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Thread: Alignment workflow (architechture)

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Alignment workflow (architechture)

    Never assume a building (even new) is level, square, or plumb; many are not. Never assume film is resting square and truly flat in your holder; it probably isn't. Never assume little toy levels are truly level; they almost never are - use a pendulum-style angle finder instead. And even with grid markings, the ground glass might not be evenly centered in the back. A full-featured monorail camera makes life easier; I did most of my architectural shooting with a Sinar. Shift can be dicey with most flatbed cameras. But things tend to get intuitive and easy with practice. If you can back off from the subject and use a longer lens, do it; there will be less risk of distortion than using a wide-angle lens.

  2. #22
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
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    3,279

    Re: Alignment workflow (architechture)

    Getting the image "distortion free" is largely an exercise in using camera movements. To get the level of control you seem to want can be daunting. And it can take quite a while; these aren't 10 minute setups, especially when you are in the learning phase. I remember working some setups for an hour or more, and often just tore it all down and either started over from scratch or packed it up and walked away because I couldn't get it right.

    What's somewhat humorous to me about my history with this sort of thing is that coming out the other side of the learning curves I found that getting it "perfect" didn't get me the look I wanted either. Completely distortion free doesn't look "natural" to me. So I found that my last adjustment was often a little back tilt to bring back in a touch of keystoning. Completely counter-intuitive I know, but I didn't discover it; many architectural photographers have come to similar conclusions apparently.

    It's odd how perfection isn't... perfect. But there it is.

    Bruce Watson

  3. #23
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    13,887

    Re: Alignment workflow (architechture)

    A lot depends on whether you're working commercially representing an architect or builder, or doing personal work. I violate all kinds of rules with the latter, but not with the former unless they specifically encourage that. I don't think the builders of SF's tallest new highrise would appreciate it being depicted as it actually is - 18 inches out of plumb! On the other hand, that's exactly the kind of shot a class-action lawyer would want.

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