One image, three versions

Fountain v. 1
Adults and children alike cool off from the summer heat in the Dr. Laurel Salton Clark Memorial Fountain on July 13, 2010 in Racine, Wis. The fountain, dedicated to the astronaut from Racine who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, was recently re-opened to the public after being temporarily closed being in violation of the health code. | Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 57mm | Exposed 1/500 sec. @ f/8, ISO 200 (0 EV)

I was on my way to the boat ramp and piers by the Reefpoint Marina in Racine, Wis. yesterday when I passed by one of the city’s summer hot-spots for the past several years: the Dr. Laurel Salton Clark Memorial Fountain.  The fountain was named in memory of the astronaut who was killed in the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 who grew up in Racine.

Earlier this summer, the city closed the fountain to the public because its plumbing couldn’t handle the chlorination of the water any longer, and was therefore in violation of health code.  The city went as far as to post a guard in front of the fountain to deter people from cooling off in it, but it was recently brought back up to code–at least in a temporary manner–in time for the summer heat.

There’s one image I liked quite a bit from this afternoon, but I cannot decide on a crop for it!

Fountain v.2
Fountain v.2

The first image has a flow from left to right, at least in the foreground, that works but not as well as it could.  The young girl in the lower-left is not as close to the girl in the center-left as she could be.  So, I tried cropping her out, but I’m not convinced that this works as well as it could, either!

Fountain v.3
Fountain v.3

Finally, I cropped out everything to focus on just the group in the right side of the frame.  This may be the one, but I’m still mulling it over.  Pictures within pictures revealed by just a few crops!

What’s your pick?

4 thoughts

  1. Hey Dave! Found your site a month or so ago after doing a search for images taken with a Panasonic G1 and Olympus 17mm – a combo that I would like to get in the near future. Anyway as to your questions about which crop looks best, I think the “full frame” looks great and isn’t it un-ethical to crop that much when it comes to photojournalism? Sorry, but that is what come to mind when you asked the question. Having done photojournalism in a past life, it still is in the back of my mind no matter what type of photography I am doing and even while I am shooting. Just curious as I left the newspaper business before digital cameras really dominated (and I’m not very old!) Keep up the great work and I always check for updates! Mahalo, Thomas

    1. Hi, Thomas,
      I never said the first image wasn’t cropped 🙂

      I do appreciate your concern in this case, but while there are many things one could do that would be unethical for a story-telling photograph within the context of photojournalism, simply changing the dimensions within the frame isn’t one of them. If I were to remove (or add) something from the frame–clone someone out, get rid of a tree branch or a power line–that would be crossing a line. I even believe that heavy toning (you see a lot of really bizarre toning these days that completely changes the content of the photograph by completely inverting its mood: making a light scene extremely dark, for instance. Indeed, the National Association of Press Photographers’ Code of Ethics states that: “Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”

      Your experience leads me to believe that the code of ethics at the paper you were at was even more strict than the NPPA’s guidelines. That said, I do appreciate the observation!

      Oh, and the Panasonic G1 is a great little camera, regardless of which lens you put in front of it. The Oly 17mm is surprisingly good, but if you could dig deeper into your pockets (I can’t because I’m always buying other things!) the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is supposed to be a significant improvement over Olympus’ pancake lens. Also, DPReview just put up their thoughts on the Panasonic G2. Maybe you can get a used G1 on eBay?


  2. Aloha Dave,

    Thanks for the reply and explanation/clarification.

    I would still beg to differ on the cropping, which I think is quite extreme and cropping to remove people is really not a whole lot different than just cloning them out. I would of just used a longer lens to keep the same perspective and/or turned the camera on it’s side to shoot a vertical. The moment will not be the same, but that is the art and skill of photography.

    I am a self thought photographer and really learned through working at a local newspaper that really had no rules and since it was “pre-digital” you could not do a whole lot to break any photojournalism rules, except maybe when posing people, which I never did.

    Thanks for the info on the 20mm Panasonic and I seem to read comments going both ways. I guess my main concern was using a Olympus lens on a Panasonic, since things like distortion and CA is software/camera corrected, but I guess firmware, in both camera and lens, should be correcting the cross brand use? I also just thought that the classic 35mm equivalent was a good way to go, but F/1.8 sure is tempting!

    Also found your issue with the focus adjustment (and correction) with your 7D and 400mm DO very interesting. Makes me wonder that my 30D (yes, don’t laugh!) is out of alignment, but nothing I can do myself to correct it!

    Keep up the great work!

    Mahalo, Thomas

  3. What? Cropping is unethical? Why, because you choose to leave some things in frame and not others? Isn’t that what we do when we frame an image when we take the photo? Whether the editorial decision is made before the shutter is pressed or after, it doesn’t matter, every photograph is a product of a decision made by the photographer to include certain things and exclude others. If cropping is unethical, by that standard even composing a photo is unethical, we might as well stop taking pictures.

    Nice pic, David. I know how much you like your squares 🙂 but I like the wide or the vertical. The girl’s head almost touching the left side of the square throws off the balance a bit.

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