In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we showcase a different photographer of FleetMon.com. In March 2022, you’ll meet a maritime enthusiast from Poland (User name: U-kasz) who joined FleetMon in 2009 and has been very active ever since.
What is your maritime background?
I wouldn’t say I have a maritime background. I was born in 1981 in Warsaw and since then I live in Piastow (a small town on the outskirts of Warsaw – a bit far away from the sea and my passion). Since 2007, I’ve been working at the State Poviat Sanitary Inspection in Warsaw as a senior medical statistician. My interest in shipping began as a schoolboy when for the first time I saw the “Morze” (Sea) program on TV. My next step was to read the only newspaper at that time – the monthly “Morze” (Sea)” and all available maritime books. Since 2013, I have been writing a maritime blog.
When did you start to take photos of vessels?
I started taking the first pictures of ships under the watchful eye of my father in 1993, using the old Soviet analog camera Smiena. Seriously, my passion for taking pictures of ships started in 2008 and it continues to this day.
What is your motivation for being a ship spotter?
Of course, this is the desire to photograph ships (newly built, rebuilt, old, and those that rarely appear in Polish / European ports). An additional motivation is the opportunity to visit interesting places and meet other people with a similar passion.
Special Vessel Shot
U-kasz’ comment on the photo of BF FORTALEZA: “Hamburg classic – Ship and plane. Whenever I saw pictures of other shipspotters, I thought it would be nice to also take a picture like that. I did it only once on June 23, 2014, when I photographed the BF FORTALEZA feeder container ship and the Airbus Beluga cargo plane.”
How often are you on tour to shoot vessels?
Due to my job, I try to go to the coast at least once or twice a month.
Which technical equipment do you use to capture vessel moments?
Now I have two digital cameras – Canon EOS 550D and EOS 80D and three lenses: 18-55 mm, 18-135 mm, and 150-600 mm.
Which vessel types do you like to take photos of the most and why?
Which types of units do I like to photograph the most … hmmm … bulk carriers (my first photographed ships are bulk carriers – the first merchant ship which I visited was a museum ship – bulker Soldek), older general cargo ships with a “forest” of booms (now more and more rare in European ports), navy vessels (since 1993, when for the first time I visited museum ship – destroyer ORP Blyskawica I liked very much “grey ships”) and of course tugs and workboats (the hardworking ants in ports).
How many pictures of different vessels have you collected since you started?
This is a difficult question, but certainly not less than 8.000 photos.
Where is your favorite ship spotting location so far?
In Poland: Gdynia and the pilots’ spur – a perfect place to photograph ships entering and leaving the port. Gdańsk Westerplatte (morning hours) – berth for passenger ships, Gdańsk Nowy Port – Ziolkowskiego Quay (afternoon) and Gdansk Nowy Port – western breakwater – all three places are ideal for photographing ships entering/leaving the inner port and shipyards.
In Germany: Hamburg and my three favorite places: Teufelsbruck – a good place in the morning to catch inbound vessels, Bubendey-ufer (I spend a whole day there), the roof of the Docklands office building, and the opportunity to take pictures of ships from above. Kiel: the shores of the Kiel Canal are a great place for photographing ships due to the frequency of shipping. The boulevard by the Mausoleum in Molteneort and the beach in Laboe – great places to photograph ships using the Kiel Canal, cruise ships, and warships.
Which worldwide ship spotting location would you like to visit if you had the chance to?
I have two such places – Rotterdam, the largest European port (shipspotter’s paradise) and located in the United States Norfolk – the US Navy base and one of the few opportunities to photograph an American aircraft carrier.
Is there anything you would like to improve when it comes to uploading photos to FleetMon.com?
No, everything works fine.
(Well, thank you very much, U-kasz. We do our best to keep it that way.)