Composing Your Image While in Danger of Being Run Over by a Cable Car

There's lots of things to think about when composing an image, and not the least of it is being worried about being run over by a cable car!

When you are trying to capture an iconic image from a city like San Francisco, there's a lot of factors that come in to play. First and foremost, you want to include one of the bridges and of course a cable car (or two)!

This image had a special set of challenges. In order to capture the shot, we literally had to stand in the middle of a busy city street. While you are dodging cars, you are calculating your exposure, f-stop and lens length. On top of that, the compositional rules need to fit into your brain somewhere.

When composing this image, the rule of thirds was taken in account for the edge of the buildings on the right and the bridge. They both fall into the right quadrant of the rule of thirds. The cable car falls in the lower left quadrant of the rule of thirds.

The other dominant compositional elements in this picture are the leading lines. The leading lines of the cable car tracks takes us all the way down the street and up into the bridge. These simple and often used compositional rules force your eye to move around the image.

Another take on this San Francisco scene

As you can see from the image at the left, the leading lines of the cable car tracks also add to the drama of the moment. The leading lines lead you right to the car that may or may not stop before you get out of the way!

The rule of thirds also comes into play here. You can see that the leading line to the bridge is not in the center of the image. It falls in fact in the left quadrant of the rule of thirds. By not placing the bridge centered in the image, it makes it a more dynamic and interesting image.

Join us one day soon for a workshop in San Francisco. We promise, we won't make you stand in the middle of the street to get the shot!

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