The tonal range of this photograph is what really draws me into it. The shades on the hall of the sip, the white of the surf, the details in the sky, every surface has a full tonal range in the textures that cover each surface. compositionally, the photo is basic and strong. The diagonal chain draws the eye in to the diagonal that the axis of the ship makes, perpendicular to that of the chain. The foam on the beach mimc curve of the hull while the clouds balance the ships reflection. Technically the image is eloquent and well refined. Conceptually, there is also a lot to work with. The image of the anchor and the chain both lend them selves to some form of captivity, an idea very appropriate for a beached vessel. The angle of the ship makes it seem like it is almost straining against the chain, fighting to get free. Yet at the same time storm clouds are forming overhead.
Though this picture is by the same photographer, of the same subject, the image is no where near as successful as the first photograph. The choppy water and blank sky are what really destroy it; the size of the waves take away from the monumental feeling of the other image, while the bare sky bleeds out a lot of potential tension, not to mention the fact that it takes up two thirds of the frame with absolutely nothing. The slightly tilted horizon is just enough to annoy with out really adding anything to the picture. This is what much of Ian Smith's photographs looked like, relatively unimpressive, rather snap shot like.
Everything that was done wrong in the last image seems to have been done right in this one. The photographer took advantage of the size of the ships to get right up close, turning them into looming shapes. He used the ropes to draw the eye up into the center where the ships meet creating an x shaped composition. The smaller ship on the right and the water line and the water line on the middle boat both serve to continue the horizon that appears only in a fraction of the frame on the far left. The sky is a slight gradient moving from white to a light grey on the right hand side, framing the middle craft. All of the elements are well handled and thought through; there is none of the randomness that destroys of some of his other images.