The Cutty Sark..

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich - World © Geoff Wilkinson

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich – World © Geoff Wilkinson/All rights reserved

You may have realised by now that I am keen on thinking, only about pictures I hasten to add, anything else just seems to slip by. So when I decided to photograph The Cutty Sark I really had to put my thinking cap on.  The world famous tea clipper is in dry dock at Greenwich and had been refitted after a terrible fire, my challenge as I saw it was to get her out of dry dock and get her back in the water, just photographically of course. Although the ship in berthed near the river Thames I couldn’t see a satisfactory way of getting the ship and the river in one picture the distance is just too far. Even from the other side of the river using a telephoto lens for compression it just wasn’t right, it wasn’t the picture I had in my mind. I needed a different tack if you’ll pardon the pun.

As I often do when confronted with a large building, bridge or something similar instead of backing off to get it all in I went and stood directly underneath the ship. I often find that gives me a different perspective and in this case it was different and more interesting rather than a straight  on view, however it still wasn’t what I had in mind  though. There had to be a different way.

To one side of the ship I found a water feature, very shallow and not that big but definitely worth exploring. I found that by crouching very low and I mean very low I could almost make the water reach up to the ship, would it work through the camera though. Remember the camera does not see exactly what your eyes see and vice versa, so I just had to make the camera see what I was seeing. I put my Nikon 10\24mm, which I love, zoom lens on my Nikon D7000. At 10mm this gave me equivalent of 15mm on a full frame camera, seriously wide angle territory. By holding the camera very carefully just a few millimetres above the water and  performing some strange acrobatic contortions I was able to get a look at the live view screen. The result is the picture above, just what I had envisaged in my mind the Cutty Sark in water. I would have been happier if I could have go more water on the right hand side of the picture but It wasn’t to be, still I’m very happy with the result

Technical stuff: Nikon D7000 camera in aperture priority with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom at 10mm. The shutter speed was 1/200th of a second with an aperture of f18 (to get a lot of depth of field) The ISO was 200. I shot the original picture in colour, as I usually do, the conversion to black and white was made in Photoshop CS5.5

If you fancy a photography day in Greenwich I am running a workshop later this month, you can find details below.


Greenwich Photography Workshop/Walk

Sunday June 28th 2015

£75 pp


Following on from the fun and success of the Carter Lane/Fleet Street photo walk we are moving East for the next. Along the river Thames from central London is Greenwich the destination for the next photo walk/workshop.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is great for photography. From the Cutty Sark the famous tea clipper by the river Thames to the Royal Observatory high on the hill in Greenwich Park. Our day will cover both and everything in between. The first picture opportunity will be from Island Gardens look across the river toward the old Royal Naval College, this was founded in 1873 and with its English Baroque style of architecture and the river in the foreground makes an excellent picture. From there we will walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the river Thames, an experience in itself and arrive by the Cutty Sark. This is where the picture opportunities really start. Aside from the ship itself and the photography opportunities that it affords, there is of course the river, plus some wonderful architecture to be photographed. Before we leave to head off up the hill there are the gardens of The National Maritime Museum, St Alfege Church and some lovely streets to be explored. We will make our way up though the park to the Royal Observatory where apart from the building itself there are great views across the river to East London and Canary Wharf.

This is a full day workshop meeting and leaving from Wanstead tube station at 10am we will wrap up on location at 4pm. There will opportunities for coffee breaks etc during the day. If you are not Wanstead based it’s not a problem you can join us at Island Gardens or Greenwich.

As usual I will not be there to take pictures, maybe the odd snap, but to give you support with things like composition,  white balance, exposure compensation etc. Of course I’ll chuck in a few ideas as well..

This workshop is limited to just six places.

To book a place on this workshop you can either ‘phone the Gallery on 0208 530 1244 or e.mail me at

I was able to get the picture that I had envisioned all along.




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