Wednesday, February 6, 2019


I took this photo of a beautiful old building when I was down near London Bridge a couple of weeks ago. Above is the unedited version -- just as it appeared straight out of my camera. I tried my best to stand right in the middle of the structure and aim evenly upwards, but as you can see, the picture's a bit skewed -- the roofline isn't quite straight.

Whether this is my fault or a result of lens distortion, I'm honestly not sure. Let's call it the lens.

Anyway, I put the file into Lightroom and edited it, adjusting the perspective and trying like crazy to straighten it out. The best I can do is this:

Which is close, but still not quite right. I guess the lesson is, if your picture's not straight to begin with, no amount of wrestling around with photo editing software is going to make it so.

I'm entirely self-taught in Lightroom and there are all kinds of functions that I never even use, so maybe there's some way to fix this and I just don't know about it. What I basically need to do is pull that upper-left corner (in the unedited shot) toward me, just a hair, while leaving the rest of the picture untouched, and then correct the upward perspective. Argh!

Someday I really should take a Lightroom class.

Dave and I started a new show last night on Netflix -- a dark comedy called "Russian Doll," with Natasha Lyonne. It's about a woman who repeatedly dies, in a variety of ways, and each time she's bounced back earlier in the evening to a party at a friend's house, only to die all over again. She's trying to figure out why she keeps dying. It's a hoot!


I discovered the "guided" perspective correction tool, which (after a quick YouTube tutorial on how to use it) gave me this:

Which is definitely better. (If you click to enlarge and scroll through using your keyboard arrows you can really see the difference.)


  1. It's quite amazing how "Lightroom" has allowed you to tweak that picture so much. I had never even heard of "Lightroom".

  2. And this is the difference between someone with a true eye and someone with a ...well, not true eye.
    In a million years I would not have noticed what was driving you so crazy. Which is why my iPhone photos are perfectly acceptable to me but probably make you crazy to look at!

  3. because I have macular degeneration in one eye, I never see a straight line, I like it that way, Never been a fan of straight . Never been well balanced either, but I do admire your capabilities using tech stuff, I am useless at it, so kudos to you , sir! It is interesting how "Lightroom" flattens out the photo.

  4. Interesting to see the differences between the three photos. I don't use Lightroom but, I am constantly straightening out my photos as best I can. Even when I think I'm holding the camera straight, they still look a bit crooked. I have convinced myself that it's me. I had a chiropractor a few years ago that pointed out that one of my shoulders was higher than the other. I blame it on that.
    I've bee watching Russian Doll too!

  5. I always thought I had a pretty good visual sense, but I really cannot discern the difference in these photos. Mmmm. I may have to spend some time taking a good long look. I'm also going to check out Lightroom.

  6. That show reminds me of a book I read about someone who dies over & over, but makes subtle changes each lifetime so that she eventually goes back to kill Hitler. It was pretty fascinating!

  7. I've got photoshop elements which most of which I don't know how to use but it does have the correct camera distortion function but it seems to be limited to backwards and forwards vertically or horizontally or correcting the 'fisheye'. would love to know if it has the 'pull one corner in or out' function.

    the book that the Bug mentioned is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and it came to my mind too. I read it years ago and now Marc is reading it.

  8. The change from picture #1 to picture #3 is quite amazing. I wonder how they (the software) do those things. Better not to wonder but just push the right button, eh?

  9. I actually find the first tilted image to be the most enthralling. It really stopped me just as it was, maybe because that's how we would see it walking around. All the images are dramatic, love the light spilling out of that building.

  10. It's really mind-boggling to me that a program could change the perspective of a picture, as opposed to simply cropping it or changing the contrast, but having said that I agree with 37paddington and prefer the original image. But then, I'm a person who simply cannot write a sentence without it slanting up to the right, nor put a label on an envelope straight without measuring! It's a beautiful shot, no matter what.

  11. It really bugs me when I look at my photos and they are off being level. I don't notice it in the camera.

  12. Just love the content of the photo - especially the man walking in the door and what you can see of the interior through the windows. I have a copy of an old version of Photoshop which I love - wouldn't know what to do with a newer version. I even taught it at the High School level for a while. I always think that if you can take a class on the software, you will at least get a better idea of what the software can do. If you just explore on your own, you could miss a lot of what it's capable of.

  13. YP: It's incredible what it can do, and I suspect it can do a lot more than I even know. Lightroom is an Adobe product, a less complicated cousin of Photoshop.

    Ms Moon: Actually, the great thing about the iPhone is that its lens isn't very distorting at all. It's a really good lens for being so tiny. I just prefer the better photo resolution from the camera.

    Linda Sue: It's probably not bad to not see a straight line. You can't be bothered by what you can't see, right?

    Sharon: I have the same problem, and I don't have a shoulder issue! I think it's just that when you're trying to shoot something straight on, even a tiny variability in the position or direction of the camera produces variations in the lines of the photo.

    Robin: That's interesting! To me they look as different as night and day.

    Bug: That's a great idea for a book! Ellen says (below your comment) that the book is "Life After Life," and this embarrasses me because I actually READ that book and I couldn't tell you a thing about it. I remember liking it but that's all I remember.

    Ellen: I wonder how Photoshop Elements and Lightroom are related? All these different photo products. As I told Bug above, I read "Life After Life" and I can't remember it! Embarrassing.

    Catalyst: It IS amazing how accurate the software is at maintaining all the elements of the photo while correcting the distortion.

    37P: It was the light on those carvings that really caught my eye! Interestingly, the human eye doesn't distort much at all. We have amazing eyes -- they're far more accurate than any lens. So that first photo, to me, doesn't represent what we see at all -- it represents what the camera sees, which isn't the same thing. The edited version is actually closer to what we see, I think.

    Jenny-O: Well, there's certainly room for individual tastes in all of this! I can see liking the top picture too, but as I said to 37P above, it's less accurate to my eye.

    John: Isn't it?!

    Red: It bugs me too! I've always struggled to understand why I have so much trouble shooting a level image. Sometimes it's REALLY off.

    Sue: I'm sure that's true. There are many sections of the editing field that I never touch -- sharpness controls, tone curves, that kind of thing. If I knew how to use all that stuff it would probably make a remarkable difference.