Have you ever heard the phrase “too close for comfort”? Well this is perhaps an apt situation in which you might actually use that phrase. While sea kayaking at Neko Harbour in the Antarctic peninsula, Andrew Peacock photographed a minke whale swimming within arm’s length below the surface of the water. Talk about an incredible experience. What was the whale doing so close to the surface? Who knows. Perhaps he was curious or lonely. I imagine not too many kayakers visit the great Antarctic ocean:
But aside from its content, Peacock’s image is also aesthetically beautiful. There are three aspects that really stand out to me that make this an amazing photograph. First is the contrast in colors of the pale sky/ocean/whale to the colorful hues of the kayaker and his vessel. Second is the minimalism of the photo. There are really only three elements: the whale, the kayaker, and the distant mountain. Their composition is fairly balanced too. Lastly is the leading line in the photo. This is perhaps the most dynamic aspect of the image and what really gives it that extra impact.
Basically you will look at this photo in one of two ways. Either you will look at the whale first and follow his mouth line up towards that kayaker and the mountain. Or you will spot the colorful kayaker and look below him and follow the whale’s mouth down to the bottom. It’s this leading line created by the whale’s mouth cutting diagonally across the frame that draws the viewer in and pulls their eyes across the image.
Now, I’m sure Peacock didn’t have all this planned out when he took the shot. But the fact that he managed to take a moment to compose the photo (without freaking out) resulted in a much more dynamic image than just a picture of the whale’s face. If it were me, I would have surely dropped my camera in the water.
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