Jeff Doty – Harbor Photographer

IN FOCUS: Jeffery Doty

IN FOCUS: Jeffery Doty – (Info provided by North Star Port Magazine)
Jeffrey Doty has never been on a ship, but the U.S. Marine Corps veteran, psychiatric nurse, husband, father, and grandfather of nine has a keen eye for maritime photography. He shared insights as part of this series about the gifted photographers whose images help bring the working waterfront to life.

How did you first get into photography, specifically shipping? Is this your primary job?
Photography is simply a hobby. My full-time job is as a psychiatric RN at St. Luke’s hospital. I enjoy sharing with others how I see the world. I am fascinated by the ships, particularly at night. I like night photography for a strange reason—I like light. The ships are loaded with lights. When you mix that with the reflections off the water or ice, I see art in motion.


What draws you to Great Lakes shipping and the working waterfront for images?
I am from Duluth, and, as a young boy, I lived on Park Point. I have made many new friends as a result of this waterfront. I am learning so much from my fellow photographers, and I have appreciated the time spent at coffee, sharing our mornings together doing what we love.


How would you describe your approach to photography? Are most shots planned or spontaneous?
It is the experience that counts for me and not necessarily the image. I shoot intentionally and use the shipping schedule, satellite info, Duluth Harbor Cams, and weather data to plan my shots. I enjoy creating images in my mind before I shoot them.
I do everything possible to increase my odds of getting a great shot, but sometimes the ambient light isn’t there, and my settings are off. I do not have long to get it right.


Do you have a specialty area?
I like the challenges associated with capturing the ships at night.
I find there is a very narrow window for camera settings when shooting moving objects in the dark. When I get back home and upload my pics, it is like Christmas seeing what I have found.

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