Old 01-09-2007, 03:57 PM   #1
markhyams
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I've noticed more than a small number of photos that have tilted horizons, including those getting selected for people's choice. What's the deal? It is so easy to fix this in any photo editing program, why don't we do it? Also, why are screeners allowing photos through that are obviously tilted? I don't feel it is appropriate to call out specific photos, but I was just wondering if others have noticed the same thing as me.

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Old 01-09-2007, 11:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markhyams
I've noticed more than a small number of photos that have tilted horizons, including those getting selected for people's choice. What's the deal? It is so easy to fix this in any photo editing program, why don't we do it? Also, why are screeners allowing photos through that are obviously tilted? I don't feel it is appropriate to call out specific photos, but I was just wondering if others have noticed the same thing as me.
There are many factors involving whether or not a photo is unlevel, and sometimes, when everything seems to be all wrong, in reality it is all right. Take into account this shot, for example:

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 170329
Photograph © Carl Becker


The pole on the right is leaning, but the train and elevator are straight up/down (or close enough to that). Carl had to appeal to get this one in because it was originally hit for unlevel horizon. Even though I agree that he appealed it, I can see where the screener is coming from with this (more than likely) simply seeing that the pole was leaning. However, the train and elevator were straight up and down.

Another factor comes into play when you are shooting with certain lenses (including mine at times). Certain photos, although they are level, seem to have something in them that makes them seem unlevel. But other factors make it impossible for them to be unlevel.

This wasn't the direct cause here, but this is an example of one that has a factor that appears unlevel:

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 154372
Photograph © Louis Becker


The engine and a few poles in the background are leaning, but the guardrail on the right for the bridge is straight up/down. This is another image where something may look unlevel, but there is not enough evidence to prove it.

~Louis Becker
La Crosse, WI
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:24 PM   #3
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Looks to me like that first shot is leaning to the left including the grain elevator, and it seems obvious.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Warren
Looks to me like that first shot is leaning to the left including the grain elevator, and it seems obvious.
Agreed, totally. Very odd that it got in on appeal.

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Old 01-09-2007, 11:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Warren
Looks to me like that first shot is leaning to the left including the grain elevator, and it seems obvious.
Opposite of the direction from the pole which makes it seem to lean right. This is one of those, like I said, where there is not much evidence to work with.

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Old 01-09-2007, 11:34 PM   #6
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The engine and a few poles in the background are leaning, but the guardrail on the right for the bridge is straight up/down. This is another image where something may look unlevel, but there is not enough evidence to prove it.
Argue all you want, that second shot is not level. Read this thread from Post #10 on to see why:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=3994
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by becker
Opposite of the direction from the pole which makes it seem to lean right. This is one of those, like I said, where there is not much evidence to work with.

~Louis
I don't see a pole leaning right in the first shot (snow), only in the second shot (BNSF orange). In the snow shot, to me everything is leaning left.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:36 PM   #8
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Argue all you want, that shot is not level. Read this thread from Post #10 on to see why:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=3994
So lens illusions don't count like I stated earlier?
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becker

This wasn't the direct cause here, but this is an example of one that has a factor that appears unlevel:

Image © Louis Becker
PhotoID: 154372
Photograph © Louis Becker


The engine and a few poles in the background are leaning, but the guardrail on the right for the bridge is straight up/down. This is another image where something may look unlevel, but there is not enough evidence to prove it.

~Louis Becker

Louis, I'm going to have to disagree with this one. This shot is clearly unlevel. The biggest thing to look at is in the background, because it appears to have a minimal zoom and there is a fish eye effect with the train. If you look in the background, the light tower is leaning to the right, very heavily. The powerline right of the train is obviously not straight up so can't judge with this. The attached photo was rotated a full degree CCW.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markhyams
I've noticed more than a small number of photos that have tilted horizons, including those getting selected for people's choice. What's the deal? It is so easy to fix this in any photo editing program, why don't we do it? Also, why are screeners allowing photos through that are obviously tilted? I don't feel it is appropriate to call out specific photos, but I was just wondering if others have noticed the same thing as me.
Nope, I agree; I notice quite a few out there that appear to be unlevel in my eyes as well. And to me, this should be one of the easiest things to fix.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becker
So lens illusions don't count like I stated earlier?
That's exactly the point. A wide-angle lens means things lean toward the center. In other words, things on the right of the frame lean left, and things on the left of center lean right. So, if you level something that's on the right edge of the frame (i.e. the guardrail), everything else in the shot will be tilted to the right, just like in this particular photo.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:25 AM   #12
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Also, the frst shot, the B&W snow one, is leaning to the left. The train, the grain elevator, and the Northwood station sign all lean to the left...
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Also, the frst shot, the B&W snow one, is leaning to the left. The train, the grain elevator, and the Northwood station sign all lean to the left...
I thought so too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren
Looks to me like that first shot is leaning to the left including the grain elevator, and it seems obvious.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Agreed, totally. Very odd that it got in on appeal.

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Old 01-10-2007, 04:20 AM   #14
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I used the handy dandy Photoshop Measure tool and it told me that the Grain Elevator is 0.97 degree off of level, leaning to the left. If you blow it up, you can even see that the edge sharpening on the side of the elevator is stair stepped, not a nice straight line, like it would have been if the edge had been exactly vertical.

I do agree though, that there are a number of visual cues in the shot that all point in different directions, so the screener must have been fooled too.

I once had a shot accepted that was almost 5 degrees out of level! It was a glint shot on a curve and the train looked great. Only later did I realize that what was in reality a level horizon now looked like the side of a sloping plateu. That one got re-uploaded pronto! Glad RP lets us fix our mistakes!

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Old 01-10-2007, 08:54 AM   #15
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So, using my own photos... Are these unlevel? What are you using to perceive them? Sometimes what may appear unlevel may actually be level for some wierd reason... or the method of measuring the horizon or train's level is different then the photog's and/or moderator's method.

Image © Jaanfo
PhotoID: 171098
Photograph © Jaanfo


My measurement here was the plough... was the bottom of the plough parallel to the frame of the screen...

Next one:

Image © Jaanfo
PhotoID: 168420
Photograph © Jaanfo


Aside from the fact I shot another much clearer shot of a similar scene and feel the photo is technically inferior to many of my night shots, the loco doesn't match up in any measurement to being level.. neither do the buildings for that matter. For this photo I used the trees on the rightmost edge as a parallel comparison when I rotated the photo, the rear half of the train is level while the left side of the photo seems to have some lense warp. Since thereis no way to please everyone from every angle I figure it's the best it can be without being retaken with a different lense.

Lastly:

Image © Jaanfo
PhotoID: 155432
Photograph © Jaanfo


This one is an optical illusion... the bottoms of the ploughs form an almost perfect line when you scroll them to the bottom edge of your computer screen.


So it really depends on your perception, what you use to measure the photos, and sometimes you may get a moderator being a tad too hasty. I've had pictures angled so badly they couldn't be even without cropping out portions of the train itself... that's a different story altogether.
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:16 AM   #16
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So it really depends on your perception, what you use to measure the photos, and sometimes you may get a moderator being a tad too hasty. I've had pictures angled so badly they couldn't be even without cropping out portions of the train itself... that's a different story altogether.[/quote]


Sounds like about half of my pictures! My "teensy" camera is the reason for this, along with the fact that I often don't have time to use a tripod.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaanfo
So, using my own photos... Are these unlevel? What are you using to perceive them? Sometimes what may appear unlevel may actually be level for some wierd reason... or the method of measuring the horizon or train's level is different then the photog's and/or moderator's method.
Jaanfo, these two photos are great examples of what I'm speaking of, and what is being discussed above.

I think photo 171098 is not level in fact. The reason is the loco is going through a left curve, so it will be tilted a bit, so a better place to measure would be the verticality of the passenger cars. The whole photo looks a little tilted to the left.

I think photo 168420 is level, or extremely close. This a great example of parallax distortion (where the objects on the edge of the photo look like they 'lean' in towards the center of the photo) in wide-angle lenses. For shots like this you have to look at the center of the photo, and the passenger cars look vertical (maybe slightly, slightly tilted to the right), as well as the buildings in the background.

On that thread linked to above, there was some discussion about whether it is 'allowed' to use photoshop to correct for lens distortion. I think the answer is a no-brainer yes, because photographers have been doing it forever with tilt-shift lenses, and movements on 4x5 view cameras. If you read any of Ansel Adams' photography books, he has numerous pages devoted to discussing using movements (tilts, back-swings, front-swings, rising, falling, sliding), to correct for lens distortion. Photoshop is just a digital way of doing the same thing.

Thanks for putting these up for scrutiny!

Cheers,
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