A few days ago TBM posted a picture of a castle in Massachusetts, and it brought back memories for me. When I was a child growing up in Toronto, Ontario, it was always one of my biggest thrills to visit Casa Loma. What is more exciting and magical than walking the halls of an old castle. Now, this is not an ancient castle like you would find in Europe, but it is beautiful all the same.
From the Casa Loma website: “When you enter the grounds of Casa Loma you step back in time to a period of European elegance and splendour. The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Canada’s foremost castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens.” Sir Henry Pellatt was a business visionary, and his bold investments brought him great fortune. “His Midas touch continued through most of his business life, and in 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, Sir Pellatt drew up plans with Canadian architect E.J. Lennox to build his dream castle. The land on which he planned to build had been given the name Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House) by its previous owner.”
“Casa Loma took three years and $3.5 million to build. Sir Henry Pellatt filled Casa Loma with artwork from Canada and around the world. Casa Loma stood as a monument to its creator – it surpassed any private home in North America. With soaring battlements and secret passageways, it paid homage to the castles and knights of days gone by. Sir Henry Pellatt enjoyed Casa Loma for less than ten years before financial misfortune forced him to abandon his home. Today this unique piece of Canadian history is open daily as a tourist attraction and hospitality venue.”
So, with memories brought to the surface, I used my photo organizing software (acdsee) to pull up photos from our last visit to Casa Loma. We took our kids there in 2004, so that I could pass the thrill on to them, and they loved it! Going through the photos, though, I noticed a common problem because of the size of the building and the tall towers. Because you are shooting from ground level and looking up, the sides of the building appear to be bending inwards and the whole castle itself seems to be leaning backwards. According to a website I found, this is a common perspective problem called keystoning, and it’s caused by the building and the camera lens being on two different angles. This particular website gave step by step instructions on how to fix the problem, so I decided to give it a try. I have Photoshop CS5, but I only know the basics of photo editing, so this was a challenge for me. Here are the before and after photos of two shots. I know they are far from perfect, but this was just my first, very quick try, and I was amazed at the improvement. They still need work though, and I really wish there hadn’t been any cars in the parking lot. What do you think? Am I on the right track with this technique?