This was a lucky afternoon indeed. My friend Joe had convinced me that it would be a good day to break in his new camera so we headed down to the harbor to see what we could find. It was cold, as my grandma used to say "colder than a witch's titty." She was a colorful old lady that one. So yeah, naturally I couldn't find my gloves which I only mention because you should be smarter and more prepared than I usually am. Anyway, we did a double take while passing by the Tides Tavern and noticed a crab boat loading up a ton of traps. I was to find out shortly 500 traps to be precise. It seemed like an opportunity not to be missed so we quickly parked and made our way down to be generally annoying to guys actually getting some work done, my normal m.o.
I find it easier to ask forgiveness than permission but I had a boy scout along so Joe chimed in "Mind if we take a few pictures?" Kids, Joe is a good example so follow his lead ok? After being introduced as a "world renown photographer" I had little choice but to engage in conversation which normally I'm more than willing to do but I was feeling a bit cross because my hands felt like large ice cubes dangling at the ends of my arms. The guys were kind enough to put up with us and soon I was chatting away.
The Lisa Marie was on her way out to the grounds loaded down with traps and gear. I was surprised how often the term "greenhorn" got thrown around in our presence, whether that was normal or just good natured fun while we were present I'll never know. The man in charge I was to find out also runs fishing charters if anyone happens to be interested. His name is Patric Gaffney, nice guy. I need to take kiddo out for spring king this year. That's salmon talk.
The whole experience was strikingly authentic. This might sound silly but there is a pronounced difference between knowing you live in a town with an active fishing fleet and seeing it with your own eyes. I have loads of respect for them. I was annoyed with my hands not having left solid ground. What it can be like out on the water, I can only imagine. There is a natural glamour too with doing a job other people think for whatever reason is cool. I've been on that side of things while working various positions in the concert industry for years. On the whole, I'd imagine I could sum up my attitude to the folks looking on as at best casual disinterest so I'm grateful for Patric and the other men on the Lisa Marie for taking the time to answer our questions and allowing us to see and photograph a small piece of their world for a bit.
Wait, There's a Boat! What do I Do?
I get asked all the time how to photograph something. Don't say I never gave you anything.
With boats, I find it's much easier for me to focus on details over trying to capture a larger scene. What's the story morning glory? Try to condense the visual information down and the narrative will shine through on its own. I like the range of a telephoto zoom for subjects like this one, you get the flexibility of the classic portraiture range and the ability to stand back and still get in close. Wider shots around maritime subjects also quickly run into dynamic range problems on most days. Boat hulls tend to be lightly colored and shiny. Water creates specular highlights. That is a photoshop nightmare waiting to happen. If you are in a boat race, ignore what I just said but otherwise intimate over grand with ships.
Seriously, Ask Permission and Slow Down
I have a tendency to be self deprecating and a snot with my writing style. However, I take very seriously being respectful to anyone I am photographing. I think it is even the casual photographer's duty to pave the way for those that photograph behind you so to speak. Walking around with a telephoto lens hanging off your belt is intimidating to most people. Please take a moment before you raise your glass to engage with your subject matter whether that is a windswept landscape or a belly dancer. This moment of mindfulness will relax you and, if it is a person, them as well.
For god's sake, slow down too. I have two photographers to thank for teaching me this, Carlan and Nick.
I attended a workshop of Carlan Tapp's many moons ago to Canyon de Chelly. He had set up a wonderful lunch with one of the Navajo code talkers, Teddy Draper. I was too young and stupid to appreciate what an amazing gift this was. My mind was focused on what I was missing out on in the field, whatever that might have been. I have conditioned myself to pause now before shooting to take it all in. Sometimes, this leads to me not shooting anything at all. Being present is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
If there ever was truth in advertising, it is my old workshop partner Nick Chill. I mean it's right there. Nick has this unique, soothing aspect in both his natural demeanor and his photography. He introduced me, with much grumbling on my part, to mindfulness as an aspect of daily life. I am forever grateful for it.
The map below shows where we were photographing.
Everyone approaches daily mindfullness, for me that equals meditation, a bit differently. I've found Jessita Reyes to be my music of choice lately and if guided meditation is your thing check out Headspace.
Until next time.