Wikipedia:Picture peer review/WorkingAtTheYardarm

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A deckhand working at the Stavros S Niarchos's starboard main-topgallant yardarm. He is standing on both the main footrope and the flemish horse while re-reeving the sheet for the main-royal. The line passing diagonally behind his back is the starboard topgallant lift; the one apparently rising vertically to the top of the picture is in fact the brace pendant, running forwards to the foremast from which the picture was taken. There would normally be a line (the starboard main-topgallant clewline) running to the yardarm just visible at the bottom of the picture; this is missing because the yard is still being re-rigged after being brought down on deck for maintenance. Note that there is still no sail on the topgallant yard.
Edit by Thegreenj

I love this picture (ok, as the photographer and a keen square-rig sailor I'm doubly biased!) but I suspect others may not share my enthusiasm. I'm sure the photo-geeks will be able to pick many technical holes in it; in its defence is the fact that it's an action photo taken at sea rather than posed in a studio. It may be that the composition would be improved by cropping, but I rather like the way in which Colin is isolated in a big blue space in the original.

The caption explains the setting. The picture illustrates the fact that square-rigged sailing ships still exist and that the everyday work on them is the same as it ever was - 100 feet above the sea. It's also useful in a practical, encyclopaedic sense, clearly showing what a footrope and a flemish horse are and how they are used.

What do you think?

  • Nominate and support. - PeteVerdon 23:58, 13 May 2007 (UTC)


  • I like it. However, I'd crop out the object at the very bottom. I think that would focus the photo onto the man instead of the ship, which is what I think your goal is here. Rwhealey 21:35, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I also think the image would improve if the bottom was cropped so there was only sky. I think this would show the isolation of Colin much better. I like the image, but don't feel qualified to support or object the nomination as I'm still trying to figure out the criteria. Mehmet Karatay 12:16, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you. I agree that slicing off the bottom of the picture to lose the upper-topsail yardarm would be an improvement - thankyou for pointing it out. Where I mentioned cropping above I had in mind reducing the shot right down to just the man and the gear immediately around him, which I think we agree would not be a good thing. PeteVerdon 12:39, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Glad to be of help. One thing which may (or may not) improve the composition of the photo is to crop it to be square. Start at the top right and make the square as big as you can without including the upper-topsail yardarm at the bottom. See what you think. It might make the image more compositionally balanced while still keeping the sense of openness. Have a play. If that doesn't work simply remove the yardarm from the bottom as suggested earlier. Just a thought, and I unfortunately I know you can't really do anything about this, but I wonder if the featured picture review panel would complain about the face being in shadow? I hope not. Mehmet Karatay 14:18, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I tried cropping it in a few ways - just plain slicing off the bottom, slicing off the left-hand side, and doing something a little bit like what you describe above, taking a bit off both. I also experiemented with removing the bits of ratline that intrude into the right-hand edge of the picture. I'm not really that keen on any of them; they all have the effect of zooming in on the sailor and reducing the void around him. Or maybe it's just that I'm too used to the full image, having had it sat on my desktop for weeks till I got round to uploading it.
Do you think it might be feasible to "airbrush" the topsail yardarm away? I don't know what the Featured Pictures orthodoxy has to say about such things, but if anyone more familiar with Photoshop / the Gimp fancies trying it I'd be interested to see the result. PeteVerdon 08:01, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Cropping and face highlighting by Mehmet Karatay
I have a feeling that they wouldn't mind as long as it was a perfect job, but if it was at all obvious it would fail. Getting it perfect is well beyond my skill level I'm afraid. Mehmet Karatay 09:41, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I tried a few crops for you and feel the best one I got was without the bottom yard-arm and ratline. I find those two items really distract from the image, as my eye explores their detail. This doesn't add to the feeling of openness or what is actually going on at all. I tried to make the image as large as possible, as I felt the square I suggested earlier didn't really work for this image. With this crop I like the pattern formed by the lines on the top right. I find this visually pleasing without being distracting. I also lightened the area of the face, leaving the rich saturated colours you have elsewhere.
The feeling of openness that you're after goes completely but I feel compostionally the image works well. Cropping and face highlighting by Mehmet Karatay
The other thing I feel worked was cropping the sky to the left out from my edited version. The feeling of openness you are after goes completely then I'm afraid but I think it does work compositionally. The main subject (the person) is shown clearly and the mind wonders what he is trying to achieve, how easy he is finding staying there etc.
My opinion is that the image definitely won't get featured with the bottom yard-arm and possibly the ratline. If you don't like the image without them, then maybe the image isn't of feature quality? Just a thought. Mehmet Karatay 09:41, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I like both of those. Perverse, I know, since they're almost identical to ones I made myself, but since when was creativity strictly rational :-) . Presumably an FP candidate has to be a single photo? I can't decide which I prefer. PeteVerdon 18:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
You can nomiate all of them as "alternatives." Just a word of warning, I don't think that you'll encounter too much enthusiasm over that picture - it's not amazingly exiting or informative. There's nothing wrong with it; it serves its purpose well, but I really just don't see the extra in it that makes it featured. By way, my personal preference is for the second crop. I added an edit because you colours are quite dull, and it's hard to discern detail in the shadow. P.S. if you're going to make an element of the picture vanish, please add a retouched photo tag. J Are you green? 02:41, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
And, just out of curiousity, who is "they," who you seem so inclined to impress? J Are you green? 02:52, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I suspect you're right about the picture not really being Feature quality - I guess that's why I listed it here to gauge the enthusiasm of people other than me. Not quite sure what you're getting at with the "they" point - I've never used the term. PeteVerdon 01:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
"I have a feeling that they wouldn't mind as long as it was a perfect job..." That's Mehmet Karatay. I think I see, though. The voters, perhaps? J Are you green? 21:44, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Here, I took the liberty of editing it. J Are you green? 00:55, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Just to touch on the question about photoshopping stuff out of pictures - the impression I've gotten on that page is that photoshopping to remove defects (correcting colour cast, removing dust specks, etc) is generally okay, but actually altering the portrayed object is not. See here or here for examples. Personally I would almost automatically object to any pic that had the offending bits wiped as being unencyclopedic. Crop, don't erase, IMO. Matt Deres 16:45, 12 July 2007 (UTC)