Bristol Channel Shipping

Over a number of recent visits to the coast I have become increasingly interested in shipping movements. Vessels on the sea add tremendous interest to the scenes I have shot. I have had ships appear at fortuitous moments in my image making in the past, but had never planned to make specific photos of ships.

Black Nore Point, Portishead, at high tide with the old lighthouse in the background. (Doug King)
While shooting the images for this large stitched panorama, a vessel steamed into the perfect position on the horizon. I was so busy aligning the shots that I didn’t even notice at the time

Recently, through various internet searches I have found a source of real time shipping movements in the Bristol Channel and have started to incorporate these into my shoot planning. Getting out and watching the shipping in the Channel and River Severn has given me a real appreciation for the skills of the Masters and Pilots that manoeuvre these vessels through one of the most challenging waterways in the world.

 (Doug King)
Saga Welco receiving assistance from tugs on the approach to Avonmouth
The cement freighter Arklow Raider arrives on a dawn high tide at Sharpness Docks on the River Severn (Doug King)
Arklow Raider manoeuvring to enter Sharpness Docks

I have always been interested in photographing the man-made structures of our coastline. Now being able to include shipping makes much more sense of their purpose. The combination of weather, water and now shipping will, I hope, make for even more dynamic and unrepeatable images.

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