A recent trip to the Grand Canyon yielded some great shots. It also yielded some tough decisions for me. There are a few images I'm having a hard time deciding between. This left me thinking about leading lines and where I want my eye to go when I look at the image.
Using leading lines is an important technique because they not only focus attention on the subject, but they help create movement through the image. I believe some images can be interesting by having the subject in the middle of the frame, however I really like those images where your eyes curve around the frame to the subject. On my trip, I had to realize what my subject was when I shot the scene and not get distracted by all the other cool stuff in the scene. So narrowing down the distracting elements so my eye would go straight to what I was focusing on in the first place was very important.
These are the three I was deciding between. All three were taken at sunrise at the end of October:
This first image is well balanced. I really like it, but it took my eye away from the subject. My eye gets stuck on the rim.
This second image is nice, and I like the deep crevice in the lower right hand corner, but again, it took my eye away from what I was so interested in when I shot it. My eye is just kind of lost in the canyon.
This third image has less going on, but it sends my eye straight to what I want to see: that piece of the canyon which is jutting out, highlighted by the morning sun. This image is the one I ultimately feel best leads my eye to what I liked in the first place.
With all this said, I really do like the first image as well because it's a different composition, my eye travels through the image and lands on a different subject and I feel there is enough there to give you a sense of how deep the canyon is.
Leading lines can be a great way to lead the eye directly to your subject. If not carefully thought out though, they can lead your eye through the image with no end point. Be sure to use them to your advantage!