Level playing field…

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Is that just an English expression or not ? I have noticed something since I switched to digital that I don’t recall with film, it’s to do with levels, not level playing fields but wonky horizons. You know the thing, where the sea appears to be running uphill ? It’s not just me, I have also noticed it on some of the students pictures. I can’t think of a logical explanation for it. For some reason it seems more difficult to get the horizon level on digital rather than film. After all it’s just a camera, film or digital it shouldn’t make any difference, if you hold it level the pictures should come out level. My only possible explanation and it’s not a very good one, is that with digital it’s instant and I think that makes people rush and take less care with the framing of the image. It’s an instant world, people want things immediately anyway, so are we taking enough care ?

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

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World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved

Whatever the reason there is help. Now take my Nikons, I can dial up a grid to show in the viewfinder, it overlays horizontal and vertical lines on the screen making it much easier to line things up. With my Nikon D7000 it gets even better, in the live view mode I can dial in an electronic horizon which leaves no room for error. What if you don’t have these devices built into your particular camera ? Well all is not lost ,one of my favourite accessories for shooting interiors and landscapes on my tripod is this simple spirit level that simply slips into the hotshoe of your camera . There are several versions available on the market, this particular one has built in levels for both horizontal and vertical, they’re not particularly expensive and used with care will solve your sloping horizon problems. I’ve found the cure, get a spirit level for you camera, take more care and you too can be cured.

Technical info: The top picture of the spirit level was taken on my Nikon D80 with a Nikon 60mm macro lens. The exposure was 1/50th of a second and the aperture was f22. The iso was 320, the lighting was from a single Nikon SB900 flash unit.

The other two pictures were also taken on my D80 with a Nikon 10/24mm zoom lens at 24mm. The exposure was 1/40th of a second at an aperture of f5.6, the ISO was 320 with natural light.

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