The Crop, The Treatment & More

The Crop

90% of all the wildlife images you see, are crops. Now I admit that is a guess, but if you photograph wildlife you know I am in the ballpark with my “guestimate“.

Oh come on now, that photo is beyond a crop!! Well, I’ll admit that when I made this image with my old 6 mega pixel Nikon D70, this was a ridiculous crop, Just the same, you only waste a move of your shooting finger, a small fraction of space on your memory card and a fraction (1/1000 ) of a second in time when you make a picture. The crop was a little too much for that old camera, but it’s close to being usable.

Take note of how I composed the original file with my subject almost dead center, and horizontal. When you know for a fact that you are going to crop a picture, and compose it at home, leave all the space in the world around your subject when you click the shutter.

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Same principle here with a little less severe of a crop.

This image of a Red-winged Blackbird was also created with the knowledge that my picture would be cropped, and therefore composed, after I got home. A little less crop with a 10 mega pixel camera left a better image. What I could have done with a 60 mega pixel camera!

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Big birds like Sandhill Cranes, especially when they are pretty close to you, make the life of a photographer easy. Of course there will be fewer options while editing.  I was thinking vertical when I made the original.

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Now I was pretty close to this turtle so I composed my picture with some extra space in the direction my subject was looking and moving. I still decided that a tighter image would have more impact.

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Of course, I very rarely make landscape images that don‘t have the finished comp at the click of the shutter. To me, they are all about “in the field” compositions.

Both colors and tree trunks (the compositional anchor) need to be placed as well as possible within the picture frame to either compliment or contrast each other. This is a blast to do, at least from my mindset.

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You might say that composing landscapes is a series of mental/visual crops. A crop as you go scenario.

Wildlife photography is fun because your subject has a mind of its own. The photographer has to follow and/or anticipate the movements of the animal. Your composition is never 100% yours.

Landscape photography is the direct opposite. You can often walk around and examine what will be the future components of your image. You can change your position back and forth, up and down, and side to side. You also have time to change lenses.

One is reactionary, accompanied with some planning, and the other is carefully planned with some occasional reaction to the environment and your surroundings.

The Treatment

Natural Abstracts, and Shutter Speed Abstracts

I love finding nature’s abstracts and just composing them and sharing them. Such is the case with the lichen and the ice below.

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That doesn’t mean that I never use creative shutter speeds. A slow shutter speed and moving water is an example. If your image contains nothing but water, you have an abstraction of reality.

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Some abstracts can be done in camera just by careful lens selection and composition. This surf and sand at sunrise was easy for me to see in both my mind and with my eyes, and it was easy to bring to fruition.

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With this image, I have taken the above photo and applied a Photoshop filter to the golden water. I generally go with my natural view of things but I have found that playing with editing toys sometimes helps me to see better when I am in the field. Ultimately, I am happier using my personal vision rather than using the visions of a software technician.

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Getting arrested or sharp motion along with blurry motion in the same picture frame is difficult. In this picture I did manage a sharp bird and some partially blurred surf at 1/500th. I would guess this bird could have been held sharp at 1/250th but I doubt if the water would have looked very different. My depth of field would have then been extended which I would not have wanted in this picture. Of course if the bird was standing still I could easily get a sharp bird with soft water, but the bird in action is what makes the picture. The bird is a Ruddy Turnstone.

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What’s the best way to learn all these little nuances of photography? Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Time spent and shutters clicked will teach you more than any paid teacher ever will.

John 14:27
27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God Bless,                                                                                                                                      Wayne

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