One Photo - Sailing Yacht

sm3g

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So i go sailing semi often these days, sometimes when its not for a race I will take my camera and try and get some shots.
Was going through some from a few weeks back and found one that looked in focus enough to do something with (turns out moving boats make it hard to focus :p).

DSC_0205 by Sam Wardlaw, on Flickr

It's cropped, noise reduced, sharpened and I played with the contrast/exposure/highlights/shadows.
D3300 w/ 18-55mm kit lense
  • ƒ/9.0
  • 55.0 mm
  • 1/2000
  • 1250 ISO

The entire aim of this photo was to practice getting moving boats in frame and in focus, I will need to eventually invest in a longer zoom lense if it turns out I enjoy this kind of photography
 

bribrius

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out of level? what are we leveling off?
 

Didereaux

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Problem here is your depth of field. Shooting boats and other things on the water with a shoreline background you need a shallow depth of field to blur out the clutter.
 
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sm3g

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So you reckon it would work out better if I had it pretty much wide open (5.6 at 55mm)?
 

Didereaux

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So you reckon it would work out better if I had it pretty much wide open (5.6 at 55mm)?
I think so yes. Problem is that the clutter of the background draws attention away from the lines of the boat.
 

Derrel

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I think the boat needs to have more room to literally "sail into"...the way this is cropped, the stern and the bow are almost equidistant from the edges of the frame...not good. As far as the horizon, the shoreline does make it look out of level, and it might be--shooting from a boat can be tricky. As far as the idea that the shoreline ought to be thrown well out of focus: that is basically impossible with an APS-C camera and an 18-55 lens at a distance that will encompass a sailboat. The lens is short, the capture format is small, and the subject is large, and at a good distance, 150 feet or more...you're already into the deep depth of field range with whatever you shot that with.

But another point about throwing the background well out of focus: if you do that, say through artificial lens blurring (blurring done using software, not optics), then it becomes a photo about "a sailboat", on the water "somewhere in the world".

With the background rendered clean and crisp, as shown, this is a photo about sailing off of ______ Point, or sailing off of _____ Palisades, or wherever. This is more documentary, more true to the PLACE than a blurry-backdrop shot would be.

If you want to make an image generic, or universal, or location-clue-absent, then by all means, blow the background out of focus, and then it becomes JUST A BOAT, one that could be anywhere--it becomes decontextualized...sports shooters do this all the time with 300 and 400 2/8 lenses...a TIGHT close-up, which becomes a shot about a specific athlete, whereas if they grab a shot of say a TD pass with their 24-70 zoom from the endzone, and we can see the stands, and the defense, and the receiver, then we get to see the context within which the action occurred.

So...if you want a documentary photo, you'd probably favor having the background in-focus, and if you wanted to create a more-generic, less location-specific shot, then making the background very indistinct would probably be a better approach. Neither approch is always the right approach. You can also do both, by artificially blurring the backgrouna
 
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Didereaux

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I think the boat needs to have more room to literally "sail into"...the way this is cropped, the stern and the bow are almost equidistant from the edges of the frame...not good. As far as the horizon, the shoreline does make it look out of level, and it might be--shooting from a boat can be tricky. As far as the idea that the shoreline ought to be thrown well out of focus: that is basically impossible with an APS-C camera and an 18-55 lens at a distance that will encompass a sailboat. The lens is short, the capture format is small, and the subject is large, and at a good distance, 150 feet or more...you're already into the deep depth of field range with whatever you shot that with.

But another point about throwing the background well out of focus: if you do that, say through artificial lens blurring (blurring done using software, not optics), then it becomes a photo about "a sailboat", on the water "somewhere in the world".

With the background rendered clean and crisp, as shown, this is a photo about sailing off of ______ Point, or sailing off of _____ Palisades, or wherever. This is more documentary, more true to the PLACE than a blurry-backdrop shot would be.

If you want to make an image generic, or universal, or location-clue-absent, then by all means, blow the background out of focus, and then it becomes JUST A BOAT, one that could be anywhere--it becomes decontextualized...sports shooters do this all the time with 300 and 400 2/8 lenses...a TIGHT close-up, which becomes a shot about a specific athlete, whereas if they grab a shot of say a TD pass with their 24-70 zoom from the endzone, and we can see the stands, and the defense, and the receiver, then we get to see the context within which the action occurred.

So...if you want a documentary photo, you'd probably favor having the background in-focus, and if you wanted to create a more-generic, less location-specific shot, then making the background very indistinct would probably be a better approach. Neither approch is always the right approach. You can also do both, by artificially blurring the backgrouna


I agree with most of that. But being an old sailor I like the boat as the subject...shorelines just mean bashed in hulls! ;)
 
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sm3g

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Ahh Derrel always love how detailed and thorough you are with your feedback!
More often than not these shots will be looking at the boat as the subject rather then the shoreline - that being said there are times where I will definitely be focusing on the shoreline as it is arguably the best view of the city you can get (doubt I will let boats get in the way in that instance). Would blurring the background after the fact not look super obvious? Or can you generally pull it off convincingly?
 

Derrel

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Didereaux said:
I agree with most of that. But being an old sailor I like the boat as the subject...shorelines just mean bashed in hulls! ;)

Yeah....know what you mean. A few years ago, I saw a beautiful shot, a lot like this one, except the background was some old,old,old Mediterranean cliff-town above...it was a very beautiful image. Very true to the locale. The headland behind the sailboat was very high, and the houses were neat-looking.

As far as background blurring in software--I've seen people who can do it very convincingly, and I've seen ham-fisted people who butcher it, and I've also seen a second effect: the so-called "miniature effect", or tilt-shift effect. How well anything is done in software depends on the exact tools used, and the skill of the operator.

The thing is, I think, that regular people cannot spot software blur nearly as often as skilled picture-takes and picture-makers can. I've started seeing better and better tools for this than I ever thought possible, and also people who are better at it now that they've practiced it for some time.
 

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