Monday, 19 December 2011

Plunging into the Deep Blue

I know, I said I would have more time to blog on this ship and then look what goes and happens!

So I came to Celebrity Silhouette, to get away from Allure, but also specifically this ship because of Deep Blue Studios. Deep Blue is the ‘Picture This’ of Celebrity if you were following my previous posts. It is a high end photo option that gives the guests a one hour photoshoot, in a private studio, around the ship or on location. It is run by one photographer as a separate business so the key qualities of this position are being a very good photographer and post-producer because these images have a certain look to them, being business minded and being self motivated. A lot of people told me to go for this position so I came here and started annoying Gary, the then DBS, right away. Two cruises in and Gary gets news that he’s going to move to another ship to be Business Manager. Three cruises in and my manager tells me I’m going to take over the position when Gary leaves. Four cruises in, that was last week, my first cruise as DBS. I was pretty scared and overwhelmed. I had a lot to pick up but there are plenty of people on email for me to ask questions and I seem to be doing ok. That first cruise as DBS was also a head office visit so I really felt the pressure, but really everything seems to be going well.

Here’s my little profile that’s on display to promote myself in the Gallery.

As DBS I don’t take any of the regular photographs- ressi, gangway, portrait studios, and I don’t make any commission from photo sales. I only make money (on top of a basic) if I sell my work. I am supposed to sell in packages but last cruise I only managed to get people to buy a few prints but the prints add up and I did make more than I would’ve as a regular photographer and that will always be my personal goal. However this current cruise is proving bad for all revenue departments and I’m going to be lucky to sell anything. But if I’m not making money I have more time instead, so I’m catching up with my blog and films. I watched Hanna last night, what a beautiful film! Next cruise covers Christmas and New Year and has a lot of kids, it should be a big one so cross your fingers for me. I also see Jr next cruise as we meet the Allure in St Thomas and I won’t have seen him for 8 weeks, it’s been really tough!

I’ve really enjoyed the marketing side of Deep Blue, I’ve been designing leaflets and invitations but I don’t think I can share them, even though I have model releases, on here. However I can share my Labadee panoramas, I took these this cruise, even though the weather was bad, as I really want to shoot some guests on the beach next time!

I have some example DBS style pictures taken on my cabin mate so my next post will be of them! Merry Christmas all ☺

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Celebrity Silhouette: The Photostory Part One

So, I'm nearing the end of the first Caribbean cruise on Silhouette and I've managed to take some pictures but there's a lot more to follow I expect.

These pictures were taken whilst at port in St Lucia. For some reason a lot of guests didn't get off the ship so I just couldn't get everything and then when I went inside I discovered I really needed a flash so gave up!

So anyway I started from the top, this is the sky lounge, used for all kinds of events onboard it's a lot bigger than this, this is just the middle area. There are views all round.

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Step out of the sky lounge and overlook the pool deck (there's also a solarium underneath me here but it was too busy to photograph)

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Forwards and up to deck 15 to the lawn, yes, that is real grass! Allure didn't have grass, lol!

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On the edges of the lawn are these 'alcoves' that you pay extra to have for a day and get extra service I understand.

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Underneath the lawn, back to deck 14 is the guest buffet, Oceanview, that was absolutely packed so here's the view out the back. We are allowed to sit and eat here and the view the other night of the moon lighting up Nevis and St Kitts was amazing.

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OK and to finish the parts of the ship I photographed for this blog post the following locations are part of the main elevator shaft going down from the back of the ship. This is by far the most impressive section! You get the pool deck, then the library, then the card room...

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Looking up...

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Details of the library

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The hideaway is underneath that with a real tree floating in the middle!

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So it's hideaway, which I need to photograph in more detail as you can't see it properly. Then deck 6 Celebrity iLounge because of course Celebrity are an authorised reseller of apple products and EVERYTHING is powered by apple including my cabin TV! Then decks 5, 4 and 3 are my final picture, the atrium with all the main bars and lounges surrounding it this area is centre for events and bands play in that first circle.

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So that is all for now but there is so much more.

On a whole I'm doing good. Funny thing this cruise is I met the cruise critics guys on board on day two and met a couple who read this blog! Just today we docked with Explorer in St Maarten and I met up with my old Assistant Manager of Sales which is a lovely surprise (I wish we could dock with Allure one day so I can see those friends or Navigator actually!) and we took a lovely picture so I'm throwing this one in too. Bye for now.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Welcome to Celebrity Silhouette!

I can’t believe a week has past on this new ship already! I think I’m lost in a blur of jet lag and nasty cough.

Lets start chronologically and see where I get to with sharing everything I want.

So I last posted from Madrid airport (having completed the post but lost power in Miami) the pictures from Madelien’s shoot. Which she loves, which is good…

So Madrid to Mallorca, taxi to the ship and arrive at the ship about 2pm thinking it’s some crazy early morning hour and I’ve had no sleep!

On an aside, on previous blog posts I was talking about the money we earn on Allure and me spending it. I got paid the morning before leaving, so in Miami airport my camera/hand luggage bag was annoying me and I just bought another one there and then in cash and moved all my stuff over. Really bad habits! However everything is about to change because now we are going to get paid onto a card account, as of now no more cash, and I’m going to earn a third as much here! So that was probably my last impulse purchase! And I’m saving for a flight to the Philipines…

My new manager met me on arrival and I moved in my new shiny single cabin! It’s pretty much exactly the same as Jr’s so felt like home straight away. Here’s a picture. 

So my bed folds down over the desk, I’m currently sat at that chair writing this, pictures keep falling down around me. On the other side you can see my wardrobe and my sink. The sink is in my room next to the door that leads to the smallest toilet/shower you’ll ever see! 

I decided to take this picture this way after explaining to my Mum that the shower was over the toilet. So the foreground blur is the toilet and we’re looking up! I’m pretty sure my Mum will be the only person interested in these photos! My bathroom mate is Sol from Argentina and there’s another girl here from Chile and the AMS is also female so no problems with too many men!!

Now when I say shiny and new, I mean it, this ship started in July, everything says Inaugural on it (again) and it is actually considerably newer than Allure- lucky me to be experiencing all these new ships! When we arrive in New York we’re actually doing two, 2 day cruises for the press or tourist board or something because it’s the first time this ship has crossed the Atlantic. Then we start the 12 day Caribbean cruises that will hopefully be the most chilled out Caribbean I’ve ever experienced after 4 and 5 day chaos on Navigator and the nightmare pressure of Allure.

Back to the story. So I move into my new cabin first thing I do is call Jr back on the Allure. Cabin to cabin calling is quite something on ships. It is easier and cheaper for me to call my boyfriend directly to his cabin from Spain to the middle of the Caribbean on a ship somewhere than it is for me to call my Mum’s landline in England! However 7 days in I’m onto my 3rd $20 phonecard because I’m calling too much- boo! Hopefully the more settled I feel here the less I’ll need his support.

I’m not going to do a complete dissection of the way the ship runs, I’m much happier to work in this environment, it feels like progression and responsibilities are much more possible here and that is all that is important.

I can say how unbelievably quiet this crossing is being but that’s normal for a crossing, particularly one that has been this ruff! So let’s see how busy the photo studios are once we start the Caribbean run. And I’m sure I’ll have more to say then.

Some fantastic things I’ve found about being here so far:
  • All photogs get a single cabin.
  • We have a cabin cleaner straight away without asking every other day, so with tips they will take your uniform to be cleaned and bring it back two days later- bliss!
  • For personal laundry you can pay one dollar and there’s a team set up by HR who will wash, dry, fold and put back in your bag to be collected later. See I’ve always, every so often, paid the main laundry to do my washing because you’re paying for some more time off and it’s worth. Here’s they’ve figured everyone wants some free time for a dollar and it’s a wonderful thing!
  • We can eat at the guest buffet, Ocean View, deck 14, whenever it’s quiet. Ocean View does what it says- I can finally see the sea! So this includes after set up, every day! At the end of the night (it’s only pizza again, this is a bad, bad dieting world!) and for dinner, everyday because the guests are in the dining room. Amazing!
  • We get real breaks during our working shifts.

Some of the downsides so far:
  • With only 7 photogs, pretty much, everybody does a bit of everything everyday especially set up and breakdown. I’m still learning the studios- it will get faster.
  • We just did third ressi and I took less than 40 pictures, long cruises mean guests get really sick of you and I can see that I’ll have to get pushy when I don’t want to because it’s so nice to be nice to the people on these cruises.

I think that’s enough writing for now, there’s so much in my head but when you sit down to write it’s all gone!

Next step of course is to go and get lost around the ship and take some photographs to show you all.

Hopefully soon. Ciao for now.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Goodbye Allure and Madelein's Photoshoot

I'm sat in Miami International Airport. There's 40 mins left on my laptop battery because I edited Madelein's photos first so lets see how far I can get with this posting!

I'm on my way to join a new ship, finally. I've been stuck, unhappily, on the Allure for over three months. Except it's not entirely unhappily. I met a guy, as I referred to in a previous blog post, and when he returned from his vacation we saw just how serious this relationship could be. The time I finally got to leave, it was the hardest thing to do, even though this new ship is where I need to be.

I'm joining Celebrity Silhouette in Mallorca tomorrow, flying overnight now. From Mallorca the ship is doing the transatlantic crossing to New Jersey which will be my new home port for 12 day cruises doing mostly the same Caribbean ports I already know. This ship is only 2800 passengers and supposedly a much higher standard but I will wait to get there to blog about the new ship!

So before I left the Allure I wanted to do a Photoshoot in the style of the Picture This studio on board because it is my main interest. The Picture This studio is about private photography on board using the beauty of the ship and/or locations as the theme to create 'art' photography rather than our standard 'McDonalds' photography! My friend Madelein wanted pictures of herself to send to her girlfriend so we found the time to fit in a shoot this week.

Here's the pictures I've enjoyed working on so far...

This is my style, my way, the way I see it I guess. Starting in Central Park.

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Onto the boardwalk area

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I've heightened this image in a weird way making seem unreal which I quite like! Generally this image is a disappointment because in the back it should say Allure of the Seas but we weren't able to do the shoot as late as we would've liked and the sun is blowing out the whole of that background!

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This last one is in the Casino. It isn't actually the last, there are more I could make good but these are the ones I'm most interested in! Surprisingly I haven't picked anything with a sea view even though I have them. Clearly my style preference is pretty urban!

Eeek 11 mins to go. Let's get this online and I will blog again soon, I hope, about my new ship!
Oh no I failed to post before my laptop died! Now I'm in Madrid on my iPad! Which although I love to bits isn't ideal for blog posting, preview isn't working so I'm just going to post.... here goes!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Allure Photostory Part Two

I’ve been waiting quite some time to finish off this photostory. I was sort of waiting for the right time and place to take these pictures. Prepare for something quite amazing because as unhappy as I am here, given some free time you can’t avoid the awe-inspiring nature of this ship. So the right time and place was a night off St Thomas night. I took myself and my wide-angle lens to the top decks at sailaway and spent an hour capturing images for this final blog photostory.


Here’s a great view of St Thomas. I haven’t really explored this Island as it is always the time we finally get to catch up on sleep, not go out. But in the port itself there are hundreds of Iguana’s just sleeping on the rocks, which is very cool! So starting at the front of the ship the view down is onto the boardwalk. So this is deck 15 looking down on deck 6.


You’ll see the sign for flowrider which is a wave riding activity on this deck at the back of the ship. We did a team activity for this last night so here’s a really awful picture of me just to prove I did it but only once as I hated it.
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The mini golf is right here so this is a cute picture of that.


Looking down at the side but then the winning shot is next!


Amazing right? You can see the ocean out the back.
So now walking forwards towards the front of the ship the pool deck has gaps now looking down on central park, deck 8.
Again, just incredible architecturally!


The pool areas contain designs by the artist Britto and make for some bizarre photographs!


How about these colourful chairs!?


And then one more deck uplooking down on these chairs, this lens is great for just generally getting a lot of information in one shot.


By now we’ve got quite far from St Thomas and the sun is setting, what a magical time to be exploring and photographing…


Right to the front of the ship now and the solarium.
There is a helipad at the front of the ship. It’s only accessible to crew on Allure strangely on deck 6 and by this time it had got too dark but it’s not a picture I was after anyway.
Past the Solerium and back to the sailaway sunset view.
Then the view down the elevator shaft, different to the one in photostory part one.
Now the sun has set so the same views but now with the lighting. Beautiful, but not as breath taking as the daytime ones right?
Oh and I got distracted by this pool bar shot!
And finally, tired, I went down to deck 6 to get the long exposure shot of the carousel that everyone keeps taking because I want one for my collection!
So that is everything I want to photograph and share about this ship. As for my trying to leave status, can you imagine being told that something is going to get sorted, but doing a job that takes over your whole life so you can’t dwell on it in the usual way but instead it kind of churns in the back. I think I’m actually going mad, I’ve never seem myself go so happy and so sad so fast before. Jr is actually coming back at the end of next cruise, which is bringing on the happy spurts, but as wonderful as that is I’m actually worse with him here because I can hide behind him all the problems. And most importantly he doesn’t get to see the real me. I know how long I’m prepared to wait now so let’s see. Oh and the retail therapy continues… the iPad is a beautiful thing!!