Le Tho Giao  

 Massachusetts State House by Le Tho Giao

March 2020 - Massachusetts State House

About the Image(s)

Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House in Boston is a remarkable structure with its gold dome that has undergone several renovations, from an original wooden dome to its current gilded splendor!. The structure was built in 1978, underwent renovations and enlargements to provide space for the state government.
It is extremely hard to take a photo of this building without visitors or passers by. I happened to be in the area on a mourning day, as you can see from the half-masted colors
to catch this photo when there was no one ever in sight.

I used a Nikon D610, Nikkor 28-300mm VR set at 28mm, f/11, 1/400 and ISO 200. Very little adjustment in LR CC Classic.

14 comments posted

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Being a fan of historical style buildings I found this to be an interesting photos of record. My only thought for this photo is the fact that the perspective is off with the flag poles leaning inward along with the sides of the building. This is usually caused by not keeping the camera level but tipping it upward when shooting. There is a sort of quick fix that can be applied by using Photoshop.

Load the image, then make a copy of the image. Next go to Edit > Transform > Perspective. Grab one of the little handles on the upper corners and simply dragging it to either the left or the right until the side of the building look straight.

I did this quickly and attached the results. See what you think.   Posted: 03/03/2020 19:06:54
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Le Tho Giao   Le Tho Giao
Thank you Larry. It indeed looks a lot better than my original one.   Posted: 03/03/2020 21:32:25

Michael Jack   Michael Jack
This is one where I differ with Larry. I like the keystone perspective because to me if adds a sense of majesty. Technically it looks good to me, and you have a complementary sky. I like the space you left next to the flag poles which would be lost if you straightened the image. My only suggestion is to my eye the building does not look level so if correct, you may want to level it using the structure of the building to do so. I realize sometimes something may be correct but the eye perceives it differently. I would go with the eye view.   Posted: 03/07/2020 12:37:19
Le Tho Giao   Le Tho Giao
I concur with your opinion. The buildng sits on a hill, the nenown Beacon Hill, a signature landmark of Boston.   Posted: 03/07/2020 17:35:47

Arne Skinlo   Arne Skinlo
A majestic building, indeed. Perspective correction can be discussed up and down, but I agree with Larry in this case, although, I would go only halfway with the correction as it is natural to have some distortion.

A way of getting rid of people is to put the camera on a tripod with an ND 15 filter (or something close) and expose for some minutes. As long as people are moving, they will not show up on the picture.   Posted: 03/10/2020 04:37:51
Le Tho Giao   Le Tho Giao
Thanks for your opinion, Arne. The ND filter can remove people when they MOVE, but when they hang around or pace back and forth, it will leave some streaks!   Posted: 03/10/2020 09:54:10

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
I agree with Arne that some convergent perspective is appropriate (because although your brain alters it, that is what your eye actually sees). The degree to which you alter it (not correct--it is already correct) depends on your artistic goal. Architectural photographers almost always alter the perspective. When shooting tall soaring buildings, it's nice to leave the vertical converging lines. By the way, we have no problem with converging lines that are horizontal, like city streets or railroad tracks--why do we have problems with vertical converging lines?
Here is another, but subtle, problem with altering perspective. Notice in the original image, the underside of the second-story portico roof is visible, because the shot was taken from below. But if the perspective is altered for parallel vertical lines, simulating a straight-on shot, that portico roof underside should not be visible. Therefore, there is a subtle contradiction in the parallel vertical lines image--it looks like it's straight on, but there is a view from under of the portico room. This is not very noticable in this image, but in more extreme cases it can be very strange, where you might have a ground-level bush blocking the second story window of a building, but the altered perspective tells you that you are looking at the building from a location opposite its midpoint, from where that bush could not possibly be blocking your view.
I would be happy to hear back from others agreeing, enlarging on this, or explaining what I don't understand.   Posted: 03/10/2020 17:46:40
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Well, back to the drawing board. . . I have no idea if I'm right or wrong. Everything is just an opinion, and probably everyone has one. So here is my take.
This building is really not very tall---think skyscraper. And the building is much wider than it is tall. For me, the building doesn't look too far off---at least upon first glance. However the narrow flag poles, being tall and thin looked out of place and my eye saw them. Because the image makes me feel that I am close to the building, and because it is taller than I am seeing the underside of the portico seemed natural so I ignored it.

I think each person brings their own bias to each image that they see. For example, an urban dweller will look at tall building differently than some one from the rural regions. Thus they will interpret an image differently-- neither is right or wrong.

In the end the photographer is right. It is his/her image and they have artistic license to create it as they see fit. We who comment offer our suggestions, but the maker has the final say. That is why I always encourage the maker to explain what they were trying to show or what they saw. Then I can try to see the image as they do.

I found all the comments in this discussion really interesting. They many differing views and comments provide a world of information. All of these will make me think the next time I photograph a building. In the end I hope I will get a better image---at least one I like.

My thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion. It has really been a learning experience.
  Posted: 03/10/2020 20:16:43
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
Larry, you are so right to encourage everyone to be their own photographers. Good job helping us all to our individual best.   Posted: 03/10/2020 20:39:42

Richard White   Richard White
Le, boy did you get the comments, that's good. I agree with Larry, and I modified your photo the same way, but that's Larry and my opinion. Here's my modification of your photo.   Posted: 03/13/2020 16:00:27
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Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Hey, great minds think alike! :-)   Posted: 03/14/2020 08:56:31

Le Tho Giao   Le Tho Giao
Thank you Richard. Your modification makes everything looks really straight and a little bit unnatural, to my eyes. As I explained to Michael above, the building sits on a hill, therefore it looks a little slant to the left as I see it.   Posted: 03/13/2020 20:51:53

Bill Peake   Bill Peake
I think I like the unaltered image better. The perspective is what you would expect from that point of view. In the altered image the top of the building actually looks larger that the bottom. You can also see that the left exterior wall appears to be bowed out somewhat. It also makes the building look flatter and wider than it actually is. One thing I might have done to the original image is rotate it counterclockwise .5 of a degree or so, because it does not appear to be level, but this might be due to the point of view which is not straight on but slightly off to the right. It is a good image, overall color and contrast are great and the sky adds some interest.   Posted: 03/13/2020 21:31:36

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Actually the best part of this image is all the different ideas it has generated. All of these thoughts will give everyone something to think about when we approach this situation.

I have frequently just made the correction I originally mentioned. Now I'm getting second thoughts and will try some different approaches the next time. It been a great learning exercise.   Posted: 03/14/2020 08:59:47


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