The raw picture had some pleasing elements. The ‘follow-line’ from the foliage down to the sea was attractive, but the width of the foreground diluted the impact. The first step was to deepen the ‘feel’ with a number of tonal changes.

There’s no instant fix. It’s a process of trial and error. There is a danger of going overboard with the effects and making the image look interesting but artificial. There’s a desire to move away from the original, but only to get closer to what was ‘glimpsed’, emotionally, when taking the original image.

(Above: it’s getting there but I’ve probably taken away too much of the left field)

After this balance is arrived at, the rest is down to cropping – extracting a core ‘block’ of the image to be the new whole. To do this we take away what we don’t need of the original using digital tools that ‘crop’ to any desired aspect ratio.

There is an undefinable moment when something goes ‘click’ in the mind and you know you’ve found a certain symmetry of composition. It’s more of an ‘art’ than a science.

Above: restoring a little of the grassy surface on the left establishes a better balance. It’s a process of ‘feel’ rather than mathematics, although I suspect the mind recognises quite complex areas as ‘harmonic’.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

12 Comments on “The subtle art of cropping

  1. Thanks Steve, nicely worded description of your approach, and the resulting photograph is a beauty

    Liked by 1 person

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