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:

The above image was captured in 2012 while I was in Hawaii for a workshop.

What I don't like in the picture:

I liked the idea of water droplets on these giant leaves, but felt this version was simply to factual.

What I learned:

Fortunately, I had a chance to return to Hawaii in 2015. I had in mind a number of unsuccessful ideas from that first trip and things I might try. The one at left is one of those that worked much better after I'd had time for the idea to simmer a bit. So, how long does it take to make a photograph? Sometimes, it takes years.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wish the near edge of that leaf was in focus. Next time, I'll try focus stacking.