Ship Spotter Spotlight: Graeme from Australia

in Ship Spotter Profiles, Community by

In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we showcase a different photographer of In October, you’ll meet an Australian transport enthusiast originating from New Zealand (User name: thedownsnz).

What is your maritime background?

Hi to all fellow spotters,
I am a retiree at 70 years young, from the farming fraternity and road transport industry.
I reside in Perth, Western Australia, where I have lived for 40 years since relocating from New Zealand.
I have always had an interest in transport logistics in various forms, whether it be road, rail, air or sea.
My interest in shipping began as a schoolboy going on the trucks in the school holidays and having our lunch down at the port. Then clambering over the cargo ships at will during the workers’ lunch break. An interest that has grown over the years.

When did you start to take photos of vessels?

My favorite photo motifs include landscapes, houses, castles and palaces and churches. When the occasion arises, I shoot boats and ships, too. I started to upload vessel photos to at the end of 2019, encouraged by Fleetingly over the years, colour slides in the 70s, but seriously only in the last 10 years, then full-on in the last 5 years, since retirement.

What is your motivation for being a ship spotter?

As a traveller to many different locations within Australia and overseas, ship spotting gives you a real focus for visiting places, be that remote with a one ship port or the major ports scattered around the coastline of Australia and destinations overseas.
The tranquility and peace of going to Fremantle regularly, parking on either of the two moles and enjoying the harbour activity is, I think, good for the soul.

How often are you on tour to shoot vessels?

I go to shoot vessels several times a week.

Which technical equipment do you use for vessel photography?

I have two cameras – a fit in the palm, Nikon P610, and the larger P1000 for the real serious stuff, and at times tripod mounted.

Which vessel types do you like to take photos of the most and why?

The smaller general cargo ships, the workhorses to me and at times with interesting deck cargo, and the smaller ro ro vessels, always busy.

How many pictures of different vessels have you collected since you started?

Approximately 1,000 photos.

Where is your favorite ship spotting location so far?

Port Hedland, Western Australia. The weather averages 30 degrees Celsius, and the clear sharp light provided in the winter season when we visit is perfect. The port is the busiest bulk cargo port in the world. There can be up to twenty-four shipping movements in any given day.
They all pass through a narrow channel to or from the inner harbour, with many photography spots in very close proximity to the large bulk and iron ore carriers.

Which worldwide ship spotting location would you like to visit if you had the chance to?

Aberdeen, Scotland. Seeing the variety of vessels that service the North Sea region would be great.
Unfortunately, Covid prevented a 2020 visit.

Which is your best shot on Please tell us about the moment when you took it.

The picture of progress, the picture of the CARNAC, 18th April 2021, beside the aging bridge.
This photo shows preliminary inspections and works being taken out on the 1939 built bridge over the Swan River at Fremantle, Western Australia. The bridge is due to be completed in 2025, exciting, but a slice of history will be lost.

Graeme’s favorite vessel photo of dredger CARNAC