It's wonderful when finding an environmental leading line to compose in your image! There's a general artistic concept consisting of 2 main categories that use physical lines to draw the viewer into (or away) from an image; natural or manmade.
Natural Environmental Leading Line: these lines are exactly what they sound like, lines you find that nature created. Great examples of these are rivers, tree branches / tree lines, birds that are flying in V formation, seashore, or even your trusted dog's tail. Image A is a perfect example of finding natural leading lines of which there are multiple leading lines in this image. Notice the Live Oaks and their grand branches on the left side of the frame, they're subconsciously leading your eyes up and around the framed image. We can't forget the other beautifully natural leading lines of the trees on the right of frame that lead you to the center. Overall this image is very pleasant to look at and yet at the same time there are triggers that keep your eye wanting to see deeper down the image. A photo tip: help the massive Live Oaks look larger-than-life by simply getting closer to the ground. Be at least a foot from the ground and your trees will appear as if they're towering overhead even more! This is a unique way to capture the famous 400 Live Oak lined lane that is found in the Wormsloe Plantation. We see the same symmetrically centered lane image taken over and over again, however you can easily find a more interesting way of using the environmental leading lines by emphazising the idea of depth and angles in your mind.
Manmade Environmental Leading Line: these lines are simply physical structures that have lines found wherever man has graced this earth with his creations. Great examples of these lines are: fences, sidewalks, streets, railways, bridges, or power lines. In image B observe how the manmade fence leads through the whole frame with the tree being the subject. The fence is not only leading your eye to the subject but also leading you visually away from the image.
Notice in image C how we use the beautifully worn brick street to lead the eye to a luxurious Savannah home. This scene called for symmetry with the door framing the woman statue in the home front entrance. Like with all imagery, you always have to ask yourself "is this a perfect detail or story/scene?". What better way to show more of the scene than with a leading line of the beautiful brick street!
Just remember to look up, down, and really all around because lines are visibly everywhere! Use these leading lines to either draw your eye to a chosen subject or simply be your subject. Like in image D, the obvious power lines are drawing your eye from left to right and the beautifully lit dove becomes the standout subject. Also, patience was key in making the dove stand out. Waiting for the right time with the opening of the clouds to see the vivid blue also helps my subject become prominent.
Springtime is one of the best times to try some leading line concepts. Sign up today for your wonderful photo walk with Capturing Savannah to pick Pablo and Britt's minds on more concepts! Happy Shooting Y'all!
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