Shooting The Breeze is a photography blog by Gavin Jowitt, an award-winning Sydney-based photographer, offering valuable articles and advice on corporate, industrial, and architectural photography; life and photography in Sydney; and running a successful photography business.

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Tugs on Sydney Harbour

Published On: 23 November 2012By Categories: Industrial Photography, Sydney Life, Sydney Photography
Industrial photography by Gavin Jowitt - Sydney Photographer

As a kid I had a couple of tug boats that I played with in the bath… on an industrial photography shoot today I was given two brand new ones made by Damen to play with on the harbour.

A Sydney Photographer’s Tale: Capturing the Damen Tugs Against the Iconic Backdrop of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge


As a Sydney-based photographer, I was recently commissioned to capture images of the two Damen tugboats before they were officially handed over to the Royal Australian Navy. The assignment’s main objective was to photograph these impressive vessels with the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background. In this blog post, I’ll share my experience of tackling the challenges involved in capturing the perfect shot of these tugs against the picturesque Sydney skyline.

Setting the Stage

The Damen tugs were docked at the Garden Island Navy Base, which is situated in close proximity to some of Sydney’s most recognizable landmarks. However, capturing the ideal composition required careful planning, as the vessels needed to be positioned in a way that would showcase both the tugs and the architectural marvels of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The Challenges

  1. Timing: One of the primary challenges in capturing the perfect shot was finding the ideal time to photograph the tugs. The changing light conditions throughout the day can greatly impact the final image’s aesthetic. In this case, I opted for an early morning shoot to take advantage of the soft, golden light that bathes the city at dawn, creating a dramatic and visually appealing backdrop.
  2. Positioning: To achieve the desired composition, the Damen tugs had to be maneuvered into the perfect position that allowed for an unobstructed view of both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Coordinating with the tugboat captains and naval base personnel was essential to ensure that the vessels were aligned precisely as needed, all while maintaining safety and adhering to the naval base’s operational protocols.
  3. Weather: Sydney’s weather can be unpredictable, and the success of an outdoor photoshoot often hinges on the prevailing conditions. In this instance, I was fortunate to have relatively calm seas and clear skies, which allowed me to capture the Damen tugs, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge in their full glory.
  4. Perspective: Finding the right vantage point to photograph the tugs was crucial in creating a visually engaging image. I opted to shoot from a smaller boat, which allowed me to position myself at the optimal distance and angle to capture the Damen tugs and the iconic landmarks in the background.

The Final Result

After overcoming the various challenges, I successfully captured a series of stunning images showcasing the Damen tugs against the breathtaking backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The golden light of the early morning sun cast a warm glow on the scene, highlighting the tugs’ sleek design and the architectural beauty of Sydney’s iconic landmarks.

These photographs not only serve as a testament to the Damen tugs’ arrival at the Garden Island Navy Base but also highlight the beauty and vibrancy of Sydney’s world-famous harbor. As a Sydney photographer, it was a privilege to be a part of this unique project, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the visual legacy of these remarkable vessels and the city I call home.


Capturing the Damen tugs against the stunning backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge was a challenging yet rewarding experience. The final images are a testament to the power of photography in immortalizing not only the vessels but also the beauty of Sydney’s iconic skyline. This photoshoot serves as a reminder that, as photographers, we have the unique opportunity to capture moments in time and create lasting memories that can be shared and cherished for years to come.



Damen’s Dynamic Duo: The Two Tugboats Tailor-Made for Sydney’s Garden Island Navy Base

The Damen Shipyards Group, a leading global shipbuilding company, recently completed the construction of two state-of-the-art tugboats for the Garden Island Navy Base in Sydney, Australia. These impressive vessels were designed and built to meet the specific requirements of the Royal Australian Navy, ensuring efficient operations and enhanced safety at one of the country’s most significant naval bases. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of these two tugboats, exploring their innovative design features and the role they play in supporting the operations at Garden Island Navy Base.

The Damen ASD Tug 2810: A Perfect Fit for Garden Island

Damen’s two tugboats for the Garden Island Navy Base are based on the company’s proven ASD Tug 2810 design. This versatile and robust platform has been customized to meet the stringent requirements of the Royal Australian Navy, ensuring that the vessels are well-equipped to handle the unique challenges of operating within a naval environment.

Key Features and Customizations

The Damen ASD Tug 2810 boasts several innovative features and customizations that make it the ideal choice for the Garden Island Navy Base. Some of the standout elements of these tugboats include:

  1. Enhanced Maneuverability: With a bollard pull of 60 tonnes, the Damen ASD Tug 2810 is designed to provide exceptional maneuverability and towing capabilities. The tug’s advanced propulsion system and twin azimuth thrusters ensure precise control during docking and undocking operations, as well as quick and efficient responses in emergency situations.
  2. Customized Fendering: Damen’s tugboats for Garden Island feature a specially designed fendering system to protect both the tugs and the naval vessels they serve. This robust fendering solution is tailored to accommodate the unique hull shapes and characteristics of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet, minimizing the risk of damage during towing operations.
  3. Firefighting Capabilities: Given the potential hazards associated with naval operations, Damen’s tugboats have been equipped with advanced firefighting systems. These systems, which comply with the stringent standards set by the Royal Australian Navy, provide an added layer of safety and protection for the Garden Island Navy Base.
  4. Environmental Considerations: In line with Damen’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, the ASD Tug 2810 features a range of eco-friendly design elements. These include a fuel-efficient propulsion system, advanced waste management facilities, and a specially designed hull to minimize noise and vibrations.

The Role of the Damen Tugboats at Garden Island

The two Damen tugboats play a critical role in supporting the operations at Sydney’s Garden Island Navy Base. They are primarily responsible for assisting the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet during docking and undocking procedures, ensuring that these complex maneuvers are carried out safely and efficiently. Additionally, the tugs may also be called upon to provide firefighting support in the event of an emergency, further enhancing the safety and security of the naval base.


Damen’s two ASD Tug 2810 vessels for the Garden Island Navy Base represent the perfect marriage of cutting-edge design and customized functionality. These powerful and versatile tugboats have been tailored to meet the unique needs of the Royal Australian Navy, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle the challenges of operating within a naval environment. With their advanced capabilities and innovative features, Damen’s tugboats are a valuable asset for the Garden Island Navy Base, enhancing the safety and efficiency of operations at this crucial facility.



About the author
Gavin Jowitt is an accomplished corporate communications and branding professional with over 30 years of experience as a creative director and photographer. Awarded Australian Commercial Photographer of the Year in 2019, Gavin has built a reputation for delivering high-quality photography that enhances stakeholder communication. Gavin works with a wide array of public and private sector clients, guiding them in creating versatile photography libraries while offering extensive corporate, industrial, and commercial photography services throughout Australia.

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As a professional Sydney-based photographer specialising in corporate headshots, I recognise the significance of top-quality images for building the professional profiles of your key personnel. My expertise is crafting professional headshots highlighting confidence, character, and professionalism.
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