Parallel lines will appear to converge towards a single point when you point your camera up or at an angle and is most noticeable with buildings. Tilt shift lenses are one way to adjust the orientation of the plane of focus but tilt shift lenses are expensive and are specialized. You could also take the photograph with the lens parallel to the ground but this often captures more foreground than you would want. The easiest solution is to use software.
If you look at the picture of downtown Seattle I took almost a decade ago, you can see how the lines of the buildings appear to converge towards the center of the image. In my opinion, this convergence detracts from the impact of the photograph. Both Adobe's Camera Raw and Photoshop applications both provide easy to use features to fix parallel line convergence.
The downside of using software is that you will be cropping out portions of the photograph. Make sure when you are framing your image you take this into account and leave plenty of room at the top and sides of the frame.
- Adobe Photoshop CS5 Tutorial
- Open the image you would like to fix in Photoshop and duplicate your background layer to preserve the original image.
- Select Filter->Lens Correction or use the hot-key Shift+CTRL+R
- Check the box at the bottom of the window to enable the grid lines. They will make the job of aligning the image easier. You can move the grids using the Move Grid Tool (M). Next, select the Custom tab and move the Vertical Perspective horizontal slider to the left until the lines of the buildings line up with your grid lines. Once done, click ok.
In Adobe's Camera Raw application, the same correction can be achieved by selecting the lens correction tool and selecting the Manual tab. Grids can be enabled with the hitting your V key.
As you can see, fixing parallel line convergence in photographs is fairly straight forward and easy.
Professional content creators (video, photographs, text) would obviously be the most concerned with this type of language and agreement. It could undermine your own ability to sell your works by instantly creating another competitor if the company decides to resell the content. However, I feel casual users should be equally concerned. Imagine posting awkward or revealing pictures of yourself and friends that eventually find their way into a derogatory themed coffee table book sold through Amazon. For example Hot Chicks with Douche Bags.
Everyone should spend a little time understanding the terms of service before posting content. Be particular concerned with sites that offer free services and ask the question, "how does the site pay for itself". The adage "If you are not paying for it, youâ€™re not the customer; youâ€™re the product being sold" comes to mind.
Below are a few excerpts from popular photo-sharing and content sites.
Tumblr - http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms_of_service
"Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (â€śContent Licenseâ€ť) in order to provide the Services."
twitpic - http://twitpic.com/terms.do
"You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic's (and its successors' and affiliates') business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels."
Photobucket/TinyPic - http://photobucket.com/terms
"If you make your Content public, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to copy, distribute, publicly perform (e.g., stream it), publicly display (e.g., post it elsewhere), reproduce and create derivative works from it (meaning things based on it), anywhere, whether in print or any kind of electronic version that exists now or later developed, for any purpose, including a commercial purpose."
Flickr - http://info.yahoo.com/legal/us/yahoo/utos/utos-173.html
"With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services."
Picasa - http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS?hl=US
"9.4 Other than the limited license set forth in Section 11, Google acknowledges and agrees that it obtains no right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under these Terms in or to any Content that you submit, post, transmit or display on, or through, the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in that Content (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, you agree that you are responsible for protecting and enforcing those rights and that Google has no obligation to do so on your behalf."
500px - http://500px.com/terms
"500px reserves the right to distribute and redistribute the content submitted by users, to other parties, web-sites, applications, and other entities, in accordance with Canadian Copyright Act C-42, which requires proper attribution of the artist's name and the source, for non-commercial purposes, including users' photographs, profile pictures, photo titles, descriptions, tags, and other accompanying photo information that was submitted to 500px."
I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with William Thompson discussing his approach and experiences in both art and photo journalism. We spent a few hours discussing his photographs and the stories behind them, how he puts himself in a zone to shoot, and a few of his philosophies on life. Later in the day he took three of us up to Fort Worden for a photography walk.
Fort Worden is one of three forts (Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler) with heavy gun installments that were used to protect the country from an evasion through the Puget Sound. Fort Worden, like many early bunker installments, is tucked into the hillside and is mostly concrete with big heavy steel doors. The structures are square flat surfaces devoid of any design considerations outside of utility. To make matters worse, the weather was mostly overcast but with a few sun breaks here and there. This was going to be a challenge.
The bunkers themselves are only lit by whatever natural light meanders through the large windows and doors; most of which is protected by a large steel closure. As I walked through the corridors, scenes from horror and mystery movies flashed through my head. The eerie echoes and the dancing of shadows would occasionally cause me to turn around to see what was behind me. This is not a place, even when well lit, that I would want to be held up in during an attack on our country. The feeling of isolation could only be countered by the subtle comfort of protection the enormous reinforced structure would provide.
The obvious opportunity for a photographer is to capture that feeling and put the viewer in that moment. Although I took a few photographs with that moment in mind, I instead focused on finding the beauty of the fort. I noticed that much of the steel in and around the fort had started to rust and that yellow and green hued lichen had started to cover the dull grays and blacks. Many of the walls had also been assaulted by graffiti, some put there by skilled artists and some by those just wishing to document their existence. The park would use whatever paint they had on hand to cover the more offensive markings. The overlap of color paired with the natural decay of the steel and concrete graffiti offered fantastic color and contract.
I had a fantastic day and was thrilled to discuss photography with Bill. He possesses a rare talent and was happy to share his thoughts and experiences. I learned quite a bit that day and hope to have similar opportunities in the future.
Below are a few of my favorite photographs from that day. More can be seen at http://www.recrolux.com/