Monday, December 22, 2014

On The Level

On this morning I am south of Langdon Alberta, following the ridges of the valley that the Bow River flows through.
Amongst other things such as a walk about, I was shooting photos as per usual, and that brings up a point of contention with me when I look at photos that were shot by me or by others.
If there is anything that ruins what is otherwise a terrific photo, is a photo that is not level, or in other words, has trees or buildings that are leaning over at all sorts of angles, as well as horizons that are tilted, and other obvious indicators that the photo was not shot on the level.

You can prevent this from happening if you use a bubble level on your camera, as these are available as hot-shoe accessories.
You also will find that better tripods have bubble levels built in to the tripod, as well as ballheads that also have bubble levels as part of their build.
In my case, I do use a tripod that has a built in leveling bubble, as well as a levelling bubble built in to the camera mounting plate on the top of my ballhead.

When I set up my tripod and I don't plan on shooting multiple panoramic photos, which is most of the time, I won't necessarily level off the tripod, as I know that I will not be panning my camera for any of the photos that I plan on shooting, so therefore I only level off my camera by using the bubble level built in to the camera plate at the top of my ballhead.
Also, you will find that a lot of todays DSLR's have a built in leveling option, and these work extremely well, although I tend to ignore the option, as I have been using leveling bubbles on my cameras forever, and still find this mode works well for me.

Now having said all that, you may still have a tilted photo when you are looking at your photos on your computer, and at this point you can correct the problem with editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.
However its better to have initially shot the photo correctly, as straightening the photo after costs you time, resolution, and loss of pixels.
Now some scenes that are before your camera that you are planning on shooting, are easily shot with a level horizon.

Other photos make it more difficult to determine without the use of some means of leveling, so make it level before you press that shutter button.

Now having said that, and in the case of the photo of my mobile, I did shoot the photo with the horizon straight, but I wanted a more dramatic look to the photo and I accomplished this by tilting my camera up including more of the sky.

Of course this may add to the dramatic look of the photo, but doing so will add distortion to the photo, and this may or may not work.
In the case of my mobile I feel it makes the photo, as the sky on this morning was quite eye catching with the clouds drifting before the wind.
Do use care when using this technique, and especially with the use of wide-angle lens in close proximity to objects in the photo, as you can easily cause distortion that may or may not add to the photo as shot.

On any frosty morning, and with a whole lot of fog thrown in, shooting photos becomes ever more challenging without any visible horizons, so more so than ever are the use of a leveling bubble becomes very important.

All photo expand...

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