(click on the image to see larger version)
Cameras make rectangular pictures. They can be vertical or horizontal rectangles, but they are still rectangles. As photographers, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all images must follow this format. Sometimes, however, it is better to break away from our self imposed limitations and try something different.
On Santiago Island in the Galapagos, I saw these beautiful cliffs just before the sun dropped below the horizon. The light was beautiful, but there was a problem. Traditionally, wide angle landscape images work best when you combine a foreground and background element. A large plant, or flower in the foreground can help to anchor the image and provide a sense of depth. In this case, there was nothing to place in the foreground. The beach was flat sand and the nearby rocks were devoid of character. Changing to a longer lens was not an option because it would cut out part of the cliff. After a few moments, I decided that the image I wanted to create was about the light on the cliffs and anything else would be a distraction.
The solution was to think beyond the initial capture and realize that I could alter the aspect ratio during post production. No set rectangles for me. I captured the image including too much both above and below the cliffs. Once the image was in Adobe Lightroom, I applied a panoramic crop to both the top and bottom, removing those portions. The final image capturs the beauty of the cliffs while successfully removing distractions.
The image was created using a Canon 1Ds mark 3, 17-35mm lens (set to 28mm), at 800 ISO. The camera was handheld.