to get oriented. The first few days I’d walk to the Windjammer only to find I’d gone the wrong way. But then, walking an extra half mile before hitting the buffet didn’t hurt.
Another advantage is that the days have twenty-five hours. Each night we would set our clocks back one hour. And because we were sailing during the daylight savings cutover, we had one additional long day. As a result, I found myself getting up earlier each day with enough time to walk to the back of the ship without getting lost.
The Symphony of the Seas has a bold color palette. There are vibrant, saturated colors in outdoor spaces and stairwells; so if you’re sensitive to that type of thing, you might need to wear sunglasses, even at night.
It’s a lot of fun, and I enjoy the tapestry of hues hitting my retinas at each turn. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not gaudy, rather a tasteful sampling of one-of-a-kind art, murals, and tiles. In my photography, I’m a reformed over-saturation addict. The colors on board this ship are a real temptation for me.
I’ve desaturated the colors in this image. The original is so loud it looks fake. Anyway, I even considered a monochrome version. But, this is a post about colors so the monochrome version will have to wait.
The other night we hung out in a tree-lined park with outdoor cafes and listened to live music by candlelight. And to top it off, we were a thousand miles from land.
The Symphony of the Seas has six neighborhoods, and Central Park is my favorite. There are upscale restaurants with outdoor seating. At one end is Vintages, a wine bar where somehow, I end up at least once a day. In the afternoon, there might be one or two patrons, and you can sit at an outdoor table, and watch folks stroll by.
There are way too many choices; neighborhoods, restaurants, nightclubs, sports, shopping, and bars. Speaking of which; there are at least sixteen different bars, and I had a plan to try each one. I’m only halfway through, and it’s not looking like I’ll hit the goal. But rest assured, it’s not for lack of trying.
This was taken from a water taxi as we passed a cruise ship leaving the port of Venice. I’ve been on several cruises and the port of Venice is the most scenic I’ve seen. This was not the ship I was on but if you look close you’ll see all the passengers lined up along the rail. They’re looking out at the city of Venice.
I was on an even larger ship that left a few hours later and the scene must have looked similar. There were so many people standing on one side that the hull tilted towards the city. It was the most amazing feeling; the ships are so large it never occurred to me that the weight of the passengers could make it tilt.
The procedure for docking a cruise ship in Venice involves being towed by two or more tugboats. The tugs are massive machines. There is one that pulls from the bow and one or more that guide the stern. Because they move so slow you have a perfect vantage of the city. I stood on the thirteenth deck and looked down upon the rooftops. It was one of the highlights of the cruise.
Walking to the train one morning in Vancouver I noticed this cruise ship at dock. It arrived a few hours earlier and was preparing for another voyage to Alaska. A common site in the summer but nonetheless it looked awesome in the morning light so I took a few photos; this is what I saw in my mind. Let me explain…
I spent a lot of time on this photo to make it look like what you see here. The original photo didn’t look so pretty. It had a lot of distractions, including other boats and a parking lot in the lower right. So I manipulated it to make it look like what I thought I saw. What we perceive is usually different than what we see. In other words, we perceive what we want to see and have a tendency to screen the rest; so this image is now closer to what I thought I saw.
At the time I only noticed the boat, it stood out because it wasn’t there the day before. I also noticed the soft light of the morning sun reflecting on the side. I thought to myself that it was an awesome scene, but when I looked at the image later there were other things I didn’t remember seeing, like the parking lot for instance. Rather than get disappointed and throw it away, it became a challenge for me to see if I could replicate my initial impression.
To my way of thinking the practice of photography is an expression of art. If I just want to record an event I snap a photo with my phone. But “photography” can be more than that. That doesn’t mean it should always be manipulated, but it should tell a story. In this case I did indeed manipulate it so that I could convey the story what I perceived in my mind on that summer morning in Vancouver.
When I visit big cities I like to take pictures of buildings. Repeating patterns are like puzzles for our brains because we automatically look for slight differences. Maybe that’s related to an evolutionary survival trait like looking for predators in the tall grasses of the African savanna. However this is neither Africa nor a big city. This is an urban scene at sea, aka a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas.
This is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. If I’m not mistaken it’s the largest cruise ship in the world right now.
I was on a small ferry traversing the port as we passed this behemoth docked at the terminal. It is about twenty stories high and as long as an air strip. This is just one small section of one side. These mega ships are more akin to cities than boats.
This last weekend I was on cruise ship several times smaller than this, and even that was still quite big. Big enough to have several pools, a rock climbing wall, a casino, clubs, bars and restaurants. So take all that and multiply it by three or four.
A few years back I was on the Aurora of the Seas, which at the time was the world’s largest. To be honest, it took me a week to figure out where everything was. It’s a little like visiting Disney World, it takes a while to get your bearings. Since that time we’ve cruised on much smaller ships, like the one this last weekend. And even then there were places on the ship I never saw.
If they make these ships any bigger they might just become indistinguishable from big cities.
A ship heading out to sea from the San Francisco Bay. I have been fortunate in that when I come to this spot there are colorful clouds at sunset. As I live on another coast I know that it’s not always the case and sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. I’m not adverse to a little luck.
There are places known for sunsets and this spot at at Lands End is one. From my own experience it seems the conditions are conducive for colorful displays like this during the golden hour. Another place that comes to mind is in Texas. I’ve not spent a lot of time in Texas but the few times I’ve been there I noticed colorful sunsets.
Not to be outdone, we too have sunsets in Florida, but often there are no clouds so the colors can be limited. We do get spectacular sunsets, it just seems maybe fewer than California, but I could be wrong, it might just be a matter of my luck.
I noticed this ship close to the Golden Gate Bridge earlier and I was surprised to see it still heading out to sea an hour or more later. These large vessels seem to move very slowly, but could just be an illusion created by their size and the distances involved. This is zoomed in almost 200 mm, so it is a long ways out.
Once I was at the waters edge at the entrance to the bay in Vancouver BC. It was late at night and otherwise quiet as I watched a large container ship pass under the bridge into open waters. It passed close to where I was standing and the vibration of the engines left an impression on me. For whatever reason I am struck with fascination whenever I see these lumbering giants.
It seems each time I visit Vancouver I’m drawn to the spectacle of the commercial port. Probably because it’s right on the eastern edge of town and it’s hard to miss. Maybe also the child in me likes all the multicolored containers, boats and cranes. Nevertheless I look for new ways to frame it and in this case the sunrise provided a backdrop. This morning was the first break in the clouds after a week of steady rain.
I took this from Canada Place which is empty of people first thing in the morning save for the occasional jogger or photographer. The perspective from here is deceiving, the port appears smaller than it is. The last time I was in Vancouver I took a seaplane and flew over the port. To my surprise it was many times larger than I thought. I had only ever seen it from this perspective.
I have always wondered about the number of ships sitting at sea just outside port, it’s a part of the Vancouver seascape. You grow accustomed to it but the first time I saw them I thought it unusual. After a while they blend into the fabric of the city and you hardly notice. At the appointed time each will pass under the Lionsgate Bridge and dock here.
I think it all goes unnoticed by the majority of people, but for some unknown reason I find all of this fascinating, spending more time than I should thinking about the ships, the docks and the whole bloody operation.