Crop in tight on de­tails

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

What ’s the Big Idea?

You don’t have to travel far to cap­ture great land­scape im­ages – some­times, your own back gar­den may be far enough. There might not be scope for a tra­di­tional wide-an­gle land­scape, but if you take the time to look closer at de­tails, you can cre­ate in­ter­est­ing im­ages. De­tails of plants and flow­ers in your gar­den can take on a very dif­fer­ent look when you crop in tight. When com­pos­ing your im­age, look for pat­terns and de­sign in na­ture.

When you’re trav­el­ling fur­ther afield, don’t for­get to look closely for de­tails that will sum up the place in one photo. El­e­ments that are evoca­tive of a lo­ca­tion, such as lo­cal fruit or spices, colour­ful hats, hand­made blan­kets, shells or other nat­u­ral el­e­ments can make strik­ing im­ages. I think of mak­ing pho­to­graphs in terms of telling a story about a place. What is it that the lo­ca­tion is par­tic­u­larly known for?

What ’s the Key?

I pre­fer to crop in cam­era when I take my close-ups, rather than crop­ping in post­pro­duc­tion. This way you are cap­tur­ing the most in­for­ma­tion pos­si­ble, in­stead of throw­ing some of it away af­ter­wards. The beauty of tak­ing close-ups of de­tails is that you can use just about any lens. Many tele­pho­tos will fo­cus fairly close to elim­i­nate dis­tract­ing el­e­ments and con­cen­trate solely on the de­tails. Nor­mal lenses will easily fo­cus close-in, and even widean­gle lenses can get re­ally close to the sub­ject to cre­ate an un­usual per­spec­tive.

In this im­age of a white picket fence and trav­eller’s palm I wanted to show the con­trast be­tween man-made and nat­u­ral pat­terns. The im­age on the left was shot with a nor­mal lens and doesn’t work pho­to­graph­i­cally. Not sat­is­fied with this at­tempt, I changed lenses to a short tele­photo to crop in tighter on just the de­tails I wanted to show, elim­i­nat­ing the dis­tract­ing el­e­ments be­hind the palm.

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