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:

I have not altered the blue in this image at all. The strange minerals in this area (Lake Abert, Oregon) cause this intense blue. The white rock are salt deposits from evaporation. Cool!

What I don't like in the picture:

Great color, but no content. Eye-candy pictures are fun to do, but I find they rarely lead me anywhere and are almost never used in a project.

What I learned:

I'm not done with this image. I can feel it in my bones, but I'm not sure what to do next. This is one I'll print and post on my wall to live with for a while to see if an idea slowly emerges. Fingers crossed.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Because the blue is so intense, it would be easy to post-process this into extremes. Maybe that would help!