February One Photo Focus

It is time for One Photo Focus, a photo processing project hosted by Stacy Fischer at Visual Venturing.  It involves participants from all parts of the world working on a single image.

Original-1This month’s image has been provided by New Zealander Stacey of Learning to See Light.

Stacey says: I was at a conference in Melbourne Sept 2010 and this was moored right outside the conference center in the middle of the city (hence the high rise buildings in the background).  There were people climbing over the masts on several days so I think it was undergoing some repair or servicing, but it was too good an opportunity NOT to shoot it. Look forward to seeing what everyone’s variations will be!

Well, being from Melbourne, as soon as I saw this photo, I immediately recognised it and thought “that’s Polly Woodside” even before reading Stacey introduction!  So let me first tell you a bit about it.

Polly Woodside’s History

Launched in Belfast in 1885, Polly Woodside is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque and is typical of thousands of smaller iron barques built in the old days of sail.  It was intended for deep water trade and sailed 1.5 million kilometers around the globe. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s South Wharf precinct she is a tangible reminder of Australia’s rich maritime history and is one of Melbourne’s most iconic attractions.

In the early 1960s, a proposal was put to save the ship from decay and works started in 1968.  Through the National Trust of Australia, an estimated 60,000 hours of painstaking voluntary labour saw the ship refurbished close to its original state 27 years later.

In 1978 she was opened to the public as a prominent feature of the Melbourne Maritime Museum, and is now permanently moored at the old Duke and Orr’s Dry Dock on the Yarra River. Now landlocked by a nearby road bridge, she cannot take to sea.

Photo Processing

I was not sure how to edit this image.  The buildings behind the vessel are a bit unfortunate and I would have dearly liked to remove them and free Polly Woodside from its city jail, but my Photoshop skills are not good enough!

So here is what I did instead:

  • In Photoshop, applied a Curves Layer to decrease the highlights, particularly in the sky, and to increase the shadows to reveal more detail in the hull and rigging.
  • Added a filter/stylise and solarised the image, which significantly darkened the sky.  This made the rigging stand out against stormy clouds.
  • Brought the image into Lightroom and tweaked the clarity, vibrance and saturation slightly.

Here is the result:


Polly Woodside – Melbourne Maritime Museum

Do check what other challenge participants have done by following the One Photo Focus link.  There are sure to be some creative interpretations of this iconic Tall Ship.


20 thoughts on “February One Photo Focus

  1. Thanks for sharing the interesting history on the Polly Woodside, Chris. It would have been a shame to have lost this gorgeous ship.

    As for your after image, you’ve given this such a wonderfully foreboding look, like a huge storm of monumental proportions is beginning to blow in! Very cool use of the solarization filter. Now, batten down those hatches and secure those sails 🙂 Thanks so much for being part of 1PF!

    • Pleasure Stacy. I always look forward to the challenge and enjoyed the research on this old Tall Ship. Thanks for your kind feedback and for managing our diverse group of photographers. I know how much work goes into this!

    • We have yet to go ourselves! As well as the visit of the vessel, there is apparently some interesting exhibits and artifacts in the Gallery about the history of Tall Ships.

  2. Chris thankyou for the history and information – I had no idea, and as I never edited these images from when I originally took them, they have sat unused on my hard drive all this time. She was moored by the Convention Center when I took these which I was visiting over several days, and got to see people climbing all over her, looked like they were doing repairs and maintenance.

    I am glad such a lovely vessel is being put to good use and still able to be appreciated and visited.

    Loved the almost negative feeling of your process, very creative!

  3. That’s incredible! It almost looks as if there’s frost in the rigging – you may have inspired me to try and learn Photoshop! (I’ve never tried it.) Also loved learning a bit about the ship’s history – when I first saw the picture, it reminded me of an iconic tall ship in San Francisco and sure enough, they were built within a year of each other, though the Balaclutha was built in Glasgow.
    Thanks for sharing another great post 🙂

    • It’s funny we are synchronised with each others posts reading and commenting! Glad you liked reading about Polly Woodside and the photoshop transformation. It is a fun challenge each month.

  4. Thanks for sharing the info about the ship. Your after photo is great. I like the dark and stormy look.

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