The Great Journey in Photography

To Crop or Not To Crop

Sandhill Crane coming in for landing

600mm f5.6 250iso 1/640sec

This is one of my favorite photos, not for any reason in particular, in fact it is somewhat unremarkable, I just happen to like it a lot. The first thing you will notice is that the subject, a Sandhill Crane is in the center of the frame. Yeah, we all know that is a no-no. But what if that bird was not the subject of the picture. What if you treated the background as the subject? And why not, the sky is what brought me to the location in the first place. Treating the background as the main subject makes the bird in the middle ok. The problem is that the bird is also a compelling subject, nice and sharp with the feathers blown out and great form with the feet and legs hinged at a great angle. Truth is that what I was really trying to do was capture the bird  between the clouds, that I accomplished. Too bad it is in the middle of the frame. Lets take a look at exactly how that bird wound up dead center.

The focus points of most cameras have differing levels of quality and very often the focus point in the center of the frame is one of few “cross” style sensors in the array of focus points. So here is a great flow to try out if you are in a low light situation or using a narrow aperture lens when focus tends to become difficult.  Set you focus point dead center but also set the focus lock duration longer than you normally would. With those two elements in place you can acquire focus and have some time to lead the bird a bit before it starts to hunt for a new focus point. Using the burst of three rule you should pick up the number of in focus images but you will also get a larger number of them with the subject in the center of the frame. When you are there, you can always crop if need be.

Next week we will take a walk-through on processing this image, how I got it to where it is and what we can do to turn it into the ideal image with a fantastic background and the subject exactly where you want it.

Until then, have a good one guys.

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2 responses

  1. I love this photo. Keep up the good work(:

    August 16, 2013 at 6:55 am

  2. I love this! It captures that moment between free-fall and flight beautifully…

    August 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

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