Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Cropping and Panoramas

I'm going to start with the picture this time, no annoying words keeping you from seeing the point of this blog...

Antique Fire Truck/Bridge
This is fantastic.  The subject of this photo appears to be a fire truck.  A beautiful old one at that.  But it is so much more than that, too!  It seems like this was either purchased so it could be used as a bridge over the little river, or (even stranger) was just lying around and the owners realized it would make a great bridge.  This makes me want to be 8 years old so badly.  I would have spent the better portion of every free day climbing on the back of the truck and then across the ladder/bridge.  Did I mention that this is just in someone's backyard?  Who needs a jungle gym or swing set when you have an ancient fire truck to climb on?

I shot this photo with an 85mm lens.  This definitely would not have been my lens of choice for the occasion, but it was the one I had on me at the time.  There was no way I was going to pass up this photo opportunity, that's for sure.  But yes, a wide angle would have been much better, as would getting much closer.  And so, I shall go back to this area with a wide angle, and I shall knock on the door and ask them if I could get up close.  (I've learned that if you tell people you are more than willing to give them a beautiful print of whatever you want to shoot, they readily accept...give it a try).
I am lucky enough to have a pretty decent camera, as well as a pretty decent lens, so even though the lens wasn't what I would have used, had I had the chance to choose, I was able to make my end result something I am pretty pleased with.  What I did was crop the image in such a way that you get an understanding of what the ladder is being used as without having a ton of negative space.  I cropped tightly around the fire truck and left just enough water so you could tell that it was indeed being used as a bridge.  If my camera or lens were not that good, the end result would have been much more pixelated or fuzzy.  
There is another option, though.  One that I didn't even think of at the time.  I could have shot a few images and blended them together.  This would allow me to fill each frame with much more truck, and I could have taken however many necessary to get all of the ladder as well.  This would have been a much better option, but one, I didn't think of it at the time, two, I didn't have a tripod (which would definitely be necessary for a panoramic shot like this), and three, I couldn't get any closer.  So, I worked with what I had at the time and made it work, but next time I will return with a different lens, a tripod, and a smile that will hopefully get me permission to photograph a stranger's backyard!

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