I got a lot of interesting play off the last He Cropped. She Cropped so we decided to do it again. And, like last time, we are cropping bugs!
This is the original capture: a metallic green bee in a furled pink Morning Glory. The centered nature of the original capture is to ensure that the center focus point has the bee’s eyes firmly in its grasp. When I shoot macro, I almost always work centered, composing with a later crop in mind. After capture, I found I was really struggling with the crop.
Because of the shape of the flower and the bee’s placement inside, I thought a square crop might be the ticket. I liked the strong diagonal of the leaf and decided if I could do a little rotation and crop squarely, I could get a composition I liked.
This was the result. I got the bee’s face on the rule of thirds and (hopefully) got a little balance in the process. Still, I wasn’t sure I had the ultimate crop. I turned to the Queen of the Crop, Laurie Hernandez and asked her to have a go.
She responded but with the caveat that this was a ‘very difficult crop to make’ and that she wasn’t really happy with any of them. The uncroppable image?
Laurie’s attempt is shown above. As is her wont, the Queen of the Crop went tight! She kept (roughly) the 2:3 aspect ratio from the capture but made it close and portrait. As with many macro images, power comes from proximity and she pulled us right up to the antennae! The negative space inside the blossom’s petals and around the insect really forms a ragged frame that is quite compelling. The attitude of the insect is definitely more menacing. That is why she is my compositional consultant!
One of the beauty’s of He Cropped. She Cropped is seeing the variety of crops that come with different perceptions of a single scene. Regardless of which crop you like best, hopefully it gives you the impetus to crop many ways or ask for advice from your trusted fellow croppers.
Rikk Flohr © 2014
A quick, yet unscientific, look at a recent cropping discussion
I was on a plane returning from the recent Worldesigns Photo Costa Rica tour working on my vast drive full of images. In the seat next to me was the principle of Worldesigns, LLC, Laurie Hernandez (know affectionately here on Holy Crop! as Queen of the Crop). I was working up a butterfly photo taken at one of our many stops along the way. Laurie, as it happened, was quite taken with the color palate of the image but not necessarily with my crop. She decided to intervene. Well, perhaps intervene is to strong a word. Let’s say she offered an alternative…
This is the uncropped capture of the image straight out of my camera. As long-time readers of Holy Crop! know, we first find the story and then carve away all portions of the image that do not support and strengthen said story. There are obvious distractions in the out-of-focus green leaves lower left and the green stem upper left. The clash with the color palette presented and have to go. Cropping seems like the logical tool to remove them from the scene. Then it becomes a balancing act of placing the folded-winged butterfly powerfully in whatever remaining space the Cropist deems necessary.
I saw the initial crop as a more square (actually quite close to 4×5) in crop. The above approximation shows what I was thinking. Granted, there is a little more work to do – especially burning down the lower left corner and augmenting he face of the butterfly slightly, etc. I wasn’t terribly attached to my crop at this point but I wasn’t unhappy with it either. Enter the Queen of the Crop’s voice into my ear. What she said precisely, I am uncertain, but she felt the need to deftly step in, assume the controls and offer her alternative.
Laurie’s crop was drastically different from my first attempt. She saw the value I’d missed, or dismissed perhaps, in the framing aspect of the entire leaf in which the butterfly was posed and sought to include it all. Whether for distraction’s removal sake or because it just worked, she went vertical and the resultant crop made for a strong alternate iteration of this image. Two different photographers cropped this image and two different visions resulted. He cropped, she cropped
At Holy Crop! we’ve long advocated that images can contain many compelling crops. The temptation to simplify this into a male/female perspective is powerful but, as they say, one example is a poor statistical sample. For now, I will leave it to the readers of Holy Crop! to mull.
Rikk Flohr © 2014
$200.00 Early Signup Price Crop!
Sign up for Worldesigns Photo Costa Rica Tour by June 30, 2011 for either of the February 2012 tours and receive a $200.00 discount from published price.
Yesterday, Laurie Hernandez (you know her as Queen of the Crop at the Holy Crop! Blog) of Worldesigns announced a temporary roll-back to last year’s excellent price for her Costa Rica photo tour. These photo tours are a unique photographic and cultural experience and a great way to escape the cold in February. Both Laurie and I are excited about our fifth tour season in Costa Rica and have planned new items for this years itineraries. Go to http://worldesigns.fleetingglimpse.com for more details.
I look forward to cropping with you across Costa Rica in 2012! Of course-there will be cropping!
Rikk Flohr © 2012
Is it possible to nail it – in-camera?
I teased at the end of the previous article that this image would be appearing shortly in a new article. Here it is again.
In yet another previous article, I told you how beneficial it is to have a second set of eyes gaze at your image and give you cropping advice.
When I looked at cropping this image I was at a loss. I contacted Queen of the Crop and asked her advice. “I am struggling for a crop,” says I. The email answer comes back, “I don’t think you should crop it.”
As I look at the image and the various aspects, searching for a place to slice and dice, I realize she is probably right.
- Anything off the top is going to subvert the sinking sun and loose those nice framing dark edges.
- Anything off the bottom is going to kill depth and split stones.
- Anything off the left is going to risk pushing the sun to the edge
- Anything off the right is going to push the sun toward center and loose the line of the clouds going out the upper right.
There are no major distractions to remove. The final analysis yields a dusky answer so why crop?
A simple scene like this makes it easy to compose in-camera. It is possible to nail it, compositionally speaking, at shutter click. I have cropped this image several times and none have the serene impact of the uncropped shot. I guess I will pay homage to the Queen here. It is possible to nail it in-camera, sometimes. And occasionally, the best crop is the one you don’t choose to execute.
Rikk Flohr © 2011
Sometimes a simple – yet subtle crop is just what an image needs. If you can see it!
When in doubt, get by with a little help from your friends.
Normally you would see the March edition of Sharecropping today but my travel schedule as well as a dwindling pool of contributor’s images have precluded this. I decided to go instead with a Crop Shop image from my recent Costa Rica photography tour with Worldesigns Photo.
I am also excited to introduce you, the reader, to Laurie Hernandez of Worldesigns, LLC. Laurie is one of the finest compositional eyes with whom I have ever worked. Hopefully we will see more of Laurie’s work in Holy Crop! before too long. Laurie assisted in the crop on this image and though the crop is very subtle, I think you will agree that the moves were justified.
My original camera framing seemed pretty good to me. I ignored Rule of thirds horizon placement to properly frame the sun’s rays and the foreground pool. I let the horizon drift toward center deliberately to hold these elements in place. After that, it was a choice of removing subtle pieces to remove distractions and strengthen the subject placement. Here I turned to a colleague for advice.
Looking over my shoulder, Laurie made the above observations. The cliff on the left dominated with its dark mass. It was too heavy to be that high in the photo. Cropping in a little from the left lessened the cliff’s dominance. The crop also removed a partial rock in the foreground at lower left that tended to draw the eye out of frame. After making that crop, the right-hand side seemed a little spacious. A slight adjustment inward and we are left with the image at the article’s beginning.
Never underestimate the power of having a fresh set of eyes review your images and your crops. Everyone sees things slightly differently and a second or third opinion can often create a collaborative masterpiece from an individual’s original vision. I am fortunate to have a keen compositional eye to which to turn when I am needing that last nuance to improve an image.
To whom will you turn?
Rikk Flohr © 2011