The story behind my most successful picture of 2017

This picture of MSC SEASIDE has been used over and over again, and it is likely you will see it again somewhere. It was even featured on CNN!

The evening before the picture was taken, on 29 November 2017 the massive new ship arrived in Trieste, straight from the nearby shipyard. Together with some travel professionals I was invited for a 24-hour stay on board, before she would leave for her maiden trip to Miami.

We first had to stay in a nearby hotel, which was one of the key factors for the success of the photograph. Before going out for dinner I paid a little reconnaissance visit to the area where she was berthed. It was pitch dark, cold, windy and rainy. The only possibility for me to take decent pictures was to return in the morning. I love taking pictures with the morning twilight, especially if no other alternative is available.

MSC invited us for a wonderful Italian dinner, with plenty of wine and even grappa. I was ‘home’ in my hotel at half past midnight.

My ‘photographic stress’ made me wake up earlier than planned. At five I jumped out of my bed, opened the curtains and saw the same bad rainy weather as the day before. No spectacular sunrise, I thought, but at least perfect conditions for a perfect blue hour.

The day was suffering from the typical December fatigue, which was good for the pictures. On this dull day it took at least an hour before one could speak of some form of ‘daylight’.

Standing there, under my umbrella and behind my camera, I was very excited because I knew I was going to have good pictures.

After having taken a series of full-length shots (there was a pier parallel to the ship) I moved to the stern. After all, MSC SEASIDE’s aft part is totally different, and gives her unique DNA. So it was important to have good shots. As I approached I saw the reflection in the water getting better. Indeed, the wind was finally calming down.

When I finally reached the last accessible part of the quayside (there was a fence), I tried several compositions. Until I saw the large puddles, the result of the heavy rain of the last 24 hours. I removed my Nikon D800 from my tripod, and put it on the ground, just in front of a large rain puddle. At this very moment there was no wind at all, changing the water surface in a perfect mirror.

There I got my picture!

Time to go back to the hotel for breakfast. I knew I had a good harvest but didn’t realize this single photo was going to be a hit. Before enjoying a good cup of coffee I posted the photo on LinkedIn. The day after, waiting for the plane at Venice airport I got a call from MSC Cruises. They wanted to buy the picture. We agreed on a price and viral it went.

Especially seeing my picture being used on CNN (alas, cropped in a way the mirror effect wasn’t visible), during an interview with MSC Cruises’ President Mr Pierfrancesco Vago and CNN journalist Richard Quest made my day.

By |2018-01-04T21:02:27+00:00January 4th, 2018|Pink|