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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 28 Feb 2020 (Friday) 06:06
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"If you can't get close enough to fill the frame, don't take the shot"

 
Tronhard
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Mar 01, 2020 13:36 |  #61

Looking at the original post...

I have spent some time studying the history of photography and there seems to be some relevant material here that might offer some context to the "fill the frame" principle.

The earliest cameras had several challenges including (but not limited to), poor optics and heavy, unwieldy equipment. This often meant that the photographer could not fill the frame on many occasions because of terrain, distance to a subject etc. The advantage that they did have was large format cameras, so they could crop (and they did) to get a reasonably tight image. This was in the age before Kodak came along with the first cameras that democratized photography - an endeavour hitherto limited to those with the education, time and financial resources to take photographic images with complex gear and often dangerous chemistry.

Cropping by serious and professional photographers has continued throughout by renowned photographers such as Man Ray and Lee Miller. Ray often shot wide and cropped as part of his creative process, and in their collaboration Ray and Miller created some stunning images from crops. Today such revered photographers as Elliott Erwitt have cropped heavily - the image of the small dog with legs was massively cropped.


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Kodak's cameras brought photography to the masses, initially by allowing a rising middle class to purchase and shoot images at a relatively modest cost and with no formal training required. Still, the negatives were small and optics were not great, so getting the biggest image of the subject in the frame was critical. It was here that the principle of "fill the frame" became established. It was a simple mantra for those without technical knowledge or education.

The "purity" of the un-cropped image was enhanced by groups such as the f64 Group who wanted images so carefully composed that they needed no cropping - so suddenly the principle was elevated from a pragmatic advisory to the unskilled using scratch gear, to a mantra for high art imagery.

Photographic technology has moved on a LONG way since then but some of the same principles hold true in context.

1. The Kodak camera has been replaced by the cell phone with obviously better image capability, but for those using them without attachments, the principle of "fill the frame" is still quite important - the sensors are tiny, and are often wide angle, so cropping significantly is not desirable.

2. There is a wide range of subjects out there and some will never be photographed "up close" - the astronomical comments I have read are a case in point. As commented also filling the frame with an apex predator is not wise unless under very controlled conditions.

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There is a full-grown male grizzly bear behind that bush and the photographer is risking his life.

3. As the range and sophistication of cameras and lenses has improved massively there are extremely high-resolution image cameras on the market that make cropping to get an otherwise impossible image a viable proposition.

So is "fill the frame" still as relevant as it once was? I would say Yes and no. Desirable if one can, and yet having space to crop for effect or to change the subject balance is now more viable than ever, allowing for more decisions to be made post production. And there is still that need to get the otherwise impossible shot.

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Post edited over 1 year ago by Wilt. (5 edits in all)
     
Mar 01, 2020 13:41 |  #62

Tronhard wrote in post #19019343 (external link)
Looking at the original post...

I have spent some time studying the history of photography and there seems to be some relevant material here that might offer some context to the "fill the frame" principle.

The earliest cameras had several challenges including (but not limited to), poor optics and heavy, unwieldy equipment. This often meant that the photographer could not fill the frame on many occasions because of terrain, distance to a subject etc. The advantage that they did have was large format cameras, so they could crop (and they did) to get a reasonably tight image. This was in the age before Kodak came along with the first cameras that democratized photography - and endeavour hitherto limited to those with the education, time and financial resources to take photographic images.

Cropping by serious and professional photographers has continued throughout by renowned photographers such as Man Ray and Lee Miller. Ray often shot wide and cropped as part of his creative process and in their collaboration Ray and Miller created some stunning images from crops. Today such revered photographers as Elliott Erwitt have cropped heavily - the image of the small dog with legs was massively cropped.
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...Photographic technology has moved on a LONG way since then but some of the same principles hold true in context.

In my high school days, while I was on staff or serving as the photography editor of our high school newspaper, the only camera available to us (apart from individually owned 135 format SLRs and lenses) was a 4x5 Speed Graphic with a single lens on lens board. We used it to shoot night football games from the sidelines, and crop more tightly in the darkroom to improve framing and image size on the printed page, because we had ASA 1250 film to shoot the night games. In spite of the relatively large grain size of ASA 1250, even the cropped images were more than acceptable in quality, especially compared to the 135 format SLR which was limited to ASA 400 film at the highest!


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Mar 01, 2020 13:51 |  #63

Wilt wrote in post #19019349 (external link)
In my high school days, while I was on staff or serving as the photography editor of our high school newspaper, the only camera available to us (apart from individually owned 135 format SLRs and lenses) was a 4x5 Speed Graphic with a single lens on lens board. We used it to shoot night football games from the sidelines, and crop more tightly in the darkroom to improve framing and image size on the printed page, because we had ASA 1250 film to shoot the night games. In spite of the relatively large grain size of ASA 1250, even the cropped images were more than acceptable in quality, especially compared to the 135 format SLR which was limited to ASA 400 film at the highest!

I think a lot depends on the equipment, the conditions and skills of the photographer, but also the intent and the output at the end of the process. There is a lot of difference in the quality required for a high-end art print compared to something to be published on social media. Sometimes you have to go with the flow and as long as it suits one's objective then it is a viable solution.

The following was taken hand-held in absolutely atrocious conditions (in a roaring gale actually) and obviously I could not get anywhere close to my subject. I was actually standing in the lee of a bank on a peninsula to the windward of the wind surfers, who were several hundred metres away. A chap I was talking to walked out of the lee and was literally blown over. The poor fellow was elderly and quite distressed, and could not get up: it was all I could do to keep my own feet as I came to his aid.

This image is pretty much as shot, certainly as regards cropping goes. I could have zoomed in a wee bit more, but I wanted to give the wind surfer and his gear context to his space.


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Yet, cropped to give me an alternative view, I am OK with the results - they are not fine art, nor are they meant to be submitted for show, competitive or professional purposes, I was just testing out my gear and having fun! :-)


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"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
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We aren't remembered for the gear we use, rather the quality of the images we create. Me...
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Mar 01, 2020 14:16 |  #64

One place I always try to fill the frame are my Solar images, there sensor noise is an issue and a typical shot is 3000-5000 images stacked into a single image, the surface shot at 128 FPS while the prominences are shot at 35-50 FPS since we are using telescopes and the sun is so big and far away that we have time to compose.
closeup of the surface of the sun, 120mm Celestron 5,000 mm focal length

Love solar imaging!


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Mar 04, 2020 07:55 |  #65

Tom Reichner wrote in post #19018074 (external link)
.For me, Eagles are kind of common and uninteresting, compared to most other birds. . I see them as lazy scavengers that would rather eat trash at the dump than hunt for their own food. .

Your comment brings to mind several trips I had to make driving a tri-axle dump-truck to a HUGE land-fill that is eighty-five or so miles from where I live.
Only poverty-stricken Kentucky would allow such to exist and they are hauling all manner of environmentally friendly stuff in there from all over the USA.
I got the job because the regular truck that was making twice-a-day trips was broke down; so, thankfully, I only had to make a few dozen trips.
Each trip, I sat in line for hours, amongst loads of the worst human filth one could imagine, dead cows, sludge from sewer plants, stuff I don't even want to know what it was, waiting my turn to back down the almost straight up and down hill, and plumb down into the mess to dump my load; it was so steep and slick that a big bull-dozer's sole task was pushing each truck back up the hill.
The smell was horrendous; I had it in my nose and on my lips for months after the job was done.

As awful as it was, it was a bird watchers delight.
I have never anywhere else saw such a vast variety of birds, many of them definitely not native to Kentucky and there strictly for the feast, nor such an unbelievably immense quantity; if it weren't for the sights and smell, one would have thought it was an episode of Wild Kingdom.

And yes, there were eagles there aplenty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for the subject at hand, if I see something, I snap a picture, and worry about whether it is politically correct or not later.
Probably one of the pitifulest shots I have taken was of a big turkey in our back yard last summer.
When I stepped onto the porch, there he was about 150-feet up the hill and quickly heading for cover.
It was about fifteen steps back in the house to grab a camera and he was just stepping into the cedars about a hundred yards away as I snapped the shot; but, sorry as the image may be, it was proof positive to the wife that I did indeed see a turkey in our backyard and was not just imagining things.
The same goes for the huge turtle, big as a Volkswagen, that the dogs had cornered late one night when I was here alone; had I not snapped a picture as evidence, nobody would have believed me.

If I saw an eagle around here, I would have taken that same shot; it might very well have been the only chance I got.

Now, when I have a rifle in my hands, I have quite a different mindset; I don't waste much lead.




  
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Mar 04, 2020 10:29 |  #66

I crop all the time, just about 99% of every images I shoot, including those images that I could easily fill the frame, such as portrait, macro, product, and whatnot. I'm very particular about the composition of each and every image I post-process.

As primarily a bird and wildlife shooter, cropping is an essential part of my photography. I remember some years ago when I was visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park where I spotted dozens of beautiful bighorns well camouflaged in the woods covered with snow just off the road. I got out and from the distance started shooting away with my zoom. Then, all of a sudden this guy comes along and started moving in closer to the bighorns. Not satisfied, he kept moving in closer and closer and closer until the bighorns got spooked and took off -- all of them. I gave the dude a very stern glare. He was trying to fill his frames.

At the same park, in another visit of mine years later, I saw someone else doing pretty much the same except, this time, with a mommy bear and her two cubs in tow. Although I was from a safe distance, I took my shots quickly and rushed out of there before the mommy bear got agitated. I don't mess around when I'm among thick-headed photographers.

Some folks should just visit a zoo if they so want to fill the frame in all shooting situations.

I loved my previous camera body, Canon 5D III. When 5D IV came out, I upgraded for one simple reason: greater crop tolerance. It made a huge difference to me. I'm now looking forward to seeing the actual field reports on R5 when it's released.



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Mar 04, 2020 13:03 |  #67

Jeff USN Photog 72-76 wrote in post #19019374 (external link)
Love solar imaging!

Thanks for posting the sun pictures; I had never before seen anything like them; I almost expected to see the Enterprise come along and get sucked into one of those black whirlpools.
That thing being on fire all over, it has to have a vast supply of fuel; what are we going to do once it burns itself out ?

If I understood correctly in one of your earlier posts, you somehow take pictures through a telescope that is in Chile or somesuch; I take it you don't actually physically go there, right?




  
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Mar 04, 2020 13:13 |  #68

SYS wrote in post #19020949 (external link)
At the same park, in another visit of mine years later, I saw someone else doing pretty much the same except, this time, with a mommy bear and her two cubs in tow. Although I was from a safe distance, I took my shots quickly and rushed out of there before the mommy bear got agitated. I don't mess around when I'm among thick-headed photographers.


Montana Grizzly Bear Notice:

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear
conflicts, the Montana Department of Fish and Game
is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra
precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field.
We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on
their clothing so as not to startle the bears that aren't
expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry
pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a
bear.

It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear
activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference
between black bear and grizzly bear poop. Black bear poop
is smaller and contains a lot of berry seeds and squirrel fur.
Grizzly bear poop has little bells in it and smells like pepper
spray.


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Mar 04, 2020 13:53 |  #69

BuckSkin wrote in post #19021032 (external link)
Thanks for posting the sun pictures; I had never before seen anything like them; I almost expected to see the Enterprise come along and get sucked into one of those black whirlpools.
That thing being on fire all over, it has to have a vast supply of fuel; what are we going to do once it burns itself out ?

If I understood correctly in one of your earlier posts, you somehow take pictures through a telescope that is in Chile or somesuch; I take it you don't actually physically go there, right?

all my solar images were taken from my backyard, I have 2 dedicated solar scopes and a special filter (a Quark) that I use on 4 of my other scopes. The scopes I rent time on are in Chile and the Canary Islands I control them from my PC here in New England.

The sun will indeed burn out, but I don't think I will be here to see it as it will be in 4.5 BILLION years. It has a finite amount of hydrogen for fuel.


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Mar 04, 2020 22:48 |  #70

Jeff USN Photog 72-76 wrote in post #19018891 (external link)
Well I guess I will just go back to shooting my guns and just give up...

I would rather you continue to shoot wild animals with a camera I must admit. Years ago an old army friend of mine was talking to me about why he hunted. He did so for "the thrill of the chase" and his house was dominated by the stuffed remains of animals he had killed.

I told him that if he really wanted a challenge he should use a camera: it is not enough to get a bead on an animal and pull the trigger, one has to get the light right, the composition correct and, of course, the focus on the eyes. The good thing is that one can go out and repeatedly shoot the same animal again and it will be there for another day.

He was intrigued and I got him to come out with me on one of my "shoots". He realized the nature of the challenge and before too long had got himself some decent gear. Like any convert he engaged with enthusiasm and alacrity, and getting his first great images inspired him even more. The last time I saw him his house was bare of stuffed animals and filling with images of beautiful creatures, celebrating their existence, not their demise.

I'm OK with hunting for food, or to balance populations, but I'm not keen on killing for the pleasure of it.

As to the comment you were responding to: the danger of such an approach is that one is inclined to look at the commentator's own gallery, hoping to find performance to support such high standards, and there is a great danger that it will be found lacking...


"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
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Mar 05, 2020 01:29 |  #71

Jeff USN Photog 72-76 wrote in post #19021055 (external link)
The sun will indeed burn out, but I don't think I will be here to see it as it will be in 4.5 BILLION years. It has a finite amount of hydrogen for fuel.

That soon, huh; what should I do to prepare ?

Thanks for the pictures of all that very impressive equipment; every time I see a good telescope, I can't help but think of the movie "Ten" (or was it "10").

I have been meaning to get a decent poor man's telescope for when my little 7-yr-old buddy comes to visit; she doesn't get to come nearly so often since she started school and that really hampers our activities.
I believe school is an outdated thing of the past as most preschoolers have better educations than high-school graduates had back when I had to go; now, it is just a complete time waste and political money-making scam.
I know next to nothing about such equipment; but, I know enough to see that you have a few pieces there that probably cost more than I paid for the small farm we live on.
Impressive !




  
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Mar 05, 2020 01:48 |  #72

Tronhard wrote in post #19021259 (external link)
I would rather you continue to shoot wild animals with a camera I must admit. Years ago an old army friend of mine was talking to me about why he hunted. He did so for "the thrill of the chase" and his house was dominated by the stuffed remains of animals he had killed.

I told him that if he really wanted a challenge he should use a camera: it is not enough to get a bead on an animal and pull the trigger, one has to get the light right, the composition correct and, of course, the focus on the eyes. The good thing is that one can go out and repeatedly shoot the same animal again and it will be there for another day.

He was intrigued and I got him to come out with me on one of my "shoots". He realized the nature of the challenge and before too long had got himself some decent gear. Like any convert he engaged with enthusiasm and alacrity, and getting his first great images inspired him even more. The last time I saw him his house was bare of stuffed animals and filling with images of beautiful creatures, celebrating their existence, not their demise.

I'm OK with hunting for food, or to balance populations, but I'm not keen on killing for the pleasure of it.

As to the comment you were responding to: the danger of such an approach is that one is inclined to look at the commentator's own gallery, hoping to find performance to support such high standards, and there is a great danger that it will be found lacking...

I have done more than my share of hunting; and, I have to say, it is a lot easier to drop a deer plumb on the other side of a big cornfield, or at a dead run through thick timber, than it is to get a good photo of the same deer.
We have a state park in our county where one can get award-winning photos of deer on every visit, actually easier than in any zoo, as there are no fences nor crowds; but, getting such a shot (camera, not gun) in deer hunting territory is not nearly such an easy task.
In this park is a complete golf course and Alfalfa feeders are permanent fixtures scattered throughout the golf course; the powers that be don't miss a trick when it comes to drawing tourists and their dollars.
The same goes for the raccoons; they are thicker than thieves around the hotel and restaurant, with absolutely no fear of people whatsoever.




  
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Mar 05, 2020 03:03 |  #73
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Is this close enough?

Next lap, he decided he could get even closer to that fool photog, but he didn't count on my ninja-like reactions. Ha! :eek:


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Mar 05, 2020 05:22 |  #74

Tronhard wrote in post #19021259 (external link)
I would rather you continue to shoot wild animals with a camera I must admit. Years ago an old army friend of mine was talking to me about why he hunted. He did so for "the thrill of the chase" and his house was dominated by the stuffed remains of animals he had killed.
...

When I talk about shooting it is not hunting, have never done that and beside my wife would kill me if I hurt an animal. I do casting, reloading, and target shooting trying to make my own bullets to get a small group on target. I also BEFORE my knees went bad did cowboy shooting with SASS (my alias is Ben Cartwright) there you use a revolver lever action and shotgun to knock down steel targets. I also collect Boston Police guns and uniforms etc ( www.bpdguns.com (external link) my other website) I used to be a Speical Police Officer for the Westwood Police back in the late 70's and early 80's until I had kids. I am not anti-hunting especially for food. Now not to get a side flame throwing thread started but I also understand trophy hunting for exotic animals but only legal hunting controlled be responsible governments for the purpose of herd management not for the reason of raising money. Poachers need to be put away for life.

Right now I find I am getting out shooting (with a camera) for a couple of hours at a time due to the cold and high winds, can't wait for warmer weather. the other day it was 55 degrees and only a 10-12 mph wind and I was out for about 3 hours. It is amazing how long the waterfowl can just float around as if they have nothing else to do!


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Mar 05, 2020 08:51 |  #75

Filled the 90D's APSc frame. This guy popped up right in front of me and I did a snap shot with BBF, have finally totally committed to that. He was about 20 feet away.


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"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
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