Cropping Problem

What is the image about, what does it mean to you, and what motivated you to make it?

I was in my blind Friday and had a rush of birds. This was one of two of this species (Orange-crowned Warbler, I think). It perched on my closest perch, giving me some nice poses and this was one of my favorites. However, I still had plenty of room on all sides to crop for composition.

Equipment information:

7D Mark II, Sigma 150-600 mm Contemporary, RRS Tripod and Ball head with Wimberley Sidekick

Camera settings:

600mm, 1/1000sec, f/8, iso 3200, aperture priority, pattern metering, -1 EV exposure compensation.

What specific feedback would you like?

I processed this in LightRoom and Photoshop CC and cropped it to 14.5 MP from the original 20. Nearly horizontal perches like this give me the fits as I’m never quite sure how to place them in the frame for best effect. What would you do? I’m attaching an uncropped version for anyone to experiment with who wishes. I’m also curious to know if you think the edited version looks overprocessed or not.

Here’s the uncropped version with just exposure and color temperature adjustments in lightroom.


Dennis: Yep, horizontal perches are tough to deal with. For perched birds like this I will often tilt my camera so the perch isn’t horizontal in the frame. Here’s a post processed version to simulate the look.

Neat trick, Keith. Thanks,

I found the small tilt in the branch makes the composition appealing. The image itself is quite delightful with a clean background and a very nice head turn. The perch is also interesting. I would have experimented with pushing the warbler a little more to the left. The warbler must have been very close to get a frame like that.

Keith’s edit is much more aesthetic and trick very helpful to know for future compositions.

Dennis, I know that you have been good to describe your crops as well as the specific focal length, and I really appreciate the fact that you included the full frame here as a comparison. Many photographers don’t bother to even mention anything about the original, let alone illustrate it with the original. As to the framing, with my frog and spider images I’ll often do the same rotate trick just to avoid a static comp. And Keith’s illustration does just that. Thanks to you and to Keith’s suggestion.

The rotation here done by Keith looks quite natural especially the head position of the Warbler. Excellent job in the detail, perch, and smooth creamy background. I like this one.

Great look at this Warbler, Dennis. I agree it is an Orange Crowned although I am not sure I have ever seen one with so much black in the wings. Very interesting. Really nice detail in the bird. Before reading the comments I was going to make the same recommendation as Keith for rotating in post. I do that often to eliminate a level, uninteresting perch. A great image as posted, even better if you give it that slight rotation.