Diane Wehr Street Photography

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A Street Photography Blog

A 16x9 Aspect Can Tell a Big Story


Every once in a while, I go to what I call the “photographer’s valley.” Perhaps you have been there. You question whether you have ever taken any photos of value and whether you will ever take any photos of value. Going out for a shoot is work, not fun. So, the question is, how do you get to the other side of the valley?

Because I was in the valley, I was having a hard time persuading myself to take pictures of the Gay Pride Festival on a very, very hot Nashville summer day. The reality is that street photographers all over the world look forward to this celebratory event. It was not a good omen when I thought, “Been there. Done that.” But then Instagram, my source for inspiration, came through. A picture taken by street photographer, David Ross, @david.clyneross, caught my eye. It was unusual and so I commented, “I just have to keep looking at this one to take in the whole picture.” David, like many generous Instagram photographers, messaged me with information about how he took the picture.

Photo by David Clyne Ross. Used with permission. You can see more of David’s street photography in his Instagram account @david.clyneross. Click picture for a larger image.

David was using a 16x9 aspect. I have sometimes opted for that in post-production, with a significant loss in the size of the photo, but I have never selected that format in-camera. I knew that my Olympus had a menu that allowed a choice of aspect, so my shooting experiment was on.

 Armed with a bottle of water and my camera, off I go to the Gay Pride Festival, quite energized with this new challenge. It did not take long to figure out that this format is, indeed, a challenge. It is ever so long and not so tall. That which is close will fill the frame from top to bottom and then there will be what seems like an endless amount of detail from side to side. It was challenging, but I was motivated because I have been wanting to incorporate environmental detail in my street photos. Also, I knew there was no point in taking a picture in this aspect that was going to be cropped.  I admire street photographers who are committed to not cropping their in-camera photograph in post-production.

Click picture for a larger image.

Normally I shoot in Raw. That did not work at all with the 16x9 Aspect selected because the viewing screen did not show the selected aspect . It is true that a 16x9 crop frame showed up on the review screen, but by then it was too late. I cut off all of the heads in my first few pictures. Then I remembered David telling me he used Raw + Jpeg. When Jpeg is selected, either alone or in combination with Raw, the viewing screen reflects what the Jpeg will look like. That is actually always the value of saving to a Jpeg in addition to Raw. You get to see what the picture might actually look like on a screen before you shoot. For example, it can help you make white balance corrections in-camera that will produce a better picture even though you are shooting in Raw and have full data information.

Click picture for a larger image.

I enjoyed my day of shooting in a non-traditional aspect. While I do not believe I will typically use it, I do try it out from time to time. It did not get me all the way across the photographer’s valley, but it was a step in the right direction.

Click picture for a larger image.


Is there an aspect that you prefer? If you are not shooting in that aspect, try shooting in-camera in that aspect for one day with the plan to not crop.