Sunday, 12 February 2012

Assignment 5–Applying the techniques of narrative and illustration

Brief: To imagine you are illustrating a story for a magazine with a cover illustration and between 6 and 12 images on inside pages. Write captions to explain and link each picture. Use the techniques of illustration for the cover page and those of narrative for the picture essay.
For this assignment I have chosen to illustrate a sailing trip on board  the three masted Dutch topsail schooner “Oosterschelde” around the Cape Verde islands in January – February 2012. At the time of writing, (24th January) I am just putting down ideas about which aspects of the trip to include or highlight. It will last from 24th January until the 4th of February, leaving from and returning to the island of Sal. The voyage will include visits to maybe 5 or 6 of the 10 islands and 5 islets over the 11 days. The actual route will depend on the weather. There are several aspects that can be included:
  • The time line of the voyage itself.
  • The interaction of the crew. Made up from permanent ship’s crew, experienced and less experienced guest crew, there is a very steep learning curve and a great sense of achievement to be gained from sailing a traditional vessel.
  • The experience of living on board ship in close confines with other people.
  • The graphic qualities of  the schooner itself, 19th century technology, rope, canvas, wood, steel and brass.
  • The ports and islands visited on the trip including the local people and landscapes.
Update on 30th January
The trip is going well and I have edited an  image for the illustration cover picture.
9672: 1/4000s f14 ISO800 200mm **
Oosterschelde in Mindelo Harbour, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Update on 2nd February
As the trip draws to an end and we have a slack day in Boa Vista with overcast skies and rain, I have started to assess the images I have made so far to construct a narrative about the whole experience of sailing a 94 year old Dutch schooner around the Cape Verde Islands. My first decision was to use image 9672 above as the cover page for the article. I would liked to have used a photograph of the ship in full sail but having discussed the possibility with the captain, the wind conditions have not enabled us to launch and recover the ship’s inflatable safely, whilst under sail.
From the bulleted list above, I have selected to illustrate the crew at work, some of the places visited, the local people and aspects of the ship. With a couple of days left, if  there is anything I am missing I will have a chance to re-shoot.
I have chosen and captioned these images to illustrate life on board the ship. With so many images  to choose from, they won’t all make the cut.
9456: 1/100s f5 ISO400 18mm (cropped) **
Three hundred and twenty tonnes in your hands!. Geert takes a turn on the helm as the sun sets on the first day. Steering with the compass, the wind and the waves needs a lot of concentration and takes some time to master..

9451: 1/500s f11 ISO200 18mm **
Sails set, heading 208°. On a broad reach to Tarrafal, Santiago with the outer jib, topsails, course and schooner set on the foremast and the mainsail and main gaff topsail set on the mainmast. Speed about 7.5 knots.

9533 1/200s f7.1 ISO 400 55mm
Crew member Ben shows how to splice a rope end.

9542 1/60s f4 ISO400 22mm
Anouk and Ulricke repair a sail.

9559 1/400s f10 ISO 200 18mm **
Climbing the ratlines to release the topsails from the yards.

9564 1/640s f6.3 ISO200 120mm
Anouk and Job working aloft on the lower topsail yard.

9695: 1/640s f5.6 ISO200 200mm **
Leo releasing the gaskets on the topsail yard.
9698 1/250s f9 ISO 200 18mm **
The deck from the foremast platform showing the schooner and mainsails.

9709: 1/320s f9 ISO200 18mm **

Leaving Sao Vicente astern as we make our way to Sao Nicholau.

Update on 4th February
Looking at the pictures above, There is nothing there that shows the sheer hard work of  hoisting and trimming the sails on a ship that has no winches or mechanical aids (other than pulley blocks). Yesterday I kept my eye open for an image that would show this. This one works well I think:
9907: 1/250s f8 ISO400 48mm **
Bracing the yards. Once the topsails have been released from the yards, a lot of hard hauling is required to turn or “brace” them on the masts. Once that is done, the buntlines and clewlines are released to unfurl the sails. 19th century technology relies on muscle power and a few pulley blocks. There is not a winch in sight (the anchor excepted).

There was also another sail repair going on this time with more detail.
9968: 1/1000s f8 ISO400 75mm **
Anouk repairs the mizzen sail.

9968: 1/320s f9 ISO200 18mm
The Oosterschelde docked in Mindelo Sao Vicente for bunkering (taking on fuel). I was able to use  juxtaposition to contrast more traditional and modern cargo ships separated by over 90 years of history.

9594: 1/250s f5 ISO200 82mm
Fish sellers, Mindelo Sao Vicente.

9490: 1/125s f22 ISO200 18mm
Santiago: The view from Serra Malagueta towards Assomada and Pico do Santo Antonio.

9675: 1/125s f5.6 ISO800 130mm
February is Carnival time in Mindelo – fundraising can seem intimidating but a few Escudos resulted in a great image! Many Cape Verdeans celebrate their African heritage in their musical style and rhythms.

9749: 1/200s f7.1 ISO200 18mm (cropped)
Cleaning fish – Tarrafal Harbour, Sao Nicholau.

9828: 1/320s f9 ISO800 18mm
Playing Oril, an incomprehensible game with pebbles and holes. Vila Ribeira Brava, Sao Nicholau.

9779: 1/80s f4.8 ISO200 60mm
Water and wind blown erosion of volcanic sediments, west coast of Sao Nicholau.

9th February 2012
As I work through the many images that I have taken during the trip, I realise that I am going to have to work hard during the editing process. I wanted to include all aspects of the trip but I need to be able to emphasise what the trip meant to me.
**  Images which were selected for my final essay/narrative.

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