Kate's blog, ships, shipping, ship photography, The art of vessels - Katey Jane Photography

Kate's blog, ships, shipping, ship photography, The art of vessels

The art of Shipping


A wander along one of the river banks next to the river Nene, you may find the odd general cargo ship or boat heading towards one of the two ports, either Wisbech or Sutton Bridge.

Wisbech was once the only port along the nene but in the 1980s work was started on the port of Sutton bridge which is able to take slightly larger ship than Wisbech, due to the Crosskey swing bridge which has a narrow gap. Sutton Bridge port has a car park right opposite the port so is great for anyone just wanting to watch the ships or have a bag of chips from the local chippy which is just off the small roundabout taking the second turning, the chipping can be seen on the right-hand side after leaving the roundabout.

Fri Ocean, and friends

Sandal against stormy skies

Sandal just passing the Sutton Bridge power station against a stormy backdrop. With roads on both sides of the river,  it's a great place to grab shots with Station road being the more dangerous road to park on.

With the wide-open and big skies of the Fens shots with the main subject can look dramatic.

I've spent many years along this river and with the family village just 2 miles down the road the river nene played a large part in my families lives. My mother's father would fish for eels and flatfish, (Dabs or around these parts known as Butts, with no money and with a family of 9 to feed the only way to live was to fish from the river. In the 1980s and early 90s before my mothers fathers death, we would spend many hours fishing. We were taught the old ways, a cane road and back then catgut line, also dead lining was used often, around 30 yards of string around a stick, the stick would be hammered in the ground and a thin twig next to it and with the line around that, when a fish came along I would twang the twig.

The fun of making things yourself

The fun part of doing my photography is printing and selling my own work. With digital photography it is so hands-free with images just left hidden away on hard drives, I wanted to make my own prints and turn all things into art.

The ships make for such great artwork and along rivers, they don't half stand out within the landscapes. Ship photography plays just a small role in my photography life and along the local rivers near Wisbech, we don't get many ships or boats. When we do get them they are a welcome relief from nature which can be a bit too much at times. ships and boats are far simpler to photograph and you get more time to try different styles and lens as they pass.

Ships photographed against skies and local landmarks are the key for me, I'm not a ship spotter so don't need a framed filled image but want to show where they are, this then makes for great wall art images.

Have sold a few to people who have had memories of a certain ship of the place they were at, Often see them at craft fairs.

Wilson Harrier, mouth of the Nene river

Larger than normal

Wilson Harrier slowly heading towards the Port of Sutton Bridge, my friend who's ship mad told me this ship was coming in so off I went and what a cold morning that was, the higher than normal tide made for a dramatic look to this ship and with the 400mm lens it gave for a nice tight DOF (depth of field)  making the ship stand out more and with the sun shining just on the ship it did look rather stunning.

This ship like some of the other larger types that head this way needs the tides to be at the monthly maximum, the wash marsh and the nene river are so shallow that some ships will only have a few feet of draft clearance.  

Busy time for the Nene pilot

One of my favourite shoots of shipping along the nene was this day with Sandal Lilly b and the nene pilot. Nothing unusual about that but the weather conditions made for the most surreal photography, with flat calm conditions and watery looking clouds, add to the mix a long lens with its nice tight DOF it creates my perfect shots I have in mind.

This part of the river has some rocks laid down to protect the marsh from erosion so is the best spot to have to sit down and it's one spot I tend to walk to just to sit down and take in the sounds of the marsh and at high tide, it does look nice.

Plonk yourself at the water level almost and you almost become part of the marsh.

The peaceful sounds of the wash can be had here

Lilly B moored at Sutton Bridge port

Final thoughts

Ship photography is fun but sadly it seems to upset one or two when females begin to do that's predominantly a male pastime.

I never knew that taking a walk along a river would end up with people fighting and being arrested for stalking and harassment, to me it's a thing that anyone can do, with one person talking exception to me taking the same photos as him, but it didn't stop there, getting his girlfriend to try and stop me from photographing along the river. Well, it still didn't stop at that, he set out to spread rumours, his friends then started to follow mean some of my friends. the issues are still ongoing and now a number of people know about the issues.

Looking at it if a male can't handle a female then maybe they should take a look at themselves and grow up, I'm pleased I'm not like that and maybe they should just get on with their own photography because I'm not going anywhere!

Enjoy your photography, it really isn't that had to do!