View Full Version : Angles all wrong!

Phill D
04-10-2009, 02:23 AM
I took several shots of Big Ben last weekend but just could not seem to any angles that looked acceptable not to mention undistorted. I didn't have too much time to compose but still I was disssapointed with the results. Here are a couple of egs where I tried to improve the angle but failed miserably. Any help would be much appreciated.

04-10-2009, 05:22 AM
You maybe able to correct this in PhotoShop, etc. In PhotoShop try Ctrl A to select the whole picture; In Edit select Transform>Distort. You can then pull the corners until you get it straight.

I am attaching a quick attempt.

04-10-2009, 05:22 AM
Actually that second one isn't bad at all.

04-10-2009, 05:24 AM
I preferred the original. The perspective correction makes the verticals vertical, but the perspective is still visible in other parts of the picture, making it seem odd.

04-10-2009, 04:09 PM
Perspective distortion is tricky. You really need to do your best to get a shot that has the least amount of distortion as possible. If you can not get at an angle, or far enough away that you really have to look up at your subject, then you need to make sure you shoot with a wide enough lens that you have room for correction in photoshop. Photographing tall buildings is not a good idea from up close. You really need to be on the opposite side of the river if you want a good shot of the British Parliament building. It will get you far enough away that you wont have to look up at the building and you wont have to do much correction in post processing. If you just want Big Ben, either you have to crop, or you need a long lens to zoom in on it.

Here's a quick and dirty one of what you posted up. As you can see, correcting for the perspective distortion made me lose the tip of Big Ben.


Of course, now that I think about it, I could have increased the canvas size and cloned in some more sky to get it to all work out... Hold on. Let me try that....

Here ya go...

Phill D
04-10-2009, 09:11 PM
JLV & VTEC EATER thanks for the straightening the PP is excellent I wouldn't have thought it would have coped with so much distortion change now it's starting to look a lot more normal. I'm not sure I will be able to do the same things in Elements 6 as I don't have the full blown PS. I'll have a trawl through the tutorials to find out. The problem on the day was that we had just had an excellent guided tour of the Parliament buildings & were just too close. I couldn't pass up the opportunity of a shot of all that lovely detail in the afternoon sun & thought I'd try a more looking up perspective to see if I could make it look even more dramatic but as you see it didn't really work & just looked wrong. Your straightening has made the shot much more acceptable. VTEC the only distortion left on your last one now is on Big Ben itself where the tower looks as if it has been squashed to a diamond shape rather than its normal square shape.

04-10-2009, 09:14 PM
You can't correct perspective, its a natural occuring event that even our eyes reproduce.

Perspective is when something close is big and the same object far is small. If you are at the bottom of a tower the top will be smaller in your view, even if in fact they are both the same size, if the height is large enough you may even get a almost triangular shaped tower in your eyes, while viewed from far away the tower will be rectangular and evenly sized. Messing with perspective gives unreal effects, so only mess with it when you want those effects, but you can't correct perspective, its not broken to begin with.

You fix distortion because thats a fault in the lens, you don't have to fix it, if you are going for a special effect, ie fisheyes.

I personally find VTEC's edit to be pushing the limits, it gives the top of the tower a look that it is bigger then the base.

04-11-2009, 01:50 AM
I agree with this comment:

You can't correct perspective, its a natural occuring event that even our eyes reproduce.....

.....I personally find VTEC's edit to be pushing the limits, it gives the top of the tower a look that it is bigger then the base.

In this treatment:


The top part of of Big Ben looks totally unnaturalistic; The clocks are far too "big" to fit in realistically with (our perception of) the scale of the rest of the buildings. Our eye immedictaely tells us that something's wrong with this image, because our brain tells us that the top of the tower should look smaller (because it's further away).

Whereas, if perspective "correction" is done from an aesthetic viewpoint and not a geometric viewpoint, all will look OK.

I too think that Phill's second shot is pretty well OK as is.

Cheers :)

04-11-2009, 04:53 PM
The correct answer is to spend big bucks on a tilt/shift lens.

Phill D
04-12-2009, 02:11 AM
Thanks for the input guys I guess the real answer is to get it right the first time unless you've got bags of money to spend. Anyway I had a look in Elements 6 & found a correct camera distortion tool. It's not as versatile as the ones you guys have used but here is an attempt. Still doesn't look quite right & as has been said before the second shot was probably good enough in hindsight. Anyway I've learn't a few things so thanks again for the discussion.