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Author Topic: What is "level"?  (Read 4061 times)
Tonysx
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« on: August 11, 2013, 05:50:08 PM »
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In the Critiques forum this was posted http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=80781.0
A number of comments were made that the image was not level. I commented that the treeline appeared level and was greeted by  "Huh?  Have you never seen a slope.  The treeline being level has little to do with it unless the landscape is completely flat and the trees all exactly the same height.  However if Russ says it's level then I accept that.  It just looks crooked!   But then you may also be local to the area and know the terrain - but even so, there is no logic to your method of determining whether the picture is level.  Now if it had been a seascape......"
I later added "So, please explain what is "LEVEL"? The tree line is as level as you will ever get. The side of the main edifice is within 1/2° of vertical. So are you concerned that the landscape appears to slope? Please explain,"
But as Lewis Carroll once said "Answer came there none"
Can somebody please explain to me the concept of "LEVEL"?
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2013, 07:57:24 PM »
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Huh!?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2013, 10:22:12 PM »
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"Level" is in the eye of the beholder. I, too, was a bit amused at the comments that Russ's photo wasn't level.

Some time back there was another thread with similar complaints (I can't remember whose photo it was or just when it appeared). What I do remember is that someone complained that the photo was obviously not level because there was a telephone pole that wasn't perfectly vertical.

My response at that time was that where I live, near Boston, I don't think I have ever seen a telephone pole that was anything close to vertical. IMHO, some people are just what I would call "level-peepers," analogous to "pixel-peepers."
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2013, 11:29:59 PM »
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Hi,

I tend to agree. Skyline is often not horizontal, and even a coastline may appear less than horizontal in many cases. Buildings used to be vertical. Unintended inclination of images is normally seen as a fault, but my take on the issue that a good image is a good image, wheather by the rules or not.

I would also say that the rules are help and guidelines for improving images, but the rules by themselves don't make any image good or even better.

Best regards
Erik


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Best regards
Erik


"Level" is in the eye of the beholder. I, too, was a bit amused at the comments that Russ's photo wasn't level.

Some time back there was another thread with similar complaints (I can't remember whose photo it was or just when it appeared). What I do remember is that someone complained that the photo was obviously not level because there was a telephone pole that wasn't perfectly vertical.

My response at that time was that where I live, near Boston, I don't think I have ever seen a telephone pole that was anything close to vertical. IMHO, some people are just what I would call "level-peepers," analogous to "pixel-peepers."

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 11:35:55 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

hjulenissen
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 12:42:48 AM »
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IMHO, some people are just what I would call "level-peepers," analogous to "pixel-peepers."
:-)

I guess that once you "see" something, it is difficult to snap out of it. I think that "lines" are a perceptually important macro-thing (visible from a distance) in images. Our perception of "up and down" seems to be partially influenced by our vision (especially when viewing images, where the vestibular system does nothing for us). Lines are used by photographers and artists to guide the viewer. Lines can be an indicator of man-made objects. Fish-eye lenses that appear to bend lines in unusual ways often make the viewer object.

All in all, I am not that surprised that people are concerned with lines (although I often question how they can make bold statements about what is "right").

-h
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kikashi
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 02:58:43 AM »
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Highly appropriate. Just for laughs:



Jeremy
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 04:55:54 AM »
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Level! Smiley
Marc

seriously though, sometimes level doesn't look correct and half a degree one way or the other "looks better"
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 07:32:44 AM by marcmccalmont » Logged

Marc McCalmont
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 09:06:03 AM »
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Lovely, Marc!
I was going to do that, but you beat me to it.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 10:19:24 PM by Eric Myrvaagnes » Logged

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Tonysx
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 05:51:00 PM »
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Thank you all for answers. They lead be to believe that there's no level playing field and that the lack of responses in the thread I referenced were because "level" is perhaps an unnecessary word regarding images, especially in Pisa! Thanks again.
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stamper
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 03:12:44 AM »
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The "rule of thumb" is that if an object is a little off it should be straightened or should be exaggerated for effect.  If it isn't then there will always be a suggestion to do one or the other. Imagine putting something into a contest with the focal point leaning right or left and the judge proclaims it is second and if it had have been straight then it would have won. How would you feel in those circumstances? Smiley
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 04:08:29 AM »
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In a formal sense and considering only the camera "Roll" axis, "Level" is when a vertical line that intersects the optical axis coincides with the gravity vector (Bubble and electronic levels work in this way).

In a practical sense for photography, there might be occasions where the image appears tilted even if the previous principle apply, so as Erik posted previously, "Level" is in the eye of the beholder.

On a side note (and without any practical implication for photography), since the earth is not a perfect sphere and its mass is not perfectly homogeneous, the gravity vector might not always be perpendicular to a flat surface nor pointing to the center of the earth. This difference is probably too small to even measure it unless you have highly specialized tools.

Regards
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k bennett
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 08:16:37 AM »
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IMHO, some people are just what I would call "level-peepers,"



I guess that's me, but all I can say is that IMHO it's is generally a more objective thing than pixel peeping.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 09:13:22 AM »
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some people are just what I would call "level-peepers," analogous to "pixel-peepers."
It's an issue that, once it catches your attention, is very difficult to ignore.

In the case of the OP's photo; It seems to be correct if you examine the most likely true verticals on the tree trunks and building verticals, but there's an 'air of unlevelness' about the whole picture that is probably just an illusion caused by the sloping contours and not being taken square to the buildings that cause a slight perspective distortion on the roof lines.
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chichornio
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 08:59:08 AM »
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Can this picture be considered unleveled?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 05:54:06 PM »
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The wires are all quite unlevel. And the road has a definite curve to it.  Wink
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2013, 07:11:02 PM »
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I came across this interesting illusion (Tilt illusion) that shows how our perception about leveled lines could be influenced by its surrounding.

http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/ang-tilt/index.html

Regards
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Peter Stacey
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 07:44:28 PM »
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Haven't read through the whole thread, but love the images, so that is next.

But as to what's level:

1. verticals vertical
2. true horizon horizontal

In Russ's image, the only things close to true verticals are the corners of the buildings; and that may not even be true for this image because they are log buildings. In any case they look vertical to my eye. So even without Russ's comment, I would say that the image is level as is.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 08:06:23 PM by Peter Stacey » Logged

Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2013, 06:11:42 PM »
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In the Critiques forum this was posted http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=80781.0
A number of comments were made that the image was not level. I commented that the treeline appeared level and was greeted by  "Huh?  Have you never seen a slope.  The treeline being level has little to do with it unless the landscape is completely flat and the trees all exactly the same height.  However if Russ says it's level then I accept that.  It just looks crooked!   But then you may also be local to the area and know the terrain - but even so, there is no logic to your method of determining whether the picture is level.  Now if it had been a seascape......"
I later added "So, please explain what is "LEVEL"? The tree line is as level as you will ever get. The side of the main edifice is within 1/2° of vertical. So are you concerned that the landscape appears to slope? Please explain,"
But as Lewis Carroll once said "Answer came there none"
Can somebody please explain to me the concept of "LEVEL"?

I've only just seen this thread which I can see is in response to something I said in an earlier thread.  I only said the picture appeared to me to be not level, and the comment was to Russ - who took it in the spirit it was meant.  My comment to the OP in this thread was that checking the treeline proves nothing.  And anyway, I don't really care, photography of this sort is about appearance, not geometric perfection.  If it looks right it is right in my opinion.  And lastly, I don't have many real skills, but one very irritating one (for me anyway) is that I have an uncanny sense of when things are not quite lined up.  I'm not colour sensitive, or musical, but I can spot a picture not square on a wall in an instant.  Sometimes I have measured things and they are only out by a tiny margin, but somehow I can see it.  So it just looked not level to me - but I'm not going to argue about it.

Jim
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