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:

Crashing waves on picturesque rocks. It doesn't get more cliché than this, but who cares? I just have so much fun trying to catch the biggest wave.

What I don't like in the picture:

I made lots of exposures and could get a crashing wave and smaller rock in front, or a crashing wave on the taller rock in back, but not both at the same time.

What I learned:

Photo merge to the rescue. Picking two images and blending them in Photoshop was a snap. Is this cheating?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I have hundreds of these types of images and I don't think I've ever used a single one of them in a project except for October Seas. Oh well, I still have fun with them even if I never show them to anyone.