This week, the theme is to:

Photograph leading lines

A photographic challenge this week!

This week’s challenge focuses on a compositional technique. For those of you who haven’t encountered the term before, a “Leading Line” is a line in the photograph that leads the eye to the main subject.

Leading lines of the florescent light and it’s reflection in the wet platform lead the eye directly to the person waiting for his train.

Photo Metro Winter

This lone passenger waits for the Metro at Lacledes Landing stop in St. Louis Missouri.

Roads and railroad tracks often create natural leading lines. The line a road makes might be straight or winding.

Photo Solitary Tree

Tuscan landscape near Asciano, Italy. The winding road leads the eye back and forth across the photo leading to the tree in the distance.

But look carefully at where the road leads – leading lines sometimes take the viewer’s eyes right off the frame and out of the photograph! Roads make great leading lines just make sure the eye has somewhere to go – a subject to discover at the end of the road.

In the following photo, the road is a leading line and our eyes want to follow it, but the road leads the eye out of the frame to the right. Our eyes don’t have a chance to see the little farm and morning light on the mountains in the distance on the left.

Photo Tuscan Village Road

Tuscan landscape near Asciano, Italy. The road is a leading line and our eyes want to follow it, but the road leads the eye out of the photo. Our eyes don’t have a chance to see the little farm and light on the mountains in the distance.

Vanishing points – where the lines disappear into the distance and lead they eye into the heart of the photo  – are made with leading lines.

Photo Arcade

I love color, but with architecture I sometimes prefer black and white to emphasize the lines disappearing in the distance. This photograph of the Arcade in St. Louis, Missouri gives the illusion of a vanishing point.

Lines don’t have to be straight to work as leading lines. The lines in this rope bridge curve and disappear under the trees making the viewer want to follow them into the mysterious forest.

Photo Rope Bridge

In Cornwall, we went to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. We arrived early before the crowds and could capture the Burmese rope bridge before a line of other tourists started walking across. I liked the line of the bridge disappearing into the forest.
Sony A7II 42mm 1/160@f8 ISO800.

The line doesn’t even have to be an actual line – it can be a perceptual one. The eye connects repeating patterns into a line. In this photograph of the arches under the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the repeating lights on top and the repeating detail in the columns create leading lines.

Photo Florentine Arches

This walkway, directly under the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, is seething with people during the day, but can be appreciated for it’s geometry early in the morning. The repeating lights on top and the repeating detail in the columns create leading lines.

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Leading lines are all around us – anything can make a line even a piece of string or a shadow.

More information on leading lines may be found at  Digital Photography School.

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I’m using my Random Inspiration Generator to choose the challenge each week. Use it if you want more frequent inspirations!

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