Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

Many of my photographs are taken using the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens fitted to my camera. With a wide-angle lens I can fit more into the frame, especially usefully if I am working with wide open landscapes or the cramped interior of a church as I often do. The downside of a wide-angle lens though is distortion, which is seen in many ways.

When I’m using a wide-angle lens, invariably I will be very close to my foreground interest. With a wide-angle lens the foreground interest objects appear very large in the frame, but as an exact opposite, distant objects will look very small.

Sunset at Talacre

“What has this got to do with Curves”? I can hear you asking. Bear with me. I’m getting there.

Another downside, due to the exaggerated difference in size between near and far objects, wide angle lenses tend to produce a distorted image. This distortion can sometimes work to my advantage by giving the photograph an abstract look, like the curves (at last) in this photograph of Tewkesbury Abbey.

If I had photographed the Abbey on a horizontal plane, i.e. the lens of my camera pointing straight down the Abbey parallel to the floor, then there would have been almost no distortion. But I know that if I point my camera towards the roof, distortion is going to occur and the greater the angle between the floor and the roof my camera creates, the greater the distortion, or curve (that word again) is going to be.

To a certain extent I can correct the distortion, as both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have lens correction filters built in. Here you can see the result of applying the filter on the image above

The filter has done a reasonable job. There’s still some distortion and you’ll also notice that the image has been cropped quite a fair bit. Personally I prefer the curved image. I deliberately shot the scene the way I did, knowing that there would be distortion. Which one do you prefer?


16 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

  1. I like the Photoshop correction…it feels like a natural-eye view…but the original wide angle distortion is very special for the effect of distortion alone (just a bit too dizzying for me to look at for long).


  2. Very interesting and beautiful shots, Mike. I love my 10-24 wide angle but it is a tricky lens. I need to learn how to do the photoshop correction… I do like the shot without it, too.


    1. The WA is my favourite lens now, very rarely off the camera. The photoshop correction is relatively easy to do. As well as correcting for lens distortion I sometimes use it to scale (crop) the image. It can be found under Filters tab.


  3. I like both, for different reasons. Sometimes the photographic effect is wanted (No. 1), sometimes just a normal view, (No. 2). Not having photoshop I would like to know if you can apply the wide angle effect a ‘normal’ shot? And thanks for the link to WoollyMuses.


  4. Well…. difficult decision here. 🙂 I always like the reality of most things (not reality TV though) and so I like the image that you have corrected using Photoshop. However, wide angle lenses gives one an opportunity to capture images that you otherwise could not get as you have mentioned. In this instance the distortion fit the photo challenge that you wanted to achieve. It is quite an interesting shot with the curved columns. I remember an explantion that you wrote about a few months back. You shot several images and spliced those to make one so that the photograph showed virtually all of the church/cathedral. That was before you had obtained the wide angle lens.


    1. Hi Yvonne even with a wide angle lens I sometimes have to employ this technique. But I have to make sure that I take a lot more photographs to counteract the distortion.


      1. Thanks for the info. When you explain your photographing techniques, I think it gives the viewer, at least for me, a greater appreciation of the work involved inn order to produce a really good picture. You are not lazy about ypour photography and it surely shows in the outstanding photos that you put on your blog and on Flickr as well.


  5. Ah, I love the first picture! As to the two other pictures: I prefer the photoshopped version. But it really depends on the situation you are in. Sometimes, those lens distortions can be quite an eyecatcher.


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