I've been accused of being a little dinghy...

I have a lot of photos of ships and boats and yes, to a Navy man there is a huge difference.  Ships carry boats, but that is not important now.   There has always been something captivating about them for me.  Trying to capture that in photographs is often difficult.  While I have lots of pictures of ships, few of them are really photographs.  So what makes the difference?  Hopefully this blog will help answer that question.  Here are 2 photos taken in Honfleur harbor in Normandy.  They were taken only a couple of minutes apart and within a few feet of each other. The first one is way too busy, it has no real subject and the angle is just, well…, boring.  I walked down the slippery steps to the water’s edge and narrowed my focus to just a few boats and since it was approaching sunset anyway, I darkened the picture -1/3 of a stop with exposure compensation.  Voilá-a photograph. Placing your boats into a context is very important in helping shape the mood of your photograph.  This image is a film scan from 1981 in Bermuda.  The little fishing boat, anchored by the old bridge, really caught the laid back attitude of the island.  This one was shot last year in Bar Harbor, Maine; the lobster boats anchored at sunset, waiting for the next day’s voyage.   The Bermuda boat picture was an accident, the lobster boats were not.  I stood there waiting for the light, while my friends waited mostly patiently to go eat the lobsters brought in from those very same boats. 

Leading your viewers’ eyes to where you want them invites them to see the image as you imagined it.  Mooring lines, rigging and gunwales are naturals for that role.

  The Blue rowboat is one of my personal all-time favorites.   It was just sitting on this little river in France, I had to stop the car and jump out to shoot it.  Sometimes they don't even have to be in the water to be interesting.

I love sailing; I am fortunate and always have been that I don’t get seasick.   Trouble is I do not like heights, at all. So the tall ships will have to sail on without me.

I can’t see myself climbing up those ratlines to the foretop and stepping out on to the yardarm.  Glad my Navy didn’t have that to worry about.    Still they look amazing underway.  This ship is on the sunset cruise in the Caldera at Santorini.

Sometimes you do get lucky and catch the light on the buildings, the water and the boats just right.  In Venice, the city is decaying almost before your eyes; the water is nasty, but still, the light is fantastic.  It is Venice- the magnificent, La Serenissima .     Get out there and change your viewpoint, make photographs you will remember.