Hey, Another Right Answer!

20131109_Cape Cod_0218warmercropped

I found this wonderful scene while leading a recent workshop on Cape Cod.  The lead image is the one that I settled on as my favorite. I think the story of how I arrived at this image is worthy of sharing.  I sent the image to my friend Dan who is my goto guy for feedback.  He suggested the crop below as another possibility.  Interesting, Dan tends to see in neat tidy compositions as he is prone to use his 70-200 with a 1.7x teleconverter.  As such he will isolate and drill down.  I like his crop!

20131109_Cape Cod_0218Dan

Inspired by Dan’s thoughts, I decided to show Dan the original image I shot.  Another right answer! (See below)

20131109_Cape Cod_0218warmer

As you can see, my first shot and initial instinct was to include the water but then I zoomed in a bit and excluded the water. Hey, another right answer!

My hope is that this series of images drives home three important ideas.  First, look for more than one right answer when you’re shooting. I could have made the first image and walked away, but I didn’t.  I kept looking to see what else might be there. Second, work the composition both in the field and in post processing.  There is nothing wrong with cropping your images!  In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at how many other right answers you will find with the crop tool! And third, we all see differently.  There is no one right answer, rather there are almost always more right answers and yours will be different than mine and that is just fine.  So, stop thinking in terms of right and wrong and focus on what feels right and go with that!


This entry was posted in Cape Cod, Fall Color, Inspiration and tagged , .


  1. HMCA November 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    John, I admire your vision! I never would have seen this image in the first place!!! I do agree about the square crop……..it pulls in the texture and color and makes for a great presentation. Hope you’ll think about posting more in this series….would be a great learning experience.

    • john8276 November 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Thank you. I am trying to shoot more images with this type of post in mind. So yes, I’ll be doing more! Glad you found it helpful.

  2. Karl November 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Thanks John … good reminder. I tend to work the same image from multiple perspectives, and sometimes different lenses. It drives Karen nuts when I become fixated, but I usually end up with more “keepers” this way.

    • john8276 November 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      I’ve noticed this when I watch you shoot Karl. You are very good a working a scene!

  3. Scott O November 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    And to add something that both you and Dan have taught me…don’t be a slave to the “standard” dimensions (ie. 8×10, 11×14, 16×20 etc.) when cropping. Each image needs different finished dimensions and the crop should be based on that, not some arbitrary size. See, I do listen sometimes!

    • john8276 November 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      By golly Scotty, I believe we are making progress!! Exactly. 2×3 IS A CROP!!!! So crop to whatever shape you desire!! Way to go Scott.

  4. Larry Richardson November 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    I like Dan’s suggestion. I choose the middle image. How did I decide? The top photo looks like what I would call a snapshot. I use the word snapshot to refer to a less “professional” composition. (No offense, John!). Dan’s crop seems to speak to me with more meaning.

    • john8276 November 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      Now my feelings are hurt. :). I’m going to let you in on a secret. Dan right after he sent the crop wrote again saying he like my original better. Leave it as is. Interesting huh?

  5. Jack-K November 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    I like Dan’s crop lots better. The original has lots of dead space on the right and quite a bit of fairly dead space on the left. Dan’s crop yields an image dominated by the essence of the scene.

  6. James Milligan November 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Interesting comments ,as always, visual taste covers a wide range. I have an image similar to this but with a different perspective, I will post soon and send a link.

  7. Larry Richardson November 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    After I wrote that comment, I realized I could have phrased it differently. You know I didn’t mean to hurt you. 🙂

    • john8276 November 21, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Not a problem at all. I have thick skin and if truth be known, I’m comfortable with knowing what I like and being well with it! 🙂

  8. Chuck Kimmerle November 22, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    I’m sure this will come to no surprise to dear OLD Dan, but I disagree with you two and prefer the original crop (without the water). The square crop is nice, but it’s almost too tight for me and, ironically enough, seems less organized than the wider crop. It’s about a bush and a tree. What makes the original work for me is that it has a better sense of space and locale, and the two dead tree stumps at the edges of the frame act as barriers to help keep the eyes inside the image.

    • john8276 November 22, 2013 at 2:32 am #

      Hey Chuck, thanks for chiming in. Don’t know if you saw my comment to another commenter… Dan actually wrote back about a minute after sending the crop saying, never mind, I think your original is stronger. I like the original for exactly the reasons you state.

      • Chuck Kimmerle November 22, 2013 at 3:11 am #

        Nope, missed that response. Hmmm….might have to change my mind 🙂

  9. Alice Olive November 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Yep, agree with everything you’ve said here. Keep looking and we all see differently, even when we’re looking at the same thing!

    I tend to zoom in, too. I tend not to see the bigger picture. Pun intended!

    • john8276 November 23, 2013 at 4:26 am #

      And I like what you’re seeing!

  10. Stephan November 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Left vs Right side of the brain. Our thought process and creative process having choices and making decisions.

    From the first thoughts of when we are there and then the post-process thoughts that bring us back and wonder what we were thinking and felt -and- how we feel by the time we post-process or ultimately post, offer for critique or chose to print. Decisions decisions.

    I enjoy Jim Brandenburg’s “Chased By The Light” 90 day journey where he only recorded one image (and not in digital where he could view the outcome of that “single” daily recording). I have challenged myself to similar challenges, even simply enjoying a scene or moment absent a camera.

    I too like your simple crop eliminating the water. Having the choices or options, the square crop does tighten it up. Absent the side-by-side comparisons we think what we would do or offer. Choice and preference!

    Great post and options JB!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *