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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What I saw that I liked:

Picking up the theme from yesterday's post, I went to the shore to photograph the picturesque rocks at sunset.

What I don't like in the picture:

Looks like everyone else's picturesque rocks on the beach at sunset. Literally, I mean that … as you can see at left.

What I learned:

I thought this was hilarious. TWO workshops were down on the beach, all photographing the rocks at sunset. To my way of thinking, what was happening that was the most interesting was not the rocks or the sunset, but the some 20-odd photographers and their tripods! What a hoot!

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I understand this is a common scene in places like Arches and Yosemite. Maybe a whole series of this type of scene could be fun. (I crack myself up.)

Bonus tip: Maybe it's time to invest in Gitzo stock? Salt water cannot be good on those tripod legs.