Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Garden + A Theme = Learning

Wanderlust is in my blood. I get it from my dad. We both have a strong urge to wander or travel. I find that urge to wander carries over into my photography. Most of the time even though I go to a specific destination, I just wander along letting my instincts and curiosity lead me. There’s nothing wrong with that as I always find something of interest, but recently I tried something different. I went with a specific theme to photograph. My destination was a woodland garden that I have been to many times. I thought by choosing a place I’ve been before I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the newness of everything around me. My theme was leading lines because it is our Monthly Focus  and it is something I needed to work on.

Having something specific in mind changed my shooting approach in a positive way. Having a theme provided a starting point instead of aimless wandering until something caught my eye. Of course, the pathways were the first and most obvious leading lines. It was just a matter of finding a pleasing point of view. I soon discovered that if the lines weren’t obvious like the pathways, I struggled with finding them. Subconsciously I’ve used leading lines before, but to look for them was hard for me. I had all these thoughts running around in my head. Is there a line here? Where is the line leading my eyes? Do the lines help or hinder the photograph? Can I get the line higher or lower to improve the balance? Does the line need to stay inside the frame or lead out? 

I discovered that leading lines don't have to be continuous. Sometimes our eyes will complete the line for us like in the photo above. There is not a complete line of rocks that are visible, but our eyes follow them out of the picture anyway.

I also discovered that abstract images can be improved when there is a line leading your eye through the photo.

Photographing with a theme is not something I’ve done very often. As I said I’m more of a wanderer, but I did like this experience of picking a theme. I felt stimulated and came away with a sense of accomplishment. Having a theme helped me focus because I already knew what I was looking for. It also became a good learning experience. The next time you’re out with your camera you might try choosing a specific theme. Although the possibilities of a photo theme are endless, here are some suggestions to get you started:
  • a specific color
  • things that are old
  • shapes
  • patterns
  • shadows
  • reflections
  • signs
  • people
  • arcitecture
For an extra challenge, pick something you don’t normally photograph.

I encourage you sometime during this month to choose leading lines as your theme and post some of your images in the Focusing On Life Flicker photo pool. I would love to see examples of leading lines as I continue to study them. I honestly need help learning to see them!


Carol said...

You are just the BEST list-maker! As soon as I decided looking for lines was a good "day out," I started trying to think of other themes. I hadn't come up with much before I got to your ending with a great list of ideas right there for the taking! I love the way you think!
These are also great shots, and perfect examples. I love the second image -would love to be walking there right now....

Dotti said...

What a delightful walk and such a good lesson in leading lines! I think we all use them subconsciously but when we consciously look for them, they have even more impact in our photos. And all of these are wonderful!

terriporter said...

I'm a wanderer too and usually just let my eye find the things I want to photograph. Going out with a theme in mind is a great idea and since I have also struggled with the "leading lines" monthly focus, I am going to take your example and go out specifically with that in mind! I think it's one of the things we all enjoyed in Tracey Clark's Picture classes, having a prompt to get us started. Thanks for the great list!

Sandra said...

You've done a lovely job here seeking out leading lines! Nature helps us discover them in the loveliest of ways. I do love that last shot of the fern unfolding which takes my eye right along to the curly centre point!

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