On 7th May 2015, 250 years to the very day of the launch of the HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s famous flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, a group of thirty lucky photographers gathered at an Olympus event in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. The event covered a variety of locations in and around the venue and included exclusive access to both the HMS Victory and the HMS Alliance, the only surviving British WW2 era submarine which had recently undergone a £7m makeover.
These events are of course about having the chance to use a selection of the latest Olympus OM-D camera bodies and Zuiko lenses, but more importantly, they offer an opportunity to take some fabulous photographs. So the group kicked off the afternoon by taking a short boat ride across the harbour. The sun was shining, it was lovely and warm, what could be better.
Photograph: Marcus Clackson
Photograph: Charlie Whitmore
Arriving on the Gosport side of the harbour the group headed to the HMS Alliance. This WW2 era submarine, launched after the war had finished in 1945 and active during the Cold War, offered some stunning photographic opportunities both inside and out. There were plenty of pressure gauges, periscopes and other brilliant details to photograph.
With Olympus experts Claire Voyle & Clare Harvey-May on hand to offer the group technical tips, and Olympus pro photographer Marcus Clackson providing shooting tips if required, we set about taking some great shots with a backdrop of real submariners offering information about the ship and their experiences on board.
Photograph: Stanley Franklin
When in service there was a crew of 65 men on the HMS Alliance and even today, with our party split into two more modest groups, it felt very cramped. We could scarcely imagine the noise, heat and smell that the crew would have to endure for months at a time when it was fully operational.
Photograph: Simon Lusty
Photograph: Clare Harvey-May
Olympus’ Clare Harvey-May even got on the floor to achieve the perfect shot – Psst, that’s what the flip out screen is for.
Photograph: Paul Williams
We then all jumped back on the boat, taking a more leisurely route back across the harbour with a quick tour of some of the other vessels docked. Then disembarking we headed to the HMS Victory herself.
Photograph: Christine Barrass
We had exclusive access to the ship, although as the Victory is still technically a commissioned vessel, the Navy quarters were strictly off limits. Still, we weren’t in danger of running out of things to shoot on the other three decks, including exclusive access to Nelson’s cabin. Rounding off the day we gathered yards from the fateful spot where Admiral Lord Nelson fell on deck after being shot at The Battle of Trafalgar.
As the sun set over the harbour we rounded off the day with tea, cake and goody bags containing Olympus treats and a special medal commemorating the ship’s anniversary.
Thanks to all the event attendees and the team from the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for a superb event!