Merchant Marine


I have been wanting to return to the Bay Area and do some more night photography there.  The night lights, the bay, skylines, etc are all very enticing.  It is a several hour drive from my place and hard for me to plan just where to go and get in as much as possible in a short amount of time.

Recently I had seen a photograph taken in Alameda with the USS Hornet in the foreground, looking across the bay at the San Francisco skyline.  The Hornet is now permanently moored and is a floating museum.  I had previously been researching and found the Hornet has a few overnight stay opportunities and thought this would be a great opportunity for night photographs but can’t do this adventure just yet.  After a little research, I found that access to the pier is not closed at night which I was pleasantly surprised.

Then an overnight opportunity to the Bay Area came up and for more than one reason, I jumped on it.  Part of the plan was to go out at night and try and get some night photographs.  I remembered the previously mentioned photo and wanted to see if I could get something similar.  So well after the sun went down (couldn’t go earlier), off I went to see what I could get.

Sure enough, access to the pier was unrestricted.  There is security driving around but apparently as long as your not doing something stupid, they leave you alone.  So I drove to the Hornet and got out to set up for the photographs.  After taking several shots with the Hornet, I looked for other opportunities.  Close to the Hornet are a few other ships which are moored at the pier.  I have found these cargo ships belong to the US Merchant Marines.  As I was originally driving in, these also caught my eye.  So I moved my location over a few hundred feet.

The more I looked at the ships and the lighting, I really liked what I saw.  I liked the way the ship’s lights lit up the area and the water.  The composition was also interesting and I tried a few different angles to incorporate different aspects of the scene including using the Hornet as the background.

After the night’s photographs were taken and I was exhausted, I finally returned to my motel room and called it a night.  When I returned home and looked at what I had taken, this photograph stood out as my favorite – at least of the ships.  There were other successes from the evening, but this was an unexpected treat.

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