Hollywood and Arrows

Mark Fickett Photography and Miscellanea

Hollywood sign seen through sign and light posts

When the air is clear, which is the case infrequently but on occasion, I can see the sign on my way to work.

The letters are 45ft high (the originals were 50ft). The shot was taken at 200mm using a Nikon 55-200mm lens, listing a narrowest angle of view of 8°. The letters in the original (3872x2592 pixels) image are roughly 35 pixels tall (see below). How far was the camera from the letters?

unscaled crop of Hollywood sign

Answer: Given that I only have one significant figure (never mind), and assuming the letters are centered in the original photo and perpendicular to the line of sight (both false), the lens actually has a field of view of about 4.2° at 200mm. (Or: how much were the letters tilted?)

Update: Independent measurement reveals that the vertical angle of view is actually 4.176°, which makes the diagonal angle 7.849° — approximately as advertized.

2009 Feb 01
hollywood letters sign culver city trigonometry