Just Kidding, Please Stop.

A Little Post Holiday Humor to Start The Year Off Right.

First let’s be clear, I’m not talking about photos like the one below where I wasn’t careful enough when leveling my camera on the tripod. For this I should be flogged!

I’m talking about those images where for some unknown reason the photographer chose to tilt the camera at an awkward and extreme angle when taking the shot.


Is the photographer trying to be “artsy”? Are they trying to rescue an otherwise poorly done photograph, thinking a severe tilt to the horizon might distract viewers from bad light, bad composition, bad subject, all of the above? All I know is that to my eye anyway, a tilted horizon in a land or seascape photo rarely (and by that I mean never) looks right.

I’m not sure when tilted horizons, or the “Dutch Tilt” as it is commonly known, became a “thing” in landscape photography? Or even more importantly, WHY?

But in all seriousness, WHY?

Here’s the non-tilted version. Notice how you no longer feel the need to tilt your head or your monitor to view it? Not the greatest photo I know, but at least you’re not getting a sore neck trying to look at it.

Why is it that the “Dutch Tilt” is so overused by beginners?

( By the way, my sincerest apologies to the Dutch, I know how I’d feel if people started calling it the “Sinon Slant” 😀 )

Are beginners more prone to falling over and accidentally pressing the shutter button on their way down?

Is there a bad batch of cameras out there that have internal levels that are grossly out of calibration?

Who knows?

Let’s start off the New Year right, break out the bubble levels, dust off your protractors and the T-squares, and lets keep those horizons horizontal in 2019.

As Forest Gump might say, “horizon and horizontal go together just like peas and carrots.”

Stay Level My Friends!

8 thoughts on “In Defense of Tilted Horizons.

  1. I agree completely Jeff. And for what it’s worth, it’s a gorgeous frame! Happy New Year. Best, Rob. 🙏

    1. Happy New Year to you as well. I know it can work, a tilted horizon that is, but it seems that most of the people who use it don’t do it very well. For a straight up landscape image, IMHO a crooked horizon is a great big fat No-No.

    1. So true, especially with a well defined horizon like you’d find is a seascape. With a normal landscape you can get away with a little bit of an off kilter horizon, with the sea and that wide expanse of nothing, not so much.

  2. Fun thought… Right now, I’m just trying to level all my pictures after taking them.. don’t know if it’s my eye when I take them or if there’s something wrong with my camera sensor (it’s 10 years old already, and has gone through a lot of rough times), but I’m always slightly off…

    But.. is it me or is your fabulous tilted sunset picture awesome any which way?!? 😉

    Thanks for the advice, though. Will never think tilted horizon is fashionable anymore!
    Happy new year and happy new pictures!

    1. I feel your pain! I absolutely cannot get a straight horizon if I’m hand-holding my camera. No matter how hard I try, unless I’m using a tripod I’m constantly straightening horizons in Lightroom.

      Who knows, maybe I accidentally made it work when I tilted it for the article. Of course I’m still not a huge fan 😀

    2. I should add that there are times when an intentionally tilted horizon works. Unfortunately it seems not too many people know when that is(myself included, which is why I never do it).

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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