Aspect ratio is very important to photography, and the 'shape' of the physical photograph can change the photograph completely.
I never crop an image for compositional purposes. Instead, I take multiple images to create the 'shape' that I want.
That also allows me to create very-high resolution images.
Sometimes my compositions will suit a panoramic shape, sometimes a slightly off square shape.
Panoramic means both directions too. From close up to vast vistas, magnificent landscapes can be captured in a panoramic photo.
It's also the satisfaction of seeing a composition, a shape, in your minds eye, and then reproducing it in a photograph.
Panoramic photography is both challenging and rewarding.
Forests are surprisingly easy to photograph in panoramic form, possibly because of the repeating patterns formed by the vertical trees.
It's easier to take closed landscapes (no sky) as the trees tend to fill the sky completely, especially in summer.
With digital photography it is easy to create a genuine panoramic multiple image stitched photograph (as opposed to cropping a conventional image).
With today's processing power, even on a budget PC, it does not take long to process very large resolution images.
That means the only difficulty left is in the composing...and the visualization. Luckily that is also the creative and fun bit.
As you can see..I love forests!
With the bottom two photos I used a 100mm lens and in the large resolution version the photo is sharp from near to far.
Because I used multiple images and I framed very carefully, I was able to focus the camera for each frame such that near and far suffered minimally from depth of field issues.
On top of that it should be noted that as the image is of a resolution so high that I would never need a print that large, the lowering of the resolution back to something more sensible effectively eliminates any diffraction issues occuring from a small (F22) aperture.
In fact you could go up to F32 if you wanted and just reduce the resolution to eliminate diffraction issues when viewed at pixel level at 100%
Beautiful forest sunrays and moody beaches can be captured more originally and dramatically when you have a limitless choice of aspect ratio. You can now photograph purely from your minds eye without any hardware constraints.
Long narrow skies at certain times of day just look better. An aspect ratio of 4:3 or 5:4 or even 16:9 would be great, but not as great as these much longer panoramics. Again, photographed on the fly with no pre planning.