Alan sent me the above photo and ask for my opinion. Here’s what he had to say:
I was up in Acadia National Park a few years ago. I love to sail and we were out on this boat for a sunset cruise. I captured this image and thought it was interesting how the deck hand was focused on doing something as they sat on the rail.
I decided to turn it to Black and White as the color did not add to the image. I like this image because it tells a story framed with the sails and showing the deckhand.
Then it looks like I got a “Sunstar” We discussed these in the PPSOP composition class. Even though I like this image and I think it is good, I am sure that there is room for improvement. What could I do to make this one better?
I look forward to your critique. ”
OK Alan, let’s take it one idea at a time:
With my online class with the PPSOP, and also with my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, one of the things I tell my students is to make sure whatever message they want to get across is what I refer to as a “Quick read”. Since you won’t always be around to explain to the viewer what’s going on in your photo, it has to be able to stand on its own. What I mean is that you say it was interesting watching the deck hand. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that would know that it was a deck hand and not someone with you taking the cruise.
If you want to say deckhand, then say it visually. Have him doing something that only a deck hand would be doing.
Now let’s address the color vs Black and White issue:
Don’t get me wrong, I love B/W, and started my career shooting mostly B/W with the AP and UPI. There’s a time for B/W (unfortunately these days that means de-saturating the color), and there’s a time for color and watching the sunset on a sailboat cruising off the coast of Maine is, in my opinion, a time for color. You say that color didn’t add to this image so I would love to see the original color version because I’m from the great state of Missouri and our state motto is “The Show Me State”!!!
Sailing is just too romantic to view in B/W. Think of all the famous quotes about sailing, and the one that immediately comes to mind is: “Red sky by morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight”. Can you imagine this quote as the title to your photo???????
Here’s a phrase I constantly hear now that I’m the age I am: “They retired and sailed off into the sunset”. When you retire, would you want to sail off into a B/W sunset?
Thanks for the submission Alan. I hope I was of help.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2012 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Don’t forget to AskJoeB a question and send me your photos.