Panama Canal Expansion – September 2012

I had the privilege of being given a tour of the Panama Canal expansion for a Boston Globe/ New York Times story on the effects of the Panama Canal expansion on the US economy.

Since the beginning of this project as a proud Panamanian I’ve been wanting to photograph some of this gargantuan project. What I caught on this day was merely a glimpse and I was stunned by its sheer size.

Post-panamax port activity/Balboa Port Panama and III Set of Locks

Post-panamax container ships, ships which are bigger than the width of the Panama Canal Locks allotted beam size, maneuver at the Balboa Port in Panama City and are unloaded.

Behind the Scenes:

The visit to the port was the second part to the Panama Canal expansion story. The idea was to see these super-sized ships in action. Since these can’t cross the canal until the new Third Set of Locks is opened allegedly in 2015, they come to both sides of the canal, the Pacific and Atlantic sides, and unload their cargo at these ports.

Then, the containers are then shipped via railroad to the other side of the canal where they are, in turn, loaded into ships in order to continue their voyage.

Extra Note: This was pretty cool since I was allowed to climb atop of one of the cranes where I could get a bird’s eve view of the operations. Also I got to take a look at all the stacked up containers and the modern skyline of Panama. Our guide pointed this view to us and said, “Without these (the containers)you couldn’t have that (the modern buildings.)” Very astute observation on his part.

Tech Stuff: MarkIV, Nikon D3s, Nikor 24 2.0, Canon 70- 200mm 2.8 + 1.4 TC, Lens Baby.

Note: I decided to go with black and white since I have a dear friend of mine who is a Panama Canal pilot and he collects all Panama Canal related historical images and documents and I’ve always been taken by all those dark tones found in these type of photos.