Making a Point

grass stalk head pointing down into scallion flower petal

The pointy end of a grass stalk appears to be holding down the petal of a scallion flower.

Today’s photograph is a lesson in the importance of composition. A lot of nature subjects (i.e. animals) defy staged compositions. They have got better things to do than hold poses for photographers. Getting a bug in focus is usually going to take precedence over arranging the elements in the frame to one degree or another. With practice and getting to know my subjects better, I’ve been able to better manage the two. Sometimes, however, a bug is simply too squirrelly, and I just go for what I can get. The nice thing about digital cameras is that the sensors are big enough to allow a healthy bit of cropping while still retaining some image quality. My D5000 has around a 12 megapixel sensor, and that’s on the low end now.

Now about that photograph. No bug and yet I still was faced with a difficult decision on how to crop it. Why did I have to crop significantly in the first place, you may be asking? After all, it’s vegetation, pretty stationary as these things go and not the kind you mail to friends and family. Well, as it turns out, I was squatting in the garden on the edge of the parsley and wasn’t really looking for plants but the flies and wasps buzzing around them. I noticed this little curious intersection of plants and fired off a few quick shots, but hastily resumed bug hunting. Later when I looked at this grass and scallion shot, I wish I had taken more care to compose it. I ended up with the the grass and flower petal pretty much dead center which was fairly limiting. In this case, the big image files left enough room to make it work, but composing purposefully at the point of capture can reduce the chances of having to make tough choices later.

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