Today was quite the enjoyable day to the new Ayuttaya Floating Market which appears to be built by Thai's for Thai's, very "storybook" and still under construction on many levels.  Accompanied by a good friend we were trying each others lenses and equipment and the subject of perspective came up and I submit the following image as an example of using a 12-24mm rectangular lens on a full frame body.


Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/320th   15mm  ISO 100



What do you see?  From a 15mm perspective the scene leads you down a green water klong lined by a fence and grass with 'something' at the end.  Only with a 24x30 inch print could we see the attractions at the far end of the composition.   During our outing we talked about the important of cropping and processing, even including sharpening, for each individual size print to get the most out of our compositions.  What more could we get out of this image?


Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/320th   15mm  ISO 100


It's almost shocking, and certainly significant to realize that by cropping the very image above, we have no created a much different composition with totally different compositional elements.  Which do you prefer?  Where would you crop this image and what size would you make the print to hang on your wall?  Another individual choice, a choice we make each time we compose an image in our minds eye, and sometimes later once we've had a chance to reflect and perhaps change that image. 

It's also important to note that if we train ourselves to know these perspective differences are a choice of every composition, then we wouldn't try and make a great print from a crop of a 15mm image.  Instead, we'd take our 15mm capture, change to say a 70-200mm F2.8L IS lens and make a much better quality second capture.

There is no right answer, no golden rule to recite, it's only significance is to understand such differences exist in most every  image we process and that we as photographers hold the artistic control in our hands.  Can a crop define a composition?  Certainly.  Can a crop define an artist?  Perhaps.