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Leaning Architecture.

 
rustyruth
rustyruth
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quotePosted at 11:47 on 31st March 2015

There is probably an official name for this, but I don't know what it is.

The below picture was taken with a Canon PowerShot SX150IS set on Auto. It is one of a set of 4 taken from roughly the same spot on the roadside just below the grounds of the church. I noticed as soon as I uploaded them to the computer that the statue was leaning towards the left of the picture and the spire towards the right.

This is the better of the 4 shots, the others ones I didn't upload to POE as the lean was much too pronounced.

Church of All Souls Halifax
Picture by Ruth Craine

I've noticed this before on some of my other pictures taken of buildings, mainly churches with spires. My questions are.

1. What causes this effect.

2. How to prevent it.

Thanks. 

 

 

 

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Rod Burkey
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quotePosted at 12:46 on 31st March 2015

When a picture is taken, especially of buildings, unless the shot is captured with the lens pointing anything other than dead straight on, verticals will either converge, or merge. The human eye “sees this” but the brain corrects most of the effect. Many tripods come with a built in spirit level to help combat this for example. Most cameras come with an option to have a grid effect showing in the viewfinder which I find a great help. When looking through the lens it is easy to miss sloping horizons and the effects you have mentioned here Ruth.

Photoshop (and other software) can edit out this. You may not wish to, especially if the converging verticals for example are pleasing, and they often are when gazing up at tall buildings.  

Professional photographers who specialise in architecture will invest in shift lenses. To buy one of these really is the preserve of the wealthy or those who will, through fees recoup the outlay.     

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Edward Lever
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quotePosted at 13:41 on 31st March 2015

Rod has explained it very well. All I can add is that with most tall buildings, it is impossible to hold the camera dead straight, and still get all of the building in the frame. The natural tendency is to point the camera upwards, resulting in the distorted perspective which Rod describes.

Apart from using a shift lens (as Rod says this is not really a practical solution for the amateur), you can try to get further away from the building so you can keep the camera dead straight and get all of the building in, or if this is not possible, use your widest-angle lens and keep the camera dead straight, then crop the foreground.

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Dave John
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quotePosted at 14:31 on 31st March 2015

Rod and Edward seem to have nailed this one.

I would only confirm that the camera should be kept as level as physically possible, albeit this is not always possible due to location restrictions.Also as indicated bt Edward the further away you are from the subject the better but again this is not always possible or desirable. Using the wider angles of your lens will also help with keeping the camera reasonably level

Another small point is that wide angle lenses do have inherrent distortion in that the wider you go you may find slight curvature of any straight lines towards the edhes of the frame



Edited by: Dave John at:31st March 2015 15:14
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rustyruth
rustyruth
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quotePosted at 15:20 on 31st March 2015

Thank you all, excellent explanations which answer my questions. I was confused because to my eyes, without looking through the lens everything was perfectly straight.

I could have stood further away, but I would have ended up with a row of cars and a bus stop in the shot which I didn't want. 

I have seen shots taken looking up at skyscrapers where the effect is quite appealing to the eye, sadly in this instance I thought it made the picture look dreadful, this one which I posted on POE I did straighten slightly, just like I do with wonky horizons which really bug me and are easily put right. The other three are much worse, I'm must have shifted position every so slightly to get one half decent shot.

John, when David saw the pictures he saw nothing wrong with them at all, he thought they all looked fine, people view things differently as you say. 

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Vince Hawthorn
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quotePosted at 23:24 on 31st March 2015

 I was going to say shoot from a way back and then then zoom closer often works but as you say sometimes cannot get rid of extra unwanted stuff unless you can gain a bit of height. 

            You can see some leaning on the two shots I have put on not so long ago of the chimneys at Albury.

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Edward Lever
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quotePosted at 23:41 on 31st March 2015
Some 'leaning' in architectural shots is difficult to avoid, and over-correcting it in Photoshop or similar can lead to unnatural looking results. As with all photography, there is no 100% right way of interpreting a scene, and it's good that people have their unique ways of looking at things. Personally, I would prefer to accept some 'leaning' rather than have a totally upright shot but with rubbish in the frame.
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rustyruth
rustyruth
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quotePosted at 20:07 on 1st April 2015

That's strange Vince. I didn't notice any leaning on your shots of chimneys, perhaps we're more critical of our own pictures, or as John said, we all see things differently.

I have to agree Edward, a bit of a lean is better than rubbish in the shot. I try everything possible to avoid bins, for sale signs, pylons etc. Sometimes though if they form part of the landscape like pylons they can't be avoided.

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Dave John
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quotePosted at 20:09 on 1st April 2015
There is a very slight convering of the verticals but also I think you will probably find Vince took his picture from a longer camera-subject distance than yours. Hope that helps..
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rustyruth
rustyruth
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quotePosted at 20:30 on 1st April 2015
Yes it does thanks Dave, I'm certainly going to give that a try next time. I should have thanked yourself, Edward and Vince for mentioning it. Where are my manners Embarassed
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