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:

A cold day with a gray-blue sky.

What I don't like in the picture:

The version above was a zoomed-in composition in order to emphasize the trees. It's ok, but not as cold as the one to the left that includes the water.

What I learned:

Photographs can nudge us to a physical sensation. We should take advantage of that when we can.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really wish there was a stronger focal point for our attention in these, but there isn't. Play a little with a warm light beam that would increase the emotional contrast? And that smudge in the very lower left has gotta go.