Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photography, fishing boats and the sea

click photo to enlarge
I've lived near the coast and spent quite a bit of my time photographing it for a fair chunk of my life. That's not unusual, of course, when you live on a relatively small island. However, one of the characteristics of the British Isles, England in particular, is that it is densely populated and and its landscape can change quite markedly over short distances. A consequence of this is that some people don't visit the coast much because it requires a journey on heavily used roads or public transport. Others forsake regular visits because there are competing attractions in the form of mountains, lakes, moors, woodland etc.

I've always enjoyed the coast, not least because of the sense of space that you find there and the quality of the light that positively invites photography. Then there's the distinctive sights that are also manna to the photographer. Whether it is shingle or sand, salt marsh or sea cliffs, harbours, bays, promenades or whatever, the coast is a great place for photography. It's also, I find, a location that encourages you to slow down and contemplate as you gaze out over the flickering water. Small wonder that people often retire to a seaside location.

One of the things I often reflect upon by the coast is the fishermen that I see in small, inshore boats. Their life is, I know, dangerous and not without its travails, both physical and financial. And yet, on a sunny, summer day with the wind a benign zephyr and the water quiescent it appears to have its attractions. Perhaps without such days people wouldn't continue in the occupation: stormy weather and the icy blasts of winter must have their compensations. My photograph shows an Aldeburgh fisherman attending to his catch accompanied by gulls feeding on his scraps. His was the sole craft on the sparkling water that morning, an image of easy tranquillity as the tide reached its maximum height. For my shot I positioned the boat off centre and used the coiled rope on the beach as a visual counterweight. Black and white seemed to suit this fairly minimalist composition better than the original colour.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 47mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On