by wjw on December 17, 2018

PICT0033 copyHere’s one of my favorite pictures in the new 2019 calendar.  It’s a small boat tossed on a moody monochrome ocean, with a moody skyscape above.  If it weren’t for the bit of color provided by the setting sun, you’d think I’d printed this out with silver nitrate or something.

The only thing that prevents me from bursting with pride over this photo is that it’s the result of a complete accident.

I had just come up from a dive on one of Palau’s many reefs into what was otherwise a pleasant warm tropical day.  The ocean was blue, the sunset was bright, and there was a squall on the way, but then I was in a latitude where there is often a squall on the way, and then there’s a burst of rain and it’s over.

(And incidentally, you would be amused at the way scuba divers try to avoid rain.  We’ve just come up from 50 minutes underwater, we’re dripping sea water, our fingers are pruny, and we’re picking seaweed out of our gear . . . and along comes a squall, and suddenly everyone’s diving into cover to avoid the rain.  It’s as if people are suddenly allergic to fresh water.  It’s really funny, and I stay out in the rain and laugh.)

But anyway, I was floating there on the surface waiting for the boat to pick me up, and out of boredom I decided to take a picture— except that, in the bright light, I forgot to turn off the flash.  With the flash on, the camera’s not-very-bright computer, anticipating a big flash, cranked the f-stop to its highest setting, which closed the aperture down to nothing, and this resulted in almost all the color being drained from the photograph.  (If I was shooting something close up, it probably would have been garish.)

So the result is this moody composition, with the black-and-silver sea and the silhouette of the boat bearing down on the viewer.  it was an accident, but then often the best photos are happy accidents, and I’m happy with this one.

Oz December 18, 2018 at 3:06 pm

stunning! one would think it was entirely on purpose.

Etaoin Shrdlu December 18, 2018 at 4:50 pm

That’d make a pretty good cover image. . . .

Jerry Ebner December 28, 2018 at 3:14 pm

So even your accidental creativity is fabulously talented. Wow.

wjw December 29, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Jerry, there’s always a big element of luck in taking a good photo.

And believe me, I take plenty of bad pictures. I just don’t post them here.

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