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Author Topic: Horizon-tal?  (Read 6693 times)
OldRoy
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« on: June 04, 2013, 03:28:16 AM »
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Re: "Coming Home To True North..."

I'm becoming (have become) an old curmudgeon. When I look at any photograph that incorporates a horizon, or at least a horizontal water surface, the first thing that registers is whether or not it's level. I'd say that I can usually see errors as small as a degree or two. It constantly amazes me how often there's a published "art photo" where there are grossly out of level horizontal elements. Clearly levelling the horizon can impact vertical components to a degree determined by focal length and perspective. But do other people feel that levelling is optional?

Roy
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 03:41:31 AM »
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Did you hear about the photographer who was given a set of water skis for Christmas and spent the rest of the year looking for a lake that sloped?  Boom, boom!

Seriously I think any photographer who has a sloping horizon like that needs to be bought a spirit level.  For some reason I too find it very distracting and in a seascape it always looks wrong.
Nice light though.

Jim
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 09:42:43 AM by Jim Pascoe » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 09:29:47 AM »
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Don't be silly; it's an artistic device used to indicate that the image was made from a boat.

Really...

Rob C
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Schewe
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 11:44:37 AM »
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Re: "Coming Home To True North..."

I'm becoming (have become) an old curmudgeon.

Go back an look at the image...fact is, there is no water/sky horizontal...the far shores are receding in the distance as a result of perspective. The antenna on the ship is vertical so, I think the shot is level.
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John Camp
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 11:57:20 AM »
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The shot is in Australia. And how does water get to Australia, if it doesn't run down hill? Duh.
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RobbieV
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 01:21:39 PM »
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Funny how Michael posts an article about the ethics of photo manipulation, yet hosts an image of Australia that has clearly been flipped upside-down. And why were all the drop bears and killer spiders edited out?

For shame.
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 04:08:31 PM »
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The shot is in Australia. And how does water get to Australia, if it doesn't run down hill? Duh.


Q.E.D.

Rob C
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AFairley
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 07:35:43 PM »
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Go back an look at the image...fact is, there is no water/sky horizontal...the far shores are receding in the distance as a result of perspective. The antenna on the ship is vertical so, I think the shot is level.

I can see what you're saying, Jeff, but when I just relax and look at the image the impression I have is that the horizon is tilted to down to the left, so it looks off.  To my mind it's better to correct so that it looks "right" even if looking right is actually wrong, if you get my drift (pardon the pun).  (which may or may not involve a slavishly horizontal horizon)
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 11:34:52 PM »
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I can see what you're saying, Jeff, but when I just relax and look at the image the impression I have is that the horizon is tilted to down to the left, so it looks off.  To my mind it's better to correct so that it looks "right" even if looking right is actually wrong, if you get my drift (pardon the pun).  (which may or may not involve a slavishly horizontal horizon)

Actually, over the years of fixing horizons, I find that the eyes get trained in the horizon levelling, and even 1/2 degree misalignments are noticeable. Mind you, not before pressing the shutter, only when you bring the images home and display them on the computer screen.
   
I suspect, Michael played a optical illusion trick on us, just to check if we still notice the small details. You never know, combining the red sky and receding shoreline could hide other subliminal messages (or low flying flamingos). The main antenna is straight and the water lines on the small boats are indeed level, although the headwind pushing the antenna slightly towards the stern could leave some room for another lively discussion.

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EduPerez
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 02:41:48 AM »
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Even if the camera was perfectly leveled when the shot was taken, what counts to me is the impression that the final image produces; if the horizon looks tilted, even if that is just because of an optical illusion, then I would correct the image. However, when the image contains vertical clues, merely rotating it can make it look tilted in the opposite direction; in these cases, I tend to use the shear tool.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 03:37:03 AM »
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Never like to argue with Schewe about anything to do with photography, but having spent a life either next to the sea and near boats or on them, I can definitely (probably) say the horizon is not level.  The picture is taken from a lowish viewpoint and the effect with a level horizon and a tall boat would be for the stern of the boat to look as if it is up in the air.  I guess the photographer levelled the boat to make it look 'right', but at the expense of a sloping horizon.  I understand what Jeff is saying about receding shores and perspective, but from this relative distance to the shore and with the camera at near sea level it would be almost impossible to say which way the coastline was angled anyway.

Anyway, it's not that important - unless you happen to be irritated by such things.

Jim
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 03:49:08 AM »
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As for aerials being vertical, really?

The truth as I see it here, in the local marina, is that many owners tend to rake the things slightly backwards to gˇve the impression of speed whilst static, how most boats seem to live out their days at best, either gathering weed in the water or up on the hard with the owner paying to have it removed. He pays for the privilege either way.

A possible reason for the illusion is that the boat was rocking and was shot at a point in the motion where, to make it appear correctly upright, the backgrond had to suffer. It's a lesser of two evils?

Why am I breaking sweat over this? I have a medical card to collect this morning, better get to it instead!

;-)

Rob C



P.S. Got the card; during the transaction, the lady behind the desk spoke not a word - to me - not even hello nor goodbye. Civil servants...

http://youtu.be/qS_f9tvGjA0
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 05:36:47 AM by Rob C » Logged

OldRoy
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 04:34:19 AM »
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Well, I was going to say less than a degree but checked myself in case I invoked a 5h!tstorm of denial. So I'm glad someone else said it. When levelling in PP I can usually see <1deg immediately.

To me, no matter what anyone says, the pic in question is visually out of level: there only seems to be a single naysayer so far. It's the first thing I notice and it tends to overwhelm any other qualities a photograph may have. Call me miserable, many do. A while ago there was a print sale by a regular contributor to TOP (whose work looks very ordinary to me, but I'm not the target market anyway) one of which suffered from the same phenomenon, although not a seascape.

Now of course when framing a print, assuming a mount/mat, this is correctable but it still struck me as astonishing that anyone would overlook such an obvious  detail when selling prints given the angels-on-a-pinhead technical minutiae which frequently overwhelm all other considerations.

Roy
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 07:12:27 AM »
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Should you wish to, a few minutes with the crop tool in ACR (using rotate and fine grid) strictly in the reflection on the water from the starboard work light helps to see with a bit more clarity water level as that reflection breaks in it's various delineations making way toward you... you might be surprised how everything else trues... the small  image requires a bit of squint, but enough there nonetheless. I saved the small jpg should anyone care to try it. It's a great illustration of what we have come to accept in "seeing" our habitats, and how we might consciously choose to estrange them.

This world is but an enormous abstract, but we spend most of our lives learning to "see" and "understand" and "define". I celebrate in my old age those willing to engage abstraction. (I am not saying that "returning" is an example of abstraction, only that it is an excellent example of how what we have "learned" limits our ability to see.)

One more quick thing. To experiment with these effects one could "Maxfield Parrish". For his brilliant illustrative paintings he not only spent time (observant and aware) in the outdoors, he replicated effects he wished to understand on his kitchen table in trays of water using bare bulbs and light sources to more fully understand light, shadow, reflection... his world in the abstract. OK, I promise to give you relief from me now.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 09:24:35 AM by Patricia Sheley » Logged

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KLaban
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 10:05:11 AM »
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I'm reminded of an apartment we stayed in with a 180 degree uninterrupted view of the sea. Despite having the largest natural level in the world the builders had still managed to install the large picture window askew.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 11:15:25 AM by KLaban » Logged

walter.sk
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2013, 12:03:12 PM »
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Go back an look at the image...fact is, there is no water/sky horizontal...the far shores are receding in the distance as a result of perspective. The antenna on the ship is vertical so, I think the shot is level.
This is something I have argued about with many photographers.  When the shoreline is not parallel to the plane of the sensor it can often appear as "tilted" when photographed.  Often, trees or houses in the picture will be vertical, yet photographers will only look at the apparent tilted horizon.

I do have a question, though:  If you shoot the scene with a receding shoreline, and there are no trees or other verticals to show that, should you attempt to straighten the apparent tilt to make it appear more correct, even if it violates the actual reality of the receding shore line?
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AFairley
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2013, 01:39:26 PM »
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I do have a question, though:  If you shoot the scene with a receding shoreline, and there are no trees or other verticals to show that, should you attempt to straighten the apparent tilt to make it appear more correct, even if it violates the actual reality of the receding shore line?

Absolutely for me, the important thing is whether the picture looks "correct" to the eye.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2013, 09:20:23 PM »
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If you think about shooting up at buildings and how the buidlings converge, it's the same thing horizontally.  The 2D plane of the picture cannot correct the 3d lines converging like our brains do when we look up.  So you think it's tilting.

With this shot I agree with Fairley.  Play with the tilt until it looks as natural to the eye as it can get. Afterall, we don't measure the horizon with a level but rather with our brain.  A 1-1.5 degree shift to the right seems to work for me.  Something else may work better for you.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2013, 09:21:52 PM »
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PS Thanks for adding the dash to Horizon-tal.  I never realized until your post that the word comes from horizon.  Of course!
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John Camp
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2013, 02:58:50 AM »
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Just from the technical aspect of things, it's impossible to tell from this photo exactly where the horizon is. (The horizon is at one place, and that's exactly at eye level for a person who is looking straight ahead. Or at lens-level for a leveled camera. Since we don't know exactly how MR positioned the camera, we can't tell where the horizon is.) However, the horizon cannot be below the level of the water we see -- but it can be above it. All you have to do to know that is think about it. If you were at a high place, looking over water, then over an island, and then more water, which shows the true eye-level horizon, it's obvious that the far edge of the water in the foreground can't represent the horizon. If you lowered yourself a bit, so you could no longer see the actual eye-level horizon, the water below you would still (obviously) not constitute a true horizon. The true horizon is still at your eye-level, it's just out of sight.

It's equally true that the angle of the water and land makes a difference, which you can easily prove to yourself by taking an oblique photo of the line where a wall meets a floor, with a more or less level camera. The wall/floor line closer to you will be lower in the photo frame than the the wall-floor line further away. The same is true of land angled across an expanse of water, as it obviously is in this photo.

The problem with this photo is that the land angle is subtle enough that the line of the water could be mistaken for the true horizon. But it isn't. I think MR was either standing on shore, or standing up in a boat, and the true horizon is about at that line of portholes on the hull of the boat, or a hair lower.
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