Visual Drama through Leading Lines

Visual Drama through Leading Lines. Wildflowers above Sand Dollar Beach, Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur, California
Wildflowers above Sand Dollar Beach, Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur, California

There are many ways to create stronger compositions in landscape photography, but one of the easiest and most effective techniques is the use of leading lines. Dynamic lighting and great subject matter are the desired cornerstones of any great composition, but even when these elements are less than exceptional there is still a way to create an emotional connection with your audience. Draw them into the scene with leading lines.

The wide-angle lens (anything 24mm and wider) has numerous benefits for the landscape photographer from incredible depth of field and relatively small size to a viewing angle that really captures the big picture. But all that visual information can be a bit overwhelming without some direction.

Using the rule of thirds and carefully composing to include natural lines such as a shoreline, forest edge, stream, or mountain ridge can lead your viewers into the frame or guide them to a specific part of the image. Diagonal lines in particular create visual tension, which is a sure-fire way to add drama to your images and create an emotional response with your audience.

Next time you’re out photographing the landscape, take a moment before you trip the shutter to make sure the elements within the frame are being used to their best advantage. Think of yourself as a director guiding your audience rather than just a photographer documenting the scene and you’ll be rewarded with stronger, more exciting images.


©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved

Earth Day and National Park Week

Dawn light over the Tetons from Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Dawn light over the Tetons, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Celebrating Earth Day and National Park Week!

Fifty years ago the green movement was conceived and since then it has become a driving force in today’s world economy and social consciousness. We’ve come a long way since the early days of tie-dye and the novel concept of recycling. Fast forward to 2022 and LED light bulbs are the norm, electric cars are everywhere, and small countries like Iceland are run almost entirely on clean energy.

One of the driving forces in my photography is to show the natural world at its best and to remind us all why it’s important to preserve it. I also support organizations like The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, which do an excellent job of preserving natural spaces, working with landowners, and educating the public about the connection between health and conservation throughout the year.

This year National Park Week is April 16th-24th and Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd. Once again the National Park Service is partnering with the National Park Foundation and all entrance fees are waived on Monday, April 16th. But even if you can’t travel It’s still a great time to enjoy America’s Best Idea at home with the kids or celebrate Earth Day in your backyard or at a natural space close to home.

Whether you connect with nature in your own town, explore and plan a visit to favorite park or simply change out those old light bulbs, take time to marvel at all the natural wonders of our tiny blue planet and make a commitment to help preserve it.


©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved

Yosemite Mist Trail

Vernal Fall and rainbow on the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California
Vernal Fall and rainbow on the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California

The appropriately named Mist Trail is one of the world’s classic hikes, and a highlight of any trip to Yosemite National Park. As an alternate to the John Muir Trail when hiking to Half Dome or Clouds Rest, the trail ascends a series of stone steps above the Merced River with dramatic views in all directions.

The trail climbs steeply out of the Valley and during a heavy flow the swirling mist is a perfect way to cool off during the warm summer months. A rainbow often forms at the base of the falls, and the upper portion of the trail is actually carved into the adjacent cliff providing an exhilarating finish as the water plunges over 300 feet to the canyon below.


©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved