Lens-Artists Challenge #96 – Cropping the Shot
“There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.”
This week Patti invites us to share images which have been cropped along with some thoughts about their before and after. As promised in my previous post, I’ve included a number of images from my photography outing on the island last week. I was on my way home from a beach shoot mid-week when I spotted the eagle in my opening image. Fortunately, since I had my camera with me I was able to pull over and capture the shot. The bird was quite high up in a very tall tree, so cropping helped to show its magnificent details. I also cropped it a bit tighter than I might otherwise have to fit it within the width of my post.
“Pictures can be cropped so long as their meaning remains intact.”
Yann Arthus Bertrand
For the image above I was actually on the golf course and had only my iPhone 8+ for photography. The gorgeous red-tailed hawk was being bombarded by crows as he soared through the trees and landed nearby. As we approached, it spread it’s beautiful wings to protect its treasure (probably stolen from the crows). It never once moved until we’d gone past, at which point it proceeded to eat its bounty. I cropped the shot to show the detail of the bird and to remove the cart path from the image. Removing the path put the bird within a more natural environment and cropping brought some of its beautiful plumage into better focus.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
Mr. Capa is right in his quote above, but there are times when one simply cannot get closer – when shooting across water for example. Birders and photographers are fascinated by black skimmers. Their unique vertical pupils cut the water’s glare and their bills are shaped longer on the bottom to skim while their shorter top bill locks down on their prey. Most of us have captured them in flight or standing on the water’s edge, but one has to be VERY lucky to catch them actually skimming. First, it doesn’t happen often or for long. Second, if lucky enough to see it, one has to have camera in hand pre-set to capture the action. I was at the beach shooting with a friend when several skimmers came soaring in, skimming the water behind us. We were so excited I’m surprised we were able to capture the birds at all, but capture we did. The image above clearly shows the bird skimming and as a bonus catches its reflection as well. I could have cropped the shot more closely but I wanted to keep the symmetry of the bird’s reflection.
“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”
I’m closing this week’s post with a comment about a tragedy on Kiawah this past week. A local woman was killed by a 10′ alligator in front of several witnesses who tried to save her. Unfortunately, she’d ignored the most basic rules of safety. First, in an effort to photograph the gator she ran toward it- to a distance of only 4 ft (1.2 meters). She then got down to its level, and lastly she reached out to touch it. Many of you have commented in the past about it being dangerous for me to be so close to our alligators. Contrary to Mr Eisenstaedt’s quote above, I have a very healthy fear of our alligators and would NEVER get close to one. I use a zoom lens, and most often I crop the shot (as I did in the image above) to show their fierceness. Signs are posted throughout the island warning that alligators are dangerous. Those who knew the woman that was killed were stunned by her behavior. It was a tragic reminder of how important it is to be safe and to avoid dangerous situations at all times.
Sincere thanks to those who responded to our All Wet challenge last week. Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and I enjoyed the wide variety of your as-always creative responses. We hope to see you next week when our challenge will be Guest-hosted by Sue (Mac’s Girl) of The Nature of Things. Be sure to link to her site and to use the Lens-Artists Tag so that we can all enjoy your responses. Until then, whether locked-down or let loose, be safe and stay healthy!