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Author Topic: To crop or not to crop  (Read 5326 times)
PeterAit
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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2009, 04:50:03 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
I see we're back to a previous discussion on cropping after the shot, where Jonathan Wienke advocated that it was not recommended for resolution considerations.

I find such rigidity of approach very Germanic. I'd recommend, crop whenever you feel like it. Of course try to get a shot which won't need cropping in post-processing. Doesn't everyone try to do that?

It's really a very silly argument.

It's interesting that someone would consider the composition of a photo to be secondary to its sharpness (resolution). I guess these are the folks who you see at photo exhibitions with their nose 2 inches from the print, people whose own photos may be sharp as tacks but are aesthetically boring.

Peter
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
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byork
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2009, 08:54:48 PM »
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John,

I tried some local adjustments in lightroom and like you, I've decided it's better not to do much at all. I could post the result of what I did if you like but to be honest, there's not much point as I think it's better as is. Out of interest though, what I will do is post an unaltered conversion of a raw file from one of the brackets I did in case I decided to do a blend. Most times I like to use one frame and this is what I've done here. This might give an indication how really, really bright that mist was.

Russ,

Haven't had a print done at this stage, but when I do, if it's as stunning as you think I'll be sure to let you know....might even send you one.

Cheers
Brian
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2009, 09:56:51 PM »
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Quote from: byork
John,

I tried some local adjustments in lightroom and like you, I've decided it's better not to do much at all. I could post the result of what I did if you like but to be honest, there's not much point as I think it's better as is.
Brian

Goes to show that you took a really great shot to begin with.  The "double S curve" makes the image for me.  Well done (now go print the darn thing)!

John
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RSL
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2009, 11:02:04 AM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
It's interesting that someone would consider the composition of a photo to be secondary to its sharpness (resolution). I guess these are the folks who you see at photo exhibitions with their nose 2 inches from the print, people whose own photos may be sharp as tacks but are aesthetically boring.

Peter

Peter, I should let Jonathan speak for himself, but I don't think that's what he was saying. Keeping the pixels is just one, quite minor reason for composing on the camera. Integrity of vision is the most important one. There's certainly nothing wrong with cropping when it's necessary to confine the picture to an aspect ratio different from the aspect ratio of the camera, though if you need to do that often you really ought to buy a camera with the aspect ratio you want. But what Jonathan and I both were saying is that banging away more or less at random and then hoping to find a picture in the result once you're on the computer is a novice's approach to photography. That approach comes from an inability to actually look at what you're shooting and compose a picture properly. Keeping the extra pixels is a beneficial byproduct of taking the trouble to do proper composition, but not its raison d'etre.

In Florida in the winter I work with a group of people some of whom shoot with cameras that use the standard 2 x 3, 35 mm aspect ratio, and then crop every picture to a 4 x 5 ratio to fit a mat with an 8 x 10 opening, even though they have access to a very good mat cutter. I try to wean them away from their folly, but I rarely succeed.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2009, 11:51:46 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Peter, I should let Jonathan speak for himself, but I don't think that's what he was saying. Keeping the pixels is just one, quite minor reason for composing on the camera. Integrity of vision is the most important one. There's certainly nothing wrong with cropping when it's necessary to confine the picture to an aspect ratio different from the aspect ratio of the camera, though if you need to do that often you really ought to buy a camera with the aspect ratio you want. But what Jonathan and I both were saying is that banging away more or less at random and then hoping to find a picture in the result once you're on the computer is a novice's approach to photography. That approach comes from an inability to actually look at what you're shooting and compose a picture properly. Keeping the extra pixels is a beneficial byproduct of taking the trouble to do proper composition, but not its raison d'etre.

In Florida in the winter I work with a group of people some of whom shoot with cameras that use the standard 2 x 3, 35 mm aspect ratio, and then crop every picture to a 4 x 5 ratio to fit a mat with an 8 x 10 opening, even though they have access to a very good mat cutter. I try to wean them away from their folly, but I rarely succeed.
You've said this twice now.  Can you link back to where someone was suggesting "banging away more or less at random and then hoping to find a picture in the result once you're on the computer"?  I can think of one freak who thought that making a high resolution panorama and then cropping images out of that was a good idea.  But I don't think they overlapped with your tenure here.

I think Weinke's (spell?) suggestion was to take a series of photos at the time to cover all your options.  Sorting between those at the PC later is little different than cropping at the PC later.  So I think what you were saying and what Jonathan was saying were quite different.  I think that you're point is that one should have the final print in mind at the time you take the image so that there is no need to crop.  Jonathan's point was that a professional makes sure they have the shot regardless.  (Same logic would apply to bracketing exposures and what not.)
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RSL
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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2009, 01:35:34 PM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
You've said this twice now.  Can you link back to where someone was suggesting "banging away more or less at random and then hoping to find a picture in the result once you're on the computer"?  I can think of one freak who thought that making a high resolution panorama and then cropping images out of that was a good idea.  But I don't think they overlapped with your tenure here.

I've said it more than twice. If you check the posts on User Critiques you'll find a whole series of suggestions to crop this way and crop that way, and suggestions from the original poster that maybe he ought to have cropped this way or that way.

Quote
I think Weinke's (spell?) suggestion was to take a series of photos at the time to cover all your options.  Sorting between those at the PC later is little different than cropping at the PC later.  So I think what you were saying and what Jonathan was saying were quite different.  I think that you're point is that one should have the final print in mind at the time you take the image so that there is no need to crop.  Jonathan's point was that a professional makes sure they have the shot regardless.  (Same logic would apply to bracketing exposures and what not.)

It would be pretty hard to argue that you shouldn't cover the subject completely enough to make sure "you have the shot." Can you "link back" to someone who suggested that? I don't have time to check through several weeks of posts on LLS, but besides suggesting covering what you're shooting, Jonathan suggested not cropping, partly for better resolution. There were several posts on the subject in that one thread. If you check Peter's post, to which I responded, you'll find he said this:

Quote from: PeterAit
It's interesting that someone would consider the composition of a photo to be secondary to its sharpness (resolution).
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2009, 01:47:35 PM »
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All of which isn't the same as "banging away more or less at random".  But, whatever.
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RSL
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2009, 01:57:27 PM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
All of which isn't the same as "banging away more or less at random".  But, whatever.

You're right. It's "whatever." That's the problem.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2009, 02:43:22 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
You're right. It's "whatever." That's the problem.

There's no problem.  Nature is a combination of randomness and symmetry, and neither (in nature) is conducive to framing by a typical camera.  Those who can make a satisfying image in spite of the limitations are the good photographers, no matter how they do it.  Whatever.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2009, 06:15:58 PM »
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Of the two, the first one is the better composition. The only way I'd do it differently would be to crop a little off the right.
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Ray
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« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2009, 10:35:52 PM »
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I hope Brian doesn't mind my altering his image, but playing around with the small jpeg I see there's quite a lot of detail in that shot. Working with the RAW image (if there is one), I get the impressions there would be a lot of processing options as an alternative to cropping.

In the rendering below, I retrieved highlight detail with the shadows/highlight tool, changed the white balance, applied a bit of selective contrast enhancement, and increased vibrancy.

A greater focus of attention is now on the red cliff. This may not be preferred. Fair enough! However, if the detail is there to be recovered even in a small jpeg, then one might deduce that this is probably closer to what Brian saw when he pressed the shutter.

[attachment=15391:Modified_1.jpg]
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 11:25:58 PM by Ray » Logged
byork
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« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2009, 11:37:51 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
I hope Brian doesn't mind my altering his image, but playing around with the small jpeg I see there's quite a lot of detail in that shot. Working with the RAW image (if there is one), I get the impressions there would be a lot of processing options as an alternative to cropping.

In the rendering below, I retrieved highlight detail with the shadows/highlight tool, changed the white balance, applied a bit of selective contrast enhancement, and increased vibrancy.

A greater focus of attention is now on the red cliff. This may not be preferred. Fair enough! However, if the detail is there to be recovered even in a small jpeg, then one might deduce that this is probably closer to what Brian saw when he pressed the shutter.

[attachment=15391:Modified_1.jpg]


Ray,

Of course I don't mind you fiddling with my image, I 'm here to learn what I can and It's clear that your processing skills are far greater than mine. It also seems I may not have blown the mist after all, as you have certainly extracted a fair bit more detail than I was able to. I assume you've done this in lightroom? If so would you be willing to post a screen shot of your workflow with amounts etc on the history panel? There is indeed a raw file BTW.

Cheers
Brian

I see how you've managed that to a certain extent, but when I darkened the highlight slider, I lost a lot of detail in the rock. Contrast adjustment pulled some back...is this where you applied the selective contrast?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 12:01:10 AM by byork » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2009, 06:30:01 AM »
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Quote from: byork
Ray,

Of course I don't mind you fiddling with my image, I 'm here to learn what I can and It's clear that your processing skills are far greater than mine. It also seems I may not have blown the mist after all, as you have certainly extracted a fair bit more detail than I was able to. I assume you've done this in lightroom? If so would you be willing to post a screen shot of your workflow with amounts etc on the history panel? There is indeed a raw file BTW.

Cheers
Brian

I see how you've managed that to a certain extent, but when I darkened the highlight slider, I lost a lot of detail in the rock. Contrast adjustment pulled some back...is this where you applied the selective contrast?

Brian,
I don't use lightroom. I make major adjustments in ACR then further adjustments in CS3. Can't remember exactly what I did but I opened the image initially in ACR and made adjustments something like as follows:

[attachment=15397:ACR_window.jpg]

I then tweaked the contrast using USM, amount 50, radius 50, selecting areas with the lasso and feathering 10 pixels or so.
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byork
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« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2009, 08:58:56 PM »
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Thanks Ray, I wondered how you'd managed that rendering as every time I tried to lighten the mist I completely screwed the picture. Your version inspired me to go back and push things a little further though and I think I have come up with the scene as I remember it now. BTW, I tried to push things as far as you did in lightroom, and again it screwed the picture in a major way....I also have ACR 4.6 so opened the jpeg there and managed to come up with the same as you....interesting as I would have thought it to be the other way round where the jpeg would deteriorate! Nevertheless, that version is too hot for the scene as was, so here is the final edit. Thanks again to everyone...I wouldn't have been able to produce this result without your input.

Cheers
Brian

Oh and Russ, the print is pretty good!!
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Ray
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« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2009, 11:48:03 PM »
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Quote from: byork
Thanks Ray, I wondered how you'd managed that rendering as every time I tried to lighten the mist I completely screwed the picture. Your version inspired me to go back and push things a little further though and I think I have come up with the scene as I remember it now. BTW, I tried to push things as far as you did in lightroom, and again it screwed the picture in a major way....I also have ACR 4.6 so opened the jpeg there and managed to come up with the same as you....interesting as I would have thought it to be the other way round where the jpeg would deteriorate! Nevertheless, that version is too hot for the scene as was, so here is the final edit. Thanks again to everyone...I wouldn't have been able to produce this result without your input.

Cheers
Brian

Oh and Russ, the print is pretty good!!

Brian,
That's far too dark and lacklustre. More work needs to be done.

Here's a technique in Photoshop for making adjustments whilst preserving highlight detail.

On the PC, click on 'channels RGB' whilst holding down CTRL. This selects the highlights.

Hold CTRL plus shift, then press I to invert.

Go to heading 'layer' then 'new adjustment layer'.

Select from 'new adjustment layer', levels, curves, brightness/contrast, etc, whatever you think might work.

Select something like 80% opacity.

Make adjustments to your heart's content, secure in the knowledge you will not blow highlights (within reason, of course     ).

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byork
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« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2009, 12:45:30 AM »
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Okay Ray, how do we look now?

BTW, I think I noticed on another thread from a while back you mentioned you're a Queenslander (apologies if it's not you). Since Queensland is my Australian state of origin, I'm hoping for a 3 nil whitewash tonight.
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Ray
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« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2009, 08:06:07 AM »
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Quote from: byork
Okay Ray, how do we look now?

BTW, I think I noticed on another thread from a while back you mentioned you're a Queenslander (apologies if it's not you). Since Queensland is my Australian state of origin, I'm hoping for a 3 nil whitewash tonight.

I think I'd prefer a little more saturation in the foliage, Brian. But it's your call. You don't have to stick with exactly what you remember seeing. The great thing about digital photography is you can get almost any effect you want.

I guess Queensland State of Origin won, didn't they? I'm afraid I don't follow the footy much. I'm a Queenslander but also a pom   .

Here's the shot with a little more saturation of the yellows/greens. If you're not sure about an image, I find it's best to leave it for a while, a few months or even a few years, then come back to it.

[attachment=15435:02.jpg]

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RSL
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« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2009, 11:52:15 AM »
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Brian, I assume you haven't made comparison prints of the variations you and others have tried on this thread. Have you tried comparing them by bringing up the original and a revision side by side on your monitor? To me, the only revision that came even close to the original was the one where you burned the right side a bit and brought out the red rocks a bit more at the expense of the fog. I've compared them all side by side with the original and I still prefer the original because of the way the fog adds mystery to the valley. Maybe that's not what you intended, but I think it's a winner.

Ray's got the right idea. Best leave it for a couple of months and then come back to it. Remember, the difference between an artist and a dilettante is that the artist knows when to stop.
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byork
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« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2009, 05:48:16 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Ray's got the right idea. Best leave it for a couple of months and then come back to it.

Russ,
Sounds like good advice because I'm a bit like this at the moment  . I've made 3 separate prints, original, burned and most recent....and I think I could be happy with any of them. It's time to put this one aside for a while as you and Ray suggest.

Don't worry Ray, I was born in Scotland...but once a Qld'er always a Qld'er.

Cheers
Brian

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