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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Great clouds.

What I don't like in the picture:

I wish I had a nickel for everytime I've had great clouds but a crummy landscape, or a great landscape and crummy (or no) clouds. Or great clouds and great landscape, but crummy light. Geez.

What I learned:

The upper right quadrant of sky (behind the trees) was bland. I like this trick of using trees in the sky to hide that empty patch without clouds.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Nothing can replace more time in the field searching out the right combination of clouds, foreground, and light. Nothing.