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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Love the tree, love the stormy sky, love the mound next to the tree. Love the swoopy line of the horizon.

What I don't like in the picture:

Original is a little underexposed. Bullet composition. I
harp on these things, but I still make these mistakes.
Fortunately, I made a second composition by moving the tree to the right of the frame. Until then I was not fully conscious of that gorgeous white cloud just above the horizon. This second try preserves all the things I liked, but improves the balance.

What I learned:

Good idea to make multiple compositions of a subject I
really like.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think I might like this even better if it were darker,
moodier. More contrast and darken the dirt.