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Friday Slide Show: Double Takes Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

26 June 2015

At the end of a recent outing we just couldn't put the camera away. It seemed like everything we saw we wanted to bring home with us in a little box with an SD card in it.

Double Takes. Double your fun.

It's sort of the thing that would happen with just two or three frames left on a roll. Hating to waste anything (especially precious metals), we'd want to use them up so we could process the film. So we'd look around, find something interesting and fire away.

That's no way to create a good slide show, though.

So we thought we'd subject just a few end-of-roll shots to the same drastic trick. First we'd optimize the image and then we'd crop it into an entirely different image. A double take, not just for us, but for the viewer as well.

It turns out this is a lot of fun. And, in more than one case, it became a quadruple take for us. But we're just showing you two alternatives to the optimized image here.

So how do you play?

With each of our master images, we simply created a virtual copy using the contextual menu that pops up when you right-click on an image.

This was a lot more work than it might appear at first. But what fun!

Then we played around with various crops and aspect ratios, dragging the handles around until we discovered an aspect of the image we hadn't seen before.

For example, in the very first image of an old building that houses the Alioto law firm, we hadn't noticed what was going on in the top right window until we cropped only that row of windows. Nor did we notice the smartphone photographer until we made the vertical crop of the utility pole.

Or take the street seen from Columbus Ave. The capture was about the street itself as the light filtered through the fog. But a closer crop emphasized the activity on the street. And a wide crop drew attention to signage that was completely lost in the original.

Something else struck us as we worked on the virtual copies.

We thought we had already optimized the full-frame image only to find ourselves tweaking even the Basic image settings in Lightroom for the cropped version.

We also relied on the Curves tool to shift midtones and used the Detail panel to smooth out some Luminance noise. Each crop seemed to require a different tone and color rendering.

This was a lot more work than it might appear at first. But what fun!

It's more than a game, though. It highlights a fundamental aspect of photography. How you choose to render the reality you find before you.

The limitations of the medium have always required the photographer to make choices. But with a crop which is not limited to a particular aspect ratio, the choice is not as hard to make as picking an aperture. Anyone can do it.

Even someone who has been taking photographs the last two centuries.

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