We have a family of great tits as guests in our backyard. The parents fly in and out to feed the unseen – but quite vocally present – brethren. The theme for the weekly Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #96 is ‘cropping the shot’. Show how and why you crop shots, that is the basic question.
Basically I am not an avid cropper. Certainly in the days of film, cropping let always to the loss of quality. In digital times that is somehow different, especially using RAW format and a much better image capture technology. But in general: when taking the photo I try to frame it the way I want the final result to look like. Sometimes (digital is cheap) I take different frames of the same subject. But sometimes that is not possible.
In this photo the nest is on the back of our shed, and I can sit about 10 meters away, more or less hidden. Even using a long lens (300 mm on a not full frame sensor so approximately 450 mm) I can not get ‘close enough’. Because they are quite tiny, a distant shot is not that interesting to look at. Then cropping is a logical step to come up with a presentable result.
It is relatively easy to record the departure from the nest: when you see the head, start using the burst and all chances are that you have one nice shot in flight (see for an example here). In a shot like that you can zoom in quite close. Taking photos of the arrival to the nest is a bit more tricky. I found out that they come back using a certain pattern. They pause and sit 2 meters out on the wisteria, checking if returning is safe. But to catch them in flight I had to open up the frame a bit more. They are extremely quick and I can not see them take off for the final jump, so when I hear them I start using the burst, hoping it works out well. To show you the amount of crop I added the original frame below. A great tit in full brake.