Picture This!
Leading Lines: S-Curves And The Diagonals

We continue our compositional assignments this month with “Leading Lines: S-curves and the Diagonals” (the July issue was “Into Infinity”) and readers responded with fascinating images that show why these compositional devices are so visually enticing. The S-curve runs the eye from front to back, playing with movement through both vertical and horizontal space, while the diagonal line moves the eye from edge to edge, utilizing every border of the picture frame. There’s no wonder that each of these visual techniques adds such a dynamic element to images.

Green River
Michael Gottlieb made this bird’s eye view of the meandering Green River as it wends its way through the Canyonlands. He photographed with a Nikon D200 and an AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm lens with an exposure of f/13 at 1⁄500 sec at ISO 500.
© 2010, Michael Gottlieb, All Rights Reserved

Perpetual Portal
Michael Zelaska used the diagonal shaft of light to lead the eye through these portals at the Ferguson Center for the Arts at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He shot with a Casio EX-S600 at f/2.7 at 1⁄125 sec.
© 2010, Michael Zelaska, All Rights Reserved

Flying Legends
Rather than photograph this line-up of World War II planes straight on, Douglas K. Jardine used a diagonal point of view to heighten the visual impact. He photographed with a Nikon D80 and an AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm lens with an exposure of f/10 at 1⁄200 sec.
© 2010, Douglas K. Jardine, All Rights Reserved

Speed Racers
Brian R. Hood caught a group of racing bikes as they leaned into the curve, making it look like a set of stop action shots showing every twist on the course. He photographed with a Nikon D300 and an 18-200mm lens with an exposure of f/11 at 1⁄200 sec.
© 2010, Brian R. Hood, All Rights Reserved

Laundry Day
The diagonal clothesline running across the frame makes for a new point of view on this subject. David Hurwitt shot with a Canon EOS 20D and a 28-105mm lens with an exposure of f/7.1 at 1⁄160 sec.
© 2010, David Hurwitt, All Rights Reserved

Sweeping Sand Dune
This shot of sand dunes in Namibia is a classic S-curve shot exploiting line, light, and shadow. Dr. Cyril Mazansky shot with a Nikon F4 on Fujichrome Velvia film.
© 2010, Dr. Cyril Mazansky, All Rights Reserved

Road By Artist Paint Pots
A misty morn in Yellowstone provided Wayne Wolfersberger with this moment that uses line and light to great effect. He worked with a Nikon D200 and a Nikkor 70-200mm lens with a 1.7 tele-converter. Exposure was f/8 at 1⁄800 sec at ISO 800.
© 2010, Wayne Wolfersberger, All Rights Reserved

Car Trails
A winding road and a long shutter speed at night provided Eva Gryk with a
great photo op. Exposure with an Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom on a tripod was f/8 at 2 minutes.
© 2010, Eva Gryk, All Rights Reserved

Along The Arno
Right before sundown, Bruce Willence made this study of light and line photographing toward the Ponte Vecchio with the river winding into the light in the background. Exposure with a Nikon D300 and a Sigma 70-300mm lens was f/5.6 at 1⁄1250 sec.
© 2010, Bruce Willence, All Rights Reserved

Which animal naturally creates S-curves as it moves? This cottonmouth snake in Barton Creek near downtown Austin, Texas, provides one answer. John Stekl made this shot with a Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 85mm lens with an exposure of f/4 at 1⁄320 sec.
© 2010, John Stekl, All Rights Reserved

Forest Path
Into the woods we go with this lovely path photographed by Kathy Sitarski with a Canon EOS 5D. Exposure was f/11 at 1⁄50 sec at ISO 1600.
© 2010, Kathy Sitarski, All Rights Reserved

Fire Island Lighthouse
This three-exposure HDR shot takes us down the path to the lighthouse with sharpness from front to back. Philip Lanz worked with a Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 18-200mm lens.
© 2010, Philip Lanz, All Rights Reserved

Looking Down
The snaking line to gain admittance to the Eiffel Tower was made by Juliana Kobierski who earned the shot, we assume, by wending her way along that line herself. She photographed with a Canon EOS Rebel XS with an exposure of f/13 at 1⁄320 sec.
© 2010, Juliana Kobierski, All Rights Reserved

Mirrored Curves
Bird and reflection created an echo and counterpoint in this photo by David Antonoplos. He shot with a Nikon D300 with a 300mm lens and a 1.4 tele-extender with an exposure of f/5.6 at 1⁄500 sec.
© 2010, David Antonoplos, All Rights Reserved

Yorkshire Landscape
The refined simplicity of this landscape by Bernard Boland tells us all what S-curves bring to the pictorial equation. He photographed with a Canon EOS 3000 and a 28-80mm zoom on Fujichrome Sensia 100 film.
© 2010, Bernard Boland, All Rights Reserved