Since I first dived the Ghiannis D ten years ago, there have been
many changed on this wreck and probably just as many changes in my
photographic equipment. The rich encrustation of corals and the
quantity of sea life has, sadly, dimished significantly. The ship
istelf is becoming more acutely tilted and the mast has completely
collapsed. Nevertheless, it is still a splendid Red Sea wreck for
photographers., with ample opportunities to take dramatic photographs
using the strong outlines, intricate shapes and portholes.
When our distinguished newsletter editor
asked me to write an explanation about the slides I was horrified. I
thought my task was over and, not being technically minded, there was
absolutely no hope that I could remember exactly how I had taken each
photograph. My philosophy is take take lots of shots using different
settings and hope that one or two of then might suceed. So, instead
of trying to give you the full technical details, here are a few of
my thoughts when assembling the portfolio.
After finally deciding on Ghiannis D as my
theme (decisions are not my strong point), I went through my
collection of slides, taken last October, and selected the ones which
'stood out' from the rest. I then rejected any that were not crisp
and in focus. I find it helpful to treat all slides as if they are a
single picture within a frame. The choice and positioning of vertical
and horizontal slides within this frame have to be a balanced
At this stage I suddenly realised that the
portfolio had a rather dulll blue, monochromatic look and lacked
interest even though I was reasonably satisfied with each individual
slide. So I went back to rummage through earlier slides taken during
previous visits to the site to find a bit more colour, contrast,
variety and impact.
The next step was to balance the tonal
values, light, shape, texture and direction of each slide to make a
complete picture. Should I have the mast at the top or bottom? Or
should it be in the middle? Should the mast point inwards or
outwards? This was the most frustrating stage and, even after hours
of contemplation, I still had not finally decided on the ultimate
selection of images.
Time disappeared as I arranged and
re-arranged the slides, turning them over to see if they looked
better reversed, shuffling them from one row to the other. At last
the decision was made and my last task was to view the whole
portfolio upside-down and from a slight distance to judge if the
whole picture was balanced and pleasing.
Simplicity and impact are two words which I
kept repeating to myself whilst struggling to assemble my portfolio.
These two things were hard to achieve, but I always find it amazing
when assembling a portfolio how easy it is to find five suitable
slides, but that sixth is always the elusive nightmare.