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Photographs of a Harbor

Updated on February 25, 2014

Most seaside cities and towns, including some major ones have land areas that border the sea. Many of these areas have harbors, piers or even marinas which often offer beautiful scenes of a harbor.

One of the many photographic projects that can offer a photographer plenty of material and inspiration is to visit one of them and record the many images that are available to be photographed.

If possible try to locate a harbor since marinas are mostly for recreational boats and the fishing is not the main staple, nor will you be likely to find many samples of fishing tackle and gear other than the occasional fishing rod.

Many of the images can be of the fishing harbor from some distance away and as one approaches it. Then images of the harbor from up close as well as the moorings, the ropes that are used to latch the boats or ships to the pier. Images of the wooden pier supports to which these ships are tied make good images and they are usually covered in some type of seaweed or moss.

There is also plenty of wildlife that surrounds a harbor because they can easily find food in the discards of the fishermen after fish is routinely cleaned and gutted. The most apt seagulls will occasionally snatch fish or crustaceans from the nets used in the big fishing trolleys as they are disembarked or rather unloaded unto shore.

Off course many of the images should be of the boats and ships while at anchor, while they arrive and depart. Their nets and fishing tackle and gear has to be recorded too to complete the scene. The crews can also make for very interesting photos as many are very colorful characters of their own right. It is a good idea to talk to some of the crew members and note details about their lives and their daily routines. This can be used towards writing a story which you can then use to accompany the images.

Many magazine publishers will readily accept photographs that are accompanied by a story. In fact it is quite impossible to sell just photographs by themselves without an accompanying story behind them. This off course unless the images are superbly produced.

Aim to capture subjects in close ups to showcase the worn out, sea exposed surfaces, especially of the ships exteriors. Some are brightly painted but do often show the effects of the ocean water upon their hulls as well as the effects of rust.

Capture images in the early part of the day, since most ships and fishing vessels part to sea quite early. Also record photos during the twilight hours since this is mostly when they return home to anchor. Besides, Sunsets and water mix quite well in photography. Good subject matter is the unloading of the day's catch. Often you can even witness fish still trashing about as well as any crustaceans scurrying about.

Record images of any of the ship's crews while they involve themselves in the sorting and storing of fish and if they prepare it for the market. Many of these scenes will be accompanied by quite a large number of shore birds such as gulls and pelicans as many have gotten accustomed to a daily feast and are very keenly aware of when a ships anchors.

Photograph harbors while they appear deserted and if they are also wet from the ocean spray. These images always seem to carry a "feeling" of romanticism that is sometimes associated with the ocean. A good scene is a seemingly empty harbor with the ships anchored and the ocean spray washing over the pier, the rocks and so on, and preferably during dusk or dawn.

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

Do catch some photos of the actual "catch of the day", images of some of the gear, like wooden lobsters traps, the colorful buoys and nets. If the conditions allow it, photograph reflections of the ships hulls against the calm ocean water.

If your plan includes a set of photographs to present as a complete production, and more so if you will also do a story to accompany the photographs, then by all means also record images of the adjacent area, town, places of interest and so forth.

A good storyline is to record a set of images that start with the harbor or marina early in the morning, followed by the ships departure, their arrival, the unloading of their catch, the catch itself such as red snappers, crabs, lobsters etc, the store or restaurant where the catch is being featured or the fish on a grill, and finally, people enjoining the freshly caught seafood meal.

Any harbors close to where you live?

See results

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      randomcreative: Thank you, water is always a good photo subject

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I don't think I ever get tired of pictures that include water. One of my good blogging friends lives in Boston and frequently posts pictures of the harbors there. I always enjoy his shots.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      FloraBreenRobinson: Yes, always take your camera, you never know when a photogenic opportunity will present itself

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Vancouver is the closest harbour to where I live and it is not that far away. Next time I'm out that way I will have to take my camara.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thank you Cardisa

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      This is a very easy beautiful project. You don't need to do anything but take picture because the harbor or mariner is already there with the boats and whatever else you find at such places. All you have to do is make sure your equipment is ready and you come at the right time when the fishermen are there with the fish and so on. I love this one.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thank Lynn it's always great to hear from you. Harbors and sometimes marinas is where I never fail to find inspiration

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 6 years ago

      Love this - not only boats but wildlife hang out there too. AND Shrimp boats. OMG. They have so much character. I'd make the hubby buzz them and do drive bys lol!! Total eye candy to me!! Up and awesome as usual!