Quick Shot #3 - Takeoff from Logan

It's okay to crop.

I know some people would look at this image and immediately notice that it is cropped. He messed up and felt the only way to save the image was to crop it.

This is a long exposure shot from a causeway on Pleasure Bay in Boston of a plane taking off from Logan.  Nikon D300, f/11, 30 seconds, ISO 200.

Well, the answer to this is both yes and no. Did I get home and bang my head in frustration that I'm just an idiot and think why did I compose the shot that way? No. I liked the original image, but I like this crop better. That's all there is to it.

Each time you self-impose limitations, you are limiting your possibilities that much more. Sometimes when I compose a shot, I know that I'm going to crop it. Whether it's because I have a shorter lens than I need and the resolution allows me to use crop as a faux telephoto lens, or I see an amazing panoramic but only have my typical 3:2 aspect ratio sensor, I think cropping should be used as a tool in achieving your best image.

In the real(ish) professional photography world, a client may want to use an image for an advertisement or feature photo, either in print or digital media, that is constrained to a specific format. If you want your photography to be seen, you may need to let go of your restrictions regarding cropping.

My last note on this topic, now, is that I see the advent of high megapixel count dslrs as an extension of the "raw" file. A cropped image with adequate resolution should be obtainable from a high res file. Unless you are planning on printing your image large, increased resolution does not add much, but the ability to crop is a helpful tool that is aided by having extra pixels.


A little about this image. I sometimes like to go back through my images by date, and see what I was shooting on this week a few years ago. I found this image which I shot on December 12, 2008. It is a long exposure of a plane taking off from Logan Airport in Boston, shot from the causeway near Fort Independence on Castle Island.

I particularly like how the lines go off the top of the page. Each of the dots along the side are blinking lights. The lines start on the page, but since they come from the light, I think it's a neat effect. I also really love the colors of the sky and the reflected colors of the lights. The star effect is created by having a small aperture (f/11) and a point source light.

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