Wild Ocean

David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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12 Responses

  1. zic says:

    And here in western Maine, strong, almost sickening ozone smell in the air last night and this morning; seemed to have cleared out by the time I went out at noon. That ozone smell only seems to occur when the wind’s from the south. Don’t remember it from childhood at all; and it only became a somewhat common thing — to my notice — a few years back.Report

  2. James Hanley says:

    At first glance looked like a painting. I swear I can see the brush strokes in that water.Report

    • David Ryan in reply to James Hanley says:

      Yes, it does have a very painterly quality, which I think is from all the wind-caused texture.

      The meteorological explanation is that as the front passed, we got the strongest winds, out of the South. Then as the front pulled away to the East, the wind became more and more westerly, when this shot was taken it was WSW in the 20s.

      So there’s the big swell created by the earlier southerly wind, and then the WSW wind ripping across the top, making a secondary chop and taking lots of spray off the tops of the waves. Combined with the very high contrast light of a clear winter day, the texture is accentuated.

      And viola, it looks like a painting!Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I love the sight of the ocean with large swells. I love the sound and smell of it, too.

    If I were a sailor, I might not like being out on it so much. But from shore, it’s spectacular.Report

  4. Rothko says:

    I don’t know why it is deemed to be complimentary to say that a photo looks like a painting or that a painting looks like a photo. Neither are the other. Either are good photos or good paintings or not. Seeing them as reminders of something they are not speaks to a visual deficiency in the viewer.Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Rothko says:

      A lot to unpack, so I’ll stick to the question of complementariness.

      The “my kid could have done that” quality that so many celebrated modern paintings have (our late Springs neighbor Jackson being the best example) created an uneasy critical relationship with the quality of virtuosity and/or performance in artwork. What can one say to a “photo-realistic” casting of a couple of cans of Ballentine Ale that is then set upon a pedestal in one of our secular cathedrals as if it is to be worshiped? “I’ve seen that joke before” hardly covers it.

      I take James’ “It looks like a painting” in two ways, both of which I find flattering to me, the creator of the work.

      1) It has a textural quality we associate with the “old masters”. Perhaps I am flattered too much if I imagine Walter Murch would also say that it looks like a painting, and mean that in a complimentary way.

      2) That in “looks like a painting” James is saying that I have captured the platonic ideal of a stormy sea; that the image is so idealized one would think you would have to have painted it, and yet I have managed to capture it from real life.

      This second aspect speaks to the “f8 and be there” aspect of photography, an aspect that people instinctively understand, that you have to “be there”; that, unlike a painter or novelist, you cannot conjure you world from whole cloth; you have find your world within our shared reality.

      Again drawing from Murch, photography is, or certainly can be in a very special way, reality closely observed. That Actuality property — this is what this thing looks like as a photograph — can teach us to see the world in which we live with someone else’s insight. As an essay might provoke a reader to say “I never thought of it that way before”, a “painterly” photograph (often) provokes the feeling, “That’s the way I’ve always dreamed it to be.”Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Rothko says:

      I was really just commenting on how interesting it was that this photo wasn’t self-evidently just a photo, but looked as though it could have been a photo of a painting. I didn’t mean to imply that a photo that looks like a painting is better than a photo that looks like a photo. It’s just a really interesting effect, and unusual enough that it makes the picture particularly noticeable.Report

      • David Ryan in reply to James Hanley says:

        Alan Jacobs posted The Tyranny of the Word a couple of days ago that’s worth reading. His angle is the explanations that artists often feel forced to give for their work that, often as not is diminishing to the work. Similarly, this format invites viewer approbation to be registered in words, which then may/must be (mis?)interpreted by the artist and other viewers.

        As well has here at the League I have also been enjoying posting my photos to Facebook. Facebook’s LIKE convention is problematic in a lot of ways, but I think for photos or paintings there’s a lot to recommend it. Often that’s all there really is to say. LIKE. Further commentary is often superfluous, or worse.Report