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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Leading lines


Firstly let me start by saying that I don't tend to use leading lines a hell of a lot in my own compositions. At least not obvious ones. I find that often they can look a bit too deliberate for my taste.

But when you find ones that are subtle and have the same effect then they're a wonderful tool to lead the viewer's eye to where you want it to go.

A bit of background behind the thought process of this picture. It was taken up on Cape York, which for those of you who don't know is a remote place up the very northern tip of Australia. It really is the middle of nowhere. So I wanted to show that in this composition. So a wide-angle lens to give me a big sky, a lot of beach and make the car look small and insignificant in this vast landscape.

Secondly we were on a beach that stretched off forever. And that's where the leading lines come into it. Can you see them? There's a few. The first one is the line of the beach itself where it meets the water, heading off back down the beach. Then there's the car tracks, which mostly lead back along the beach, again off into the distance. And then just to reinforce the feeling that everything leads back down that long beach you have the streaks of clouds in the sky which point back down the beach. So three sets of subtle leading lines that lead the eye back down the beach behind the car.

Now often we're told that leading lines need to have something at the end of them, or else the viewer feels kind of cheated. 'How dare you have me follow this line and not give me a pot of gold at the end of it!' In this case the lines are actually leading to something - but that something is a great nothingness. Vast open space.

You can see I've kind of stuck to the rule of thirds with the horizon. My car isn't at one of the points of thirds because it is in the MIDDLE of nowhere. I took another shot with the car in the far right hand side of the frame and it had nowhere near the same impact.

Oh and please ignore the wonky horizon - it's another Paul Dymond trademark! :)

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