Photographing Mexico From Texas

This is actually Mexico. Photographing Mexico from Texas isn’t something I really thought about before.

I’ve never been to a Mexican border town, and I still haven’t because they closed the legal crossings in Big Bend National Park. Up until a few years ago visitors to the park could cross over and visit the villages on the other side of the Rio Grande, buy some trinkets, and come back again. But that is no more. I’m sure some people still do, but given that we are Canadian we didn’t want to take any chances on not being allowed back into the USA. It would be a long way home by boat!

I made this image on the same evening as the one I showed in yesterday’s post. The clouds were incredible.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

From this direction, the Rio Grande circles around in front of the hill I was standing on and at the time I thought the river was an important feature in the image. But looking at it afterwards I wonder you can really tell it’s a river at all. Is there too much going on in the foreground?

I tried another version cropping out the river and I also cloned out some trees that ended up on the bottom border right in the middle.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

What do you think? Cropped or un-cropped?

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  1. says

    After viewing both images larger, I would say the original uncropped image is far more engaging. It was the difference of “oh look, pretty clouds over a hill” in the cropped version to “wow, awesome clouds in that scene, wish I was there” for me.

  2. PrudenceLee says

    These photos are amazingly beautiful! I love the site as well as the color of the sky, mountain and the land. I know photos like this can only be taken by a professional photographer like you.

  3. says

    I’ll be contrarian and say that I like the cropped one better. I agree that the river does add depth and balance, but I find the scrub around the river to be quite distracting.

    But both are quite fun to look at :)
    Marc Perkins recently posted..Amaryllis flower budsMy Profile

  4. Peter Lewicki says

    My vote is with the uncropped. When you think of this geographic area you often think huge, wide open spaces. The foreground in the uncropped versionI think better evokes the vastness.

    Also, in the uncropped version the buildings become more remote, more isolated, in turn contributing to the feeling of wide open spaces.

  5. says

    And I agree with Marc, partly because of the distraction of the scrub, partly because of the “rule” of thirds. The cropped version, in my opinion, offers more visual balance with the horizon cutting across the bottom third of the frame. In the uncropped version, the river is at the very edge of the frame and the horizon is in the center.

    Regardless, it is a beautiful capture and location. Viva Mexico.

  6. says

    Those clouds are just incredible! As for cropped/uncropped, for me the cropped version works better. The river does seem to be crowded a bit at the bottom of the frame and the scrub does seem to distract the eye from that beautiful sky.
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  7. says

    I think the top image tells a better story though the crop might be better compositionally.

    Given the drug war problems in Mexico these days I think it’s probably a good thing you didn’t go over. Just not worth it.

  8. Vern Snow says

    Un-Cropped for me. With the river in the image it leads my eye further into the image. Cropped, my eye starts at the sky color.

  9. Alexander says

    Besides your question I think it is important to include , of course if possible, something strong in the forground. This makes the image realy strong. And I am convinced you tried a vertical version too. The sky is so powerful….

  10. says

    Very nice scene Anne! I would go with the uncropped… I tend to be subconsciously drawn to images that almost invisibly apply the rule of thirds, and the uncropped one definitely delivers :)

  11. Cley says

    I think the original one is much better than the cropped one. You can see the full details of the picture. Nice shot!

  12. says

    OK. My vote is on the uncropped. I do agree with Steve regarding the rule of thirds and the brush in the front could be distracting. However, I believe the uncropped one seems to have more depth and puts the viewer into the broader context of the scenery. Either way beautiful picture and that is not just because of the saturation of color. I do like the thought of taking pictures accross borders and from accross an invisible line. I think there is definitely something to this idea. Thanks for sharing.
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