EXERCISE – CROPPING
For this exercise I have taken 4 of my archive photographs and cropped them with my software cropping tool to change the frame and the appearance of the image. I have posted both the original photograph and then the cropped image with a description as to why I chose the cropped frame that I did. I have started with the image of a gannet that I have used to illustrate the introduction to this Blog.
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IMAGE 1 – ORIGINAL SHOT
This shot of a gannet in the rough water backwash from the rocks of Grassholm Island off the Pembrokeshire coast was taken from a boat using a Canon 7D body with a Canon 100-400 L series telephoto zoom lens. As the framing of the subject was difficult due to the pitching and rolling of the boat and the irregular movement of the subject itself, I was fortunate to get the shot in focus and in frame at all. Although the position of the subject in the frame was pretty random, I was actually very pleased with the result because the gannet is almost incidental in the picture and the viewer does not necessarily see it at first, just as in the wild. The water environment dominates the scene and provides movement and excitement while also suggesting how potentially vulnerable the bird is when in the grip of the elements. The fact that the subject is shown in relation to its environment and is not a traditional ‘bird portrait’ reminds me of the art of Robert Bateman, the American wildlife painter whose work I admire, and this is a style that I would like to emulate in my work.
IMAGE 1 – CROPPED IMAGE
I have intentionally cropped the original image to give a different perspective and feel to the image. The gannet, although still relatively small in the frame, plays a more dominant role than in the original shot. I have cropped the image so that the darker, flatter water is removed leaving the more energised white water to dominate creating an almost monochrome image. The position of the gannet has been kept towards the edge of the frame keeping the eye moving around the frame, and its position, and the fact that the bird is facing outwards towards the right, gives a sense of tension that the subject is about to escape from the frame. The fact that the image is unbalanced with the subject well off to one side reflects the unstable nature of the scene, and I find that the long, narrow, horizontal shape of the frame gives the image a sense of poise and immediacy that I like.
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IMAGE 2 – ORIGINAL
This white face steer was an obvious photographic subject because he had such strength and presence despite the fact that his horns had been removed. However, I felt that there was much in the image that was distracting and reducing the full impact.
IMAGE 2 – CROPPED IMAGE
I have cropped the image to concentrate attention on the strong, broad forehead and the eyes as these for me are the most important and captivating elements of the original image. Taking out the surrounding elements focusses on these elements and the fact that the two eyes are roughly in the 1/3rd position from the margins and balance each other provides a powerful attraction that keeps the viewer’s eyes travelling between them and over the broad space between them which is covered with the wonderful springy curls of hair. For me this image has an almost hypnotic quality which grabs the attention in a concentrated way that is not achieved in the original image which has more of the air of a portrait.
IMAGE 3 – ORIGINAL
This New Zealand beach scene with a sea fret drifting in provided me with many photographic possibilities. I framed this shot carefully to ensure that the figures on both sides of the frame were include to give balance. and additional balance was created by the post on the left and the rock stacks on the right. For me this image works as it is as a result of the careful framing, but I recognised that there was a lot of sky and the distant sea / land interface was very central in the frame which tended to reduce the impact of the main elements. The large area of sky is a distraction and the eye keeps being drawn there and away from the key elements. I therefore thought it would be an interesting exercise create a different feel to the image through cropping out some of the sky.
IMAGE 3 – CROPPED
The process of cropping has achieved a significant change in the balance of the image. With the area of sky greatly reduced and the distant sea/land interface now approximately 1/3rd from the top and 2/3rds from the bottom, the key elements become much more important and balance is achieved. The image now has a panoramic feel to it which I like and I believe that the shot works better after cropping.
IMAGE 4 – ORIGINAL
I couldn’t resist this subject when I saw it in rural New Zealand and I took a number of shots with different framing. I intentionally placed the two vertical poles slightly off centre in order to create some tension and imbalance to make the image more interesting. Because of the shooting position and the lens used, I was unable to use the wooden frame as the frame of the photograph although I was aware of the interesting image that would be created. I have therefore used this cropping exercise to change the image so that the wood frame is also the frame of the photograph.
IMAGE 4 – CROPPED
Cropping to remove the distracting large sign and to frame the main subject elements within the wooden framework has really focussed attention on the figure and the antique farm machinery thereby making an interesting and concentrated image. The central focus on the human figure and the wheel first grabs the attention but the eye is led out to the sides of the frame by the horizontal elements of the machinery which lead out to the strong frame of the uprights. Interestingly, the two bolts and nuts below the horizontal cross beam provide an important element of the image by creating divisions of the frame into thirds, following the Rule of Thirds format.
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