Exercise: Fitting the frame to the subject

In this exercise I was asked to take a series of photographs of a subject while adjusting the frame to fit the subject in a variety of ways. The first photo was to be taken without too much thought as to composition and this would be serve as a baseline comparison. I headed down to the shoreline in North Vancouver to make some images of the Vancouver Harbour with the city skyline as backdrop on an extremely grey day between rain showers. There were a few barges very close to the shoreline and I decided to use one of those as my subject.

Figure 1: Ex 06 - Baseline photo - quick composition

Figure 1: Ex 06 – Quick Composition
f4.2, 1/160, 55mm, ISO 100

My next image was to try and make the subject fit the frame as tightly as possible. There is not much difference visually between figure 1 and figure, although I could probably have cropped in a little more to get rid of the water in front of the barge.

Figure 2: Ex 06 - Subject fitting frame as tightly as possible

Figure 2: Ex 06 – Subject fitting frame as tightly as possible
f4.2, 1/160, 70mm, ISO 100

The third image is taken so that no edges of the subject can be seen. By cropping in so close on this image, the photo is divided into three horizontal sections: the water and the barge,  and the city with its vertical buildings as a backdrop. The tyre hanging off the side of the barge serves as a visual anchor point. This image creates the illusion that the city is extremely close to the barge, when in actual fact it is quite a distance away (about 15 minutes with the ferry).

Figure 3: Ex 06 - Subject extending past edges

Figure 3: Ex 06 – Extending past edges
f5.3, 1/100, 175mm, ISO 100

I changed my position slightly and decided to take another image where the barge extends past the edge of the frame on one side, but the skyline is more prominent on the left side as well as the anchoring buoy next to the barge. This angle reveals the expanse of water on the other side of the barge and also clarifies the fact that one is viewing a boat. I prefer the asymmetrical balance of this image.

Figure 4: Ex 06 - Subject past edge

Figure 4: Ex 06 – Subject past edge
f5.6, 1/100, 180mm, ISO 100

My final image is taken as a wide angle shot, putting the barge in context of the whole harbour and its surroundings. This image puts into perspective the distance of the city from the barge. I like the way that the barges and the sea dominate the city, emphasizing that this is a working harbour, on which the economy of the city relies.

Figure 5: Ex 06 - Wide angle

Figure 5: Ex 06 – Wide angle
f4.0, 1/160, 18mm, ISO 100

I was then asked to look at alternative crops to the final image. I first did a vertical crop with the barge as subject. The barge loses its importance in this crop and the focus is shifted to the grey sky.

Figure 6: Ex 06 - Vertical crop

Figure 6: Ex 06 – Vertical crop

I also made a square crop of the barge (figure 7). I prefer this image to Figure 6 (vertical crop) as there is less bright sky visible and the rolling grey clouds seem to lend a strength to the image that is echoed in the stability of the barge. But I had to lose most of the city and surrounding barges, as I wanted to leave some space in front of the subject.

Figure 7: Ex 06 - Square crop

Figure 7: Ex 06 – Square crop

I then did a tight crop of the barge (figure 8) which got rid of the shoreline foreground and some other barges in harbour. This image concentrates attention on the barges as the bright red colour bands serve as anchor points and keep drawing the eye back to the barges.


Figure 8: Ex 06 - Tight crop

Figure 8: Ex 06 – Tight crop

My final crop was a panorama crop. I think this is my favourite crop as the bright grey sky has been reduced considerably and only the dark rolling clouds with detail are kept. The expansive grey sea has also been reduced, leaving the red barges and cranes to pop out of the image.

Figure 9: Ex 06 - Panorama crop

Figure 9: Ex 06 – Panorama crop