Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Ship Shape for Photos

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By Igor Lobanov

Mature Life Features

So you like to take pictures of all those places you visit on a cruise. What about the ship? “Not interesting enough,” you say?

You may want to re-think that.

Life aboard a cruise vessel, which is really a floating city, presents a panoply of picture possibilities: deck areas, lounges, and hidden nooks you’ll find on any ship worth its salt. To capture these scenes effectively, you’ll want a wide-angle lens. One with a 20- to 25-millimeter focal length will do to shoot interiors, spacious open decks, and dramatic white superstructure against the blue sky. You may want to include a railing, deck chairs, portholes or other elements of the vessel to add interest to your composition.

The upper decks are built-in vantage points for photographs of the shorelines, harbor activity, and other watercraft. You might look for a zoom lense to zero on these scenes. The general range of zoom lenses you should consider are 24 to 85 mm, 70 to 200 mm, and 200 to 400 mm. Many current cameras have built-in wide-angle and zoom lenses.

For shots of the ship taken from shore, put a person in the scene — your companion, a new-found friend, a crew member, or even a dockside vendor or local resident — to provide a sense of scale.

If you’re in the tropics, where the sun is unusually bright, you may want to use a polarizing or neutral-density filter to darken a blue sky and reduce the sun’s reflection off the water. The polarizing filter is fitted with a ring that lets you rotate it to see if you’re getting the sky too dark or eliminating all the reflections on the water.

At mid-day, when the sun in directly overhead, scenes will seem to be flat, with colors mostly washed out. Colors are more vibrant and shadows more dramatic before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

To photograph friends and family on board, try to catch them in some activity, such as around the pool, or sunning themselves on the upper deck.

Keep in mind that salt water can harm cameras and video equipment by eating away at the electronic circuits and metallic gears. You’re pretty safe using the camera high up on the ship’s decks during calm seas. But remember that winds carry bits of salt that leave an oily film on equipment. When you go ashore in one of the ship’s tenders, where salt spray is almost inevitable, protect your camera in a water-repellent plastic bag. Clean all the exposed metal surfaces with denatured alcohol at regular intervals during the cruise. Use lens cleaner and lens tissues to clean glass surfaces.

If you want to take long-exposure photos, use a tripod because a ship is always in some sort of motion, even when docked. You can cut down on movement by setting your camera on a pillow. Of course, the longer the cruise, the more photo opportunities there are bound to be.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2002

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm

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