Saturday, 26 November 2011

QM2 video

I finally got round to adding the short videos together and have uploaded the result onto You Tube. It's not the best (slightly shaky because I forgot my tripod and held-held the camera) and there's no sound but I'm happy with it.


Car carrier Figaro passing East Cowes, enroute to Southampton on 24th November 2011

Ship facts - Built: 2011; Flag: Sweden; GT: ?; IMO number: 9505041

Vehicle carriers aren't everyone's cup of tea, including mine. I am a big fan of modern merchant ships but there is definitely something of the 'floating brick' about car carriers.
Note the inevitable yacht getting in the way! I'm sure they do it on purpose...!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Queen Mary 2 (again)

Looking at the Southampton VTS website yesterday, I noticed that Queen Mary 2 was due to leave Southampton at 1200 today for her refit in Hamburg where her registry would also be changed from Southampton to Hamilton (Bermuda). So, I decided to put my cameras and my dog (to give her a walk at the same time) into the car and go to East Cowes to see her go past.
The ship was due to sail at 12 but, due to engine failure, she was delayed. How long this would be for, I didn't know, but I thought I'd give it to 1330 and then leave and I was about to drive off when my friend Patsy texted me to say the ship was about to depart.

Click for larger size (and better quality; these previews have been compressed).

Last look at 'Southampton' on the stern. When she comes back in a couple of weeks, it will read 'Hamilton'.
Seeing Queen Mary 2 at the docks in Southampton is one thing, seeing her on the move is quite another. Although I've seen the ship many times, she still makes you stop and look. Even some workmen downed tools to watch her go past.

And here's what she left behind, almost-surfable waves rolling into the shore, which reminds me of stories my Nan used to tell me about the first Mauretania and the havoc she caused coming up the Solent at speed (the Mauretania caused the havoc, not my Nan ;-) ). Nan lived in East Cowes and the Mauretania's wash flooded properties and knocked people off their feet every time she came past. The Mauretania was notorious and, as a result, a speed limit was introduced for vessels in the Solent.

These photos have not been sharpened; the Canon 70-200 f/4 L lens has to be one of the sharpest lenses ever made.

Here's a short piece of video I made, with my Canon 7D and 70-200mm lens. I have made several short videos and put them together in one long one. This is the last of the short pieces:

Friday, 18 November 2011

Don Quijote

Quiet day in the Solent, with just the car carrier Don Quijote and the small tanker Stolt Teal on the move.

In the top picture, left to right, are Stolt Teal, Don Quijote, Joan and Lucy Essberger.

Ships details

Don Quijote: Built 1998, 67141 gt, Singapore flag, IMO number 9138525
Stolt Teal: Built 1999, 5342 gt, Cayman Islands flag, IMO number 9199323
Joan: Built 2009, 3450 gt, Hong Kong flag, IMO number 9448877
Lucy Essberger: Built 1997, 3726 gt, Netherlands flag, IMO 9140827

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Website upgrade

I have rebuilt my website and got hosting for it. I was having a boring day yesterday afternoon and found some web-building software (Incomedia Website X5) that I bought early in 2010 and which I forgot I had. It's some real bells-and-whistles stuff which is miles better and easier to use than Dreamweaver or Frontpage, both programs I had used in the past and neither of which now work on my Windows 7 computer, and it's also got an integrated ftp upload program. So I spent several hours yesterday doing the templates and galleries and I uploaded it this morning.

Here's a sample page from one of the galleries. Each photo opens in a new pop-up window.

The domain is or you can use The Wordpress website is now closed. I hope you like it and feel free to contact me at

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Queen Mary 2 and the QE2 Mile

Took a little trip to Southampton today, for a change of scene as much as anything else. The Queen Mary 2 was in and I also thought it would be a good opportunity to photograph her with 'Southampton' on her stern as, by the time she is next here, it may well be changed to Hamilton (the change is scheduled to be done on December 1st).

Click for larger photos (pictures will open in a kind of slideshow, but there is an option to 'Show original' at the bottom left).

I went round to the Triangle car park to get the name and 'Southampton' on the stern...

Took a walk to the city centre to get a filter for my lens and passed an anchor which was originally from the QE2 and given to the city by Cunard and Dubai which is where the ship now sits idle. The anchor is on the High Street outside Holy Rood Church, which was bombed and destroyed in the Second World War and is now a memorial to merchant seamen. The road is part of the QE2 Mile, which stretches from Town Quay up to the Cenotaph.

With the anchor is a very nice plaque...both anchor and plaque are thankfully not (yet?) spray-painted by morons...

There was time for a coffee in Marks and Spencers before we headed back to the ferry. There wasn't a lot on the move and, besides, it was raining so we decided not to hang about and went back to Cowes on the 1345 Red Jet 4 sailing.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

AIS apps

I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S Plus smartphone, to replace the - crappy - Blackberry I was using. Android phones are pretty much the same as the iPhone (indeed, Apple and Samsung have each accused the other of stealing ideas) and there are plenty of cool apps to download.
I have found a brilliant little app from, via Android Market, a free app which gives you the AIS positions of ships. If you touch the little ship symbol of the vessel you want to look at, a wedge-shaped coloured icon, you can also see the vessel's name, data, track, and, best of all, photos. Very cool. If you have an Android phone, you can get it here, or via the Market on your phone.
However, a couple of negatives are ads - well, it is free - and it does hang on occasion.
There is also an iPhone/iPad version available but, unlike the Android version, that costs a couple of quid.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A few (small) changes

I have made a few small changes to the main website. Formerly called 'Solent Ships' it is now called 'Ship Photo' and has a new domain name I wanted to get but that was already taken (nice-looking site, although it doesn't appear to have been updated for a bit). I can't believe that ship-photo was still up for grabs, bearing in mind the amount of nautical websites out there.
I have also got the domain name, having realised that is pretty similar to some other domains out there (shipfoto and shipphotos), even if mine has a hypen in it. Both will work just fine, use whichever one suits.
For now, the url will also work but I might eventually get full hosting when I have some spare cash.

You might notice the blog title has changed to Ship-Photo, to match the website. I thought I'd also do away with the boring dark colours in favour of easier-to-read (less hard on the eyes) black text on a light blue-white background, especially as it's November and the weather is dreary enough, without looking at a dark website! The main website will also get a makeover at some point.