After last week’s challenge for 52Frames it got me thinking about how cropping can make or break a photo (in my humble opinion). I think most people, at least those not familiar with the art of photography, tend to think of image sizes in the most common sizes (4″x6″, 5″x7″, 8″x10″ and so on). I suspect that this is primarily driven by the availability at the local merchandise store of these common frame sizes.
Let’s start this discussion with a look at the original image that I submitted for the challenge.
The basic proportions of the image from the camera are 8″x12″. As you can see from this image the main subject, Pikes Peak, seems lost in-between the foreground prairie and the sky. Bearing in mind that the mountain is our primary subject let’s start looking at the more common crops.
In the image above we begin to bring more focus on our subject, however there still seems to be a disproportionate amount of foreground and sky to our subject.
In comparing the first crop to this one you can see that all we’ve done is add one inch to both the width and the height. This is obviously going the wrong direction for what we’re trying to achieve. Cropping to the next common size, 8″x10″, only makes the issue worse
For a sweeping landscape such as this I lean towards crops that are twice as wide as they are tall. For the final image I used a 20″x10″.
Here the subject has a very nice mix of foreground and sky compared to the subject. You’ll also notice that the mountains are not directly center in the image (think Rule of Thirds).
As you can see the way that your crop your images can have a dramatic impact on the final image. One could say that maybe I should have used a longer lens. While that is true, the fact still remains that any cropping would have given the same effect.
When I first started in photography I was taught to crop the image in the view finder. Experience has taught me that this is not always the best practice. For as you see, if you crop in the view finder you’re likely to limit your options for cropping during post processing. Because of this and the fact that today’s cameras produce such high resolution images I shoot a bit wider. That said be careful not to lose focus on your main subject.
For this week’s challenge on 52Frames.com the subject was nature. The added twist of this week’s challenge was that in order to be eligible for extra credit the photographer must use a tripod. With the unpredictable weather here in Colorado this challenge was going to be just that…a challenge.
Because of the extreme cold April has snow not Spring showers the flowers certainly aren’t blooming. So my next thought was to try my hand at astrophotography. Well, conditions certainly weren’t optimal for that either. We had a great deal of cloud cover and I really didn’t feel like freezing just to try this technique.
Later in the week during a trip down to Colorado Springs I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the snow-capped Pikes Peak, often referred to as “America’s mountain”. Even though I was over 30 miles away it’s grandeur made it appear as if I was right next to it. I decided that because I was running out of time that I would get up early and try to get sunrise shot.
The alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning and it was all I could do to get out of bed. Thankfully I had prepared my equipment the night before. I had to travel about 20 minutes to the area that I planned to take the shot. With sunrise occurring at 6:00 a.m. I needed to be out of the house by no later than 5:30.
My initial thought was to stop where Russellville Rd meets Highway 83. The closer I got to the location I decided that going South on South Cherry Creek Rd would give me a better vantage point as it’s higher than the original spot. As it turns out my assumption was correct.
Overlooking the highway down below I had a perfect vantage point of Pikes Peak. It was shortly after the scheduled sunrise that the sun rose above the horizon and cast it’s rays across the fields and on the snowy peak of Pikes Peak. Here is the image that was submitted for the weekly challenge.
When it comes to photography, control is the nature of the game. From the initial creation of the photo to post processing and final print most photographers will tell you that they want to maintain every aspect of their work.
As I indicated in a post earlier this week I recently joined a challenge called 52Frames. This week’s challenge pushed participants to a new level of discomfort, letting someone else edit your photo submission. For this challenge I was a participant as well as an editor for other photographers.
For my photo I decided to photograph an abandoned farm house located near the town where I live. I ended up with three photos that I provided to be edited by a fellow 52Framer and high school classmate. The final images are shown here.
I was please with the final results, especially the third image. I think that it really took the dreary day and turned this photo into a very interesting image.
Well as for most everyone this pandemic has proven to be a challenge on many levels. We as a society were forced to limit our activities and large gatherings quickly became a thing of the past. This isolation not only directly impacted my ability to get out and do much photography, it severely impacted my desire to do any photography.
As the weather has been warming in Colorado it seemed to light the fire to begin doing more photography, but the big question “What to photograph?”. With restrictions still in place this has proven to be an even bigger issue.
The answer came from following one of my high school classmates on Facebook who had joined a weekly challenge called 52Frames. After looking at the website I’ll admit I was intrigued but wasn’t sure if it was something that I wanted to participate in.
After about a month of contemplation, I couldn’t stand the idea of my camera equipment just sitting storage so I decided to take the plunge and join the challenge starting in Week 15. The challenge was titled “Trapped” and the intent was for the photographer to capture the emotion of being isolated or trapped. How appropriate is that for the times we’re living in?
Creative ideas can be a challenge and this one certainly had me scratching my head as to what I’d shoot. So to start off this adventure the image of our dog Bandit popped in my head. He loves hanging out in my office while I work and looks out the window. I thought if I could capture that it would certainly fit the challenge. Here is the image I submitted for the weekly challenge.
While it’s not the easiest task to get him to go outside the look on his face makes it looks like he’s sad because he’s not in the yard.
So now it’s onto the next challenge, “Edited By Someone Else!“. The subject is pretty open so hopefully I’m come up with something interesting. Once I have the image I will provide it to another “Framer” (the term used for people participating in the challenges) to edit.
If you’re like me, at a loss on what to shoot, I highly encourage you to check out the site. After all everyone needs a nudge now and then.