I’ve known a lot of photographers, or viewers of photographs, who do not like vertical crops of horizontal action. If the action is moving across the frame from right to left, or vice versa, it needs to stay that way, is what they are saying. That seems logical enough but I don’t believe it always holds.
When two or more subjects are vertically stacked within the image frame, even when they are moving horizontally across the picture, it can sometimes be uncomfortable to view pictures in the horizontal format. It becomes a lot of space in front of and in back of the subjects, while they are squeezed from top to bottom. I get the principles in which the proponents who like horizontal comps are using, but the comp (vertical stack) that the subjects have given you naturally when the picture was made, best dictates your finished composition.
One answer of course is a square crop. I admit that I am not a big fan of square pictures. Maybe that’s because our eyes are situated horizontally on our heads, and if we turn our heads sideways, they are vertical. They are never squared off. That said, I have on rare occasions made square comps. I never say never.
I think either crop below is acceptable, but I do prefer the vertical.
Okay, I’ll admit this image is a bit different from what you might expect from me. Actually, this old image from the winter of 2005 isn’t all that out of the ordinary for me. While I have favorite subjects and I have considered myself a nature photographer, I will photograph anything.
Late in the afternoon on a cold December’s day, I was photographing hawks in flight. The sky got a little absent of subjects and I began thinking towards a nice sunset when this commercial jet came blazing across the deep blue sky. I found the contrail to be much like sunset clouds, and click, click, click. Not a perfect image for sure, although with today’s equipment I think I could have gotten pretty close to one. I know, should have, could have, would have. All in all though, it is a pretty cool subject.
Gulls are pretty common subjects, especially where I live. I mean, on a winter’s day I can attract a few thousand (maybe a few hundred) of them just by going to a fast food restaurant and eating my meal in the car. Just the same, the light was pretty and the pose was nice. The moral is, if there’s a picture, make it. Don’t spend your photographic life eliminating subjects, instead practice including them.
All wildlife photographers have special times that they remember. Often for me, those special times have more to do with the time spent, and the relationship built, with my subjects, than the actual photography
In 2007 I spent almost two weeks in the Colorado Rockies and the three separate occasions that I stopped at Arapaho NWR, and visited with the White-tailed Prairie Dogs, were indeed special to me. These are young, immature dogs, so to speak.
All subjects don’t have to be furry and cuddly to be special. In the early 90s (1990 actually) I intended to travel to the center of my state to photograph the Seventeen Year Periodical Cicadas. Seventeen years between opportunities is a long time. Well as it sometimes happens, life got in the way. In 2007 I was given a second chance and I made my way to Wyalusing State Park on the Mississippi River. No matter what, I always loved the Mississippi River. I got there in the darkness, and after a bit of sunrise image making, could soon after hear the call of the Cicada, and could see the Eastern Bluebirds having a feast. I spent maybe an hour with the little buggers before I moved on to Hummingbirds. That’s not a lot of time after waiting seventeen years but Bluebirds, Hummingbirds, Luna Moths and more were calling to me. Still, it was worth the trip and the wait.
As I mentioned, I began my day with a (foggy) sunrise of the river. Sunrises/sunsets, almost always have an abstract living inside themselves.
Soon autumn will be here and photographers of all kinds will be combing the parks and forests, to put their personal stamp on the season.
One of my favorite things to do was to compose various colors and tones. Yes colors can be composed. These were made in southeastern Wisconsin.