Wednesday morning I read Cee’s Compose Yourself essay about horizontal lines and horizons and how they should be level and in the top or bottom third of a photo to be effective. Then, I went out and took photos with crooked horizons right smack dab in the middle of my photo and then wondered why the photos didn’t look quite right!
My problem when taking this lake photo, other than my alarming deficit in short-term memory, was that I couldn’t decide whether the trees or the reflection were the main subject of the photo so I tried to not cut either out and ended up with the horizon right in the center of the photo.
Luckily, I took a few better shots that day, although not of that particular view of Blackmans Lake. Once I opened my photos in Picasa (or Snapseed for my iPhone photos), I realized they all looked a little off-kilter. I clicked on the “straighten” button for each of them and tried to line up both horizontal and vertical lines. (Straighten is a function in Picasa which I only discovered a couple of months ago, despite using it for the past seven years!) Some of them were a little off and others just looked off because there are lines running cattywampus all over the place.
I went through my archives and found that many of my favorite photos from this past spring and summer could benefit from a bit of straightening. Even with the grids on the display screen, getting a shot really straight is apparently difficult for me. And when there are multiple lines running through a photo, it becomes even more challenging.
Sometimes when I get one line looking straight, something else looks crooked. That’s when I line up something vertical, like the tower in the photo above.
I’m still not sure any of these are really straight. I’m glad I finally discovered the straightening function but it’s something I could drive myself crazy with!