The Port of Houston

This photo essay features images of the Port of Houston, the busiest port for deep-draft vessels in the United States, made by photographer Daniel Kramer. Here’s what’s behind the essay, in his words:

The port includes both public and private terminals along the Houston Ship Channel. Geographically, the ship channel begins five miles east of Houston,Texas, and runs through one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world, then terminates 52 miles later in the Gulf of Mexico. A 2015 study by Martin Associates showed that the port impacts 2.7 million jobs in the U.S. economy.

I accompanied one vessel from a dock in the upper reaches of the ship channel to the Gulf of Mexico—a journey of some seven hours. It was truly awesome to see a vessel the length of a football field maneuvered so effortlessly down such a narrow channel—at night. At the end of the trip and while still underway in open ocean, we climbed down the side of the ship onto one of the Houston Pilot Boats where I spent one very sleepless, seasick night. The pilots are aided in their navigation by one of the 50 members of Houston-Galveston division of the United States Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service.

For me, part of the allure of photographing workers of the Houston Ship Channel was my appreciation for Mark Twain, who was a pilot on the Mississippi River, and Sterling Morrison, guitarist for the Velvet Underground, who spent time as a tugboat captain on the Houston ship channel. After 10 weeks, I feel that I am just getting going. Every shoot I learn more and more leads open up. Almost to a person people were friendly and helpful and proud to show off their work and their ship channel. I’d like to thank those who graciously allowed me to photograph a little bit of their lives.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Edwar Herreno

    Winners of the 2018 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 16 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition

  • Wang Mingzhu / VCG via Getty

    Photos: The World’s Largest Airport-Terminal Building

    A look at the construction of Beijing Daxing International Airport, a massive new transportation facility set to open later this year

  • Juan Oliphant / oneoceandiving.com / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Ice Disk, Pet Blessings, Presidential Burgers

    Teachers on strike in Los Angeles, “Kiss a Ginger Day” in Ireland, a terror attack in Nairobi, fashion shows in Berlin and Paris, the “No Pants Subway Ride” in New York, and much more

  • Ricardo Mazalan / AP

    Photos From the 2019 Dakar Rally

    On January 7, a group of 334 competitors began the 41st annual Dakar Rally: a punishing 10-day, 3,000-mile race across the Peruvian desert.