Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tightening the View

Usually when I am at events like the C-17A 20th anniversary gig, I find myself looking for the unusual shot. This happens for a couple of reasons: First, you can only shoot so many side views, nose views, hero shots and people-crowded-around-the-really-big-airplane shots before you have more than you'll ever need or want to see again. Fortunately, in this digital age, you're only killing electrons, so the material damage - as in expensive film costs - are virtually nonexistent if you wish.

The second reason is unusual shots intrigue me. They show the commonplace in a not so common way. Sometimes its the lines that draw me; sometimes the light. More often than not its both. In any event I let my mind float until I see an angle that sings to me.

If you've ever had a chance to peruse old photo archives of newspapers, aerospace companies or other image-heavy institutions, the art of cropping becomes very apparent. It was a limitation of the fixed lens used by most company photographers, especially in the day of 4x5 Speedgraphic cameras. But while fixed lenses have their definite advantages, what I like about modern zoom lenses is their ability to allow me to "crop" in camera as a means of capturing the composition I want the first time.

The two images in this post are a good example. I liked the angle in the above shot and thought the orange Edwards AFB tail band made a good anchor for the composition. It was a tightly cropped picture compared to the normal, wider-angle style usually taken, and it made for a nice, pleasing image.

However, by going in tighter with the zoom from a slight different angle, I got the shot below. The orange band is hidden and the American flag takes center stage in a much more abstract and dramatic composition than in the first image. Because it was done in camera there is no loss of image quality or enlargement potential, which is a decided plus.

At the same time, the option of post-image cropping is still available if needed, which I have indeed used on occasion. They are, after all, tools and techniques to use in achieving what we see in our mind. In the end it's the result that counts - at least for photography.

No comments:

Post a Comment