In the previous post, I showed off the Snow Tiger image. Here is a short story about the creation of that image that shows you before, after, and the path that lead me there.
Click the picture to give it a read.
Rikk Flohr © 2016
In today’s Found on the Net feature, Scott Kelby takes a page from Rikk Flohr, the Cropist’s, bag of tricks…
I had to smile a little bit today when I saw Scott Kelby’s article “Try Cinematic Cropping for a Widescreen Look” published on his blog. It reminded me of an article I wrote on Holy Crop! back in 2011 called “Wide Screen: Cinematic Crops”
Now, I am not saying Scott is a reader of and believer in the Holy Crop! Blog philosophy but I would like to think so. We’ll file this under the category: Great minds think alike…
Give my article a read and then pop over to Scott’s blog and see how great minds really do think alike – or at least, crop alike.
Rikk Flohr © 2015
In the previous articles I discussed the location of the various Power Points of the Lightroom™ Compositional Guides found in the Crop tool. The first dealt with a standard aspect ratio image, the second with a square aspect ratio image, and this installment explores the panoramic aspect ratio. For review: a Square image has an aspect ratio of 1:1, a panoramic of 2:1 or more, and a standard aspect ratio as those lying between square and panoramic. For simplicity we are not considering portrait orientation images as they are merely a 90° rotated incarnation of their respective landscape orientations.
Here is a panoramic crop with a Rule of Thirds compositional guide in use.
Here is the same image with a Golden Ratio grid instead.
Above is the same image with a Golden Spiral guide in use.
And finally, we have the Lightroom Triangles overlay in use.
If I overlay the four sets of Compositional Guides into layers on a single Photoshop™ image and set the blend mode to Lightness, we get the following composite. I have highlighted the four upper left power points in blue to make them easier to see.
In the previous articles I had used a red dot to indicate the power points but the red cardinal in this picture made that problematic so we switched to blue.
The first thing that strikes me differently about the panoramic crop and the distribution of the power points is that there is no longer the clearly defined cluster of three of the power points we found in square and standard aspect ratio images. Triangles has moved from the inside position on the Square, progressively outward through the standard aspect ratio until it sits as the outermost power point in the group when placed in a panoramic image. Note too, that the positions of the Golden Ratio, Rule of Thirds, and Golden Spiral have held their respective positions outward from the center for all three ratio families.
Looking at the guide overlays across the spectrum of aspect ratios, you can see the way the Triangles guide moves through the relatively static group of power points created by the other three guides. I find it fascinating that, in all cases, all the power points all lie along the corner-to-corner diagonal.
How can we use this knowledge to build a more strongly composed image when cropping?
Is it fair to say center-weighted compositions will do better using the Rule of Thirds or Golden Ratio guide? Can we also say that the more square an image is the less dramatic is the placement using the Triangles overlay? As we drift longer and wider do the Triangles and Golden Spiral become more powerful?
It is time to do a little homework, my apprentice cropists. Try out some of your favorite compositions – compositions with which you are truly pleased and cycle through the overlays. Examine which power point nails the subject best. I am betting you are going to begin to see some consistency in your choice of placement in relationship to your image’s aspect ratio.
I would love to hear some stories from your overlay adventures.
Rikk Flohr © 2014
We haven’t had a Sharecropping article lately. Sharecropping is our guest image feature segment and we were lucky enough to land the intrepid Ben Willmore for this edition. I had the pleasure of working with Ben at the Adobe Photoshop & You Popup Store in San Francisco a couple of years back and keep track of his many travels on Facebook. The other day, I happened across a photo Ben took of his lovely wife Karen while travelling through one of my favorite haunts: Badlands National Park.
The above image is the photo that caught my eye. Sometimes I feel like I am some sort of cropping savant because I see obscure trivia amide the clamor of an image. Like an image compositional ‘Rainman’, I looked at this picture and said, out loud, mind you, that “Karen is standing at 7-11”. For those of you who regularly read this blog, you may know where I am going with this. 7-11?
I asked Ben for a few details on the capture of this image and he related that he used the iPhone 5’s built-in panorama feature in the supplied camera app. Post-processing was done in Google’s Snapseed. So, Ben had to be pretty conscious of what was going on in this moving capture.
But 7-11? How is Karen standing at 7-11?
I brought the image into CorelDraw and overlaid a grid of 7 high by 11 wide. Look at the horizon. It is on the top-most Rule of Sevenths. The important part of the backdrop into which Karen has been placed, is the landscape. The sky is incidental to the image and its lack of importance in Ben’s framing choice supports this.
Karen herself is placed on the left-most Rule of Elevenths. We don’t talk much about the Rule of Elevenths at Holy Crop and there is a very good reason. Most images don’t have the horizontal fortitude to withstand a Rule of Elevenths-based composition. I’ve found that once an image reaches a 4:1 aspect ratio or higher, the Elevenths becomes a possibility but not a necessity.
Karen appears intimate with the landscape in this composition. She is a part of it. Not only is she in the landscape, she is capturing the landscape from the inside-it wraps around her, enveloping her in the landscape. She is a part of the story rather than being the story placed in a pretty backdrop.
Great photographers instinctively know when a composition works regardless of the ‘rules’ involved. They have a knack for knowing when a particular framing technique will likely yield a strong image. As you explore the world of ultra-panoramic crops, learn to be aware of those little-used and little-understood rules. If you find yourself at 7-11 someday, pick me up a Slurpee™.
Thanks to Ben, and by extension, Karen for participating in Sharecropping at Holy Crop! Next time you are in town, Ben, the Slurpees are on me!
Rikk Flohr © 2013
Happy Holidays to all from us here at Holy Crop!
© Rikk Flohr 2012
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