Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

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What I saw that I liked:

The floating moon and the balanced rock just below it that's roughly the same size. The diagonal line of the hillside. The small tufts of weeds on the edges. The moon is visible in morning daylight sun.

What I don't like in the picture:

Too much sky at top; small distraction in the lower right corner so I cropped. But the real problem is that although the hillside rocks are in sharp focus, the moon is not.

What I learned:

Mistake by shooting this without stopping down. Instead of f/3.6, I should have used f/11. Remember that telephoto lenses have shallower depth of field than I think.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Maybe I can replace this out-of-focus moon with a
sharply focused one from another picture. Sort of
cheating, but worth a try.