Would you crop … or not?

_MG_8129

That’s a beautiful scene and seeing the larger context is helpful. Would you leave it like this or crop it?

We drove by this scene a few times in Yellowstone National Park and every time I knew that I wanted to take a photo of it. I also noted the challenges.

The biggest problem was that I couldn’t stand where I wanted – I would have preferred to be about 50 metres to my right. After some internal debate, I decided a better photo was likely not worth scalding my feet in steaming hot water. I don’t regret it.

When I surveyed all the wonderful potential, I decided to focus on the unusual formation in the centre right because it reminded me of a castle. When I looked at the photo above, I wasn’t too crazy about the dark area in the upper right corner but the steam morphing into sky was good. I also would have moved the sun around if I could but that wasn’t happening. In the end the light and shadows worked out reasonably well. A good place to start.

In hindsight I wish I had taken more time with this photo and tried a few more angles but I usually say that. When I’m home, I have to work with what I’ve got. So I put the cropper tool to work and started slicing away to make the castle larger.

The top right corner on the photo below was essentially locked. I went right to the edge of the darker area in the photo since I didn’t want to include any of it. I could have gone a little higher on the bottom but I liked that curved rock in the foreground. It seemed to give the photo more depth and set off the castle even more. What do you think?

How would you have cropped the photo?

_MG_8129 - Version 2

I decided to crop it closer to highlight the castle.

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Latest Comments

  1. Judy says:

    I like the full image as the formation looks like an alien city on a hill. The crop I do like also for the detail and the architecture..Oddly reminds me of a Grecian ruin. I guess we all understand the frustration of not being able to stand just where our creative sense desires us to be. In the end though being there can often be enough as well as working with what opportunity let you come away with. It’s fun to work with what you got to take home!

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I like the alien city idea! Yes, being there and working with we’ve got is often a lot to be thankful for but somehow doesn’t stop me from wishing for more sometimes.

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  2. Cornel A. says:

    From the beginning, my attention was drawn by the castle shaped like. But, to appreciate more the beauty of the cropped photo, you might need the first one, too.

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  3. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    Depends. If you want to be artistic, show the cropped photo. If you want to document the scene to show the scale of the photo, leave it as is.

    Knowing that you are nothing if not an artist, I guess you should crop it.

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  4. whichwaynow101 says:

    I’m not the one to ask! I click zoom click zoom click zoom click, effectively cropping the original wide angle shot. – then like them all. However, I often zoom in on an interesting scene and find after I’ve downloaded the pics I prefer the first photo. I think “the larger context” tells the story.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Sounds like there’s a lot of action around your camera!
      I have found the comments interesting because there are some who seem to generally prefer the wide angle view while others a tighter perspective. I rarely use my wide angle lens, continually try to get tighter and generally like those better.

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  5. dweezer19 says:

    Hi, another lovely shot. I understand your dilemma. That happens to me a lot. Of course I always save the original in full landscape mode. I totally agree with your focus. That area caught my eye immediately, but for me it seemed like a frozen Roman or Greek temple. I would love to have seen a shot more head on, like directly in front of it or from the other side, just to see a different light. I love it though!

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  6. Honie Briggs says:

    The age old question, to crop or not to crop. Finally have a moment to leave a comment. These images are both stunning. Like most everyone else has already said, I’m glad you chose to show the wider perspective. I too would have probably cropped for a closer look at the castle. I rarely have shots that aren’t better with some minor cropping. I have improved my framing of a shot, somewhat, still trying to get many shots from which to choose is the blessing (and curse, I think) of digital photography. Always a pleasure to see what you’ve captured.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      If in doubt, I crop and typically enjoy doing it – all thanks to the magic of digital. Like you, I think it usually makes them better, sometimes exponentially so. Glad you enjoyed the photo.

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  7. Mike Powell says:

    I really like the image and tried to imagine how I might have cropped it. I think that I would have left a bit more of the original image show on the left, right, and bottom areas. To me, it looks like a temple, carved out of the rocks on some remote Greek island.

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  8. artsifrtsy says:

    I think cropping is sometimes necessary and is sometimes necessary to improve the composition of a photo. Ansel Adams cropped, so I guess it’s OK 🙂

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I suppose if Ansel did it. I love cropping even if it’s for minor adjustments but it makes so much difference in the final image. And maybe because it’s the one software tool I know how to work properly:)

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  9. anotherday2paradise says:

    You definitely needed to show us both shots. Awesome detail. 🙂

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  10. Trudy Boldt says:

    Beautiful,

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  11. sagescenery says:

    Breath-taking first shot…with great detail in the second…you can’t go wrong!!

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  12. Seenorway says:

    I think I’d land on the same solutiuon as you did: Panorama shot combined with cropped detail shots.

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  13. Ad-libb3d says:

    I like the way you’ve cropped it, but I also agree that it works uncropped (I like the mist and sky). Best part of the whole post for me though is hearing your thought process. I bought a new camera a couple of months ago and have been working on improving my skills, and I’ve often wondered what the thought process was in the mind of a someone like yourself. Appreciate your sharing.

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  14. vanbraman says:

    Interesting. I saw the second picture first as the preview picture in the WordPress reader. I looked at it for awhile and pondered on whether I would crop it. My answer was no, as if I did I would miss something. It had a good composition.

    Then I opened the post and saw the first picture and realized that it was what you wanted feedback on it. I visualized cropping it in different ways, and the way you cropped it was the only one that made sense. I do like the overall picture, but the cropped picture brings out some interesting detail. I would want to see both of them to place the cropped picture in context, and to see the detail.

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  15. edithlevyphotography says:

    I actually prefer the I uncropped version. The clouds and mist really adds to overall feel of the image.

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  16. naturesnippets says:

    I definitely like both. The first one holds my interest longer from the variety of shapes and colors. Absolutely amazing!

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Interesting to hear your perspective and the reasons behind it. I have noted over time that I seem to be biased toward the closer view and suspected others would prefer the wider view.

      Like

  17. Gunta says:

    I can definitely see what you were going for with the crop, but I like the context of the broader view and I couldn’t have resisted the clouds and the mist. But in the end it’s all subjective and you’re the artist so you get to choose! 🙂

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Thanks for your sharing your perspective – and I’m not entirely surprised you like mist and clouds! My idea was to let others play in the sandbox too and have their input on cropping. You’re right, subjectivity rules so everyone has full rights to their opinion.

      Like

  18. melodylowes says:

    This scene transforms itself year by year – I like the cropping, but also the original!

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  19. gimpet says:

    The dark area reminds me of a moat to the castle, but honestly this is so astonishing that I don’t think you could go wrong as long as the white castle part is highlighted and centered.

    Like

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