Examining Leading Lines in Scenes from the Intertidal

I’m going to argue there are leading lines here. The one I didn’t expect runs between the eyes of the purple shore crab, Hemigrapsus nudus. It plays well against the rock’s curved outline. To my eye, the image has a pleasing flow from lower right to upper left.


The lines created by surfgrass sweep across the scene and beyond, all the way to the tidepools. Clean Phyllospadix blades stand out among those covered by Melobesia, an encrusting coralline.


A black and white reminder that remnants of forest and subtidal ecosystems meet in, and enrich, the intertidal. Beyond the tangle of bull kelp, Nereocystis, the lines of the dead and drifted conifer lead to another, less literal, meeting. Clouds, the skyline, surf, and the terminus of the headland, with its offshore islets, all converge at the root crown.

Leading Lines

Note: Anyone interested in the intriguing encrusting red in the middle photo can get the scoop in Melobesia, a Coralline Crust on Seagrasses