Exercise: Cropping

The final exercise of part one is an exercise in cropping.  I?ve selected three images ?from the archives? for this, and produced two or three ?alternative? versions through cropping the original.

Each has an explanation of why I?ve chosen to crop them in that manner.

First off is a landscape from Wales (which has also been used for playing with tilt-shift ?effects?) in the past.  Here is the original.

And here is a ?panoramic? crop.

I?ve chosen this crop as it gives more emphasis to the sky, mountains and clouds in the distance, with the landscape foreground leading the eye towards them.

And a vertically framed crop.

I?ve homed in on a particular detail.  The subject now becomes the train among its surroundings, rather than the general landscape.  There is some loss of quality here, due to the distances involved, though the depth-of-field means that the detail isn?t too poor to make the image at least ?passable?.

The second image is a Blues band performing at Matt & Phreds a couple of weeks ago.  Here is the original.

There is a compositional problem here, which was primarily a limitation of the lens and where I was sitting (though I could have moved, of course to resolve the problem).  The amount of empty space above the performers? heads is not something there by design, and I always expected to need to crop this image, with the tighter crop shown below.

Next, I?ve created a horizontally-framed crop of the image.

This creates a less-static image, and shows more of the subjects? faces, with a more pleasing composition than the symmetrical original.

Finally, another vertically-framed crop.

This makes the focus the Blues singer alone, separating her from her surroundings and reducing the image to a single subject.

Finally, given we?ve just had Easter, it seems right to get an Easter-related image in.  Here?s the original of an Easter Egg hunt sign from my nephews? and niece?s hunt on Sunday.

I was rushing to get shots, to try and ensure I captured the look on their faces when they discovered their chocolate bounty, so the framing is far from perfect.

Here I?ve created a tighter crop of the sign.

This reduces the distractions which resulted from the lack of time to compose the shot, while keeping the sign within it?s garden context.

An alternative versional, vertically framed – it retains the garden context, but is less pleasing than the horizontally-framed shot with the tighter cropping.

One point this exercise has reminded me of is that I do tend to rely on cropping, more so than correct composition through the camera?s viewfinder.  I?m definitely no stranger to using cropping to create the image ?after the fact? – though more recently I have been trying to avoid doing so unless necessary.

Generally I?ll try and limit such practice to when the view is changing rapidly – so it?s better to capture what?s there and find the best framing later, rather than miss what is happening all-together.   I?ve been shooting a lot of football lately and this is a prime example of where I just need to get the best shot possible, knowing I?ll get the final image through cropping when I process the results.  This is illustrated below.

I happened to be holding the camera vertically, and wanted to capture the challenge quickly – there?s simply no time to move the camera round and my hands to the other set of controls.

Cropping focusses on the action I intended to make the final image, and there?s sufficient detail to allow this, removing the unnecessary elements from the shot, and changing the framing to suit what?s happening.

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