My Favorite Boat In Mumbai

Fine art photography by Craig Boehman.

Shooting for photographic reasons and shooting for composites are two very different things. In photography, at least according to the vanguards of the traditional photography world, the photographer tries to get the image as correct as possible in-camera before heading into post-production. For composite shooting, you're really only shooting subjects that you intend to "cut out" later for use with other elements.

The two thought processes are also very different from one another, especially if you come from a photographic background as I have. For me, there's still a conversation that plays out in my head. The Photographer Me always wants to frame everything up perfectly so that it makes sense. Photographer Me wants to shoot for the highlights, compose the shot, and implement any number of other considerations whether technical or artistic in nature.

So when it came time to revisit my favorite boat in Mumbai, an old wreck that has been beached along the southern stretch of Juhu Beach for years, I was attempting to capture the first image of the boat that I would consider a "keeper". In other words, I'd never been able to do the boat any justice in previous sessions for reasons unknown to me except for the fact that I didn't like any of those shots, no matter how correctly-sound they'd turned out.

I was prepared for this visit. I discovered what I thought the best angle to photograph the boat was and then I bracketed my exposures in order to mix the best bits of each in post. When I began that work, I thought to myself: "At the end of this, I'll only have a nice picture of the boat, stuck in the sand, where it has been for years. To top it off, even with a tight crop there were a few people off in the distance and other distractions that I'd have to clone-stamp out in post. Then the idea came to me. I should make my favorite boat into a composite image. And that's just what I did.

That's the great thing about compositing, everything is re-purposed. Every element has the chance to serve as the Phoenix rising from the ashes to become something else entirely. This turned out to be the missing piece of the puzzle as to why I hadn't been happy with my past images. It turns out, I'm very sentimental about some of my non-human subjects too, enough to want to see an unseaworthy vessel taming the waves once again.

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