The old girl wallows a bit in heavy seas, the bilge pumps too slowly, and the starter needs a tap of the hammer to get it going but she has plied the waters of the inside passage for 6 decades, hauled halibut, herring, crab, and prawns, and brought her crew home safely every time. At times the water, has come over the bow, the engine has refused to sputter to life, the electrical systems have all gone dark but every time, with the help, urging, and cursing of her crew she has eventually roared to life and brought them safely home. Now she rests, the water laps gently agains the wooden hull in this protected passage and she holds tightly to the safety of the dock.
I was floating down Newcastle Passage heading back to my slip when I saw this old boat. I knew that it would provide for an interesting subject but there were a few challenges. There was a mess of distracting and uninteresting colours and a very busy background. The first step was to convert to black and white. That instantly improved the image but I still wasn’t getting the texture and the age of the vessel. I have tried this kind of thing in Silver Efex Pro but Nik has another plugin called HDR Efex that really pulls the texture out of an image in an interesting way. The peeling paint, the dents and the age of the boat really came forward. Next I had to deal with the background. I added control points all over the background in each different tonal area that allowed me to darken the background and separate the boat from it. It’s better but still not completely successful. The fact that I am using a telephoto lens here works against me being able to separate the boat from the background as telephotos tend to compress your image. The next thing that I wanted to do was to enhance and brighten the silvery smooth water. I felt like this would provide an interesting contrast to the battered boat so I brightened the water and increased the contrast. If there is one thing that I am still unhappy with it is that I wish there where a little more breathing space on either end of the boat inside the frame.