Sunset at Sea

By: Gustav Hoiland

Apr 19 2010

Category: ocean travel

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Focal Length:18mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Across the Big Blue Wet Thing

Ahhh, sunsets. I remember a time I was sitting around in my room in a creatively challenged state of mind. In keeping with shooting every day, I noticed it was almost sunset and figured I’d go out and snap off some mediocre photos that looked amazing, thanks to the forgiving beauty of a descending sun. Needless to say the photos were… well, not memorable, but I guess the important thing is that I found some other cool stuff to shoot while I was out. Good story, right?

Thanks to having a little-photographed subject at my disposal (a massive container ship), this sunset photo is more than just sky and mountains! It’s … Sky and Containers! But hey, I like it. The sky’s alright, I mean… if you type sunset into a Flickr search you’ll probably get about 2034192381023582 photos with far superior skies in them. But I could care less about the sky as a thing of beauty here. I think it’s more of a mood setter. It signifies a day of work’s end. An approaching evening in which to relax or … work out furiously, or paint, or … well, people do lots of things in the evening. They sometimes even get sidetracked, and start wandering hopelessly away from what they intended to write about.

But the thing to notice here is two. Two things to check out. First is the waves on the right/the wake of the boat. Thanks to the’ol long shutter technique, they have completely smoothed over, turning into these glassy humps on the very top of a giant marble. In life-speed, they’re rough and tumultuous, breaking and crashing and all that. But they’re really just a mathematically predictable pattern cast off the front of the boat when averaged a out for a couple seconds.

The second redeeming quality here is the light on the containers. Near the bow they’ve got a little golden reflection going on which is … pleasing. As you come closer to the camera they turn darker and darker until the numbers 45, the white circles of Evergreen’s logo, and the rough outlines of different colored containers can be seen. I guess I like it because you’re forced to study it and get up close to see the details.

Finally, the eye is led to the left of the frame, but does not fall outside. I guess the eye first hits the cloud, but from there it might travel down the boat towards the photographer. Or it might jump right to the waves. I can’t decide – I’ve been looking at it for too long.

The sunsets (and sunrises) were consistently wonderful on the high seas, by the way.

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