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Subject: "How do you judge "straight"?" Previous topic | Next topic
roffelmau Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Sep 2013Sun 22-Sep-13 09:32 PM
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"How do you judge "straight"?"


DEPEW, US
          

I know it can be both personal preference or a technical leveling... The problem I have is this: What if nothing is actually straight in the frame(either horizontal or vertical)?

My case in point is the photo below. When I took it this morning, I tried to make the trees average vertical because there were a number of them that are just sticking out there in plain sight. When I got home and looked at it on the computer screen, the entire scene looked as if it was going to slide off the left side of the monitor at any moment. When I made the water look flat, the trees looked as if they were ready to fall down.

Nothing in the view is actually straight or level and the shoreline and trees give my brain confusing signals. So I pretty much split the difference.

How would you all view and deal with it? I'm curious...


--Andy

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
Pouncer Silver Member
22nd Sep 2013
1
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
coolmom42 Silver Member
27th Sep 2013
12
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
cchoc Moderator
22nd Sep 2013
2
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
roffelmau Silver Member
23rd Sep 2013
3
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
AartPapaya Silver Member
23rd Sep 2013
4
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
Antero52 Silver Member
24th Sep 2013
5
     Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
cchoc Moderator
25th Sep 2013
9
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
DaveSoderlund Silver Member
24th Sep 2013
6
Reply message 5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?
GiantTristan Silver Member
24th Sep 2013
7
Reply message 5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?
sabbey51 Gold Member
24th Sep 2013
8
Reply message 5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?
factotum
27th Sep 2013
13
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
danshep Silver Member
25th Sep 2013
10
Reply message RE: How do you judge "straight"?
ericbowles Moderator
25th Sep 2013
11

Pouncer Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 22-Sep-13 09:47 PM
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#1. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Memphis, US
          

Without a bubble level or electronic horizon in camera, or an obvious natural straight line, trial and error is all you can do.

In this situation my default would be to judge the final photo by the trees, not the shoreline or water. I think the final photo is about as good as can be done. The trees look natural.

Garrett

This is my Nikonians gallery.

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011Fri 27-Sep-13 12:20 AM
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#12. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 1


McEwen, US
          

>Without a bubble level or electronic horizon in camera, or an
>obvious natural straight line, trial and error is all you can
>do.
>
>In this situation my default would be to judge the final photo
>by the trees, not the shoreline or water. I think the final
>photo is about as good as can be done. The trees look
>natural.
>
>Garrett
>
>

This is
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.




I agree.

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cchoc Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, most notably in Landscape Photography Charter MemberSun 22-Sep-13 10:28 PM
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#2. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Marietta, US
          

Images like this can be straightened using the reflections. Pick a point you can see both on a tree and it's reflection and connect them, that has to be a vertical line.

Charlie...
stalking light

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roffelmau Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Sep 2013Mon 23-Sep-13 12:58 AM
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#3. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 2


DEPEW, US
          

That is brilliant! Thank you!

--Andy

  

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AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Mon 23-Sep-13 06:18 AM
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#4. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 2


Hectorspruit, ZA
          

Thank you Charlie. So obvious but I never thought about it before.

Aart

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Tue 24-Sep-13 10:17 AM
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#5. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 2


Vantaa, FI
          

Hmm. I think it only works if you can ignore converging verticals. That is, 1) the point and reflection are in the horizontal center of the frame, 2) the camera was held with its optical axis in the horizontal direction, or 3) the photo was shot with a long focal length, in which case converging verticals aren't an issue.

I reserve the right to apologize should it turn out that I figured it out wrong.

Regards, Antero

  

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cchoc Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, most notably in Landscape Photography Charter MemberWed 25-Sep-13 01:22 AM
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#9. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 5


Marietta, US
          

Good points all, but if you have a 'reflection' scene where the horizon is curved due to lens distortion I don't think you will ever get it to look right without straightening the horizon first. Just my opinion on that, though, the curvature may be an effect you are looking for. The ones that amuse me are shots of an ocean with a curved horizon where the photographer claims it is the curvature of the earth.

Charlie...
stalking light

Nikonians Team Member

  

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DaveSoderlund Silver Member Nikonian since 29th May 2010Tue 24-Sep-13 11:26 AM
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#6. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Geneva, US
          

I was the crooked horizon champ for decades. A bubble level improved things dramatically (when I remembered to put it in the hot shoe), but now that my D7100 has a virtual horizon I have no excuse!

When straightening after the fact in post processing I tend to look for a true vertical near the center of the frame and rotate the image square with that.

Dave

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsoderlund/

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GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Tue 24-Sep-13 05:28 PM
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#7. "5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Stamford, US
          

The in-camera electronic level is not very accurate. The same goes for bubble levels on the hot shoe - have you ever seen a carpenter using a bubble level of this size?

In the absence of a horizon or any other straight horizontal or vertical lines, I believe the best way to straighten a picture is by using the grid lines and manual adjustments.

Tristan

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sabbey51 Gold Member Nikonian since 10th Jan 2010Tue 24-Sep-13 08:05 PM
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#8. "5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 7


Saddle river, US
          

Well, it's all about balancing the various visual clues in the image. I sometimes need to play with it a bit, as all of the cues are contradictory. For instance, when shooting across water, the far shoreline may not run exactly perpendicular to the camera's line-of-sight, and some promenant trees may be slightly leaning off vertical. But I agree - often the best is to look for central vertical lines and try to make them vertical.

LR5 also has a great feature that will attempt to eliminate vertical line convergence which is sometimes helpful.

  

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factotum Registered since 17th Jun 2007Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38 AM
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#13. "5rRE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Nearly every 2x4 I see anymore is twisted, bowed, or otherwise misshapen. Sorry, I never carry a 6 foot level with me on photo shoots. Maybe you could have floated your level in the pond and used that to check? Of course, there is always this little gadget.
http://www.micromark.com/miniature-digital-level,9409.html
Just in case you are having trouble with that six foot level balanced atop your camera.B^)

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
Miss Piggy

  

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danshep Silver Member Charter MemberWed 25-Sep-13 05:44 AM
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#10. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Olympia, US
          


It looks right to me.

What I would consider, is the two trees that are the lightest color. They appear off from all the other trees, so I would look at some secondary trees. Those closest to the center seem right.

You also have a small ripple in the water, which it appears to me, you leveled correctly on the horizontal.



"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no."

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Wed 25-Sep-13 07:46 PM
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#11. "RE: How do you judge "straight"?"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

From a technical standpoint, I use the level indicator through the viewfinder of the D800E. It provides a pretty good perspective - and is fast. But as Tristan points out - it is not perfectly accurate - just a good indicator.

In post processing I zoom in on the image to 50% or more and then position the display so I have a straight line across the top, bottom, or side. This works very well for ocean horizons that are clearly level, or when you have an element of the scene that is clearly vertical or horizontal.

It's important to keep in mind that an image must appear level - even if that is not technically level. It's better to have a scene that looks to be properly aligned vertically and horizontally, than to have an image that is perfectly level but does not look straight. It can be a matter of the scene, composition, elements in the scene, or editing that cause the perspective to vary. Light and dark areas can create a perception that one side is higher than the other. Small perceptual differences make a big difference in the image - they are hard to figure out but just don't feel right.

For example, in the image above, the double tree just left of center is leaning. Because it is bright, it attracts attention and the question arises of whether it is straight or not. In addition, the bright golden grasses on the far side of the water are moving away from you - and they give the impression that they are not level. Because both the tree and the grasses are correctly photographed but slightly off vertical and horizontal, the image feels like its not straight. A position more to the left would increase the angles so they look intentional.

It's very hard to anticipate whether an image is perceived to be straight or not. The main thing is to try to avoid compositions with major elements that are just slightly off horizontal or vertical. In some images you can darken or reduce saturation in distracting elements. It would be easy to darken the light double tree in this image, but there is nothing you can do about the grasses without a strong crop. You might crop half the water on the bottom, and most of the sky above the trees to move the challenging areas to the edge of the frame.

Eric Bowles
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