Photo Discussion Friday - Week 47

Dolphin Introduction

Dolphin Introduction

PDF Week 47/2015: Nikon D-300, 34mm (on 18-105 zoom lens), 1/160, f5.6, ISO 1000.

2015 - Week 47 (20/11/2015)

Thank you, Muriele, for your photo.


What does the picture mean to me?

This dolphin mother and her new calf were seen at Moreton Island during the feeding of the wild dolphins. The calf is less than a week old and, already, the mother, Tinkerbell, is trusting to bring her baby so close to where humans are. Tinkerbell, has a long history with Moreton Island (see also http://www.tangalooma.com/info/dolphin_feeding/meet_the_dolphins/). Presenting this photo in black and white resonates history, not just this mother dolphins' own long standing connection with Moreton Island but also of all those other dolphins for whom Moreton Bay has been home for many years. It was a touching moment to see this little creature playing next to its mother in the deeper waters off the jetty at Moreton Island.


Why did I want GPO to comment on this picture?

This photo reminds me of aboriginal art. The way the water breaks up and the smoothness of the dolphins skin creates an unusual effect.

Comments

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What works for me

+ Not only one dolphin is shown but even a baby dolphin photographed close range

+ beautiful structure, reflections and patterns in the water, particularly the lines on dolphins that makes them look like whales

+ the illuminated area in the picture looks like a spa, invites to jump in with the dolphins


What doesn't work for me and what could have been done differently

- I can't interpret the unusual lighting. It draws me away from the dolphins into empty space to the front left. Flip the picture on the horizontal axis (from a diver's perspective it produces an amazingly interesting result, too) and you'll understand what I mean in terms of light. I'd try to lighten up the dark background.

- the dolphins don't have enough breathing space if the picture is considered a documentary photo (which I am unsure of). I'd crop more generously especially in front of their heads. Not showing the eye of an animal needs an extremely good justification for a wildlife documentation.

- the choice of black/white irritates me. It just sends me on a quest whether this photo is an abstract exploring shapes and contrast or an animal documentary. I'd give the dolphins their colour, their mood and vibrancy. On the other hand, the black and white is sort of a reference to the 1963 pioneering film and TV series Flipper (and the whaling past of Tangalooma where the picture was taken).


Conclusion

The picture is certainly harvesting a 'dolphin and baby cuteness' factor - a sensational, unique and historical moment to see them that close. Congrats, not an easy task to photograph. There is a lot going on in the picture that distracts from the dolphins and creates stories and signals to me that are hard to interpret. Sorry, I can't see the aboriginal art which - to me - is colourful and vibrant. If you could lighten up the dark, menacing background, I might go along. Maybe I would not hang this picture up in our living room. But it could be an inspiration for an ornamental bathroom tile, part local wildlife, part art.

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