Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Focal Points and Leading Lines

Today, we look at two images to see the difference that a leading line can make. They are both made up of seven vertical shots merged into one photo in Photoshop. But this post is not about panoramas.

Both panos were taken from a boardwalk that I routinely traverse on my walkabouts. It's always interesting to peer into the swamp, for that's what it is and why there is a boardwalk over it.

The first (above) provided a very pleasant view in person, but the photo lacks something.

The second (below) is a much better shot IMO.

Why, when they're so similar?

For me, the reason is that the latter shot has a focal point of interest — the frozen stream. In the top photo, nothing in particular grabs my eye.

Also, the focal point becomes a disappearing leading line which draws the eye through the frame.

A more minor point is that the tree on the left and the stump on the right seem to provide some sort of natural frame.

So, although both views were pleasant enough to appreciate when I was there, the second photo has several elements that make it much better photographically (IMO): a focal point, a leading line, and bit of a frame to help focus the eye.


Linda Kay said...

You are absolutely right about creating the focal point. And I love the black and white image as well.

Tabor said...

I seem to be lucky enough, IMHO, to have a knack for good composition about 75% of the time. I do not consciously take much to frame things because my eye seems to auto-frame stuff. But I do have to photoshop because, as I explained, I still am not good at shooting aperture priority or changing the shutter speed and then remembering what setting I should work at. The great thing about digital is you can see immediately if you are overexposed which seems to be my primary weakness!

TexWisGirl said...

agreed. :)

Mage said...

Yes, that's it.

ADRIAN said...

It is also strange that if the lead is left to right it doesn't work as well. I often flip images horizontally.

Chicken said...

I'm always moved to take a lot of photos when I'm in the woods. The trees just seem so amazing to me. But when I get home, the pictures, as you say, are not really very interesting. I'll look for more of a focal point and some natural framing next time. Maybe it will help. Photoshop isn't happening, I don't think:-) I'll have to leave that to you. I will point out though, that if you let your eye go further into the top photograph, you almost see three paths into the woods. First, you'll probably notice the one in the middle, then you'll see another to the left or right, and then, my eye, at least, automatically tracked over to the other side to see if there was one there two and voila, there was, which made me happy.

Country Gal said...

Both nice photos but the second one is what I would of photographed because of the bit of water breaks up the all white of it to I would of seen it like this with my own eye I find I see in images if that makes sense my eye would of caught the second shot more I tend to look for what appeases my eye more then photograph it ! Thanks for sharing your awesome photos and info ! Have a good weekend !

Pearl said...

yes, seems more dynamic.