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:

Bristlecone pines at 11,000 feet in the Patriarch Grove.

What I don't like in the picture:

The air was so thin up there that I didn't have the strength to life my camera up to capture the tops of the trees. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

What I learned:

I'm sure you've all seen some terrific images of the Bristlecones. Believe me, it's harder than it looks. I did get a few that I like (not shown here), but this is an area I think you'd have to go back to on several trips in order to do it any kind of justice. Tough to be successful as a one-trip tourist. Come to think of it, that's probably true of most places.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

The air is so clear up there, that really needs to be used in any imagery of the place.