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:

High up in bristle-cone pine country with that thin air and California sun. Thought I'd try to get the sun into the composition by including just some of the glow without any of the actual sun.

What I don't like in the picture:

Not quite what I was hoping for, so I shot another (left) with just the rim of the sun in the top of the frame.

What I learned:

Isn't that interesting how the ball of the sun appears black with a halo of white around it. I have no idea why, but it looks like a mistake rather than a creative choice. I suspect it is some sort of sensor anomaly from the extreme brightness of the sun.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Just crop out the ball of the sun?