To crop …

I seem to have lost all of my RAW files from a 2016 trip to Skye so have had old hard drives out today in a vain attempt to locate them. Whilst doing so I found some images from 2009 and took a detour – how unlike me to get distracted!

This one of Lumb Hole Falls caught my eye.  I had processed it so clearly I’d liked it enough to take the trouble to do that; I am notorious for processing very few images at the time, preferring to come back to them over a period of time, it’s why the loss of my 2016 RAWs is so annoying.

© Dave Whenham
Canon EOS 40D with 24-105 f4

Ignoring the fact that I’d probably process the file differently these days what struck me this afternoon was there are two images fighting with each other in this version which is clearly cropped from the original RAW file.  I haven’t been back for a while but from what I remember it would be possible to get a wider view, although this was shot at 24mm which was as wide as I could get in 2009. These days I’d get the 14-24 out, get lower … but that’s irrelevant.

© Dave Whenham

The first crop reduces that triangle of bland sky to a small patch and I like how the bridge is now hinted at. The eyes are  drawn first however by the boulders bottom left which lead the eye towards the falls.  There is no doubt as to the main subject, unlike the original version where my eyes jump back and forth between the two.

© Dave Whenham

It’s a similar story with the portrait crop which isolates the right hand fall.

I remember this morning well. It was extremely icy, you can see large bands of ice to the right of the falls in the third image, and I was stood in the river in wellington boots with ice cold water an inch from the top.  I’d gone with a fellow photographer and was grateful of the additional hands as I climbed back up the bank which is around eight feet high and quite sheer in places.

The other thing I notice is the processing. This appears to have a not-too-subtle Orton treatment and the whole image is a lot warmer than I’d probably opt for these days.

© Dave Whenham
I can’t remove the Orton effect but I can adjust the white balance for a cooler look

There is of course no substitute for cropping in-camera as it were and these days I’d have shot all three options I suspect. It’s a sign of how my approach has changed in the eight and a half years since I took this image. It’s also a reminder not to be afraid to crop after the fact if it improves on the original composition.

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