Some good friends invited us to their wedding reception and I took my camera along – and fired off 384 frames!  Now I have the very enjoyable task of sorting through these images, looking for good frames or, more probably, looking for good bits of frames – photos within photos, like the one here.  I’m very keen on cropping photos very tightly, so that anything extraneous to the subject is cut out – I remember this approach being described as taking an optical machete to a photo – and yep, that’s what its like!

An interesting photographic issue arose while I was firing off my 384.  With a film camera, if you load a 36 film you’ll get 36 photos, or perhaps 37 or 38 if you push things a little – and risk pulling the film right out of the cassette.  We do of course also have frame counters on digital cameras, but I remember reading somewhere that we should use them in the same way we use the petrol gauges in our cars.  Which is to say, that if we have a full tank of petrol, we’ll use it up quicker if we only drive around town, continually stopping and starting, rather than taking a nice steady drive on a motorway.  Its the same with digital frame counters.  You may start off with 100 frames, but if you pack your pictures with wall to wall detail you might only actually get 90 frames, whereas if you shoot bland, low detail subjects, you might get 120 or more.

I saw this happen at the wedding reception.  The 8Gb card I keep in my D700 always says that I have 310 shots if I’m shooting Raw, which is the only file format that I ever shoot.  So, wallowing in the 310, I fired away with abandon at the guests and, in the end found my frame counter reading 89, and so concluded that I had taken 310 – 89 photos.  However, when I got the photos onto this PC, I found that I’d taken 384 frames – so presumably my frames averaged out containing less detail than the camera had been expecting.  Many of you may know this already but, if not, something to store away in the backs of our minds maybe.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 1000 ISO; 17 Aug 2011.


  1. When I was taking photography courses, one of the stipulations for some of the assignments was NO CROPPING. The challenge was to fill the frame with all the elements that gave a cohesive work. His thought was that 35mm was too small a frame to crop (this was at a time when studios were mostly shooting 4X5 or larger.) To this day I try to fill the frame but I understand that cropping is sometimes inevitable and it provides some interesting challenges What to leave in. What to leave out (as Bob Segar would say. This is a wonderful photo, A.


    • Ken, very good to hear from you! And very good to hear that you like this shot. Re photography, as with so many other things in Life, we all have our own opinions, viewpoints and “rules”. I suppose I’m a bit of an ageing(!) photographic anarchist, such that all I care about is the final image, completely irrespective of the means, techniques etc by which it has been achieved. My bottom line is “If it looks good, it is good”.
      I used to produce b+w in wet darkrooms and often cropped there, but the advent of digital really brought cropping into its own in my view, and made the comparison of various crops sublimely practical. And many of my pictures are taken in an instant, such that there is little or no time for composition: that comes later, on the computer.
      I suppose the only real no-no for me is over-processing, which is such an easy trap to fall into with digital. Quite often, I think that far more processing than is needed is applied – another bottom line for me is “Simple is beautiful”, in all aspects of an image.
      Hope you’re fine. Stay safe! Adrian 🙂


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