Leading Lines

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  • #56975
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Leading lines appear to be a photography technique for drawing the viewer’s attention to a specific point in the picture. I was wondering if this technique was achieved in the picture below. Does the turquoise-coloured river form a leading line? My guess is that the river achieves this effect, causing the viewer to wonder what is behind the hill in the middle ground. Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject as I could use it to create more interesting landscape shots in the future. By the way, the picture was taken during a train ride from Christchurch to Greymouth in South Island, New Zealand.

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    #57052
    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Hi Joshua,
    Yes, absolutely. You’ve achieved a very powerful example of leading lines. The lines, since they converge going up, tend to lead the eye upwards rather than downwards.

    Having said that, though the picture makes a great illustration of the concept, the leading lines are so powerful that they lead my eye right out of the picture!

    So if you wanted to lead the eye into the sky or the mountains, (by including some more of them), that would have been a great way of doing it.

    #57054
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Thanks @frazer-family!

    Having said that, though the picture makes a great illustration of the concept, the leading lines are so powerful that they lead my eye right out of the picture!

    I suppose this is because the river leads out of the picture on the bottom right of the frame.

    #57055
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    What a fantastic location, @joshua_ong! Reminds me of what you might see up in Banff National Park, Canada, over here in North America.

    Yes, you have obvious lines, and they tend to lead the eye, so yes, you technically have “leading lines”. However, my opinion is that the lines (the river) are more of the subject than they are lines leading to a subject. If I could see the mountain peaks in the distance that are just cropped off, then I would have something more to look at for where the lines are leading me. I think it would give a much greater sense of “what’s behind that hill?” if I could see more of the distant background. I would be wondering what not only was behind the hill, but “where does the river go” in all those miles beyond into the wild yonder.

    The attached image would, in my opinion, make a better example of using a subject as a leading line. What one unique element in the scenery do you notice right off? To me, the hawkbill-like peak way off in the distance is one of the main things I notice about the photo. It’s an incredibly tiny element in the photo, but because there are distinct lines leading you right to it, it suddenly becomes a secondary point of interest and, in combination with the main subject, helps keep your eye wanting to move through it.

    I also took very great pains to ensure that the leading line was uninterrupted as much as possible. There’s nothing I could do about the pine trees growing up from underneath the viaduct, and I wish there was not as much vegetation on the right, but I extended the camera out as far as far as I could from the rock I was perched on to keep the foliage from interrupting the leading line as much as possible. In your photo, taking it a split second sooner so that the blurry tree in the foreground wasn’t there AND that there was more blue water visible as it travels through the “straight” that the sandbar and foreground cliff are now creating, then I think the eye would flow more naturally around the bend without being feeling like it was being blocked.

    That’s my two cents!

    Attachments:
    #57230
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Hi @jamesstaddon, thanks for the comments and suggestions. I really like your picture, especially the vibrant, autumnal colours of the trees. Was it taken in Banff National Park?

    #57631
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    It was one of the most beautiful autumn days of my life! The picture was actually taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina (here)

    #57639
    Joshua Ong
    Participant

    Thanks, mate!

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