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:

I was all excited about my new camera and its optical image stabilization! Cool!

What I don't like in the picture:

Except it doesn't stabilize a moving subject. Duh! (1/13th of a second, moving subject)

What I learned:

I'm not sure if I just got lucky to get the one at left or if I used a strategy that making lots of captures increases one's odds of success. If it was a strategy, it wasn't a conscious one. I'd best call it pure luck. But I'll take it. (1/8th of a second, subject still)

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Getting over-confident based on manufacturer's marketing hype is definitely not a good strategy. If I had tested this camera more thoroughly before going to China I think I could have avoided so many lost exposures due to subject movement.