July 15, 2009

Reality,Tall Ships, Learning the Ropes and Battleship Grey

Last weekend I went over to the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts to check out the visiting tall ships. I was nearly lying down when photographing the USCG Barque Eagle. Clean shot, eh?

Then I moved about six feet to my left and shot from the same low angle. Which image is reality?

In my classes on photography and ethics, I make the point that you do not need Photoshop to manipulate an image. Lens choice, angle, perspective, timing, and framing can present radically different "truths" of the same scene.

Speaking of reality, I treated these two images with a Lightroom develop module preset that emulates the rich saturated colors of Velvia film. I love it: how to make digital look like film.

"Learning the ropes literally and figuratively," is how Captain Eric Jones of the Barque Eagle explains the experience on the ship for Coast Guard cadets undergoing training. These are Captain Jones's medals and decorations.

Along with his many years of Coast Guard service, Captain Jones also participated in the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership. I found this out from photographer Stuart Darsch, who documented a group of Sloan Fellows touring the ship with Captain Jones.

This officer saluted Captain Jones as he and the group approached the ship's steering wheel. Behind her is the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge.

Berthed across the pier from the Barque Eagle is the USS Cassin Young, a destroyer built during World War II.

So technically, the color is destroyer gray.

Naval Numbers

Working with this abstraction in the computer, I pushed for deeper blacks. I began to worry about losing detail in the darkest shapes, but then had this calming thought: "Does a painter worry if she has detail in her blacks"?

© 2009 John Nordell