Monday, April 07, 2008

The sailing barge

click photo to enlarge
"A sailing vessel is alive in a way that no ship with mechanical power ever be."
Aubrey de Selincourt (1894-1962), English writer, classical scholar and translator

The sight of a sailing ship, with its elegantly curved hull, tall masts and intricate rigging, never fails to stir the painter or the photographer. Its location on a lake or river, in a harbour or on the sea, only adds to the allure. The strong light, big sky, reflections, ripples and waves provide a setting that encourages display of the artist's skills. I've never quantified the imbalance between depictions of sailing ships and powered vessels, but surely it must be at least three to one in favour of the former?

And, thinking about it, the sailors who spend their spare time messing about in boats must favour wind over diesel as their motive power by that ratio or more. So it must be the appeal of sailing along driven by a breeze that prompted the construction of the sailing barge, "Juno", shown here moored at Blakeney, on the north Norfolk coast. At first glance it looks like a lovingly restored, orginal, shallow-draughted boat of the sort that used to ply the east coast, calling in at small havens and tidal creeks, during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. But no, this vessel with its steel hull and modern conveniences was built in 2000, and earns its keep through hire to tourists. However, none of that detracts from its elegant lines and the distinction that it brings to the channel of this coastal village, today a haunt of small-boat sailors and bird-watchers.

This is my attempt at composing a shot in the manner of a marine painter. I took advantage of the soft sky from which spots of rain were still falling, and in the processing I tried to emphasise the painterly qualities by bringing out the detail of the clouds, and muting the colours slightly.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off