About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let's Get One Thing Straight

Spofford Lake Leaning
I have just a short rant this week about leaning horizon lines and, for those who just don't care - you should. It just drives me nuts to see beautifully captured images with wonderful color, sharpness and composition, but when I look at the horizon I feel like I'm about to fall over. Of course there may occasionally be legitimate artistic reasons to intentionally throw the horizon out of balance, but in the majority of cases it simply means that the photographer either didn't bother to do the correction or doesn't know how. Sadly, despite all care when capturing images, it is almost impossible to totally avoid unbalanced horizons, so the solution must frequently come at post. The bad news is that a leaning horizon can seriously distract from an otherwise beautiful image. The good news is that the process of straightening horizons is one of the simplest editing tasks that can be performed.

Essentially every photo editing program has a method of rotating images. Often the horizon line can be adequately leveled by eye, perhaps with the help of a grid, but in Photoshop there is a nice way to rotate the horizon into plumb quickly and precisely.

"Arbitrary" Rotation Tool
In the image of reeds on Spofford Lake I was hand holding the camera and inevitably got the horizon leaning to the right. To correct the problem in Photoshop I first used the Ruler Tool to draw a straight line along the unleveled horizon. Going to the "Image Rotation" function in the Image menu drop down, I selected "Arbitrary" and the window opened with the angle defined by the ruler line already entered into the selection box. I Pressed "OK" and I was done - the program rotated the image to make both the ruler line and the horizon level. That's it!  All that is left to do is to crop the image as required.

Other editing programs may have different procedures to reach the same goal, but, even if you do nothing else to your images, leveling the horizon is such a simple task that it should be part of your regular routine. Your great images deserve nothing less.

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