The Pano Crop & Other Stuff

In this age of editing images after their creation, one of the most interesting compositional choices is to turn that “normal” rectangle into a panoramic. To be fair, back in the day, I edited the dimensions of many of my prints made from negatives, especially for auto racing publications, in order to either bring the subject in closer, or to subtract something on the peripherals that was bothersome. I also on extremely rare occasions, would copy a slide onto more slide film and then crop into the subject more. All of that is quite different than the extreme dimensions of a pano. 

There once was a great film camera made by Fugi that used 120 roll film and produced images in the 6×17 centimeter format for automatic panoramic images. It was a great camera but I could never justify the hefty price tag for a format that most editors would not accept.

There are some subjects that are ready made panoramics. I speak here mainly of taking a scene, and recreating how it sits within the edges of a picture. A subject where we have to stretch our imagination to “see” the possibilities.

Pano images have a value beyond just fitting into a page or article better. Or merely to crop out something we want removed from an image. Panoramics have a feeling or mood to them, that takes the viewer to another place, so to speak. In some respects, it is surreal.

Images that are pretty much featureless, such as sunrise/sunset silhouettes, can be perfect for the pano crop. This images is divided into thirds. Two parts red, with the sky on the top (obviously) and its reflection on the bottom. And one part black, that being a row of trees on land. These shots work well un-cropped but often even better in the panoramic format.

Well after I made my first images of Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado, in fact only after my second trip there, did I begin to see the natural tendencies for those images to be seen in the panoramic format.

This first image of only rock and sand, was an easy enough translation to make into a panorama.

This photo which gives us grasses, sand, sky and some rock, was only cropped into this format when I began to write this article. I like the “slices” we see of multiple subjects. That lone bit of mountain breaks up the scene giving our eyes some relief from the panorama.

I’ve shown you images including this one from Turquoise Lake which is high in the Rocky Mts., many times before. This is my first pano crop of it. Despite that the perfect mirror image is now disturbed by cutting short the reflection, I actually like it better. The mountain now feels like it stretches along for a great distance. It is in fact, an altered reality despite the fact that I did not change anything within the scene, except for what I chose for you to see.

I have shown images of the Maroon Bells in the Rockies even more times. I could only love this pano image if I had never seen the actual scene in its entirety. This is pretty, but cutting off parts of those mountains and especially that reflective lake is shameful.

The next two images are panos only in the sense of how I cropped them. These are fairly short sections of what was in front of me.

The power of the second image is clearly that it is bathed in the sweet light of sunrise.

I believe, the first image is Arches N.P. and the second is Monument Valley. Both live in Utah, as does more beauty than I can describe. 

Most photographers never consider pano crops for wildlife. I have shared on these pages a few which were usually pelicans in flight or swimming in unison.

To me, this first crop is boring due to the fact that my subject, a White Egret, is too close to dead center in the picture frame.

Even removing the bird just a fraction off center to our right, helps solve the problem for me.

Farther in the same direction, makes the position of the bird seem even more natural. There is room in the direction the bird is facing.

Of course, eliminating those crops in favor of a vertical, is another way to make a comfortable picture. I have tried vertical panos and they can look and feel bizarre.

Moving on from panos.

Compositional balance.

Two thirds (or thereabouts) land and one third sky often makes for a comfortable and beautiful scene. It did not hurt that those flecks of clouds in the sky, were nicely balanced within the scene,  Also the warm rock and cool blue sky make for a sharp but comfortable contrast.

This is the much ignored Theodore Roosevelt N.P. in North Dakota. A good wildlife park as well.

There is nothing I love better than some interesting shapes, and a colorful sky from a sunset or sunrise. Anytime you are in the country, you can find images like this. Provided of course you either go out early enough or stay out late enough. This marshy sunrise was made at Bong State Recreation Area in Kenosha, WI. I have spent countless days at this location for virtually any and every nature subject you might think of.

All sunrises or sunsets need not be dripping in color. The effect of visually sandwiching bright sky, with a dark almost featureless mountain, and a somewhat brighter and taller mountain together, was a fascination for me. This was made somewhere in the Rockies or Northern Cascades. It seems to me that the latter, being the Cascades of Washington state, is the location. Always label what you capture because sooner or later, you will begin to forget where you were when you made an image. I do know that this one began its life as a slide rather than digital.

Lets go completely off track and finish with two wildlife images. Yes, these little critters are a part of the animal world and they are wild. The photos below hold no true creativeness to share. Sometimes making an image of hard to find and hard to photograph subjects that shows what they look like, is enough.

I always loved creating images of strange members of the wild world and centipedes and millipedes have always held a fascination for me. Small creatures that are passed up by many photographers can make good subjects .

I guess this spider is part of the Daddy Long-legs family, although somewhere in my subconscious I am being screamed at by someone saying that real Daddy Long-legs have two body parts and this has only one. Oh well, either way, searching for little critters for images was always fun for me.  I have spent many hours at a time doing so.


Below are two of the most important Bible verses ever written. They are very important for us to understand and remember. Even though you might hear these verses in a church, they fly in the face of a lot of church teaching.

The Apostle Paul wrote them. He is one of the best known but most misunderstood writers of the Bible. After being tortured and after many attempts to kill him, he finally had his head chopped off. Most of the Apostles met such fates. Previous to meeting Jesus, he had worked for the Romans by locating and capturing Christians, for imprisonment or death. On the road to Damascus Syria, he was greeted by a vision of Christ. He gave himself to the Lord and never looked back.

Galatians 2:20-21

20: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, not by my own strength and ability, but by Christ who lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by Faith in the Son of God, Who Loved me and gave Himself for me.

21:  I do not frustrate the Grace of God, for if righteous comes by the law, then Christ died in vain.

We cannot keep the law, and we cannot do enough good deeds to earn our way to Heaven. We live eternally only by the grace of God, and by Christ’s taking our punishment for us.

God Bless,

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