Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photographic aspect ratios

click photo to enlarge
The world wide web, it seems to me, has increased the amount of confrontation and stridency in photography. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that this outweighs the co-operation and learning that the online world confers on our hobby and profession. However, the early years of my forty odd with camera in hand certainly didn't feature the vituperation I regularly see today. Photography is not alone in this of course, and it's possibly the opportunity to adopt extreme postures and language anonymously that encourages the outpourings of bile.

To stick with photography, I continue to be amazed about the subjects on which people have unwavering views that they broadcast and defend with boorish language. Brand loyalty, sensor size, fixed lenses versus zoom, black and white versus colour, the list is endless when it comes to the subjects that some photographers can get exercised about. I've even seen people vociferously arguing the merits of one aspect ratio over another. Now when it comes to this subject I play the field. I'll use 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 as the subject requires. Sometimes I'll select the aspect ration before taking the shot, often I'll take it with the largest capture possible but with a different aspect ratio in mind, and frequently I'll crop post-capture. And the idea that one or another is intrinsically "best" or "better" than another seems to me absurd: all are possible, so choose the most appropriate. I've even been known - whisper it quietly - to choose a non-standard aspect ratio where it seemed to fit the subject better.

Today's photograph was one that I shot at 4:3 thinking that it might work well at 16:9. That turned out to be the case and is in fact the best aspect ratio for this image. It shows some of the inshore fishing boats on the River Witham at Boston, Lincolnshire, with in the distance, the tall tower of the medieval church of St Botolph.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 34mm (68mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1600 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3
Image Stabilisation: On