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:

Cool crisp day with sun reflecting on the snow.

What I don't like in the picture:

What sun? All I see is a hole in the paper where the sun is supposed to be. Let's see, how bright is sun again? Oh yeah, 1 gazillion candle power.

What I learned:

Do we actually have to see the sun in the image in order to know that it's there? Silly me, of course not. Fortunately, I zoomed in a bit and was able to get an image that doesn't have that overexposed circle in the sky. Not fantastic, but better.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

In the image at left, I desaturated the blue a bit to take out some of the blue in the snow. Would this be better as b/w? I should try that.