Daniel Gratton, Chandler, AZ
This is one of those photos with a couple of pictures in it. To the left, the lone plant against the jumble of desert vegetation; to the right, the dirt path following an S-curve to the horizon. We decided we'd go with the picture on the left.
What now? We did the obvious thing and cropped to a vertical, but-oops!-we ended up with the horizon line plunk in the middle of the frame, which more often than not makes a picture very static. We needed more sky! So we cropped the bottom off, then cut-and-pasted more sky on top, smoothing it out with cloning. We vignetted the edges slightly to strengthen the center of the picture (and we don't mind the vaguely Olde Tyme Look it gives, either).
Next Time: Cluttered landscapes present a challenge in getting a strong picture composition.
Try this: Look for a distinct element-a lone tree or rock, or a road receding into the distance-and work to isolate it. Frame it so that there are distinct layers, foreground to background. And keep the horizon away from the middle of the frame.
Tech info: Canon EOS 20D with 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Canon IS EF-S lens.
Exposure: 1/80 sec at f/16, ISO 100. RAW image processed and sharpened with Adobe Photoshop CS2.