Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Motors and sails

click photo to enlarge
Many people have no time for motorcycles or their riders. I'm not one of those people. I see motorcycles as a pretty efficient form of transport, ideally suited to carrying one or two people quickly over medium and longish distances. What I do have a problem with is motorcyclists who tune and ride their bikes so they are needlessly noisy, and those who ride in an aggressive and illegal way. I use a pedal cycle and it pains me to see cyclists riding without regard for common courtesy or the law because it gives all cyclists a bad name. I imagine that's how the many responsible motorcyclists must feel about their high speed compatriots.

Now jet skis are a different story. They don't seem to get the bad press that motorcycles do, and that surprises me. Essentially recreational motorcycles of the water, they are, in my experience, frequently driven badly, and noisily, without regard for water birds or other water users. The wide open space of the lake, sea or river seems to encourage recklessness. I imagine the ability to do flashy manouevres without consequence is part of their appeal! But there is a price to pay because they disturb the peace, scare the wildlife, and fit in very badly with other water-borne transport, especially that which is wind-powered. And periodically the riders kill themselves or kill or injure others. Consequently, when I saw jet-ski training taking place on part of the beach where people often learn about yachting I had mixed feelings. I hoped it would promote responsible riding, but I feared it would generate an increase in numbers! I wondered too, how they would get on with the yacht and dinghy sailing that takes place in the same area, and whether some kind of zoning needs to happen in the interests of safety and harmony.

My photograph above shows sail training on a warm summer day at Fleetwood, Lancashire. The tide was in, the wind was light, and the sun was shining through diaphanous clouds, making the whole experience look very pleasant. I decided to put the boats and the beach at the bottom of the picture, and to include a lot of the soft sky. When I looked at how the shot would be as a black and white image, I was pleased by the way the red filter emphasised not only the clouds (as I expected), but also the light blue sails of four dinghies. The much darker tone they assumed gave the shot a very different, contrasty quality, with more "punch", and that's how I present it.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen