MSC Chloe – A Close Call


Sunday, July 17.

After dropping Sweetheart off at her place I drove to Walsoorden, Zeeland, in the Netherlands.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 18.50.13

I shot a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus with the new Holga 120WPC and used my Ricoh GR II with 2 ND-1024 filters to shoot some long exposures. Combining these two filters give me an exposure time of 4 minutes. The Ricoh goes to 5 minutes before you need a release cable.

I used my Olympus OMD M-10 with a 45-150mm for some landscapes.

The afternoon was great and the weather more than okay. I had my T-shirt in my camera bag when I arrived at a breakwater. I walked the some 80 meters to its end and said hi to a fisherman.

Set up my tripod and made a few long exposures of a small lighthouse.

There was a nosy seal and then the fisherman asked what I was photographing so I explained in simple terms what long exposures are.

“Be careful, that huge container ship will make some serious waves”, he told me pointing to something behind me.

MSC Chloe (2016) Olympus OMD M10
MSC Chloe (2016)
Olympus OMD M10 with Olympus  45-150mm

Wow, I cannot remember having seen such a huge container ship. It lay high on the water, navigating very close to the riverside before making a turn to go around the breakwater.

I had finished shooting the small lighthouse and stored the ND-filters and the Olympus OMD M-10 in my bag without closing the top. I grabbed my tripod with the Ricoh GR II still mounted on it.

“Bye,” I said to the fisherman, “wish you good luck and hope you’ll catch something. “
He smiled and at the same time he said hi to some people who came towards him. Relatives or friends, so it seemed.

At the end of the breakwater, at the dike, I stopped and put my camera bag and tripod down in order to make a photo of the ship and the people standing at the end of the breakwater. They are so small that I put a red circle around them.

MSC Chloe and some people (2016) Ricoh GR II
MSC Chloe and some people (2016)
Ricoh GR II

I crouched, the MSC Chloe and framed the Ricoh for another long exposure. The ship was now out of the image. I pressed the shutter and then, suddenly, I heard a roaring sound coming from my right.
I turned around and saw to my consternation a wave running towards me with sickening speed. The wall of water was at least 75 centimeters high.

Oh boy!

I took my tripod and lifted the camera bag up seconds before the flood reached me. What an amazing power and I found it very difficult to keep my balance. My T-shirt was still on the ground and I saw it been swept away with raging madness.

I managed to jump higher on the dike, to safety. Hell, I could have lost my gear or been pulled in the water.

Then I looked at the breakwater. The fisher and two other men were running towards the water as 3 women had been pulled into the 3 kilometer broad Westerschelde. One lady had drifter rather far from the breaker.

It made no sense to go and help as I was to far and seconds later the women were in safety again. One of them seemed to have a nasty cut in her leg. It was hard so see from where I was standing but the red was quite obvious.

I’ll never again underestimate the waves a huge ship that comes close to the coast can cause.

Later that day, back home, I was happy with the long exposures I took with the Ricoh and I’ll be sharing with the next few posts.
I developed the film I shot with the Holga 120WPC and was disappointed. The day had been bright and sunny and I had made 6 exposures using different exposures ranging between 10” and 30”. The film came out of the development tank being crystal clear. Come to think of it, not even frame numbers of Ilford HP5 so I guess I must have done something wrong.

It may sound stupid but the image of this powerful wall of water rushing towards me, muddy and swirling, has been haunting me past night and even at moments today.

I am very happy the people on the breakwater also survived. Hell, pushed over, falling on your side, breaking something or hitting your head on the stones before being pulled in the water… it could have been much worse.

Rescue (2016) Olympus OMD M10 and Olympus 45-150mm

Rescue (2016)
Olympus OMD M10 with Olympus 45-150mm

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