Project 52 week 20: the crop factor

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Visiting Sydney this week I had an hour or so spare to walk down to The Rocks area and take a few quick snaps of the Bridge and the Opera House. My camera had a 23mm lens on it so no opportunity to zoom in or out for any shots. I was trying to get an interesting angle of the Harbour Bridge and managed a few sort of interesting shots. Recognising that taking beautifully composed photos is a skill that might be natural for some, but for others requires much learning and experience (especially if you happen to be in a hurry), the value of cropping in post processing has become quite important to me – I can refine my composition later. The first thing for me is often straightening the photo up as I never seem to get the horizon right. Then there may be some minor cropping to try to improve the original composition a bit.
Sometimes however, as in the case with this photo, some really brutal cropping of the original image can reveal some much more interesting images. In this case, I have found some really interesting ‘street photography’ style shots in the image. In the foreground there are several people, which looked at in isolation seem to me to make some great photos – the people sitting in a group on the left with the guy in the hat who’s turned around, the man texting a message, the group of girls walking along, and the guy sitting alone on the edge of the dock on the bottom right. Some combinations of these are also good. Then (in the original full-sized photo at least), there is an interesting ‘shot’ of some intrepid tourists near the apex of the bridge doing the bridge climb. It gives a great sense of the structure and size of the bridge.
I found some great crops of earlier photos I took in previous posts when I selected to use a photo as the header image for the post. The WordPress theme I am using takes a crop of the photo which is a horizontal slice and in these two cases, I think makes a better photo than the full-sized image (have a look here and here to see what I mean). The header image for this post is also an automated crop of the main image and it removes much of the clutter in the image and lets you concentrate on the bridge. By chance it captures most of the bridge – if I had any control over how the wordpress theme crops for the header, I would see if I could get all of the bridge in.
It’s unfortunate that the uploader for wordpress reduces the size and quality so much as it isn’t really possible to see all these aspects of the photo in great detail but I have had quite a bit of fun playing with it in Lightroom.


[Edit: the cropped header images in this post have been lost for the time being as I have changed the wordpress theme which seems to have lost them. I might change back later.]

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