Compression is Real

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
fatdeeman Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: Saw compression with my eyes

dmartin92 wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

Did you change any kind of lens or focal length between the observations? Did you even have a lens? I’m guessing you didn’t, at least not every time, right? 😉

No, it was about ten years ago. I didn't even have a smartphone camera with me, those days coming home from work, years ago.

No camera. Nothing, just my eyes.

So what did change? The distance between you, the train and the background, as the train moved closer and closer to you.

I think for people that haven't understood this, they really need to see it with their eyes.

When it was in the distance, the train really did seem short. So short one would wonder how everybody waiting on the platform was ever going to find a place on the train.

But once it was in the station, it was obvious: the train was really long.

Sums it up perfectly. It's a really good example.
Now, if you want to capture that compressed look in the distance, you would indeed be wise to use a telephoto lens in preference to cropping a wide angle image but the compression was there the whole time. The lens would just enable you to make that part take up the whole picture.
Although people are getting shots that emphasise the compression by taking a tele lens and backing up, they misunderstand what is responsible for that compressed look. The compression was a side effect of moving back far enough to get the framing right. They are basically framing the shot and then the perspective just happens to be what it is.
Understanding it better will enable people to have better control of perspective. Understanding that distance effects the perspective and focal length effects the framing will suddenly give the the power to use the two things in conjunction rather than the perspective just being a consequence of framing.
Again, for a lot of people it might make no difference but the compression they see in the photos will remain merely an observation of something that was coincidental to the framing.

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