Greetings Holy Crop! fans. October was a barren month for posts to Holy Crop! My apologies. A couple of unbidden yet most welcome gigs intervened and I found myself neglectful. Hopefully November will make up for my hiatus as I get back to a more normal schedule.
This edition of Crop Shop features a shot from my recent tour of the southwestern United States. I took this picture at sunrise at Great Sand Dunes National Park in early September. The shot above is the original camera framing. As I composed this image at the wide end of 70-200 MM F2.8L IS, I noticed a lone hiker traversing down the distant dunes. My first inclination was to curse my bad luck at his intrusion but upon further review, he became the focal point for my cropping. Rather than crop him/her out, I decided to crop him/her in.
I have a wealth of wonders and am loath to crop anything but this image can be stronger so here goes:
- Great curves everywhere. The motion tells me I ought to think horizontally.
- I have a slight distraction in a too-interesting feature too far away from my focal point. This left most point of interest needs to be sacrificed.
- The hiker (yellow square) is placed great and makes for a scale-enhancing element to the landscape. He/she might be a little small in-frame.
- The trail of footprints is a great element too, complimenting the curves and leading you to the hiker.
- I have a brooding almost ominous sky framed (quite deliberately) at the rule of fifths.
- The great curves are everywhere but with the miniscule hiker on whom I will be focusing, I have to zoom in a little lest he/she become lost in the desert.
My gut told me to go wide and I did. I started with a 3:1 crop but decided that I lost too much depth. Those additional scooping layers enhance the grand scale of the landscape. Too much sky is sacrifice in this ‘going wide’.
I decided to back off to a 2:1 Panoramic crop. This time, I left the dune detail in at far left. This was better for depth but the hiker shrinks to anonymity.
To combat this, I kept my 2:1 Aspect Ratio and zoomed tighter, sacrificing sky to the Rule of sevenths and putting the hiker on the right rule of thirds. Better for the hiker but the rest of the image suffers.
I didn’t want to overlook a portrait crop. I tried this crop and it is ok. It maintains the depth I wanted and puts the sky, hiker and tracks in a good place but the grandeur of the landscape is lessened. Perhaps a little wider?
I went to square next and placed the crop as well as I could conceive. The square crop doesn’t seem to be the solution. It adds space but fails to add grandeur.
What Next? Enter the Queen of the Crop.
I contacted my venerable sounding board and asked her for a crop suggestion. She sent me back her best thoughts in the form of a crop that restored some depth, kept the landscape feel and still placed the hiker prominently enough to be divined by the careful observer. It isn’t so different from my first 2:1 panoramic attempt but the subtle shift brings back pieces of the sky, maintains the depth and keeps our hiker from being lost in the desert.
Thanks to Laurie Hernandez, Queen of the Crop for the assist.
If you would like to purchase this print, click on the link below.
10×18 – Signed Print
Lone Hiker in the Dunes: $ 44.95 USD
includes shipping to the lower 48 of the US.
Rikk Flohr © 2011