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Tom Serio Photography

Discussion in 'Previews' started by CaptTom, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Hello YF family,

    It's been a while, having been out shooting yachts and writing about them. Our man-in-charge Carl has offered for me to display and share some of my work with you. My goal is to show some of the cooler and sometimes uglier sides of our sector. So come along for this pixel-herding journey. Thanks!

    This first series is of a phoenix that is mounted on the bow pulpit of M/Y Phoenix 2. Measuring in at 295' with a beam of 45', this Lurssen built superyacht was designed by Andrew Winch. I was able to capture these closeups as I was on a yacht pulling into Pier 66 (FL) and had to cruise around her bow.

    YF - Phoenix 2 DSC_5115.jpg

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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  2. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    I'm a humble guy so was actually honored when I was asked to shoot the interior of the M/Y Baba' s. Built by Hargrave Custom Yachts, Baba's is built of aluminum and steel and comes in at 186'.
    Immediately noticeable upon entering is not just the plush furnishings and fine materials throughout, but the amount of free space built into every room. The owner worked closely with the Hargrave team as this was a major requirement.
    Tricky though was I really only had one opportunity to photograph the yacht, which was on the Sunday morning of the 2019 FLIBS show. Not only did I have to move quickly, I also had to work around crew getting the yacht prepped for the show, the owners who were onboard wanting to have their breakfast and a clock that had a hard finish time. Well, the pics came out pretty nice and only needed slight touchups.

    Here is the salon with a circular lighting fixture that complements the rounded sofas. There was so much daylight streaming in through the windows as well as yachts docked right next to Baba's, we had to close the blinds to try and even the lighting.

    YF - Babas - Salon DSC_9738.jpg

    The formal dining table seats 12 with ample room to move about.

    YF - Babas - Dining DSC_9775.jpg

    A chef's dream, the galley is well suited to feed the 12 guests in stylish digs. Recessed and countertop lighting adds ambiance to a busy workspace.

    YF - Babas - Galley DSC_10279.JPG

    Grand is the staircase that leads from the main deck to the lower guest accommodations.

    YF - Babas - Staterooms DSC_10122.jpg

    The forward main deck is were you will find the full beam master suite. Larger than my first apartment, the master is designed to be a destination at anytime. By the way, the en-suite head is as large as the master.

    YF - Babas - Master DSC_10318.jpg
  3. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    I'm going to put this out there: I love walking through shipyards. Marinas are nice, with the beautiful yachts with beautiful people noshing on caviar and champagne (I'm kidding, no one really likes caviar). But I like to see the inner workings, what's behind the curtains and walls, what makes a shipyard tick. Fortunately I have been able to roam around small and large yards to get an inside look.
    Here is one yard I have always been impressed with. You may know this as the former Palmer Johnson repair and refit yard from 1992 to 2003, recognizable by the very high single shed. Located on the ICW just outside of Savannah, GA, this yard is again Thunderbolt Marine Inc. (TMI). Now sporting four ginormous sheds, TMI has craftsmen who can handle every aspect of yacht refit and repair, with any materials and any difficulty level. They have a nice marina too, so those cruising the east coast can pull into the deep-water marina for short or extended stays.

    The paint shed can be shot with most any camera as you'll pull in nice details since it's so big. The goal with all the lights is that there are no shadows on the yachts the painters are finishing. Also brightwork and varnishing can be completed in this environmentally controlled shed.

    YF - DSC_1849.JPG
    Keeping the air clean are dozen of filters on the back wall.

    YF - DSC_1853a.JPG
    You will want to get back to pull in the entire front of the four sheds.

    YF - DSC_1884.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  4. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Sometimes nature works well into your photos. It could be sunshine, rain, snow, even lightning. On this photo shoot for a Marlow 58E, it was a school of porpoises that frolicked in the bow waves. Now don't be concerned, no dolphins were run over or harmed in the least (that has been asked a number of times). This is what the playful mammals do, either in the bow wave or aft wake. Shot from a chase boat, I had several opportunities to catch the action.

    Riding along with the Marlow 58E, this guy wasn't camera shy. There's a lot of motion here, so you need to shoot fast for a crisp result. Camera settings were 1/3200 sec., f/5.6, 85mm, ISO 500.
    YF - Dolphin DSC_3916 2.jpg

    As we took off in the chase boat, the playing continued. Was able to catch this in a split second, so you have to be ready with the camera. Setting here were 1/2500 sec., f/5.6, 85mm, ISO 500. thi s image made the front cover of Outboard Magazine a few months ago.
    YF - Dolphin DSC_3925 2.jpg
  5. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    I have been fortunate to not only photograph many of the Marlow Yachts that come out of this builder, but to also write about them. With that has come the opportunities to sit and chat many times with David Marlow himself. If you cut his arm, I'm sure you'll find nothing but salt water running through his veins. Not only is he a very interesting person, he has a technical understanding of all things related to yachts and how to push them through the water a little faster and more efficiently with each new hull. I enjoy the times when I have to get the running shots. They have to be exciting, showing the virtues of the running surface while displaying the seaworthiness of the vessels.

    Sometimes nature adds a little pizzazz to an image. Here's a new Marlow 58E going through the paces

    YF - Marlow DSC_5212.jpg
    Having the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Tampa, FL) in the background adds depth.

    YF - Marlow DSC_6971 2.jpg
    Blasting through the wake of the chase boat could be the only waves you get to show off the hulls design.

    YF - Marlow DSC_7008.jpg
  6. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Nighttime is the right time to shoot yachts. I love to shoot yachts lit up, it's a bit of my niche as a photographer, since not everyone does it or does it well. The lighting of a yacht is critical. I don't know why we don't see more boat shows have hours after dark so someone can really see how the yacht will be illuminated after dark. Here are a few images of M/Y Aquarius, the 302' Feadship launched in 2016.

    Using surrounding structures allow for scale as well as additional lighting features.

    YF - Aquarius  - DSC_9714.JPG YF - Aquarius DSC_9396.jpg
    It's okay to zoom in the capture a certain feature of the subject. Here the lighting from the buildings and trees add to the image. Set a higher aperture for focus through the field. And of course, you need to use a solid tripod as the exposure was a few seconds, and you will never hold a camera still enough by hand to get a clear image.

    YF - Aquarius DSC_9732.jpg
  7. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    A tricky thing to shoot is lightning. Since it is so unpredictable, you have to use tools like weather radar and lightning trackers to see the direction of the storms. I don't use a lightning trigger but do it old school by adjusting the aperture, exposure, and ISO.

    While watching the July 4th fireworks a few years ago from the Palm Harbor Marina in Palm Beach, FL, a raging lightning storm was just offshore to the east. I was more interested in catching that instead of the fireworks, and it paid off. Here's one image I like as it has several yachts in the foreground.

    YF - Lightning PH DSC_0511.jpg

    Shooting lightning during the day is tricky, and I was lucky to get this image. I was at the Derecktor Dania yard photographing a dock extension project which required some heavy equipment. I wanted the crane in the pic so had to move around a lot. The bolts were fairly consistent in their location and this strong bolt came through at the right time. Some editing in Photoshop helped to reduce the haze and glare, making the bolt sharper.

    YF - Derecktor Lightning DSC_2458 2.jpg
  8. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Back to the night scene. Not only do yachts look cool lit up, so does the sky at twilight. Add in some motion to make the image a bit more dramatic. Having people or other recognizable items in the shot add perspective and scale.

    On a trip to Italy to visit the production facilities of Sundeck Yachts, an afternoon sea trial turned into an evening cruise, with a stop in Portofino for dinner. On the way back to Lavagna across the Ligurian Sea, the sky was throwing a colorful "blue hour" behind us. To capture the sky and yacht, I setup my tripod on the bow. This would keep the yacht in focus, with an extended exposure of a second or two yielded blur in the water. During the pics, Sundeck CEO Angelo Casartelli jumped on the bridge sunpad and gave a victory pose. It created a striking image on many levels.

    YF5 - Angelo Sundeck DSC_2873 300.jpg
    Another shot from the cruise. I like the way the green nav light illuminates the area. With just a few seconds on the exposure, it appears that we are zipping along at breakneck speed. We really weren't going that fast.

    YF5 - Cruising Home Sundeck DSC_2894.jpg
    We passed this yacht on the way back. By itself, it's just okay. But add in the moon and the reflection and it adds a little pizzazz to the shot. In this case, I wanted the yacht ot be as sharp as possible, so cranked the ISO way up to allow as much light as possible onto the sensor. I then post edited in Photoshop to reduce the noise and grain (which happens when the ISO is high).

    YF5 - DSC_2843.JPG
  9. CaptTom

    CaptTom Senior Member

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    Using color as a contrasting tool allows your images to pop a bit more and not get lost among the same tones.

    Here, M/Y Kismet stands out from the grey sky, purple bridge and city lights at the Islands Garden Marina in Miami during a show. Thanks also to her underwater lights that make the hull glow. Shot from a floating dock so had to be a fast exposure, high ISO and open aperture.

    YF5 - Miami DSC_7001 2.jpg

    The yellow aft deck lights from M/Y Excellence are bright but don't overpower the lights from M/Y Kismet. Even though this shot was taken from a fixed dock, the yachts are moving so again have to shoot faast to minimize any motion blur. Photoshop can fix most things, it can't fix bad blur.

    YF5 - Miami DSC_7250.jpg
    From the Monaco Yacht Show a few years ago. A clear sky, no haze and brilliant lighting gave good composition to this image. With a tight aperture, depth of field remained very sharp through the distance. Even though I didn't catch all of the masts, you know what it is and I was really trying to capture the mess of rigging and the blue tinted yachts in the background.

    YF5 - Monaco DSC_4475.jpg
    Good ambient lighting illuminates these yachts at the Palm Beach Boat Show a few years back. What I like is the calm water that offers a decent reflection.

    YF5 - PBIBS DSC_3981.jpg