For the love of Square

I’ve always wanted to shoot medium format, but never have.  Before 35mm film became so popular, aspect ratios tended to be more square than anything else.  I really like the focus it can lend a photo and also the intimate impression it can lend as well.  Hopefully I don’t overuse it, but I find it works with a lot of my work –

Maple flowers overhang a local river –

Hazy Hazy Hazy

the forest greens, one leaf at a time –

The Greening

Sepia treatment for a tree overlooking Marblehead harbor –

Silent Watchers

Harbingers of spring –

Harbingers of Spring

Now, it may be that because I’m a 4/3rds user I go more easily to a square crop than FF or other sensor format users.  At first the aspect ratio of 4:3 was really strange and difficult to get used to after two decades of the pervasive 3:2 ratio.  Now though, when I look at film scans those long skinny photos look strange to me.  Now they look more mass produced and less thoughtful to me even though I’m an assiduous in-camera cropper.  Also, they don’t seem to lend themselves as well to a square crop as 4/3rds does.  I like experimenting with it and find it really helps bring drama and impact to certain photos.  If you haven’t played with square cropping, give it a try.  If your camera has a jpeg aspect ratio menu, find the 6×6 or 6:6 selection and really get into it.  On my camera, with Live View, it masks the areas on the screen that won’t be in the image and forces me to compose in square format.  Using the LCD screen as a waist level finder, it’s as close to a Hasselblad as I’m ever likely to get.

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