Apple Photo Shout

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Devoted followers will be fully aware that extraordinary things happen with striking regularity on The Lifeboat Station Project. There’s little use in trying to understand how or why. They just do. And it’s thrilling.

On Saturday 19th November, I co-hosted a Photo Walk to Tower RNLI Lifeboat Station with the Covent Garden Apple Store. It would prove to be another fine example.

Read on to find out what happened along with a reminder of the glass plate photographs I made at the station.

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
The setting — the busiest lifeboat station on the network, RNLB Hurley Burly at the ready!

It had been a busy fortnight of talks. The previous week, I spoke to nearly one hundred guests at The Harrogate Photographic Society followed by a similar sized audience at The University of Derby a couple of days later.

The following weekend, it was time to pop on a fast train to London in readiness for my second event with the team at the Covent Garden Apple Store. I was flattered that it had been fully-booked, not once but twice — the first time within a few days of the event being announced and on a second occasion, just hours after more spaces were allocated to cope with demand.

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
Fully booked — twice!

Everybody gathered in Covent Garden at 1000hrs — a great turnout including some existing followers of The LSP and even a handful of lifeboat crew members, one of whom I’d photographed before!

The weather was glorious too. A crisp, sparkling winter’s day — the skinny sun hanging delicately over the capital.

We sauntered across Strand to the station and split into two groups (there’s a limit to how many can fit on the floating station at any time). The mission was simple: to visit a unique location — Tower RNLI — whilst learning tips and techniques from the team on how to make better use of the iPhone’s camera features.


The iPhoneographers were treated to the wonders of an active lifeboat station. The buzz of being around such an environment can be quite enlightening for the uninitiated — it’s great to see the realisation on people’s faces when they clock the kitted crew and the super-fast E-Class lifeboat afloat on the mooring in a permanent state of readiness.

The purpose of the station becomes abundantly clear when combined with the proximity of the cold, surging, brooding river.

Then, during the second tour, it happened — an emergency call to help someone in danger on the river.

Veteran crew member Keith Cima abruptly ended his talk to the participants, launching the lifeboat in little over a minute with his colleagues — Chris, Matt and Amber.

On seeing them speed off into the distance, it was time to clear the station for the crew’s return (it’s never certain what or who they’ll be bringing back).

We finished off the session with a short workshop back at the Apple Store. All-in-all a fantastic morning, revealing the incredible work of the RNLI first hand to a whole new audience.

Reuben Zeeman, Apple Event Co-ordinator, said: “It was a real privilege getting an insight into the amazing work that the Tower team do on a daily basis. The participants and our Apple trainers came back full of enthusiasm.”

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
An Apple crowd enlightened by RNLI’s work on the River Thames


Two of the glass plate photographs I made at Tower RNLI last year are below. Click either image to see the full set.

Remember, if you’d like prints, order now to guarantee delivery by Christmas — the cut-off date is Wednesday 14th December.

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
The view looking east from Tower RNLI lifeboat station, 29th April 2015

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
Tower RNLI Duty Crew, 29th April 2015 — features Keith Cima (front centre), in command during the shout


(Christmas cut-off date for ordering prints: 14th December)


My thanks to Reuben Zeeman from the Covent Garden Apple Store for inviting me to take part in our second event together.

A debt of gratitude to Andrew Stewart, Ray Dickinson, Kevin, Keith, Matt, Chris and Amber for allowing so many of us to visit the station and for making it so smooth and complete.

Thank you also to Daryl, Richard and Scott — the Apple Store trainers who were such excellent hosts and company on the day.

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