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:

Nesting herons about 30 yards in back of my house. Cool.

What I don't like in the picture:

The tricky thing about birds is that they are chiefly visible through their movement. Otherwise they just blend in, almost like is a defensive disguise. Doh! And still photography doesn't do well capturing movement. Doh, doh!

What I learned:

Wait until they come out and can be seen against a solid background. Easier said than done. I have great respect for accomplished wildlife photographers. Very difficult to do well — not that I would claim that mine are done well. Nope. Average at best.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Funny part about it, this was the one an only year these birds nested in these trees in our back yard. One shot deal.