Old 03-18-2008, 08:30 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default A Little Cropping Help Please

I've been fooling around with this photo and tried cropping it a few different ways and I've been rejected a couple of times for bad cropping.


Maybe I'm just trying to get too fancy and thinking about it too much. I think the shots that are basically head on and centered are pretty boring unless there is something interesting in the background. Since a red brick house isn't that interesting I've been trying to find other ways to crop this one. I was trying to give the effect like the train has somewhere to go, plus I personally like the way the bare trees look. My first attempt was to crop it so the whole tree on the right side is visible vertically. I thought it looked pretty good when it was a thumbnail but when it was full size it didn't look right, and the screeners agreed. This one is also getting the boot for bad cropping. What do you all recommend to improve the cropping. The master photo has plenty of space that I cropped off on all sides so theres enough there that I can crop it pretty much any way. Let me know what you think.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:00 PM   #2
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You were headed in the right direction with leaving a place to go but you took it a little bit too far. I would say try it vertical with the angle that it is moving. Try using the rule of thirds to position it correctly in the frame. That will give you some space for the tree on the right and some sky/exhaust but not too much. There is a little lens flare that is a bit distracting but can easily be cleaned up. Was there any reason in particular that you were shooting in 400 ISO? 200 or 100 would have given you a much crisper and clearer image. Just a word of warning, the lighting may be an issue with some screeners.
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Last edited by JBCagle7073; 03-18-2008 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:02 PM   #3
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Cropping is the least of your worries on this one I'm afraid. It's poorly lit due to cloudy skies. There is a ghost of the headlight to the right of the lower-right ditchlight. The image is also soft, possibly due to camera shake in the low light.

Finally, there really isn't anything of interest in the shot. The train favors a vertical crop, but all you'd see is ground and sky. When composing shots, be sure to fill the frame as best as you can with objects of interest. These include the main subject of course, but secondary objects can be almost anything, such as a building, mountains, a pretty sky, a nice foreground scene, or countless other things. Unfortunately, these objects of interest are subjective, and a lot of it depends on presentation. For instance, I don't find the forest, sky or ground that interesting in your photo, so in your shoes, I would have filled the frame with the train. The Composition/Balance rejection is commonly seen nowadays. Other posters will harp on the "Rule of Thirds" for composition. I don't follow the "Rule of Thirds" as religiously as some posters, as I think that there are cases where the "Rule of Thirds" leads to unattractive crops. Following my objects of interest thought, when I crop a photo for publication to Railpictures, I imagine it being balanced on the very center of the photo. I try to crop my photos so that if you imagined the objects of interest as being weights, they would all balance around that point. Looking at my photos, however, you'll see that a lot of times this ends up following the "Rule of Thirds". I hope that load of gibberish helps you with composition. This photo won't make it on, but find some good light with a nicely composed shot and you'll have a winner of a shot.
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