The stream winds its way through the sand – and I’m imagine first being in a helicopter and then on the banks of The Suez Canal with my camera back in the sixties, photographing the pilot cutter SIR THOMAS BROCKLEBANK.
The 1950-built diesel-electric vessel has for some unknown reason left its homely Liverpool waters for The Middle East and is now returning north through the Suez Canal towards Port Said and finally the heavy swells of The Mediterranean Sea.
The whole thing was just a scaled imagination. The Suez Canal was Henne Mølle Å and SIR THOMAS BROCKLEBANK, a radio-controlled model. It all happened last weekend when I visited my friend Burkhard and his family in Henne Strand at the Danish North Sea coast. Burkhard is a professional ship model builder (scale 1:1,250) and a keen collector of large ship models.
We went on a late afternoon trip to Henne Mølle Å, launched SIR THOMAS BROCKLEBANK and started our nearly two kilometres return journey through the stream, while the sun started to set, and the light became ever softer and more golden.
I have been involved in many hundreds of photo sessions involving ships, but this was by ever-first outside shooting of a ship model sailing by its own power and behaving like a real ship. A truly amazing experience for me as a maritime photographer, a completely new and unexplored genre, which I had not thought of before.
One moment I could shoot in bird view and the next moment, I had the sandbanks (the desert) as a foreground, and my lenses preformed on a completely new way. It was the first time that I have captured a whole ship in a picture with bokeh, an aesthetic effect normally reserved for wildlife and portrait photographers.
As it was my debut in this genre, I know that I will be able to do it better the next time. I was more than less thrown into it, so not all my shutter speeds and apertures were optimal, but Burkard and I will repeat it in the future with one of the other beautiful ship models from his collection.
Visit Burkhard’s website here