This post is a response to Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge: Vertical Lines.
This is something I seem to have trouble with: I can’t just go out and see how to use vertical lines. I went through a bunch of old photos and chose a few where I think a strong vertical line is central to the composition.
Here is a before and after of an old tower in Drogheda, Ireland. It was difficult to photograph because you couldn’t get far enough away to get the whole tower in the frame at a good angle and still see the whole tower. Nothing was particularly straight to begin with, and the tilt of the camera trying to get the whole tower into the frame aggravated that. The adjustments were compromises. I used the vertical and horizontal transform corrections in Adobe Lightroom, then cropped the photo to be rectangular (those corrections make it trapezoidal). I couldn’t correct everything and still have the whole tower so I iterated a bit.
Here is some play with the same vertical, a white pagoda. The scene also had vertical elements in the white stone of the mountain and a cloud hovering over the mountain and pagoda.
In the end my own favorite was the following, which is #3 above cropped to be a portrait orientation. It keeps the vertical lines in the rock and the cloud which echoes the shape of the mountain but cuts out the clutter of buildings and the truss tower:
My hindsight is pretty good, I wish I was better at composing on the fly.