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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

I was drawn to these Ginko leaves.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above is ok, but it doesn't express the feeling that I had. The feeling was not about a few leaves, but the mass of leaves that covered everything. This was a giant tree.

What I learned:

Getting closer — which is my habitual knee-jerk strategy — isn't always the answer. When I turned around and saw the steps at left, that was the feeling I was trying to portray. Same lens, just a different distance.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

In retrospect, I wish I had done this as a three-image pano that could have included more of the leaves on the ground.