The story behind the photograph "Sailing Past 14"

My photograph “Sailing Past 14” was recently chosen to hang in the Miami office of our U.S. representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. As one of my most popular images, it was featured on the Islamorada Times Instagram feed some time ago. The subject matter is a white sailboat sailing past a red marker with the number “14” in the shipping channel off the shore of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West.

The photo opportunity came about one morning as I was walking along the beach at Fort Zach. There was a flat bluish light pervading both the atmosphere and the water so that there was no distinct line on the horizon. There was a beautiful sailboat sailing past the point into the shipping channel behind a wooded area. I walked toward it and was able to snap a few images through the trees. When I emerged from the wooded area, it was sailing past the bright red channel marker. There were a few people on board, but they were too far away to be recognizable. They seemed to be enjoying themselves as their postures were relaxed and they seemed to be pointing things out to each other. There was a feeling of peace and floating in blue. I set my telephoto lens to its longest length, composed the image by including the red marker and white sailboat, adjusted the aperture and shutter speed, and snapped the image before the sailboat got too far from the marker.

During the editing process, my intention was to bring out the feeling of peace and floating in blue. I cropped the image, brought out some details in the marker and sail, smudged away some lettering on the boat, and then emphasized the bluish quality of the light. I did not have to touch the horizon line because there was almost no distinction between sea and sky in the original RAW file. I named it “Sailing Past 14” because I like literal titles.

If you would like a copy for yourself, stop by the gallery and pick up an 8” x 10” print mounted on neoprene backing for $39. You can also order a print mounted on aluminum in almost any size. My favorite size for this photo is 24” x 36” mounted on aluminum for $995. We have one this size in our home, and it creates a feeling of peace throughout the whole room where it is mounted.

Sailing Past 14

Sailing Past 14

Sarah Carleton