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View Poll Results: Do you always correct verticals?

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  • Yes, I always correct.

    9 30.00%
  • No, not always.

    21 70.00%
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  1. #1

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    Do you always correct verticals?

    Quite often I'll see an architectural shot posted with perfect verticals, that nonetheless looks like they're spreading on the top. The fact is that the eye is used to convergence and, to an extent, even looks for it. So the question is, do you always correct verticals, or are there times when you don't and leave a slight tilt to the camera back?

    Personally, if the verticals fill the view and extend close to the edges of the print, I tend to leave a slight camera tilt, but if there's enough border around the verticals, I go for a completely level back. Not to pick on this photo, but it illustrates the problem for me -- verticals perfect, but seeming to spread:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/uploaded...ad_id=18932284

  2. #2
    gma
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    When I photograph houses I always correct the verticals because the transparencies are submitted to magazine publishers. For artistic work converging verticals sometimes improve an image.

  3. #3
    dr bob's Avatar
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    It depends on the effect I wish to present. Sometimes a little convergence lends to a better feeling of uplift or soaring such as one might like in a church steeple. In some circumstances complete correction can result in a looming effect even though the verticals are parallel, which can be disturbing, to me at least.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I think they do spread in that shot. It looks like all the buildings on the left side of E. 4th st. are leaning forward a bit, as if there were a little too much rear tilt.

    I tend to correct verticals most of the time, when I can. Sometimes this has the initial effect of making the scale of the structure ambiguous, but then there can be the secondary effect of noticing a familar object like a car or a person in the picture, and the structure seems that much more impressive.

    Dr. Bob & I posted at the same time, so I'll add that I agree with his statement, and I like the soaring effect sometimes, for instance in that shot of the Bath Abbey organ I posted a while back (now deleted). I did that with medium format, but I would have done it the same with with a view camera. It looks squat and foreshortened if I try to "correct" it in the darkroom.

  5. #5

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    Sinar has a series of technique/example books for large format photography. They recommend that you correct fully for converging verticals if the angle to the top of the building is 40 degrees or less. Higher angle than that and they recommend partial correction, since a full correction would look unnatural.

  6. #6

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    Thas is an interesting question I have also thought about. i have notice that if I shoot a church with very tall steeple and correct for convergence in the print the steeple seems out of proportion with the rest of the church. I guess a little convergence would satisfy the eye while not becoming to obvious.

    When you are talking of no correction if the convergence is less then 40 degrees, I assume you mean with the camera is in neutral position with zero tilt you are measuring the convergence on the gg?
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  7. #7
    mobtown_4x5's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, I have been always correcting, with sometimes similar results as the example-
    How exactly do you measure the 40 deg to apply the rule of thumb?

  8. #8
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    So times the building are so tall that a correction looks goofy. Or it can't be done with the optics I have or cameras that I'm using. Correction is for architects with short buildings.

    I've never seen anybody correct the parallelism of train tracks.

  9. #9
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
    I've never seen anybody correct the parallelism of train tracks.
    Exactly, perspective is an element of vision. Straining to "correct" it can make it look awfully unnatural.

    Personally, I don't have any hard and fast rules. It's like any of the dozens of other personal visual decisions that you have to make when setting up a shot, when the image looks good to you... hit the d*mned button .
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  10. #10

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    I think one of the other interesting things about perfect verticals is that they create an impression of further remove from the object, like shot with a long lens.

    Obviously, there's a lot of perceptual issues involved in the decision of whether to use movement to get everything absolutely straight. Now, I find myself moving away from an obsession with it (then why start this thread?)

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