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