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:

Tiny photographers in a grand landscape.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the original composition above, the photographers are too small to see that they are photographers. I got the idea right, but just not the scale.

What I learned:

The one at left I like for its scale, but also the sun had come up just a bit more and created that brighter glow behind the subjects. Lucky, but I'll take it.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I like the clouds in the original exposure more than the ones at left. Could I replace the clouds with the better ones? Should I? Or just leave well enough alone?