Quick Shot: Left for Dead

Much to my dismay, I don't control the weather. It's really a shame - I'd love to be able to dial up the right weather for the mood of my photograph on a moment's notice. Sunny one moment, dark and stormy the next..... 

I was teaching a photography course this weekend on the coast of England in an area called Dungeness. A re-occurring theme in the discussion of the course was storytelling - using the camera to convey a set of emotions or feelings to our viewers. When we walked to this boat, I felt a sense that this boat had been left for dead - it's seafaring days were behind it and the future looked to be full of dry rot. I wanted to pass that emotion onto my viewers, but the weather was anything but somber.

In fact, more beautiful days are rare in England. It was sunny, warm, and barely a cloud in the sky. The best way for me to communicate the somber and lonely life that lay before this boat was to pre-visualize the final result I wanted (irrespective of the nice weather) and then work backwards mentally through the edits and then into the exposure I needed to make. 

For this image, I underexposed the RAW file by several stops, and used the dark and dreary resulting file to create this dark and somber black and white image. To bring the image together, I did some careful dodging of the hull of the ship to provide some tonal diversity. 

I am very pleased with the final result - it's taken in beautiful weather, but tells the story about how this boat was left for dead.