Behind The Shot: Fishing Nets In The Wind

Xiapu County, Fujian Province, China
Xiapu County, Fujian Province, China

Photo By Chin Leong Teo

Xiapu is a county in Fujian province. It’s widely known as one of the most quaint and scenic fishing areas in China. It has an ample coastline, clean coastal waters and enjoys plentiful sunshine. This makes for an ideal ecosystem for various forms of fishing and seaweed harvesting.

A vibrant and extensive fishing community permeates various forms of interesting tools used for fishing. This photograph shows an elaborate setup of nets along a river in Xiapu. The beauty of this system is not so much how it’s used to catch fish but rather how the nets flutter when the wind blows. 

I waited for a while. It wasn’t easy getting a good composition. Sometimes there was no wind. Sometimes the wind blew but the nets flew and clumped rather unaesthetically together. For this particular shot, I had time and luck on my side. The wind was blowing strongly, and the nets were fluttering about. I got a fisherman to row up his boat to the nets. Finally, I was able to take what I consider a balanced and well-composed shot with the fisherman as the subject amidst the nets.

Most photographers will know that taking a photograph is the first step. Often, post-processing is as important a process, if not more, than the taking of the photograph itself. When I went home and saw the RAW file, the lighting and mood were expectedly not great, but I saw tremendous potential in the composition.

For post-processing, I first cropped the photograph so that the frame is full of the nets. I then saturated the nets with a warm glow and softened the texture selectively to create a mystical atmosphere. This was combined with selective dodging and burning.

When I finished post-processing this photograph, I was stunned by its beauty. This was something that I imagine I could hang on a wall and appreciate for a long time. Indeed, this is one of my personal joys of photography. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I can do with a camera and some post-processing. OP

This image was the winner in the Discovery category of the inaugural ROAM Awards 2019. See more of Chin Leong Teo’s work at teochinleong.com.

Sony a6500, Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS at 67mm. Exposure: 1/320 sec., ƒ/8, ISO 400.