Leading Lines

In composition Leading Lines are a great way to direct attention. They create a "path" for the eye to follow thru the picture to arrive at "the subject".

A leading line can be a single line, but parallel lines work better. This is because parallel lines appear to converge in the distance and give a feeling of depth. This is called "linear perspective" and it is something we use subconsciously to judge distance every day.


The idea behind this image was a "stairway to nowhere". A stairway to the unknown, the future, the afterlife. By using a wide angle lens I was able to exaggerate the linear perspective and create stronger leading lines leading off to the horizon. By placing the horizon line at the top I was able to further emphasize distance and "time".



Another example of central leading lines. You can almost feel them pulling you in thru the image.

This image is about the Harrisburg riverfront with City Island and the steel trestle walking bridge. I used the leading lines to draw the eye in and point you to the walking bridge.

Even in this image the sides of the track function as leading lines. They converge in the distance giving depth to the image. They lead the eye thru the image to the subject, the racers in the front. The tire tracks in the water add to the effect.

Parallel lines don't always have to be "man made". In this image of chinese embroiderers the women make up one line, and the edge of the loom make up the other. The two lines converge drawing you in to look at each woman.


Take a picture with leading lines in order to create a feeling of distance and to lead the viewer thru the picture to the subject. As in my first image "the subject" could just be a feeling or idea. Using a large depth of field (small aperture or hyperfocal distance settings) and a wide angle lens may help with this.

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