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:

Solitary rock in a sea of vibrant green grass.

What I don't like in the picture:

I've often mentioned that so much of photography is eliminating the unnecessary. This is a good example. The one above shows the scene with all the unnecessary elements.

What I learned:

Simply zooming in (from 60mm to 127mm) gets rid of so much of the fluff. Still not a great image, but at least it's better than the distractions in the one above.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

If I had made a second exposure with focus bracketing, I could have eliminated the out of focus grass. Would that make it better?