When our friend, international photographer Ian Schemper, joined the festivities surrounding the launch of Crystal Mozart earlier this month, he set out to capture the beauty of the vessel, the joy of the occasion and the magic of the destinations. Prior to the luxury river yacht’s official maiden embarkation and during her christening ceremony, Ian explored the vessel in search of some of the details and moments that make her truly special. Today, he shares some of his favorite images with us, along with some behind-the-lens insights about each.
Having never been to Budapest before, we sensed that there was potential for a great series of pictures as Crystal Mozart sailed into this magnificent city. We flew in the day before and spent much of it on a location search with a local guide and finally found, after several attempts, the ideal perspective. Once in position on the walls of the fort the following midday, and in telephone contact with the bridge, the captain slowed the vessel down briefly as she sailed perfectly positioned under the Chain Bridge to complete the image.
To create a lifestyle feel and spontaneous look to an image usually requires the opposite – careful planning and attention to detail. We were after a scene that illustrated the butler service in the Penthouse. Istvan was our model and all the elements in the scene were specifically and authentically chosen. The surrounding bright solid shapes of the lampshades and chair focus the viewer’s eye on Istvan, while the short depth of field gives it the feel of being viewed by the guest. After close to 100 pictures with slight variations in each, this shoot was in the bag.
The same principles applied to the photograph of this spectacular starter in the Waterside Restaurant – all elements carefully arranged and orchestrated. This was the fourth or fifth serving as the steam disappeared after a second or two, and we wanted to capture the actual dining experience.
We were running at full speed, housekeeping has just finished preparing the room as the guests are arriving in an hour. I was shooting the bathroom in the Penthouse and my assistant was setting up the next shot in the lounge area. He asked us to move into the bathroom and shut the door to avoid seeing our reflections in a mirror. The Hotel Director, butler and I waited for the OK after the test shot, but the door was locked and the bathroom key was nowhere to be found! After some frantic calls and much laughter, we were freed after 20 minutes, just before guests were due to arrive. These unforeseen mishaps add an extra spice to the shoots!
Often it is not the main event itself that is the story, but what happens around it. Here, the Crystal Mozart crew was patiently waiting for the start of the christening formalities whilst perusing their programs.
There is beauty even in the randomness of the labels at breakfast setup.
Crystal River Cruises’ Crystal Mozart sails spectacular voyages along the Danube River, visiting locales in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary.