God bless the internet though because the ships had GPS trackers and while the site updated only hourly, it really helped me to know where to be and when. The risk here of course was ending up sitting on the river bank for hours with nothing happening, well, other than what normally happens on the Thames. While the ships were generally expected on the Thursday, several of the larger faster ships arrived on the Wednesday evening and for the ship below, through tracking its movements, I managed to arrive a half hour before it did giving me the perfect amount of time to set up and be absolutely ready for when it arrived.
My chosen viewing spot was the Greewich Peninsula because I really wanted to capture the ship coming through the Thames Flood Barrier as the main subject, while being sufficiently far away to give supporting context to the surroundings with some lens compression (I was using a 400mm lens). I think it would have looked very different had I situated myself at the barrier itself and used a wide angle lens to get the whole ship plus barrier in frame. The ship came through at 7pm and with sunset at 7:45pm, the light was lovely and he ship looked amazing. I was a little sad that the sails were down but it still looks special and the masts and rigging still provide a strong story.
Sadly the light was terrible, the sky was grey, the river was grey and there was a grey haze reducing visibility. The histogram was basically a spike in the middle, with what seemed like zero contrast anywhere in the picture. The picture below is after the application of my usual import pre-set to pump contrast and colours, and as can be seen, it's soul destroyingly grey.