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Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: OldRoy on June 04, 2013, 04:28:16 AM

Title: Horizon-tal?
Post by: OldRoy on June 04, 2013, 04:28:16 AM
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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Jim Pascoe on June 04, 2013, 04:41:31 AM
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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Rob C on June 04, 2013, 10:29:47 AM
Don't be silly; it's an artistic device used to indicate that the image was made from a boat.

Really...

Rob C
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Schewe on June 04, 2013, 12:44:37 PM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: John Camp on June 04, 2013, 12:57:20 PM
The shot is in Australia. And how does water get to Australia, if it doesn't run down hill? Duh.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: RobbieV on June 04, 2013, 02:21:39 PM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Rob C on June 04, 2013, 05:08:31 PM
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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: AFairley on June 04, 2013, 08:35:43 PM
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)
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: LesPalenik on June 05, 2013, 12:34:52 AM
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.

Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: EduPerez on June 05, 2013, 03:41:48 AM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Jim Pascoe on June 05, 2013, 04:37:03 AM
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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Rob C on June 05, 2013, 04:49:08 AM
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 g¡ve 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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: OldRoy on June 05, 2013, 05:34:19 AM
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
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Patricia Sheley on June 05, 2013, 08:12:27 AM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: walter.sk on June 05, 2013, 01:03:12 PM
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?
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: AFairley on June 05, 2013, 02:39:26 PM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Alan Klein on June 05, 2013, 10:20:23 PM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Alan Klein on June 05, 2013, 10:21:52 PM
PS Thanks for adding the dash to Horizon-tal.  I never realized until your post that the word comes from horizon.  Of course!
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: John Camp on June 06, 2013, 03:58:50 AM
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.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Schewe on June 06, 2013, 04:06:44 AM
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.

First off, I'm pretty sure Kevin shot and posted this image, not Mike. Second, Mike Kevin and I (as well as others) have a lot of experience shooting from Zodiacs (3 trips to Antarctica for me) and when you are at near sea level, any twitch or change in angle is glaring–which is why I honestly think Kevin got it right even if it's unsettling to some people. Look, it is what it is...if you have a receding shoreline you'll never have a pure horizontal waterline and it shouldn't be...

If you don't like it...well, either lump it or get Kevin in a headlock and make him change it. Either way, I would find it amusing...
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Rob C on June 06, 2013, 04:30:42 AM
First off, I'm pretty sure Kevin shot and posted this image, not Mike. Second, Mike Kevin and I (as well as others) have a lot of experience shooting from Zodiacs (3 trips to Antarctica for me) and when you are at near sea level, any twitch or change in angle is glaring–which is why I honestly think Kevin got it right even if it's unsettling to some people. Look, it is what it is...if you have a receding shoreline you'll never have a pure horizontal waterline and it shouldn't be...

If you don't like it...well, either lump it or get Kevin in a headlock and make him change it. Either way, I would find it amusing...




What the hell's that when compared with a hairline doing the same goddam thing!

Rob C
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: LesPalenik on June 07, 2013, 08:47:59 AM
First off, I'm pretty sure Kevin shot and posted this image, not Mike. Second, Mike Kevin and I (as well as others) have a lot of experience shooting from Zodiacs (3 trips to Antarctica for me) and when you are at near sea level, any twitch or change in angle is glaring–which is why I honestly think Kevin got it right even if it's unsettling to some people. Look, it is what it is...if you have a receding shoreline you'll never have a pure horizontal waterline and it shouldn't be...

If you don't like it...well, either lump it or get Kevin in a headlock and make him change it. Either way, I would find it amusing...

Whoever took this picture, I can understand the dilemma of the maker.

Just recently, I encountered a similar situation when photographing a tree swing on flooded lake.
The shoreline was receding one way, the swing seat the other way, tree was leaning to the left, the swing ropes were not aligned, shortly, a real challenge. Just to balance all these irregularities, my first recourse was to introduce some color to the stark image. Since I'm opposed to any excessive image manipulation, instead of trying to line up the horizon and other aforementioned lines, I came up with a rather elegant and minimalistic solution, and trimmed the image to bare essentials. I'm sure that this approach would work well also for other images.  
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Patricia Sheley on June 07, 2013, 11:01:00 AM
Promised to go away, but the discussion just keeps folding in on itself as if it were a philosophy 101 lecture, "what is art?"

If the leveling and rules are all that important for a specific image, simply hang a plumb bob in front of the lens at capture for the first, just as a passport is thrown into the mix for color correction...   But why? Does the vision of the photographer count for nothing? Finding paths to intentional disengagement from the rules as learned and understood can be so much more... I'm missing the reasoning behind this obsession with level. Kevin recorded a sense of what a full day of experience feels like at the margins of return to the "mother ship". I feel the immense sense of satisfaction, journey, pleasure, breathing out on return before all are aboard, immediate necessities addressed, and an anticipation of laying back, maybe drink in hand, sharing and exchanging the unsaid of the day as all were individually immersed in their vision, now that they have the moments to absorb them individually at leisure...I think Kevin's offering beautifully shared that sense for those who might have wished to have been lucky enough to be part of that day....

One almost wonders if Kevin or Michael will even wish to continue sharing their sense of experience/place with the inhabitants of the the shadows within Plato's Cave.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Alan Klein on June 07, 2013, 12:54:08 PM
I hate it when I go out to eat and sit down at a table that's wobbling.  Water's spilling out of the glass.  So you stuff your napkin under one leg to steady the table finally gettting that right.  And then the table is crooked.  Not horizontal.  You think your water glass is going to slide right off.  Did the carpenter forget his level and make the floor crooked?  Did the table manufacturer put on legs of different sizes?  What's wrong with these people?  They ought to have rules about these things.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Rob C on June 07, 2013, 01:26:51 PM
Alan, a place I used to frequent most days used to supply half clothes pegs just for that purpose. Worked quite well.

My current problem is napkins for the chest. I try to tuck them in and secure them at the neck of my T-shirt, and everything's fine until I move. Then, the beard pushes them back out and, if I'm not quick enough, into the soup they dive. I used my late wife's last few hairpins to secure napkin to shirt, but I managed to lose them all. Hairpins, that is. That made me sad. Now I just try to outwit the diver.

It's a bitch. Sometimes I just wish I didn't have to eat.

Rob C
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: knickerhawk on June 11, 2013, 01:12:11 PM
Promised to go away, but the discussion just keeps folding in on itself as if it were a philosophy 101 lecture, "what is art?"

If the leveling and rules are all that important for a specific image, simply hang a plumb bob in front of the lens at capture for the first, just as a passport is thrown into the mix for color correction...   But why? Does the vision of the photographer count for nothing? Finding paths to intentional disengagement from the rules as learned and understood can be so much more... I'm missing the reasoning behind this obsession with level. Kevin recorded a sense of what a full day of experience feels like at the margins of return to the "mother ship". I feel the immense sense of satisfaction, journey, pleasure, breathing out on return before all are aboard, immediate necessities addressed, and an anticipation of laying back, maybe drink in hand, sharing and exchanging the unsaid of the day as all were individually immersed in their vision, now that they have the moments to absorb them individually at leisure...I think Kevin's offering beautifully shared that sense for those who might have wished to have been lucky enough to be part of that day....

One almost wonders if Kevin or Michael will even wish to continue sharing their sense of experience/place with the inhabitants of the the shadows within Plato's Cave.

Well, it bothered me when I first saw it on the home page of LL.  I was rather surprised when I saw in this thread how many didn't believe the shot was unleveled.  To test my initial impression I copied the shot posted earlier in this thread and drew several rectangles to see what lined up and what didn't.  The most telling rectangle is when you draw one with the bottom horizontal edge along the water horizon to the right of the boat and the left vertical edge next to the tall antenna in the front of the boat.  The water and antenna are consistently out of alignment with the rectangle.  Same goes with the main mast on top of the boat and with the waterline to the left of the boat.  Quite simply, the image is skewed.

As for breaking asethetic rules, yes, the vision of the photographer counts for a lot, but when the photographer is shooting from a rocking boat, it's quite possible that the image actually captured doesn't perfectly match his/her "vision" or intent.  It's quite likely that his his/her "vision" was not to deliberately skew the horizon at all. 

Let's be honest here, it was a bit of carelessness in processing the shot, not a deliberate aesthetic decision.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Alan Klein on June 11, 2013, 05:28:50 PM
The rocking of the boat off of it's horizonal when the picture was snapped may skew the level view of the horizon as well.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Alan Klein on June 11, 2013, 05:29:39 PM
Alan, a place I used to frequent most days used to supply half clothes pegs just for that purpose. Worked quite well.

My current problem is napkins for the chest. I try to tuck them in and secure them at the neck of my T-shirt, and everything's fine until I move. Then, the beard pushes them back out and, if I'm not quick enough, into the soup they dive. I used my late wife's last few hairpins to secure napkin to shirt, but I managed to lose them all. Hairpins, that is. That made me sad. Now I just try to outwit the diver.

It's a bitch. Sometimes I just wish I didn't have to eat.

Rob C

I'm trying to figure out why your beard does that.  Is it tucked into your shirt too? :)
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: OldRoy on June 12, 2013, 09:56:06 AM
I'm off to Italy next week and hope to be posting some shots of the "Plumb-Vertical Tower of Pisa".
Roy
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: AFairley on June 12, 2013, 01:24:10 PM
I'm off to Italy next week and hope to be posting some shots of the "Plumb-Vertical Tower of Pisa".
Roy

Fortunately easy to fix with the new Lightroom 5 auto straighten feature   ;D
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: KirbyKrieger on June 13, 2013, 10:10:28 AM
Is the original page (or picture) still available?  The topic interests me, but I missed the published page and have so far failed to turn it up using the site's search.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: knickerhawk on June 14, 2013, 11:48:24 AM
Is the original page (or picture) still available?  The topic interests me, but I missed the published page and have so far failed to turn it up using the site's search.

Thanks.

It's the boat image that appears half way down the first page of this thread.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: KirbyKrieger on June 14, 2013, 01:36:57 PM
It's the boat image that appears half way down the first page of this thread.
Thanks.  Even re-re-reading that post, it is not clear to me that the included picture is the original.  The poster mentions how to manipulate the picture and what to look for, and says she saved it as a JPG, but then posts a TIFF.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Patricia Sheley on June 14, 2013, 02:36:48 PM
Yes, "she" posted the tiff version...only the extension had changed. The version I temporarily placed on my desktop for reference is here, untouched. What was it Rob found in his mother's dictionary, ...flamboyant, defiant...can't remember the third, but I loved the sound of all three rolling off the tongue...I proudly add xntric... ;)

here you go...

(post script, "triumphant" was the third)
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Oldfox on June 14, 2013, 02:58:11 PM
My scientific research has revealed that the image is 1.59 degrees unlevel. Look at the attached image.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: Patricia Sheley on June 14, 2013, 03:21:37 PM
"I'm missing the reasoning behind this obsession with level. Kevin recorded a sense of what a full day of experience feels like at the margins of return to the "mother ship". I feel the immense sense of satisfaction, journey, pleasure, breathing out on return before all are aboard, immediate necessities addressed, and an anticipation of laying back, maybe drink in hand, sharing and exchanging the unsaid of the day as all were individually immersed in their vision, now that they have the moments to absorb them individually at leisure...I think Kevin's offering beautifully shared that sense for those who might have wished to have been lucky enough to be part of that day...." P.A.S.
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: OldRoy on June 14, 2013, 03:36:09 PM
"I'm missing the reasoning behind this obsession with level. Kevin recorded a sense of what a full day of experience feels like at the margins of return to the "mother ship". I feel the immense sense of satisfaction, journey, pleasure, breathing out on return before all are aboard, immediate necessities addressed, and an anticipation of laying back, maybe drink in hand, sharing and exchanging the unsaid of the day as all were individually immersed in their vision, now that they have the moments to absorb them individually at leisure...I think Kevin's offering beautifully shared that sense for those who might have wished to have been lucky enough to be part of that day...." P.A.S.

As I lay back, drink in hand, contemplating the day's accomplishments and manifold pleasures in the bosom of what I like to regard as my personal castle, thinking thoughts that might possibly otherwise have remained un-thunk, I wonder if perhaps you might care to elaborate on how this fulsome, nay, poetic, postscript to what (dare I say it?) has been an illuminating thread, adds anything to it? Is Kevin perhaps a friend of yours?
The pic ain't level, any way you cut it.
Roy
Title: Re: Horizon-tal?
Post by: KirbyKrieger on June 14, 2013, 05:21:13 PM
Yes, "she" posted the tiff version...only the extension had changed. The version I temporarily placed on my desktop for reference is here, untouched. What was it Rob found in his mother's dictionary, ...flamboyant, defiant...can't remember the third, but I loved the sound of all three rolling off the tongue...I proudly add xntric... ;)

here you go...

(post script, "triumphant" was the third)

Not sure what pronoun of drum you are beating there -- care to explain?

As for the posted image -- there was no way to know whether it was the original or the one you manipulated.  Asking seemed polite, since, by all accounts, we are discussing small differences.