A Path for a Journey

The Mills Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain Park going through a bright yellow fall aspen grove. This illustrates the photogrpahy concept of leading lines

Leading lines guide a viewer’s eye and can create mystery and mood in a photo. The mystery created in this photo says, “Where does it go?” The mood created in the photo says, “I want to follow.”

           You see it hanging on a wall, or perhaps in a brochure or on a website. A photo of the perfect trail to walk on. Your eyes can’t help but follow it and your mind joins the walk. Soon you imagine yourself on a beautiful hike through a forest or in the mountains. You begin to imagine the sounds, the smells and the air temperature. Your mind finds peace.

            Have you ever wondered what is it about a photograph that can take your mind on an outdoor journey? Part of it is in the lines and how they lead us.

Photos that Lead with Lines

The Virgin River flowing through rock walls in Zion National Park also illustrates the photo design concept of leading lines

Waterways can create leading lines. Like the aspen photo above, this photo also creates a feeling of mystery. Our minds ask, “Where does the water flow?”

           In the previous entry of our photo tips series, we looked at the importance of lines. We focused on how they can bring order to a photograph. In addition to bringing order, lines can lead the viewer’s eye deep into a photograph. A good photographer will use those lines to bring viewers where he wants them to go. Such lines are called leading lines.

            Just as the Bible acts as a leading line in our lives, photographers can use trails, fences and roads as leading lines. By doing so we take viewers eyes where we want them to go and we can create a mood in their minds. We can also use waterways, sticks or whatever else appears to form a line in our photograph.

            We need to be careful in how we use lines. We want to make sure lines go somewhere of significance. Someone looking at our photograph will follow the lines were they go. If lines lead somewhere that is a disinterest or they are confusing, people will take a disinterest in our photograph.

Lines to follow

Fall trees Line a canal and illustrate the design concept of leading lines.

The Trees, canal and grass all create lines that lead. They also create repetition of shape, a concept we will look at in a future post.

           Lines done right can lead someone through, into or out of a photograph. Lines that go around a corner or into the woods bring a feeling of mystery. When the elements in the photo create the right feeling the viewer will want to walk into that mystery with their eyes. The most memorable pathway shots do this.

            As a Christian, leading lines in a photograph remind me that my life is a line for others to follow. If I create the right mood with my life in following Christ others who want to walk in the same way.

A dew drop with sunrise reflected in it on a bud on the end of a branch. This illustrates the photography composition concept of leading lines

This branch acts as a line leading us towards the bud at dew drop.

Email Me Your Shots

          Okay, now it’s your turn. Go and get some great line shots. I’d love to see what you’ve shot. *Email me you photos at pmcenter-photos@yahoo.com

This post is part of series of landscape photography tips. You can find more photo tips by clicking this link.

* Please note: Your retain full rights to your photos. I will not use them in anyway without written permission from you. By sending me an email you will be subscribing to my photography email list. You will receive an update when I make a new photo tips post. Thank you.

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