Posted by: yachtcrewsing | April 1, 2012

Nighttime Photography at Sea

“Try decreasing the F-stop value and maybe leave the shutter open for another thirty seconds.”

At 2:00 in the morning, 15 miles away from the nearest point of land (a Bahamian island), and attempting to deal with the rocking and shuddering of the yacht, this was no ordinary photography class. Taught by my captain, an accomplished and knowledgeable photographer, it was spontaneously held during our 12:00-3:00am watch. Nearly cloudless and with a vast array of stars lighting the sky along with the crescent moon, it provided the perfect opportunity to further my limited skills in nighttime photography.

Despite the interesting qualities of the photos taken, it is frustrating to be forced to acknowledge the limitations of this representational art form. I am unable to capture the beautiful subtleties of being at sea, ones which I wish to convey to those who have never experienced the purity of quietly slicing through the water under sail and under an uninhibited sparkling dome of ethereal lights, light is mysteriously echoed in the water by the phosphorescent sea creatures activated in our wake.

Looking up at the gently swaying rig silhouetted by the vast array of stars, having no sign of life within the confines of the horizon, one is given the impression of the infinite nature of the world. This, instead of being a lonely sensation, is somehow deeply calming and reassuring; it minimizes triviality while allowing one to truly see importance in life.

These emotions I can only fractionally convey through words; to portray this in photographic form is going to take a lot more night watches and significantly more practice.


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