A Tale of Three Crops


Yesterday, I shot and posted this on my facebook page.  It’s a simple image of my dad lounging after working all day in the yard, as it were (because here in this part of Arizona most yards are made out of rock).  Anyway, Iiving in Eugene, Oregon has really made me appreciate nice weather this time of year and I thought this photo kinda captured that.  It’s January 3, 80 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.  Awesome.

But I have a bad habit of over-thinking everything, especially my photography and music (and I submit to you the musical expression of this sentiment here).  Even though it’s just a quick shot I felt like it wasn’t completely right.  And of course I think of it after I post it to FB, and people have ‘liked’ it and commented on it, and I like when people like and comment on my work so I don’t want to delete those likes and comments with the photo because a part of my soul gets deleted along with those likes and comments and….you see what I’m talking about.

First, the space on the right hand side of the photo is wasted.  It’s not adding anything to the overall mood.  I kept looking at the photo with my hand covering up that vertical strip just right of the flower pot.  An 8×10 crop would nicely slice that right out while preserving what’s good in the image.  That was last night.  Of course I woke up this morning wanting to change it, but after suffering through a series of random computer glitches my mind was completely fried by the time I was able to work on the image.  Here’s what I came up with after banging my head on the wall waiting for my computer to restore and get its shit together.



I kept the original 2:3 ratio, cut out that wasted space, but also lost the space up top above the sun.  It’s a more focused subject, though.  And it puts to use the rule of thirds, an uncompromising photographic commandment that, when broken, makes you the center of all kinds of ridicule from fellow photogs, not that I know many.  But that’s another sad story.

I went a little further with crop #2.


I immediately didn’t like this one.  Most of all because it cut out his sandals on the ground, which I think really adds to the sense of kicking back.  I wasn’t crazy about the arc of lens flare in the previous versions, and this crop took care of that, but overall, I don’t like it.

I was set to go with #1 literally up until writing this when I remembered the 8×10 crop I had originally planned to do.  I’m telling you, the electronic gods were all over my ass today and nothing’s been working right.

So here’s #3.

This is it.  This is the one I like and originally conceived.  Standard 8×10.  I don’t know why I like sticking to standard crop sizes, but I do.  It’s still not a mind blower, but I think it says ‘Wintertiiiime and the livin’s easy’ a little better than it did before.

I’ll end with a few quotes on the subject of completed art:

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it. (Truman Capote)

Finishing is torture… There’s always some newly seen flaw. But the little glimpses of beauty between the anxiety make it worth it. (Jacob Collins)

One always has to spoil a picture a little bit in order to finish it. (Eugene Delacroix)

The best way to finish a painting is to start a new one. (Sylvio Gagnon)

That’s the terrible thing: the more one works on a picture, the more impossible it becomes to finish it. (Alberto Giacometti)

The important thing is not what the author, or any artist, had in mind to begin with but at what point he decided to stop. (D. W. Harding)

Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I say that whoever claims to have finished a canvas is terribly arrogant. (Claude Monet)

Woe to you the day it is said that you are finished! To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul – to give it its final blow; the most unfortunate one for the painter as well as for the picture. (Pablo Picasso)


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