Taming Nature's Chaos by Looking for Lines

“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”  ― H. Adams

In my last blog, I shared 4 ways to compose a clean frame in nature. One of the ways I wrote about was lines. And on a recent trip to the overflowing, green, and growing Phipp's Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA, I followed my own advice. There was something so appealing to me about the man-made lines encasing & taming the wild, natural, and twisting world under them. Try these easy tips when working on strengthening the lines in your photos:

Straighten that camera!

(This one seems easy but it's not!) For example, in the second picture below, I wanted to capture the straight vertical lines and the depth of the next room, but to do it, I had to turn on the live view on my camera and hold it up over my head. Otherwise, it would've looked like I was short and shooting pointing my camera up. All the lines would be distorted. If you want to create the look of order, you need to get your camera parallel with the lines you are shooting, straighten up your left to right tilt and perhaps more importantly, your front to back tilt. 

Don't be afraid of center composition.

Sometimes, it just feels good to accentuate the perfection and order of symmetry. As in the large golden leaf image below, sometimes it's more than OK to center your subject. Centering the straight vein of this proud looking leaf gives it the respect it deserves and unapologetically splits the frame in half.