Early morning frost

On my way to work I took a picture with frost covered trees. Did some processing on the jpg in Gimp and then fellt that it needed a crop…then felt that it needed a crop again and so I cropped roughly half the image away and got this:

I spent a lot of time thinking about the crop. I was hesitant to “zoom in” so strongly, but on the other hand It felt much nicer that way to me. Once I decided to zoom in I had three versions, one with the church in the middle, one with the church on the right third and I finally settled for the in between those two solution.

What do you think?
How would you have cropped it?

Here’s the original jpg:


Lovely scene. :slight_smile: I think that cropping down works well, and that your final result still has plenty of tree and atmosphere of the overall scene.

In the non-cropped shot, the church is almost missable. I suppose that aspect might be improved with a shot where the branches are not overlaying the church. (You have a spare pair of socks, right?)

A closer, vertical crop:

I like that the church is bigger and the foreground detail is emphasised, but it doesn’t feel as well balanced as yours and the print size would be rather severely restricted.


crop or not is a very big question in photography. This motive gains a lot from it. But what is right, what is wrong? Unfortunately this cannot be answered in general. The photographer himself is in demand. I would like to motivate you to try it really freely, and at some point you will find one version, later another better. Surely a cropping that fits your own wishes, ideas and emotions makes the big difference - far more than a fantastic resolution, sharpness and perfect noise reduction.

My example is my current version. But I think the water in the foreground adds a lot to the mood.

But the version of DavidOliver is even more fascinating, because the viewer is even more drawn into the picture by the foreground.


I let my G’MIC filter do the work. I adjust the parameter until I get the best output. Slight crop does the job: 90% of the image remaining. Crop makes the church building the centre as many of them are planned to be in the area. Sharpen-resize for web viewing.

I can see why the previous entries have opted for a taller crop. The shore line is angled. Even in my crop, there is a certain amount of discomfort that it is being encroached upon. One way to alleviate the pressure is to rotate the image, which I haven’t done here.

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When you find yourself hesitating for a cropping, it’s always good to ask yourself what the subject of the picture is.

Provided you named the topic “early morning frost”, I’m assuming the subject is abstract: the cold bite of the morning. So you are after a feeling more than a depiction.

Thus, keep the parts of the picture that give us this feeling, and remove everything else. As Mozart is supposed to have said: “perfection is achieved when there is nothing else to remove”.

I often find that photographers shoot themselves in the foot by trying to reuse the visual language of painting (rigid and static) while cinema has developed another one, more organic, that is not afraid of close-ups and cropping. I think if you remove aesthetics from photography and use it as a communication medium, things become less intimidating and everything falls back to “what do I want to say ?” followed by “how to achieve that ?”.


Here is another crop using the same principles as the first but showing just a hint of water and staying away from the thicker branches that occupy the top right corner.

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@DavidOliver I really like your crop. I felt a bit lost in the original picture, but your crop makes it ‘alive’, so to say. (even though maybe that wasn’t @mccap’s original intention…)

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@DavidOliver I like what you have done to the foreground foliage, it gives the image depth.

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Sorry, for my late reply…

@DavidOliver, that is a very interesting and nice crop. Works really well and anchors the scene nicely…Funnily I didn’t think about other aspect ratios when working on the image.

And yes you are exactly right I was on the edge of the water :wink:

@anon41087856: What you are saying about keeping what suits the feeling is absolutely right. Looking back at the image after two weeks I do realize that the feeling I wanted to evoke I actually came quite close with my image. The title, in this particular case, was more a quick decision in order to have a title for this thread and is basically just a pragmatic description of the situation…

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