Golden Hind    



We now have nearly 600 odd pictures of over 190 different boats,  (2005, now over 1200 pics of 340 plus boats, 2007) and it's growing by the day!   It is inevitable that there will be wide range of picture quality from the amazingly good to the unprintable. Some years ago I was a Freelance photographer for local papers, magazines and so on. I was therefore, at the mercy of your 'friendly' Sub-Editor who would gladly spend his time castigating the pictures I thought were god's gift to photo journalism. But I did learn a few useful pointers along the way.

  First off, it is fair to say that some of the pictures we have now were taken as 'snaps', some were scanned shots of very old pictures. Some were copied from magazines or other publications. There is no intention to turn us all into David Bailey (just shows how old I am), However now we are all equipped with these new fangled digital cameras (well, some of us are) we should be taking pictures of reasonable quality and mostly, in focus.

There are a few things we can do to our pictures a little better. I have a few examples below as samples along with explanations.




This is the classic 'Out of Focus' picture.

As a rule of thumb I always say, take a picture quickly first, better to have a bad picture than none at all, then if you get the opportunity take a second or third picture if you have time to 'get a good one'. If you don't, at least you have one picture - better than nothing.




The picture above is a typical 'snap' probably taken as two boats crossed wakes. There are two things wrong with this picture, one, it's out of focus (unusual these days) but, more importantly, it's too far away.

It is likely that these two boats could have sailed a bit closer. There has to be a very good reason to include vast swages of sea (we all know what that look like) and acres of sky (") and indeed, most of the rigging.

If you can, get close, very close.




This is a stunning example of just how dramatic a picture can be. Get as close as is practical.



The above picture demonstrates two other points to watch.

The 'thing' in the bottom right hand corner could have been avoided - look around your viewfinder, is there anything you don't want in your picture. It's a small point, but very distracting.

There is however, a good point about this picture. Moving boats (or people or cars or anything that's moving) should always be sailing or moving 'into' the picture. This view is more pleasing on the eye. As to 'getting close', it may be that this view is intentional. It is clearly Maldon Promenade in the background and it could be the photographer wanted the whole scene, background and all.





This picture brings me to another point worth watching, although there is sometimes not much you can do about it, try to watch the background. In this excellent picture (of Fiddlers Green - just had to get in somewhere) you can see that there is very little in the way of background to distract from the subject. Had this picture been taken a minute or so earlier is is likely Bradwell Power Station would have been sticking out of the cockpit.




Here is an example (possibly unavoidable, but it makes the point)

Which is nicer to look at, the Waterwitch or the background? the photographing boat could have gone to the other side of the WW to 'loose' the background, but the sun is on the port side. You need to decide. A boat in shadow but with no distracting background, or a correctly lit boat but with a distracting (or possibly not) background, you pays your money.....



Sometimes, of course, the background can be important too!



This picture demonstrates another favourite 'trick' to make a picture more dramatic, it's been taken from an odd angle. The is a favourite with newspapers, it (usually) removes any distracting background. Think this is difficult with boats? There are often opportunities to take pictures of boats in unusual situations. see below.

NB This otherwise great picture would have benefited from flash to remove the shadows from under the caps and under the chin area. Also, the 'thing' in the bottom left hand corner is distracting but it could be edited out later.



OK, it may only be twice a year you get a chance to get this unusual angle, but isn't it worth it? what a great picture and a great way to see what's underwater.



There are one or two other points to consider, most of our boats have rigging, you'd be amazed at the number of perfectly good pictures are ruined by being taken through your own criss-crossing rigging, difficult to see in the viewfinder but they don't half show up in the finished picture.


  Oh!, and don't forget to pan if the subject is fast moving.

This is one of mine!



And most important of all - keep sending them in, good, bad and indifferent - we welcome them all.

Barry Sturrock