6. Anja, posing with (is it Trinny or Susannah?) at Covent Garden, was a quick shot before she flitted off to her next assignment. Consequently it's all badly composed and twisted (well, the camera's being held straight, the two ladies are hanging over to one side for some reason) a closer-in crop produces a much better portrait, more personal, and puts the two subjects upright in the frame (we'll pretend the door in the background belongs on the leaning tower of Pisa).
7. The "Travelling Munkeh" needs to show that he's in London, (or at least, England) the viewer doesn't need to see my thumb in the bottom of the picture and it all needs straightening out somewhat. Cropping out superfluous clutter makes for a more consise image.
8. The architecture of the British Museum in London fascinates me. In the original image there were one or two distracting items at the edges of the shot: top left corner, bottom edge and bottom right corner. These have all been cropped out to give a much "cleaner" final image.
9. The punter on the Cam, just outside King's College, could just as well be in Oxford, once the context has been cropped out.
The camera's viewfinder presents us with a format that is by no means the definitive frame. Thinking "beyond the frame" will give the photographer full control over the shape of the final print. Cropping is a design option, available to us in post processing, though it should not be used as an excuse for not being decisive during the actual shoot.
My images for this project come from my own archive, looking at existing pictures with a view to cropping them to produce a new image makes you consider them in a different way.
In each of the (original) images I have marked out where I have made the decision to crop, then printed a cropped image. P15 required three (cropped) images, I was having so much fun I made a few more than that.
1. The galloping horses shot, from "Power Horse 2008" in Duiven, NL, was cropped to concentrate on just the two working horses, to really get in close to the action. ISO100 and a sunny day were all that were needed to put me right in the sweaty thick of it, without getting trampled and not having to invest in a 500mm lens.
2. The threatening skies over Salisbury Plain had far too much uninteresting blackness in the top and bottom of the frame, making a panorama-shaped crop made the picture more about the falling rain under the clouds and the light trying to break through.
3. The Dandelion seed-head was shot at the side of the road in Pannerden, NL, one of the few perfect and intact examples left there at that time. The shot was made while standing upright using a 18-135mm zoom, at 135mm. Cropping in close produces a macro- like image and displays the complex interior beauty of the plant in better detail.
4. The Tower of London, shot directly into the sunlight to give a silhouette effect, contains far too much black. The picture is about the shape of the castle battlements against the dark blue sky. Cropping out the uninteresting black bottom half of the picture and straightening it a little gives us a much more interesting panorama.
5. The fun-pic at Trafalgar square works better if the people in the foreground are cropped out and the viewer can concentrate on the diminutive admiral on his column.
The human eye sees the world through a sort of flattened oval shape, due to our “binocular” vision. The closest we can get to this view is the horizontal (or “natural”) frame the camera gives us when held “normally”.
This project required me to go out to a location and turn the camera on its axis to take 20 vertical images (portrait mode, as I call it). Then to take the “same” 20 pictures with the camera held in “Landscape mode”, or horizontally.
Easier said than done!
Taking pictures vertically encourages you to look for suitable images, objects that lend themselves to the upright frame format. When you then go back to take the “same” picture horizontally it all seems wrong, the image produced (often) either doesn’t work or you adjust the composition to make it more acceptable.
The lesson learned here is to consider all possibilities as far as frame orientation is concerned when taking a picture. Don’t be lazy and stick to the ergonomically easiest option, throw the thing about a bit. Is a panorama shot an option? What about a perfect square? These need to be considered when composing the shot which may then need to be cropped in post-processing.
(Image 1-5 & 1a-5a)
I've had to split this project into four parts as I can only fit ten images in a single post.
The "golden section" (the ratio within a frame between the small part and the large part being the same as that between larger part and the entire frame) has been used by builders and artists for centuries.
It seems to appeal to most people's sense of balance and harmony.
The simplest way of gauging the golden section is to use the "rule of thirds", whereby a frame is divided up into three sections, horizontally as well as vertically. Placing important elements of the image along these lines (horizons, for example) and/or at intersections with them (focal points, faces, etc.) will result in a more "pleasing" whole.
These six images, from my archive, all have this composition within them, or are very close to, making them stand out as "harmonious" or "pleasing to the eye".
The single yellow tulip, lost in a sea of red ones, is situated exactly at the intersection of two of these lines.
Sat in the middle of a field of tulips, Anja's face is also precisely at one of these intersections.
The horizon in the frosted winter picture runs right along a line-of-thirds and the position of the photographer corresponds, very nearly, with one of the verticals.
The "Kinderdijk" windmill image has the horizon-line running through a horizontal line-of-thirds and the main subject within the image, the windmill, is positioned along a vertical.
Linda, the bride, is sat at an intersection of two lines corresponding to the "rule of thirds".
The "Market Garden" re-enactment pair are each at an intersection of lines and the horizon runs exactly along one of the horizontals, thus giving this image balance, harmony and a pleasing "feel".
The rule of thirds, or the golden section, gives images something that viewers experience as pleasant, calming, harmonious, "right".
It should not however be used as a hard & fast rule in each and every shot, rules were made to be broken and a totally out of balance, unharmonious, image can work very well precisely because of its tension, its "incorrectness".