Saturday, November 16, 2013

To crop or not to crop?

These days I am in a quandry. Having sold all my DSLR gear with lenses ranging from 18mm to 450mm in full frame, I still see photographically in the extremes. I am working to get used to the having just a 35mm, 52mm, and 127.5 mm (again, full frame, lenses are actually 23mm, 35mm, and 85mm) lenses.
In the past, I stayed within the rule of "fill the frame." I did this for a couple of reasons. With the DSLRs I have used, it was a necessity. The largest sensor I owned was a D100 which was only 6 megapixels. But it was my backup camera until I was able to purchase a second D2H which was only 4.1MP. Second, filling the frame saved me time in post processing. I was able to go wide when necessary and reach out with a telephoto when necessary.
I still "see" images that way.
Take this image for example. I spotted this pair just as they met each other. My "eye" saw the chance for an image. But getting closer to "fill the frame" was not an option as it would have destroyed their interaction. So I stayed where I was and fired off a frame. This is what the original image shows.

Not really what I wanted but with the X-E1 with a 35mm attached, it was what was available. As I looked at the image, I could see the shot I had really seen in my head. But would it be suitable for printing?
Now, I had a previous post ( see about megapixels. There I showed a billboard of an image from one of my D2H cameras blown up for use on the billboard. The X-E1 has a 16.3MP sensor so would I be able to crop it, resize it to 8"X12" @ 300dpi for printing?
I cropped the image using Photoshop CS6 from 10.88"X16.32" @ 300dpi to 3.88"X5.82" @ 300dpi, or about one-third its original size. I then resized the image using Perfect Resize 7.0 Professional Edition to 8"X12" @ 300 dpi and came up with this view of what I really wanted to see in the print.

Now, while a digital version can never show what the final print looks like,I did a print of this image. I was amazed that the print totally satisfied my hopes. After years, yes, decades, of trying to always "fill the frame", I now see the possibilities.
Today's street photographers (the new genre term but, to me, it is still documentary photography) talk about getting in close, using 28mm-50mm lenses. When you think of some of the great "street" photographers, they always seem to be in a place like New York, Paris, Istanbul, London, Chicago, Hong Kong, and the like. Places that are just TEEMING with people.
When I visited the UK, I found London & Edinburgh to be a shooter's paradise. Even carrying around a bulky DSLR like my D2H with a superzoom on it, I was able to capture documentary images throughout the range of the zoom (27mm-300mm in full frame) without a problem. I could even get closer without drawing attention because there were always people around.
But, in a small town like Apalachicola, the streets are not teeming with people to cover someone approaching with the intent of grabbing a photograph. But, as I let go of all rules such as "fill the frame", I am beginning to see some possibilities especially with the capabilities of the new equipment.
AND that excites me.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting....

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