Cropping Down to the Perfect Panorama

Rainbow Over the Gros Ventre Mountains

Sometimes some scenes are just too large to fit into one frame of the camera. We see an amazing spectacle of nature’s display and immediately think ‘panorama.’ Upon bringing it back into the computer however, it doesn’t always look quite as nice as we thought it would. The issue with panoramas often times is that some photographers simply don’t want to crop down to what will actually make a better composition. I know if I’ve taken the time to manually stitch together a bunch of photos, the last thing I want to do is cut some of that work out. Doing so, however, will many times yield much more aesthetically pleasing results, such as in this example.

After my failed attempt at backpacking up to Delta Lake, I drove out to Antelope Flats to try and catch what I predicted to be an extraordinary sunset. Fortunately, I was right and shortly thereafter the clouds began lighting up over the landscape while also creating rainbows stretching out from the foothills of the Gros Ventre Mountains. I had taken three landscape-oriented shots to fit in the double rainbow that I was so pleasantly surprised to see, but in bringing them back into the computer, the full image just didn’t have anything unifying throughout the scene to make the composition all that interesting. Much of the right side just felt flat and dull and was distracting from the overall intensity I was looking for. In cropping it down to just one rainbow, the drama and power I was looking for in the original image was right there.

If you have some panoramas that just aren’t popping like you had hoped, begin playing around with different ways to crop them in. That alone can make an enormous difference in whether or not people respond to a particular panoramic photo.

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