While driving across Mexico to see the monarch butterfly wintering grounds I came across this agriculture field with a beautiful pattern and subtly shifting tones. I love little Zen scenes like this, though they are deceptively hard to find and sometimes even harder to make work.

Here are 4 tries at the Zen image I wanted to get.  Let me know if you have a favorite.  IMAGE 1  is the big postcard photo. Tells the big picture story, but not that dynamic otherwise. . . .

Field Pattern

If that did not get it, now what do I do?  What do I keep in the image and what do I leave out?

In IMAGE 2, below, I zoomed in quite a bit. and came up with this image, which I like quite a bit.

Field Pattern

In IMAGE 3, below, I zoomed way, way in until I just had two rows of bales, and one slash. But the image is too balanced, to me, and I don’t really like it. . . .

Field Pattern In IMAGE 3, I backed up a bit, reducing the image to 3 lines of hay bales and one main slash. I like this better.  Having an odd number of your main subject (i.e. three lines of hay bales) helps keep some tension in the image.

Field Pattern

Do you have a favorite? Or conversely, if you don’t like any of these images, which one sucks the least?

Patterns in agricultural fields, Michoacán, Mexico. Canon Canon 1Ds Mark II. ISO 100. f/22 @ 1/8 second. IMAGE 1: 78mm. IMAGE 2: 190mm. IMAGE 3: 330mm. IMAGE 4: 400mm.