The Holy Crop team just returned from our annual winter workshop to the Badlands of South Dakota. While there are many crops yet to come from the careful framing of our photographs in the Badlands, I thought I would share this image. Workshop participant, Kevin Hawkins, pauses on a ridge to consider the emerging light on this small peak. I captured him and then cropped him into the scene I wanted.
The original camera framing is shown here. Note that there is a vast amount of sky and an additional small peak on the far right. This original framing is pretty nice. The muted colors in the sky add to the photo. As I looked at it, though, I wanted a tighter crop – to pit man against the light in a much closer struggle. At least, that is the story my mind wants to tell when looking at this image.
In Lightroom, I did a rough crop to carve away some of the unneeded sky and get rid of the far right peak – as I thought it a little distracting. When I was satisfied with the rough crop, I started to fine-tune the placement of the peak on the right edge of the frame. The diagonal of the peak flowing down into the center spoke to me and suggested a course of action. I decided to use the Lightroom crop overlay called “triangles” to help me exploit this diagonal.
The Triangles Overlay is accessible by cycling the [ O ] key while in the crop dialog. Placing the RH edge of the image frame in the deepest part of the valley between the two sunlit peaks, I worked my way upwards. I didn’t want to crop up from the bottom as the lowest ridge added some visual depth to the composition so I limited my work to above. It was then a matter of intersecting the perpendiculars to the diagonal with the photographer’s camera by coming in from the left. .
The finished crop is show above. The man against the mountain is isolated from the extraneous material. The Photographer and the Light are dueling in opposition.
In the original framing the horizon occupied the Rule of Fifths. In the crop, the horizon is now at the Rule of Thirds. Rule of odds has been maintained to keep the image as eye-pleasing as possible. The final aspect ratio was left to float to the strongest position and ends up very nearly panoramic at 1.91:1.
News on additional Badlands workshops should be coming soon…
Rikk Flohr © 2014