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Is it true? Is it sharp?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Roger Hicks, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    How willing are you to "true up" wonky verticals (and indeed horizontals) in Photoshop? I'm perfectly happy to do it, because I could do exactly the same with camera movements. But what on earth does that have to do with making it acceptable?

    Also, have you ever found that it's just impossible to get some subjects sharp? Including even some people? They just look soft, regardless of lens, shutter speed, focus or anything else. It must be something in the way that we (or at least I) look for clues for sharpness.

    There are some ruminations about both these questions in my latest Picture for the Day.


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  2. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Non-horizontal water horizons drive me crackers. Not to adjust a sea which would suddenly start running to right or left in reality is just laziness.
    Buildings can just about be out of true, but I'm happy to adjust them.
    If people are not sharp, then it is their fault, nothing to do with the camera or operator. He says. Although I can live with soft pictures. I think due to all the old family snaps taken with folders or cheap Kodak 126's.

  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Steve,

    Then again, you must have heard of the man* who was given a pair of water skis and spent his next three holidays looking for a lake with a slope.

    *Every nation has a racist butt for their jokes. English version = Irishman/ French = Belgian/ Indian = Sardarji/ American = Pole/ Tibetan = Tsangpa.There are no doubt others but either I've never known them or I've forgotten them.


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  4. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Not for a long time, thank god!

  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I sometimes find that when I've straightened verticals the result looks "more wrong" than when I started.
    Learning and Zou like this.
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Andrew,

    Yes. I often find it looks more natural to "under-correct" converging verticals. Of course it's not really "correction" at all, but it often looks better. As does "stretching" the image vertically so it looks less squat and dumpy.


    Zou likes this.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I will tidy up in post-processing but I try to get things level and square where possible. I've been a lot better at getting things horizontal since I turned on the level marker on my Fuji. The ELV is so horrible that having a stonking great line across the frame makes hardly any difference.

    My Canon has a more subtle 2-axis marker but what I find is that, after all the Fuiji training, I am getting much better at holding the camera level before I check the marker.

    I bought a TSE-24 which is my preferred method of avoiding gross keystoning effects when photographing buildings.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    ... I forgot about the sharpness. I think it depends on the subject. Smooth skin is very difficult to judge. If I am photographing birds it is immediately obvious in the feather detail. In landscapes there is nearly always texture somewhere to check where the focus is. My most frequent landscape error is putting the plane of focus too near and having insufficient dof.
  9. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I follow some instinctive rules about verticals straight or not, but I can't say I can really rationalise them. Just some are irritating and some are not. The Bankside book is done and I'll post a link in Exhibitions soon. There are a lot of straightened verticals throughout, but hardly any in the Architecture section. Well seems to me architects are playing with verticals all over London and a bit out, or even a lot out is a real trend. Agree some things are not sharp and nothing will make them so. As to acceptability, I guess that's about whose rules and whether one wants to follow them, but HCB wasn't noted for straightening them.
    Zou and Catriona like this.
  10. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    My main problem is what to do about false horizons - usually a line of cliffs across across a bay but sometimes the far shore of a lake. In fact I just try get these looking good visually
    As for verticals I tend to leave a little convergance in as is l think this usually gives a more natural look - what do others do?
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The natural look. It is buildings adopting unnatural angles that annoys me.
  12. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Happy to correct verticals/horizontals where I think it necessary but would have a hard time telling you why I think it necessary in any given case. It either looks right to me or it doesn't. And looking right might mean being 'well out of whack' as my daughter said to me about one of her teachers yesterday.
    Zou likes this.
  13. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    'Under the influence of incohol' is a new one to me. Too much cava with lunch Roger? ;)
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    "Under the affluence [not influence] of incohol" is an old one; I remember my mother using the phrase well over 50 years ago.


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  15. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    That's what Spooner said. Hic!
  16. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    Is it true? Depends upon the circumstances - barriers/obstacles, position of the sun etc. and 'general effect'. See the 'EXPO 2000 Iceland Pavilion shot in 'Wet'. Allsorts of barriers and obstacles around it, the sky was overcast but not enough to completely obscure the sun so that trying to get the convergence of the various lines would have given me a sun burn out. And, I like the 'untrue' effect!

    As for 'sharp'......all my abstract and impressionist shots are in focus, it's just that you don't see it!

  17. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    As a frequent user of ultra-wide lenses i've gotten used to straightening up verticals though I still find it a pain. I also tend to avoid making them perfectly vertical as that often makes the whole building look as if it's spreading out a the top and the while thing looks unnatural.

    I also find people often look soft even though the image is properly sharp. I suspect that at least part of the reason is that people don't really have many sharply defined edges...
    RogerMac likes this.
  18. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I do tend to straighten images where necessary. however I do not do so unless it catches my eye.
    When shooting small objects on a plane background, it is often hard to say what is upright and what is not, and that is very often true of parts of things like flowers, so I will frame them in the way that makes the best composition and disregard true uprights.

    There are two main sorts of sharpness. Absolute sharpness that brings in the finest details. and edge sharpness which can include only high contrast edges and was once more often called actuance. In days past, slow fine grain films could be processed to bring out both forms of sharp looking focus, by using high actuance compensating developers like Neofin Blue. Fine grain solvent, or physical developers always softened fine detail.
    Sharpness and detail are bound up in so many ways. From the form and texture of the subject itself, from camera and subject movement, from lighting, camera movements, and from lens resolution, aberrations and contrast, depth of field, diffraction, sensor construction and pixel count, film speed and grain properties. film processing and actuance. to sharpening in post processing. Most of these things have their own characteristics and leave behind clues. Almost everything in the entire photographic process including the subject have ramifications for apparent sharpness.
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    A secondary reason that people look soft is that larger rounded edges do not respond well to digital sharpening or in the way that other parts of the image will.
    Over sharpening emphasises this difference.
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  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Terry,

    And don't forget expectations. The same film B+W grain can be read as skin texture, stone texture, sand...



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