Using corner exits in garden photography

In an earlier article the idea of corner exits as a composition tool was introduced. This article demonstrates some examples of using corner exits in garden photography.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-800

Corner exits can help the visual flow of an image. In the photograph above we can see two corner exits. The first is created by the leaf that flows from the top right hand corner of the image and exits at the bottom left. The second one is created by the leaf on the far right and exits to the top right corner.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 92mm, efov 247mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 92mm, efov 247mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-800

A common, and effective way, to create a corner exit is to compose your image with a twig or stem exiting from any of the four corners of a photograph. You can see that the stem in the bottom left corner serves to anchor the image and provide the viewer’s eye with an easy exit point.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-400
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-400

We often take images of the spines of leaves running down the centre of a photograph. By tilting your camera at an angle you can create a different kind of flow from corner to corner.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6 1/250, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-800

I wanted to accentuate a downward eye flow with the above image so I created two corner exits at the top of the photograph. The first is the stem that exits in the top right hand corner. The second one is a bit more subtle. If you look in the top left corner you’ll see that I cropped the leaf so it could smoothly exit from that corner.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 55mm, efov 148mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 55mm, efov 148mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-1600, 21mm MOVO extension tube

A strong left to right and downward eye flow with the image above was needed. I cropped the top right hand corner to create a corner exit to accentuate the desired eye movement.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO-360
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO-360

The above image is another composition that uses the stem of the flower as a corner exit in the bottom right.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO-560
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO-560

There is a strong and obvious corner exit in the upper left. I chose not to crop the image in tighter on the right hand side as I felt it would become too narrow and overly vertical. Instead I used the beige horizontal leaf that runs in the background as a more subtle corner exit on the bottom right.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-800

Another example of a simple composition that uses the bottom left corner as a corner exit, and also subtly hints towards one in the top right corner.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 80mm, efov 217mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 80mm, efov 217mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-800

The image above is another example of an implied corner exit. This is formed by the strong pointed shape at the end of the leaf directed at the bottom right corner. Some darker shading underneath a leaf in the background helps to carry this implied exit into the corner.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 66mm, efov 177mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-220
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 66mm, efov 177mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-220

Our final image, above, uses the bottom right corner as a corner exit and as an anchor for the flower.

Obviously not all compositions can utilise corner exits. Where they are possible a corner exit can add to the overall flow and visual appeal of an image.

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