In a previous article, I extolled the virtues of the 10/3 or 3.33:1 Ratio for cropping a longer panoramic view. The other day while shooting with my 4:3 aspect ratio Canon G10 I found myself in a situation again which required (to my aesthetics at least) a panoramic crop. Eventually, I found myself back in 10/3:1 territory.
The uncropped original shown above reveals many problems. Notably the reflections on the glass through which I was shooting. They place a nice grid pattern across the image that will be loads of fun to remove in a pixel-based image editor. Thankfully, I have excess foreground and sky to eliminate to tighten the composition. The star of my show is the bending steam coming out of the distant power plant stacks. I need to eliminate that which is unnecessary in order to showcase the steam clouds as a subject.
I have a great sky in the lower portion and some decent foreground details with which to work. I also want to include the clock tower as a minor player to frame the right-hand edge and face back into my subject, the steam columns bending in the wind. A standard 2:1 crop gets me close but doesn’t get me zeroed in on the steam. I need a wider crop accentuate the all-ready wide subject and make it prominent enough to dominate the frame.
Thinking back to my 10/3 Lizard crop of a few articles back, I decided to use the 3.33:1 ratio here. I was pretty happy with what I saw. Not only did it render the reflections moot, it made my wind-bent steam much more the center of action. I stuck my supporting player, the clock tower, on the RH Rule of Sevenths to balance the edge of the frame and keep it from over powering the intended subject. I left a rule of fifths foreground/horizon to let the sky dominate.
There is just something about 3 1/3: 1 that works for me. Try it on those tough panoramas and see if the ratio works for you.
Rikk Flohr © 2012