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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

A great leading line in a North Dakota field.

What I don't like in the picture:

The first attempt (above) just didn't capture the feel of the expansiveness of the landscape. I kept trying different compositions, but not of them worked.

What I learned:

With today's capabilities to stitch images together to make panoramas, the old advice of "thinking outside the box" takes on new meaning. Fortunately, before I left the place I made a series of exposures for a panorama, just in case. Glad I had the presence of mind to let go of that box and think in terms of possibilities, rather than being pushed into the format of the camera itself.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I can't think of a better place to have fun with panorama images than North Dakota. I hope I get back there someday.