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:

That little white smudge on the left just above the horizon is the moon. Moon and yellow leaves, give it a try.

What I don't like in the picture:

What moon? What yellow leaves?

What I learned:

A great example of something I thought I learned the first year I owned a camera — that things in the landscape that are big but far away can feel bigger than the optics of your camera will render them. A psychological zoom factor that optics can't reproduce.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think there may have been a photograph to be made here, but I would have had to positioned myself about 400 yards to the right and had the moon above the yellow leaves. And use a telephoto lens. And . . . oh, forget it.

The pano doesn't work either.