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:

This is the shot I wanted — hands and face.

What I don't like in the picture:

Unfortunately, neither his face nor the hand touching the pot are in focus. Just blew it and ruined the shot.

What I learned:

I did, however, get the one at left which is pretty good, just missing the face. As such, it doesn't say Chinese potter, but rather just potter. I'll take it, but I would have prefered the one above.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'm not particularly experienced with this type of action shot, so I'm really glad I shot a lot and got lucky. I shot a total of 88 exposures and basically got the one lucky one at left and that was it. I know that "luck favors the prepared mind" but it also favors those with the largest memory cards. You may quote me on that.