Exercise: Curves

So given I’ve looked at lines, horizontal, vertical and diagonal, I guess curves was the only area left to look at before piecing stuff together.

The photos below look to illustrate how curves can be used to indicate or emphasise movement and direction.

This first shot was a piece of field picked out because the usually straight tractor lines had been distorted through the need to navigate around the fact the field wasn’t rectangular. I thought it kind of emphasised that despite the ‘go anywhere’ nature of farm machinery, once the tracks have been set down and a field planted, they need to stick to the tracks else the crop is going to be damaged with each pass!

ISO 1600, f/11, 1/200 sec, 300mm

In this shot I liked the fact I had double curvature! The spherical ‘bollards’ following a course of curvature in the road. The circles helped emphasise the curve.

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, 44mm

This view was taken looking upwards through the banisters in my office building. Whilst various curves are on show, the aim of the shot was to emphasise the cycling back and forth so the viewer gets the sense of the journey as you navigate the stairs with a turn at each end, indicated by the curvature in the banister.

ISO 1600, f/13, 1/10 sec,13 mm

The well known view of Royal Crescent in Bath (on a chilly Saturday in late March!). The curvature of the crescent is well known but taken from this angle gives the crescent a bit more depth and dimension I hope leading the viewer on a journey around the first third of the crescent. Pity it was a bit overcast!

ISO 800, f/13, 1/60 sec, 14mm

Exercise: Diagonals

This simple exercise looks at the use of diagonals in photographic composition. The photos below illustrate the fact that most of the time, diagonals are created from viewpoint (angle and perspective rather than genuinely existing!).

In this first shot taken in the London Underground it is the viewpoint creating the diagonal although arguably the movement of the train has emphasised it.

ISO 800, f/11, 1/3 sec, 10mm

The next photo using the compression effect of a telephoto lens.

ISO 200, f/11, 1/50 sec, 225mm

In this shot of Pitstone windmill again I’ve used my viewpoint to arrange the sails to create a diagonal.

ISO 200, f/11, 1/250 sec, 14mm

Finally, slightly less pronounced but again utilising viewpoint is Worthing Pier, the diagonal of the pier and its reflection converging due to the perspective.

ISO 200, f/14, 1/5 sec, 14mm

Here I will add references to great examples of diagonals I’ve spotted elsewhere in other photographic resources:

Exercise: Horizontal and vertical lines

The first exercise in this project simply requested four photographs of horizontal and four of vertical lines. The photos below were chosen as examples where the intention is that the first thing the viewer sees is the line and the rest of the image is subordinate to it.


In amongst the trees of the Ashridge estate, I was actually on the hunt for bluebells but the strong verticals of so many straight trees seem to dominate this view.

ISO 200, f/9, 1/200 sec, 35mm

On a slightly cloudy day, I was drawn to this street (in St Mawes, Cornwall) by the strong pull of the double yellow line. This was further enhanced by taking the shot at very low angle to the ground.

ISO 200, f/10, 1/200 sec, 10mm

This is the perimeter of a car park in Aylesbury, it is a set of simple lines but with plenty of photographic opportunity and something different to the usual view simply up a tall building.

ISO 200, f/9, 1/400 sec, 35mm

Here my daughters and cousins set off (like a scene from an Enid Blyton book) along the canal side. The flat plane and the symmetrical positioning (not staged) made this an ideal case for verticals. This is further enhanced by the reflections.

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, 55mm


A classic example of the horizontal horizon dominating the shot (Dartmoor).

ISO 200, f/16, 1/320 sec, 10mm

Something a bit different, strong horizontal lines of corrugated iron. The initial interest in this shot was lighting and texture but the lines are actually more of a draw.

ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/64 sec, 18mm

From the amazing selection of foliage on display at the Eden Project in Cornwall, I deliberately shot this leaf this way around to emphasise the dominate ‘band’ of the central stem in the leaf.

ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, 46mm

The final horizontal view is this sunset from Ivinghoe Beacon, the multiple bands of light caught just as the sun was setting. An alternative to the horizontal horizon.

ISO 200, f/13, 1/100 sec, 210mm