Editing Poll: To Crop Or Not To Crop

Vinhais, Portugal

Easter Sunday, enroute to mass in Vinhais (click to enlarge)

Photography can tell a story in multiple ways using techniques like cropping or colour or bokeh, but especially cropping when there’s people involved. Because of the influence cropping has on the way a photo is perceived, there are times when I’ve been stuck on a picture, trying to decide whether to crop things out or leave them in. When I haven’t been able to decide, sometimes I’ve uploaded two versions (or more) because it was easier. How I managed to survive five years of wedding photography I do not know, because I was faced with this dilemma constantly!

A few weeks ago, I posted a little poll on my Facebook page about the two versions of this picture, to ask people which one they preferred and they could feel free to say why. My little editing polls are few and far between, but I’m always surprised at everyone’s answers. There’s never a clear winner, and everyone’s preferences vary wildly. Reading the responses indulges my curiosity about what people are thinking when they see pictures, and gives me ideas for cropping in-camera.

I don’t know why I forgot to post the poll here, too, but it’s never too late to do it since there are no deadlines. Whether you’ve participated on the Facebook page or not, I’m curious to hear your views on which crop you prefer and why.

Vinhais, Portugal

April 5, 2015
Album: Easter 2015 Road Trip (PT/ES)

Porto In Spring, 2014

O Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Fundação de Serralves (library)

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (library)

Every season I shoot thousands of photographs and many of them live only in the external drives for various reasons: sometimes they need extra editing for white balance (I’m a colour correction weirdo), sometimes they don’t make it to the blog post because they don’t quite fit with the others, or I have some variations that work better for the post. In any case, they are picture misfits but they’re mine and I still love them and want to show them.

As I was editing some photos from last year, I was tossing around ideas about uploading archives and then plotting the reminders on a calendar to make it a regular practice. That’s when I thought of rummaging through this monthly photo folder which I call “miscellany” for Porto non-event photos, then uploading a selection from the same month a year ago into a post — ignoring whether they match — and converting some into black and white to avoid the self-inflicted tyranny of colour correction. Or, apply some funky editing and experimenting with colour. Hence, this post of pictures of Porto a year ago.

Casa de Serralves, Porto

Casa de Serralves

Art Nouveau-style house, Rua da Galeria de Paris (Porto)

Art Nouveau-style house, Rua da Galeria de Paris

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia

Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia

Foz do Douro, Portugal

Foz do Douro

Torre dos Clérigos, Praça de Lisboa (Porto, Portugal)

Clérigos Tower / Praça de Lisboa

São Bento Railway Station, Porto

São Bento Railway Station

São Bento Railway Station, Porto

São Bento Railway Station

April 2014
Album: Portugal [Spring 2014]

The Stepping Stone Bridge In Chaves

stepping stone bridge in Chaves, Vila Real, Portugal (1)

There’s a fun stepping stone bridge in the northern city of Chaves that strikes either fear or enthusiasm in the hearts of those who stand on the banks of the Tâmega River. Paulo tried to take Ice across, but the poor pooch had to be coaxed to get on the first stone. They made it about halfway before Ice decided the stones were too far apart and they turned around.

Ice is around 22kg now (~11 months old), but sometimes we have to remind ourselves that he’s still a puppy who’s scared of the vacuum cleaner and escalators.

stepping stone bridge in Chaves, Vila Real, Portugal (2)

stepping stone bridge in Chaves, Vila Real, Portugal (3)

stepping stone bridge in Chaves, Vila Real, Portugal (4)

stepping stone bridge in Chaves, Vila Real, Portugal (5)

April 5, 2015
Album: Easter 2015 Road Trip (PT/ES)

Hazul Street Art Map Of Porto

Got my Hazul #streetart map today! Success! #Porto

I was in Porto this afternoon with Ice and remembered just before heading back home to stop by DaVinci Art Gallery to see if there were any Hazul street art maps available. It was announced a week or so ago that 500 First Edition maps of his artwork around the city were being distributed for free from four locations, and DaVinci was the only one that I was familiar with and thankfully it was close by.

I’m told each of the four locations where they can be picked up have 100 copies each, and Hazul has 100. You can pick up a map here:

  1. Árvore – Cooperativa de Actividades Artísticas, CRL
  2. DaVinci art gallery
  3. Yours Guesthouse Porto
  4. Dedicated Store Porto

I don’t know how many copies are left, but there are still some at DaVinci Art Gallery as of today. When I was there, I was informed only one map was given per person (I had to sign for it and give my email address), but if you’re not in Porto you can reserve a map by phone or email. I don’t know if this applies to all locations or how long they can be reserved for, but here are the contact details for DaVinci Art Gallery: +351 22 205 1563 / moldurasdavinci@sapo.pt

Of course, this map is only a snapshot of Hazul’s work, but the temporary nature of street art means the map was already obsolete by the time it was printed. There are a few pieces on the map that no longer exist, and on average he says two or three disappear each month. But Hazul is quite prolific — he says he creates another four or five each month, which I’m guessing will result in a Second Edition Hazul map in about a year, or maybe less.

Hazul street art map of Porto

click to enlarge

Hazul street art map of Porto

click to enlarge

Porto’s Street Art Scene

Although most of the street art I see is captured by my phone on the fly and posted to Instagram, not here, I do try and take some with the DSLRs:

Porto, City Of Murals
Porto Street Art On Rua Das Flores
Street Art in Porto
(More) Porto Street Art
Saturday Smörgåsbord
Porto: A City With A Personality

The genre of street art is varied, like any other, with some overlap between subforms. Street art can be political graffiti (eg., Banksy) with activitist messages, or wordless and abstract, or a mix of both. Personally, I prefer images only or the occasional political humour, although I notice even the street artists with very distinct styles tend to cross over from time to time. In Porto you can find all sorts of street art, but the colourful, animal-inspired or human form images seem to be more widespread and those are the ones that stop me in my tracks, get out the mobile, and take a snap.



parabéns a você (4)

It’s birthday season again, starting with my father’s birthday last month (he turned 78!), and my father-in-law’s birthday today. This year I made great strides in participation by actually choosing his present myself, which meant poring over piles of Portuguese books for the occasion. I’ve suddenly become much more acquainted with popular Portuguese authors… and the European Portuguese title for “Fifty Shades of Grey” (“Cinquenta Sombras de Grey”; incidentally, the Brazilian Portuguese title is different: “Cinquenta Tons de Cinza” ), which somehow ended up next to the titles of Portugal’s imperial history.

Anyway! Food-wise, it was a very traditional Portuguese dinner, of course. I didn’t take pictures of the main dish (cabrito e frango/young goat and chicken), but the standards are here:

parabéns a você (3)

caldo verde

parabéns a você (2)

bola de carne

parabéns a você (1)


I caught the last 12 seconds of the birthday song:

Here’s last year’s version, including lyrics.

April 22, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]