Originally published by me at Barking Dog Studio » Inside the Photo (see it there)

My World Caught in a Drop of Water

Inside the Photo


Some of my favorite photos are ones that do not reveal themselves until I look at them on my computer, and see something I perhaps did not visualize when I took the photograph. I find the process of cropping my photos to be often one of those magical acts of creation by deletion.

In this case, I was on my back deck on a sunny morning following s snow fall; the warmth of the snow was melting snow on my patio table. After trying a few low angle oblique photos across the snow (itself a challenging bit to expose correctly due to the domination of bright tones, usually time for a bit of increased exposure compensation).

I first noticed a single drop of water hanging off the edge of the table right next to a lone pine tree needle, and as well a series of drops off the curved edge of the table. The key for these was changing the focus mode of my 7D to a single point.

It was not until I was reviewing my photos in aperture that I noticed the sparkle of light off of the drops- this image was cropped maybe to about 1/8 the original photo- I wanted to see how much detail i could get (and not lose sharpness) on a single drop. I also used the brush sharpen tool in Aperture to heighten the detail of the drop.

Also note that this photo has a pretty deep depth of field setting (f/11) at this cropping we’ve made it a shallow depth of field by locking to the drop. You’ve moved from your normal view of a human sized world to one where you are about one water drop tall.

And then WHAM! On getting that close on the drop, it revealed a whole tiny world of reflection that I could not see at all by eye, nor in detail from the full photo. It’s an upside-down spherical distorted mirror of my table, deck, I can even make out the one trees in the background.

One great photo exercise is to take an ordinary photo and see how many different/unique compositions you can make by cropping different areas. Or the ds106 One Shot assignment where you take a single photo and crop it into different sub photos that can be woven together to tell a story more like comic form.

Often an ordinary photo can become extraordinary just by cropping it, try it. And often when you get your nose that close to the pixels, you might find a hidden world like this drop.

Barking Dog Studio » Inside the Photo is the part of my photo gallery site where, on selected photos I write about what went into creating the image, sort of like a DVD extra.

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