Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid

When photographing any subject, get the beauty shots, the basic shots, the expected shots, but also look for something different. Try going in really close, or try an unusual angle. Push the envelope, stretch your creativity, go beyond the expected.

Sometimes an unusual approach does not happen when you are actually shooting. Sometimes you do not see all the options until much later, after you have downloaded the image onto your computer. There is something about seeing an image on the big screen that can tap into a different way of seeing the subject.

That is exactly what happened with this image. This is what was shot,
before cropping
a more typical view of this captive silver wood duck. After viewing it on the computer screen I thought a very tight, head-on view would be powerful, and perhaps a little comical as well. So after extensive cropping, the close-up version was born.

With today’s fine cameras and lenses, image quality will generally hold up even with extensive cropping, IF exposure and focus are good. Sometimes cropping is necessary simply because you do not have a long enough lens to come in as tightly as you would like. At other times, as with this image, cropping can eliminate extraneous information and bring the viewer into the heart of the image. There is no shame in cropping. While you always want to do your best to frame the shot in the camera at the time of exposure, there are times when cropping later can turn a so-so image into a spectacular one.

So go back through some of your old images and look at them from a different perspective. Examine them to see if tight cropping can improve the original image. It will not work on all images, but you will find some that will thrill you once you experiment a little.  

Shutter Speed 1/500 sec.  Aperture f/8.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 400mm f.5.6L.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.”  --William Albert Allard 


  1. Awesome photograph! Now to try it!

  2. Thanks so much, Debbie! I appreciate the good feedback. Definitely go try it and have fun!

  3. I did a presentation to my local camera club recently titled "Cropping ... not just for farmers any more". This is just another wonderful example of what you will see when you crop severely. Thanks.


  4. Thanks for your great comment, Paul! And what a super title for your program. I appreciate your reading the blog, and I hope you come back often.