Cedar Keys Lighthouse: A New Gigapan

Our first new picture of 2021, this image of the old lighthouse on Seahorse Key is roughly 24,900 pixels high by 106,000 pixels across, covering a horizontal field of view of about 210 degrees, and includes 243 photographs.

Cedar Keys Lighthouse

To learn more, go to its webpage, www.BeeHappyGraphics.com/gallery/CedarKeysLight.html. From there you can follow the link to the full-size image on the Gigapan site, where you can really zoom in. And it is not too late to own the very first copy of this image. (On canvas, this image could be printed up to over 16 feet high by 69 feet across and still have the same detail as any image in our booth. But for you, we would be happy to print a smaller version.)

While working on this image, both of my stitching programs were giving me problems and it occurred to me that both companies (Gigapan for Stitch 2.3 and Kolor for Autopano Giga) were now out of business and not supporting their software. So I bought the best-regarded replacement, PTGui Pro. I’m still learning, but I like its masking and control point options (Autopano may still do better with anti-ghosting, however). I have developed (and will continue to develop) techniques to deal with some of the issues I’ve had and the fact that Photoshop really bogs down when the file size is larger than available memory.

In the last month, we have doubled the number of Gigapans in our collection. We still have several in various stages of development, including one of Fort Myers Pier, which is about 70% complete, and one of downtown Cedar Key from across the water, which may be half-finished. But I have other promises to keep, including St. Augustine Light and Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, for each of which we got special access, as well as other long-standing non-Gigapan projects and blog articles. Stay tuned.

We Made New Printable Instructions

revised 8/26/2020

While I was making updates to some of our How-To articles’ formatting and adherence to Internet standards, I also took the opportunity to improve clarity for some of them. Some, but not all of the articles have downloadable printable versions, so I also updated the printable version if warranted.

I created new printable versions for the following articles:

Our New Technique For Signatures & Titles,

Color Matching – Part 1,

How We Digitally Stretch Our Gallery Wrap Edges Before Printing, and

Using The Vanishing Point To Keep The Size Right When Moving Wildlife Around.

Other printable versions that might be added soon are:

Using Multiple Moulding Widths In One Frame, and

Finding The Area Of An Object Using Photoshop.

Here are the other articles that we’ve improved (along with the printable version, if available). If you had trouble understanding them before, you might want to try again. You could also leave a comment about the areas that still need work:

Changing The Color Of A Signature,

Create A Signature Brush,

Another Method For Adjusting A Logan Precision Sander,

Making A Cardboard Box To Ship Art,

Create A Signature File, and

Our Display Panels.

Answers To “Is This Picture Level?”

A few weeks ago, I asked a few questions about a picture of me on the Turner Riverlink. I even offered a reward for the best answers. Here are my answers.

First Question

NO, the picture is not level. The photographers’ usual reference point for getting a picture level is the horizon. One of the rules of composition says that your horizon must be perfectly straight (unless it is so far off that the viewer will know that you did it on purpose).

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
What some people call “The Rule of the Horizon Line” is just an implementation of the Rule of Thirds. In the section “Horizon Lines” in his article Using Leading Lines and Horizon Lines in Photographic Composition, Todd Vorenkamp discusses both aspects.

But what if the horizon is not available, as in this picture? Nasim Mansurov, in his article The Importance of Straightening The Horizon and Aligning Lines, discusses (and shows examples of) several options for getting your picture straight. But he didn’t mention this situation.

Bruce on Turner River (annotated)

Q2: How Do We Straighten It?

First, let me say what won’t work: allegedly horizontal elements on a canoe, like seats and thwarts, even in calm water, can be expected to deviate from horizontal as a matter of routine. This case, as it turns out, is no exception. So what can we use?

When you have a calm body of water, as we do here, and the horizon is not visible, you can still depend on the levelness of the water. As I discussed in Reflections – My Answer To “What’s Wrong With This Picture (Version 2)?”, the angle of incidence of a reflected light ray equals the angle of reflection, which means, since the surface of the water is a horizontal plane, that the reflected object will be directly under the object itself, or the line between the two will be vertical, or 90° from the horizon. In the picture above, I have identified four different reference lines. Once you are convinced that this works, you really only need one. Two things make this more challenging, however. There are floating obstacles obscuring good reflection candidates. Also, as I discussed in “Reflections…”, the reflection won’t look exactly like the reflected object due to the changed perspective. Since identifying the exact point reflected may be subject to slight errors in estimated position, the further they are apart (meaning the longer the line connecting them) the better because the error in the angle needed to rotate for the picture to be level is proportional to the positional error divided by the distance apart (for small error angles). In the above picture, the flower (labeled “A”) is an easy choice, but it and its reflection are close together. The hole in the canopy (“B”) and the more prominent branch (“C”), although less identifiable in the reflection, do have good separation distances. “D” shows that in a pinch, when no well-marked points are available, you could even use the point on a curved line where the slope of the curve and the slope of its reflection are the same (or parallel). Expect a higher positional error in cases like that.

Once you have a reference line, most editing software has a horizon-straightening feature, or at least the ability to rotate the image until your reference line is vertical. For what it’s worth, this image needs to be rotated about 8⅓° clockwise. To see the corrected version, go to the bottom of our Red Mangrove Maze image page, where you can also find the identity of the person who took this picture.

Bonus Question

For the last question of the article, which was a math problem to find my age, see the note below.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.

Timeline for age problem

As you can see in the above illustration, there are three related timespans (years before 2008, years after 2008, and total years); if you know any two, you can find the third. This is true whether you are talking in years or percentages. We want the answer in years, but we only know one of the three. As a percentage, we know two of the three, so we can (and will) know all three. What we have to do, then, is find a relationship between years and percentages.

Twelve years is less than 19% of my current age,

or 12 \leq 0.19 \times Age

Age \geq \frac{12}{0.19} \approx 63.2

Actually, I’m about 64½.

Your reward (including bonus) would be \frac{1}{0.81} \approx 1.23 times the original award, meaning your bonus would be about 23%.

And The Winner Is…

There were four responses to the original post. All addressed the title question. Nobody addressed the follow-up or bonus questions. The judges have concluded that the first correct answer and winner of this contest, receiving ten dollars off of any Bee Happy Graphic product or service, and all bragging rights, is M. Alexander (former member of Kendall Camera Club). Congratulations!

Is This Picture Straight/Level?

This is I, canoeing on the Turner River just south of the Tamiami Trail just before noon in the late spring of 2008 (when I was just over 81% of my current age). In this picture, I’m just keeping the boat steady. The photographer (who is very near and dear to me) would normally be facing the other way in a vessel like this and had to reach all the way around, without getting up, to get this shot. Is it level? If not, is there anything in the picture that would be of any help in straightening it?

Besides my usual readers, I may be inviting my Facebook friends, as well as our Instagram viewers, LinkedIn links, and members of Kendall Camera Club, as well as any of their friends and acquaintances to participate in this discussion. I will copy most of those answers below. The best answer will get ten dollars off of any Bee Happy Graphic product or service, and of course, bragging rights. This reward may be combined with other offers and awards. If two or more people come up with the same idea, the one who speaks first will win the prize. Honorable mentions may also be rewarded. You will have at least two weeks to come up with an answer. Good luck!

(OK, since I mentioned it, I might as well make it worth something; if you can tell how old I am now, based on the evidence above, I will increase your reward by the same percentage as my age has increased since this picture was taken. Is that better?)

Please enter your comments below (after submitting, there may be a delay before your comment appears). Good luck, and thank you.

A Belated Introduction To “Wild Stallion”

Earlier this month, I promised to introduce you to a few of our newer images that had been overlookedblog. The oldest of those is “Wild Stallion”, which was added to our regular collection in January, 2017, just in time for a festival in Wellington.  Wellington is known for its polo and its equestrian community.

Three Florida Cracker horses in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopi, Florida

But this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this image in our blog. The photograph was taken eight Januarys earlier at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville. And in 2017 I chose it to demonstrate how to use vanishing points to adjust the size as you moved an object around in your image (see Use Vanishing Point To Resize Animals You Move Around In Post-Processing). Nancy liked the results and decided to add it to our collection.

You can learn more about this image on its webpage (Wild Stallion).

All Rectangles Are Not The Same (or even Similar)

Our friend, Ibis Hillencamp (whom you may remember for the advice she gave on our FAQ page about becoming a better photographerlink) thought people might need an explanation of a photograph’s aspect ratio and why you need to consider it when enlarging or cropping your images. After explaining that, I give some ideas for filling in additional space around your image that may result from changing the aspect ratio.

When you enlarge a picture, unless you want distortion, you have to increase the width the exact same ratio as the height. For example, a 4″ by 6″ image might be enlarged into an 8″ by 12″ image, or a 10″ by 15″, and so forth. For each of these examples, the aspect ratio, which is the height divided by the width (or vice versa, as long as you are consistent), remains the same (\frac{4}{6} = \frac{8}{12} = \frac{10}{15} = 0.66667  ). Mathematicians would call the three rectangles in this example, and all others with the same aspect ratio, “similar”. When placed at the right distances, you would not be able to tell them apart. SLR cameras, starting with the analog 35mm and continuing to the digital versions, have an aspect ratio of 2:3 and can make prints the size of any of the above examples with no problem. Other cameras have different aspect ratios. If you haven’t already done so, learn your camera’s aspect ratio.

And Now The Bad News

The problem starts when you try to put your picture in a standard-sized frame. They routinely have a different aspect ratio. If you want an 8″ by 10″ print, for example, you will be changing the aspect ratio to 0.8. An 11″ by 14″ print has an aspect ratio of 0.786. The simple answer would be to crop your original image, which means you are going to lose part of the picture. That could be a problem. The other option is to fill in any missing parts. That is almost always a problem. Let me show you.

Cropping options with a different aspect ratio
Nancy in an image with a 3:4 aspect ratio and a couple possible ‘crops’ with a 2:3 aspect ratio.

For those of you who do not recognize her, the above picture is of my wife, Nancy, the nature and wildlife photographer (No, this is not a selfie). This image has an aspect ratio of 4:3. Suppose we want to put her picture in a mat with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The easiest thing would be to crop to the red rectangle, which is the largest such rectangle we can get from the given material. But as you can see, there is no breathing space around the hat. So we could enlarge to the orange rectangle to use the original picture’s entire width, but we will need to get creative and fill in some along the top and bottom edges (by the way, can you guess why the top and bottom voids created by the orange rectangle are not the same size?). While the techniques to fill those voids are beyond the scope of this article, I would like to share a few thoughts. These thoughts apply not only to the case where you need to add material to change aspect ratio but for other causes also, like when you inadvertently cut off some body part when taking the shot.

Suggestions For Filling Missing Space

  • The first moral to this dilemma is don’t get too tight on your subject while shooting. Start leaving yourself a little more edge room when you take your pictures. Besides not inadvertently cutting off parts of the subject, which are harder to bring back after-the-fact, you might actually capture the subject’s whole reflection, which you didn’t even notice in the excitement of getting this unique subject.
  • The first step in processing this change in aspect ratio is to go back and check the original file. Maybe you had previously cropped the image for compositional purposes and the original might still have at least part of the now-missing material that you need.
  • Small, uncomplicated additions are easy enough with Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool (and although I’m not a huge fan, sometimes Content-Aware Fill might even work), but it gets trickier as the size of the addition increases. It would be no problem to fill the new space above Nancy’s head with sky, and maybe even throw in an extra cloud or two, but if for some reason, we had wanted to extend the left edge of this image an inch or so, finding enough water to fill the gap without people noticing repetitions could be an issue.
  • Sometimes you can create more usable material from within the image itself by copying some of the waves, for example, and flipping them, or rotating them, etc. But you will have to judge the effectiveness of these actions on a case-by-case basis.
  • Look at the photograph you took just before this one and just after this one for more material. Especially if you are shooting wildlife, I know you had your camera on rapid-shoot. The neighboring shot that you didn’t select for this image may have ‘new’ material that would be useful for your current extension project.
  • Continue to expand your search area. Even if you didn’t get another picture of your subject squirrel that day, you might have other squirrel pictures you can use to replace that missing piece.

Send Your Ideas

Well, that’s all I have for now. Although I have no intentions yet of following this article with more detailed information on the Clone Stamp or other tools, I am pretty sure there are plenty of tutorials out there, both by Adobe and by several third parties. If you do have your own hard-earned techniques or suggestions on any of the material I’ve just discussed or even a horror story that’s relevant, I’m sure my readers would love to see your comments below. Thanks.

Minor Milestone Yields Thoughts On Cataloging

I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop since before we started this endeavor but didn’t buy Lightroom 3 until December 2010. I bought Lightroom so I could catalog and keep track of Nancy’s growing collection of photographs (I still do virtually all of our photo editing in Photoshop). At the time, Nancy already had about 15 thousand digital images (we won’t even talk about all of her slides and negatives). After a number of unsuccessful campaigns, I can now report that essentially all of THOSE photographs have been entered into Lightroom. In the process, I have also cataloged some of her more recent work. Altogether, I’ve now cataloged 29 thousand of her 64 thousand digital photographs (and counting). I’ve identified 360 species of bird, 45 species of butterflies and moths, about 100 mammals (including eleven types of squirrels). In her digital era, we have made eleven trips out of the country to five different continents (the other two continents haven’t been visited since the days of film). So you are probably wondering what I learned about cataloging.

Well, I’m still learning. Part of the problem is that we cater to some discriminating classes of consumer, like birders (and others), who want to know about the specific type of bird or butterfly. But not being an expert, I’ve not always been successful at identifying those subjects, even after spending quite some time doing research. This is part of the reason you may have noticed I have actually lost ground so far (if you’ve done the math). But I have learned a few things.

In The Beginning

First, some background. Before Lightroom, I thought it would be good, as some experts had suggested, to put our photographs in folders based on content. I think I had a folder (they may have called them directories back then) for dogs and another for people, each of which had subfolders, but it soon became apparent that some images had both dogs and people and the whole system became a bit of a mess before I realized a need to move on to a better system.

Our Workflow

Now, at the end of a day of photographing I upload the pictures to the computer into a folder labeled with the date, which is in another folder labeled with the year. It’s simpler this way. If we are away from home, they get uploaded onto the laptop and immediately backed up onto an external hard drive before formatting the camera’s memory card to be ready for the next day. Then when I get home I transfer the laptop copies to my desktop. I also regularly back up our whole portfolio to one of our larger external hard drives on a basis that is never quite as regular as it should be, but that part is beyond the scope of this article. And then when I get around to it, I sit down and import the pictures into Lightroom one daily folder at a time. I already have a metadata preset giving Nancy’s contact information but before each upload, I update the preset’s location. We don’t religiously get GPS data, but at least try to add sublocation, city, and state. After importing, I go through and add keywords. It is the keywords I’m relying on to find the pictures I’m looking for years later. As far as the other parts of the workflow that people write about, like rating and weeding, that’s Nancy’s job; she will decide to look through a day’s work and together we will evaluate how to handle each picture. She has “the eye”; generally I’m there just to remind her of what is possible and what isn’t feasible and to take notes on how or if she wants each one edited. But when I’m cataloging, I only cull the obvious – the hopelessly out of focus or those with the cut-off (or missing) subject, for example. There are good reasons for not being too aggressive with the delete button at this stage (which I may get a chance to comment on in the near future so stay tuned).

My Lessons On Keywording

So here my current thoughts:

  • Embrace hierarchical cataloging. If somebody is looking for just a butterfly picture, that’s fine, asking for ‘butterfly’ will bring up all subcategories. but if they specifically want a giant swallowtail, you can search for it directly.
  • Your categories should follow your own needs, not official scientific classifications. Under ‘woodpecker’ (which is under ‘bird’) I have seven different species, but ‘northern yellow-shafted flicker’ is listed separately (under ‘bird’). If someone looking through the results of a search for ‘woodpecker’ could be expected to ask “where are the flickers?” then I made a mistake. But it is easy to move things around. Which brings us to the next point-
  • Develop your hierarchy organically, or as needed. Start with simple categories, like ‘amphibian’ maybe, and subdivide as the number of amphibians makes searching for your favorite species of frog more time-consuming. Or if flowers are your specialty and you listed each individual species under ‘flower’ (or even if you didn’t start with the ‘flower’ keyword), combining all roses into their own subgroup of ‘flower’ (and/or supergroup of the individual varieties) might someday be appropriate. Being too detailed may be overkill at first, but those details can become more critical when you are searching through tens of thousands of pictures. Although we have a ‘bird’ category, which is well developed with many levels of subcategories, I don’t yet have ‘mammal’ as a separate category. As I mentioned, we do have ‘squirrel’, which has 11 subcategories and other things like giraffe are also subdivided. I don’t expect somebody to ask to see all of our mammal pictures, but if it does happen I can adjust.
  • Not all of my subcategories of ‘bird’ are individual species (or genus, or family, etc). Some of the subgroups are based on the type of bird or likely habitat; I group them with other birds they are likely to be confused with. For example, I have ‘shorebird’, which to me means all those little birds that run back and forth at the beach just ahead of the waves to feed in the sand (and includes a number of scientific families). This way if I use up my allotted time without identifying the species I can throw it in the ‘shorebird’ class and maybe identify it later (perhaps as a bonus when identifying another bird in that class). Things like moorhens or spoonbills that would never be confused with those guys would not be part of the class. Sometimes even when you cannot identify the particular species, it helps to narrow it down.
  • As another example of mixed classification types, under ‘people’ I have individual names. If I have pictures of related people, I might throw them together in a group by their last or family name, or add the last name as an intermediate group between ‘people’ and the individuals. But maybe more important for search purposes, I have other ‘people’ subclasses based on what they are doing, like ‘surfer’, ‘cowboy’, or ‘tourist’.
  • Your strict hierarchy alone may not always be the best answer. You may well wind up with a hybrid scheme. Sometimes within a species, if I have a lot of pictures (or if I expect people to ask for a particular subset of the group), I may subclassify. For example, I have both ‘male painted bunting’ and ‘female painted bunting’ under ‘painted bunting’, and for some animals, we have another subgroup for ‘immature’. But both butterflies and moths, which are separate classes in my scheme, have caterpillars. I could have ‘Species A caterpillar’, ‘Species B caterpillar’, etcetera as subcategories of every species for which I have caterpillar pictures, but this makes it difficult if someone wants to see all of my caterpillars. In this case, I made ‘caterpillar’ its own independent category and I add it to the keywords of both butterflies and moths.
    To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
    Of course to complicate things, the caterpillar of some moths, like the Carolina sphinx moth, have their own distinct name (e.g. tobacco hornworm), so in those cases, I kept the hornworm keyword and still added ‘caterpillar’ to the picture’s keyword collection (even though it seemed redundant).
  • Another nice thing about keywording is the synonym list for each keyword so that one can add scientific names, or other local/common names to all of your animals, or strange nicknames to crewmates (those are the ones you will most likely remember when you do try to dig them up later). Each of those synonyms is searchable.
  • Keep in mind, the main purpose of cataloging/keywording is to be able to find that picture years later. The first secret would be to have a good idea of what characteristics will need to search for (and hope those requirements don’t change over the intervening years).
  • A secondary purpose is to record notes that would be useful in those later years. For example, having a keyword for everyone on your cruise that happened to find their way in front of your camera might not seem important now (since you won’t likely be searching specifically for them later), but if they do wind up in front of your favorite humpback whale you may need their name later and it’s best to get it down while it is still fresh.

Final Thoughts

These comments just show my current method for this process. My scheme will probably continue to evolve, and even if it doesn’t, I give no guarantee that is the best plan for you. I hope I’ve given some ideas that will be useful and maybe even save you the time of learning everything the hard way, but in the end, the most efficient cataloging scheme is probably the one that most closely matches the workings of your own brain. Whether you list individual species of plants under ‘purple flower’ or just add ‘purple flower’ as an independent subcategory of ‘flower’ (or ‘plant’) depends on how your brain normally processes these attributes. Thinking about and/or understanding how you think could be the hardest part of this process.

Adding Size-Appropriate Objects To Your Image

I’ve had a few opportunities lately to help people edit their photographs where they wanted to combine two photos into a composite and were worried about the relative sizes being proper, especially when the camera settings and/or the scene were not identical.  Based on these experiences, I’ve created a couple of scenarios to introduce certain concepts.

A Safe Selfie

Suppose you need to add part of a wild animal behind you – to make a safe selfie, if you will.  Most of your composite shots, where two objects are moved around in an image with plenty of other size reference points, fall in this category.   Generally, combining subjects is a two-part process:

Resize One Picture To Match Pixels Per Inch For The Two Subjects

First, you must know the physical size of the two objects.  In the selfie case, you probably already know your own size, but suppose you want to place the head of an animal (whose picture you took from a safe distance) right behind you.  In one case, I Googled an animal to get size information but could not find the size of the head of an adult male of that species.  They did list shoulder height, however.   So then I found a picture of this type of animal online that showed the head and enough of the animal to measure its shoulder height (since my client’s picture of the animal did not have all of these features), and by comparing the two measurements on the picture, found the size of the head.  Fortunately, it’s not always that hard. 

Now, measure the size of the subjects in your two pictures in pixels.  Divide the number of pixels by their actual length (not the image length) in inches.  Resize one of the images so that the pixels per inch that you just calculated are the same in both pictures.  For example, let’s say your 6-foot height (72″) measures 792 pixels in the first picture.  That’s 11 pixels/inch.  The alligator or bear’s head, which you found to be 24″ long, measures 192 pixels in the second picture, for 8 pixels per inch.  You can either enlarge the ferocious animal or downsize your likeness. 

If you want to reduce your size, open the first picture in Photoshop.  Click on “Image” in the menu, and then “Image Size…”.  Make sure the “Resample” box is checked.  Multiply the pictures existing resolution (say 300 Pixels/Inch) by the target pixels per inch calculated above (in this case 8 to match your animal) and divide by your starting pixels per inch (11).  That gives you 218.182, which is what replaces the existing 300 in “Resolution”.  Hit “OK”.  Now, you and your animal head are the appropriate sizes, if you plan to put them side-by-side in your picture.  If you want to move one in front of the other, its size will change.

Use A Vanishing Point To Resize One Subject For Changing Distance

Now you can use vanishing points to maintain the correct sizes as you move your objects into place.  We’ve already explained that process in Using The Vanishing Point To Keep
The Size Right When Moving Wildlife Around
.  I would like to point out that as long as your object stays the same distance from the camera, or in the same focal plane, you can move it up, down, and all around without changing size.  If you move it closer to the camera, it should get larger.  When you move it away, make it smaller.  Once you resize it for its new distance, you can again move it up, down, and all around within that new focal plane at no extra cost.  Also, once you find the horizon in your picture, it doesn’t matter which point along that horizon line you use as the vanishing point; all of them will resize your object correctly.  Pick a point that is conveniently off to one side far enough to make long enough construction lines to give you some precision when changing size.

A Beach Scene

I also helped somebody with a beach scene that invoked two simpler special cases of the resize problem.  The base or background image was a wide-angle beach scene and the photographer wanted to add objects that they took with a zoom lens at the same scene that same day.

Floating Objects

The photographer’s intent, in this case, was to shoot objects floating on the water near the horizon with a strong zoom lens and add them to the picture so that they looked closer.  An object floating in the water is restricted to a specific plane in such a way that its distance from the horizon is related to its distance from the camera (in so far as when one distance increases, the other decreases), which is the determining factor in that object’s relative size.  As long as you include the horizon in the part of the original picture that you copy, there is no problem.  Whether you add that object at its original pixel size (as magnified by a telephoto lens) or even if you scale it further in Photoshop (by holding down the shift key to preserve the aspect ratio as you move a corner of the selected border while using the Move tool, for example), as long as you keep the horizon of the added object directly on the same line as the horizon of the background, the invisible construction lines from an invisible vanishing point will ensure the size and placement of your object are in agreement.  Once placed, you can use a mask on that layer to hide unwanted reference points.  If the horizon is not in the picture, then you need to look for other size references and handle as in the first general case discussed above.

Flying Birds

Birds (or other airborne objects) are even easier.  Their position is unrestricted and, more importantly, there are no other size references in view so there is really no way of knowing how large the object really is or how far away, meaning that if it were a ball, there would be no way for you to tell if it is a large ball far away or a smaller ball up close.  If you are familiar with the object and know how large cooper hawks are, for example, then your brain will automatically assign the hawk an appropriate distance based on its size when trying to make sense of the picture.  You can put that hawk just about anywhere and the viewer won’t know the difference.  Obviously, if you put a pigeon in a hawk’s talons then each would act as a size reference for the other and at least their relative sizes would have to match.  If they were not touching (or near enough to imply an interaction), there would be no such restriction.

Other Considerations


There are other positional clues besides size to think about.  On a sunny day, an object’s shadow provides positional information, namely the object’s relationship to the sun, which must be consistent throughout the image (for best results).

Perspective Changes

When you shoot someone’s face with a wide-angle lens from a close distance, it will not look the same as when you shoot the same face from far away with a telephoto lens.  An example of this is shown in the fourth image from the top at Choose the Right Lens to Make Flattering Portraits (the only image that’s in color). I’ve seen some experts blame this on lens distortion (as the guy in this otherwise great video at Focal Length for Storytelling – How Lens Choice Affects Your Images, but I don’t consider that lens distortion.  I’m not denying that lens distortion exists, but in this case, the subject’s nose really does look bigger and the ears really do disappear behind the cheeks if you were to close one eye and look at that person from 3″ in front of their face.  I call that a perspective shift and it is strictly a matter of angles and geometry, not lens issues. The “distortion” occurs when you take that image out of context by changing the perspective, which happens quite noticeably when you move an object from very far away to very close (or vice versa) in your image or if you take a 180° panorama, for example, and print/display it small enough to cover only 15° of view.  This perspective shift is virtually impossible to correct in Photoshop, so don’t go too wild while moving things around in your picture.  (Interestingly, it is by a lack of any perspective shift that you can catch somebody who created a reflection in their picture by just adding a flipped subject in post-processing.  The explanation of this tangent to today’s topic would require a separate article, however.  (See Reflections – My Answer To “What’s Wrong . . . Ver. 2”.))

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
As it turns out, I am not the first to call out the lens distortion theorists. See Daniel Baker’s blog Face distortion is not due to lens distortion.


Well, that’s about everything I know on this subject.  Please feel free to contribute your own hard-earned understanding of this issue for the betterment of photography in the comment section below.  Thanks.