The pool needs cleaning.

The picture really isn’t about the pool. Or, the water. Or, even the leaves. It’s about the shapes and the color. It’s also about what I did in post production.

Debra at found my cropping interesting. So, I thought that I’d talk about it. A little.

When I was a young photographer, back about 150 years ago, I mostly worked with Kodak Tri-X black and white film. Like many faster films of the era it was grainy and lacked resolution. We learned to crop in camera so that we didn’t have to crop and enlarge in the darkroom. Later, I moved on to color transparency film. Slide film. While there were some great films at the time, most of us would agree that it was better to fill the frame with the subject that you wanted. Cropping radically wasn’t usually a good idea.

Along came digital photography. Originally, file sizes were small. Then they grew. Bigger. Bigger. Bigger. At the time, the digital gurus mostly talked about image quality.  Of course, somebody figured out that if you had a huge file size, you could crop when you didn’t succeed in the field. For many consumers that meant their shooting got sloppy. And, sloppier. And, even more sloppy.

In addition to machine gun spray and praying, many people didn’t really pay attention to the subject. After all, they had a bazillion pictures from which to select, AND they could crop in on the subject.

Arrrrgh. You know what I’m going to say about spray and pray. I’ve said THAT about a bazillion times. But, cropping. I think that you should fill the frame with you intended subject. You might have to trim the edges if you work in an uncontrolled environment like the street. Besides, from a quality standpoint, when you crop to get to the subject the picture looks flat.


You could make a very radical crop as I did today and yesterday. I do that mostly out of a need to shape the page. Digital or print, sometimes the page needs direction. And, given that WordPress isn’t really a photographer-friendly place I sometimes need to game their system and make pictures big. Real big.

By the way. This picture. It started out as a horizontal frame. Not only did I radically crop it into a vertical picture, but I flipped sideways and upside down so that so that the stairs lead to the water, which lead to the leaves. I would not do this with a photograph that was more “real,” as in a human being or a recognizable scene.

There you have it. A little lesson for today.


  1. That old Tri-X was a blast! Call me old fashioned as I learned to compose as a painter and shoot to not waste the film. I get what you are talking about. Composition is not just random, it’s a discipline, is what I got out of this. I still love black and white. The pics are so crispy stark and clear.


    1. Tri-X has improved over the years. Grain was reduced in size and contrast was more controllable. That’s all we used in my early newspaper days. Eventually, Fuji made a better 400 ASA film called Neopan. But, it doesn’t exist any more. Oh well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, the latest studies only describe slightly different shades of the same color. But, both studies admit it may just be a linguistic issue since there was no real data. For instance, a woman might call a color violet while a man might just say purple. There are no studies that describe more general color descriptions. That said, there are a number of variables that influence how you see color… color temperature, paper quality, viewing color among them. For instance, Kodak paper could be warmer if you view a paper used for portraits under a warmish light. Or you I f you view a cold toned paper under some kind of flourescent light. That’s why there are color temperature and corrected viewing booths on big commercial presses.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. wow! thanks for the info. Maybe I should say that women are more sensitive to color. “Abramov asked men and women to break down the hue of a color and to assign a percentage to the categories red, yellow, green, and blue. The results showed that women were more adept at distinguishing between subtle gradations than were men.” From Psychology Today
        Jordan Gaines Lewis, Ph.D. April 2015
        But Hey!


      3. Isn’t that what I just wrote?

        But hey, Raymond M Laskowitz, Ph.D / UNO 2007

        BTW, you are claiming to see overall warmth or cold in prints. If I were you I go back to wherever you had them printed and demand the reprint them properly

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was a photojournalist at one point in my career, so “spray and pray” was something that happened from time to time. And you’re right, it didn’t always work. I have only done aerial photography once, and I was so motion-sick from the helicopter that the six rolls of film I shot contained not one usable frame. You would think that would happen just by dumb luck, but it didn’t.

    I haven’t been back in a helicopter since, for what it’s worth … and I don’t regret that at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure that spray and pray ever works. I used to see guys machine gunning at sporting events. Sure enough, the picture was in between the frames when they held the motor drive button down.

      I have some experience working in helos too. But, I’ve never photographed from one… the trick is not to look down, but to look ahead. Downfield as they say.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I did learn. I have almost no experience, but I use photos for painting watercolor from. I’m horrible at photography and have been told to just take hundreds of pictures, one of them will be good enough to work from. Hmmm? Maybe there is another way.


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