Power Lines


Power lines– the bane of every photographer’s existence. How many times have I seen “the perfect shot” just to be foiled by power lines in the way? Sure, there are ways around them. You could move; but that always seems to ruin the perspective you had in mind (or would require you to stand in the middle of traffic). You could just remove them in Photoshop; but I refuse to spend hours cloning out power lines (life’s too short). If the lines are significantly closer to you than the subject you are photographing you can adjust your depth of field so that the lines go far enough out of focus to disappear; but that means your subject will have a shallow depth of field, and only works if the lines are a lot closer to you than the subject.

So, what do you do? Sometimes I just say to heck with it and embrace the presence of power lines. They deserve love too, right? Above and below are a few examples where I espoused this philosophy.

In this shot I liked the way the “power lines” (they were actually guy-wires) radiated from the post and countered the lines of the Pinnacle Building in the background.



The light fixtures and power lines were what actually attracted me to this street scene in Vienna. If you’re from Europe these lights are probably unremarkable. I’ve just never seen them in the US.



Cross, SF (near Chinatown)

Would this photo have more impact without the power lines– maybe. I think they add a bit of counterpoint to the vertical lines in the photo, though.


Is there something distracting you from your primary subject? Maybe you should shift your focus.



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