The recent rains had turned small creeks into wide rivers, lifting them near the level of the nearby roadway. A busy highway, high waters, a very thick fog, and a rising sun contributed to the only vantage from which to collect these photons. The in-camera framing is limited by the lack of places to stand. I had to cut off the top of the tree due to some very obnoxious power lines running through the scene. As the sun’s rays are the subject so I wasn’t bothered by loosing the treetop.
Let’s go into the Crop Shop and see what the Cropist will do with this one.
At first glance, these are the issues I see.
- The horizon is centered – not a deal-killer but not the best compositionally.
- The dark corner in the lower right doesn’t add much to the image. We could still have the anchored feeling with less of it.
- The leaves from the tree off-camera right are distracting. They lack the nice diffuse feel of the farther trees.
- The trunk of the subject tree and its reflection divide the image in half vertically.
There are some elements I love too. The rays of sun at the top of the image are too delicious to leave out. I like the dark bushes on the left near the left edge. They help hold the eye in the frame. I don’t want to lose those two details.
I pulled up the bottom roughly 20% to eliminate some of the darkness at the bottom as well as move my horizon down to the lower rule-of-thirds position. Any time I can kill two problems with a one edge crop, I am ecstatic.
I come in from the right side about the same amount to eliminate the detached leaves on the right-hand side. If you look closely you can see the lowest of these intruding branches is still there but obscured by the dark background. I could have cropped it all the way out but then I would have split the background small tree in half vertically. This movement inward from the right also serves to move the strong vertical line of the tree to the right keeping the image from being bisected.
The sun is a little centered for my taste but I am ok with it. The right-hand weight provided by the asymmetrical large tree pulls the image off-center enough that it still works. This image didn’t require a lot of different crops along the way to get where I wanted to be. Sometimes an image tells you where to crop.
Below are a couple of alternate crops I discarded along the way. Both are tighter portrait crops. The image on the left has better impact but the image on the right places the sun in a more favorable position. The image at right almost made the cut. I liked this crop a lot. Ultimately, when compared side-by-side with the preferred crop above, it just didn’t have the same aesthetic value. Close but not quite.
Rikk Flohr © 2010