Where & When to Crop
“The Hawk” is simply this amazing aircraft going into service back in 1959. It was to replace the Cessna L-19 as an observation aircraft. This two-seat, twin turboprop badass aircraft could operate from small, unimproved fields under all weather conditions. Grumman pulled out all the stops making it faster, with greater firepower, heavier armor and the then state of the art Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR). It’s best known for its service in Vietnam where some called it “The Frog” because of its large “eyes” observation windows. It’s all of that history and more I wanted to convey in this simple portrait of an OV-1B Mohawk. That brings up the question, where do you crop?
I was shooting with the Z7 / Z24-70, the zoom being key to the answer for me and my photography. In the top photo, you can see the entire aircraft, wing tip to wing tip. I shoot from a low angle to emphasize the importance of the subject in the frame. But by including wing tip to wing tip in the frame, that de-emphasize it so then simply zooming in brings it back. But that’s when you start cropping in on the subject. Here’s my general rule of thumb for myself, I keep the subject, in this case “The Frog” in the center of the frame and keep the furthest wing tip in the frame. While it doesn’t work 100% of the time, it’s the place I start. Keep in mind that for me, it all starts with the story I want to tell visually and then achieving that in the viewfinder.