Old 12-18-2011, 05:49 PM   #1
kml928
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Default Horizon Unlevel ?!?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1154908060

I leveled this using the flagpole in the background on the right and the green lamp post on the left, both which are 90 degrees from horizon in person, and both are 90 in the image. Also, look close at the stations buildings along the walkway on the right (the dark red and white), in the contrast on the buildings you can also see those are a perfect 90 degrees.

If the tower is the issue, that cannot be used to level the photo, obviously low angles like this with a building that close will give the illusion that part of its slightly tilted, I'm sure I don't need to point that out to a screener on here.

If I rotate it left or right in any way, then this will not be true to the real location, any ideas what they are having a problem with?

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Old 12-18-2011, 06:43 PM   #2
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The tower is the problem. Correct the distortion with software if you can.
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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Like a perspective correction in photoshop?
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
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yessir....
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:22 PM   #5
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A quick glance leads me to think the shot needs about .5% rotation CCW. The tower is leaning, but I also think the poles at the far right are as well. The tell take sign is the window of the tower at the left hand side of the frame. It's a beautiful shot though.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:02 PM   #6
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You may have to selectively "level" a few objects in the frame, namingly the tower and the far right pole. Neat shot.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:31 AM   #7
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I may have an answer re: your problem with an unlevel horizon in this shot. First off there's no horizon, or at least I can't see one. I'm assuming that since this is a night shot, you're using a tripod. If the tripod has a level built in you should have no problem leveling for a horizontal shot. If you don't have a built in level you can get a small hand held at any hardware store that would work perfectly for either horizontal or vertical shots. Just hold it nice and steady on your camera while you adjust your camera/tripod head position. The only other problem would be that ball heads don't work well for obvious reasons, or you might have wide angle distortion. I use a quick release tripod head and plate system. In any case I hope this will be of help, cause I'm going to be calling on you for help with my problems re: overexposure / underexposure/ not enough light on the nose / bad cropping and on and on and on. The only thing I know for sure is that they ain't never goin' to get me for being unlevel and I won't change a dead level shot to get accepted. Having said that I do appreciate the concern over having only quality shots on the site. I'm really impressed. Out for now - Joe

Ps - A dead level shot is an accurate accounting of how objects stand straight or lean in the shot. Needs to happen when you take the shot.

Last edited by harrisonjh; 12-20-2011 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Not enough information.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:55 AM   #8
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I may have an answer re: your problem with an unlevel horizon in this shot. First off there's no horizon, or at least I can't see one.
Doesn't have to be. The rejection is just worded that way and not meant to be taken literally.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:09 AM   #9
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Agreed, literally. If using a tripod however, a $5.00 level is a cheap investment. The locomotive is leaning left into the curve, the old telegraph post is leaning to the right, and the horizon is level. Problem (for the most part) solved.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:44 AM   #10
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Agreed, literally. If using a tripod however, a $5.00 level is a cheap investment. The locomotive is leaning left into the curve, the old telegraph post is leaning to the right, and the horizon is level. Problem (for the most part) solved.
harrisonjh, did you post to the wrong thread? I vaguely recall you put a shot in a different thread, maybe you are referring to that one. You sure aren't referring to the Strasburg shot in this one!
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #11
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Agreed, literally. If using a tripod however, a $5.00 level is a cheap investment.
Where do you put the level? It guarantees nothing, IMO.

Leveling in post processing is the most accurate way to do it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:23 PM   #12
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If your set up for a vertical shot, keeping in mind that the bottom surface of the level is flat, place the level on top of the camera. Hold the camera and the level together while adjusting the tripod head. Once the bubble is dead center, tighten it down. Horizontal shot, same idea. Place the level on top of the built in flash and adjust the head. You can actually level each leg of the tripod individually, if you have a level with both vertical and horizontal readings. Use the vertical reading on the top of each leg and against the center post of the tripod. Once you've done all three legs, and level your camera as usual, you can shoot the lead locomotive, then spin around and get a level, going away shot, of the tail end. They run extra power on the tail end here and it's usually running backwards. Only good for certain locations but it works well.

Wouldn't hurt to double check it in post processing. I'm open to that, but this technique does work and saves a bit of time later. I only have two shots on the site to date, and 10 rejections. Will check to see if any are for unlevel. Will let you know.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:40 PM   #13
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For this site you have to remember, it doesn't matter if the shot IS actually level. It has to LOOK level.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:31 PM   #14
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If your set up for a vertical shot, keeping in mind that the bottom surface of the level is flat, place the level on top of the camera. Hold the camera and the level together while adjusting the tripod head. Once the bubble is dead center, tighten it down. Horizontal shot, same idea.
But, you're assuming that the surface you are sticking the level on is calibrated the exact horizontal and vertical placement of sensor inside the camera. Any tiny fraction of a difference can certainly make an image appear slightly unlevel, especially if using a longer lens.

Has it been stated anywhere in a camera manual where that exact spot is? I'm asking because I've never seen it, but perhaps I've overlooked it.

Quote:
Wouldn't hurt to double check it in post processing. I'm open to that, but this technique does work and saves a bit of time later. I only have two shots on the site to date, and 10 rejections. Will check to see if any are for unlevel. Will let you know.
Actually, I'd argue that it's MUCH quicker to level a shot in post processing than the time it takes to keep adjusting the camera on the tripod until the bubble is PERFECTLY centered within the circle.

It shouldn't take more than 10-20 seconds to level a shot in photoshop.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:31 PM   #15
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One second to level on tripod whether vertical or horizontal. 60 seconds to level legs if you want to spin around to shoot the tail end. I don't have 10 rejected shots. I have 12. Only one was rejected for horizon unlevel, and they were shots taken for the most part in the early 90's. The odds are that the screener was wrong on that one. You have to remember that previous to the 80's & mid 90's many (none) of us had Photoshop. We had Kodachrome 64, or 200 for darker days, or Fuji for those who liked that gawdy, unnatural look, and a screen and projector. We use to meet once a week in someone's living room. In any case we still had a desire to be accurate so we used a level.

Now I'm trying to get a good enough scan to work with so I can post some of that stuff. So far not working. In any case, as Hatchetman stated: It just has to look level. The best way to make it look level is with a level. Just try it and see if you get positive results without Photoshop.

I like Photoshop but don't know how to level a shot with it. Can you help me with that?
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:00 AM   #16
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Sunday I used the level bar you can activate on the live view screen on my 60D for the first time and leveled the camera using it. It seemed to be very accurate. I didn't have to make any level adjustments in PP when I got home.
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:46 PM   #17
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Now I'm trying to get a good enough scan to work with so I can post some of that stuff. So far not working. In any case, as Hatchetman stated: It just has to look level. The best way to make it look level is with a level. Just try it and see if you get positive results without Photoshop.
Well, for one, I don't shoot with a tripod unless I'm doing night shots. My railroad photography during the day is too fluid to use a tripod, which would only get in the way. I often find myself standing, squatting, laying on the ground, leaning up against objects, climbing up rocks, a tree or some other structure where a tripod can't (and doesn't need to) go, trying to find the "perfect" angle to compose my shot. I'm really anal about pictures being unlevel, so I'm sure my shooting style would have been different back in the day before photo editing software allowed one to fix that minor issue in post production. In that case, a tripod with a level probably would have been necessary for me.

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I like Photoshop but don't know how to level a shot with it. Can you help me with that?
In PS, there is something called the Measure tool. In the tool palette, it is located under the Eye Dropper tool. Select the Measure tool, find a vertical or horizontal that you want to be perfectly level, and "draw" a line over it with the Measure tool. Once you've done that, you then go up to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary. You'll then see a small window that shows the degree it needs to be rotated, and in which direction. You simply click on "OK" and it levels the shot for you based on the line you drew with the Measure tool.

I'm sure I won't be the only one looking forward to seeing your classic shots once you get them scanned.
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:52 PM   #18
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Sunday I used the level bar you can activate on the live view screen on my 60D for the first time and leveled the camera using it. It seemed to be very accurate. I didn't have to make any level adjustments in PP when I got home.
I use a 60D for work (real estate photography) and always use live view (with a monopod) for interior shots. I've tried to use that level bar, but I swear it LIES! When I get home and look at my shots, they just don't look as level as I expected them to be. So I just stick to eying it and have had pretty good luck. 20,000+ shots since mid-August and I think most of them have been pretty level.

However, when I hold the camera up to my eye a look through the viewer, it's another story. I've always had problems with that...maybe my eye is crooked. By the way, do you know if it's capable to see that level through the viewer? I've read through the manual and didn't see anything mentioning that. That would be really awesome if possible.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:00 PM   #19
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Totally offtopic: I saw a full page ad for Tiffany in the Wall Street Journal today. totally unlevel. not sure what it says when a company that sells its image doesn't care if the image is level. maybe they wanted it that way, I dunno...

what does a full page ad in the WSJ cost I wonder...
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:06 PM   #20
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I use a 60D for work (real estate photography) and always use live view (with a monopod) for interior shots. I've tried to use that level bar, but I swear it LIES! When I get home and look at my shots, they just don't look as level as I expected them to be. So I just stick to eying it and have had pretty good luck. 20,000+ shots since mid-August and I think most of them have been pretty level.

However, when I hold the camera up to my eye a look through the viewer, it's another story. I've always had problems with that...maybe my eye is crooked. By the way, do you know if it's capable to see that level through the viewer? I've read through the manual and didn't see anything mentioning that. That would be really awesome if possible.
Jim, I used the level bar on a tripod and it was dead on. On a 60D, to the best of my knowledge, the level bar only works in live view.

I've been toying with the idea of trying a monopod. What kind do you have and do you like it?
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:39 PM   #21
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Jim - Thanks for the info on leveling with PS. I might be old & cranky but I'm not opposed trying something new. I've often threatened to throw the tripod in the river, but I'm also very anal about the shots being level. I think it's important when you're documenting the history of a railroad or any other subject for that purpose. There are plenty of other subjects that can be shot out of focus at a real cool angle.

Interesting to see the amount of response to this topic. I learned a great deal here. - Joe
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Old 12-22-2011, 01:02 AM   #22
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Jim, I used the level bar on a tripod and it was dead on. On a 60D, to the best of my knowledge, the level bar only works in live view.

I've been toying with the idea of trying a monopod. What kind do you have and do you like it?
I've used the level bar on a tripod as well while taking exterior night shots of houses with some pretty good results. Maybe my issue comes when using it with a monopod...maybe I'm swaying too much trying to get it perfectly level.

I usually only use a monopod to shoot interiors because the perspective I shoot from is about chest level. Being tall has its disadvantages sometimes. But occasionally I'll use it when shooting trains on dark days and I'm using my 100-400.

The one I have is the Manfrotto 680B. It's actually my third one, too. Broke the first one wacking a tree branch and lost my second one. Otherwise a very solid and affordable monopod.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=REG&A=details
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