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:

I have tremendous respect for the accomplishments of wildlife photographers. What they do is simply amazing. If you don't believe me, just try it.

What I don't like in the picture:

I'm told that the real key to wildlife photograph is proximity. Cropping is not the same thing.

What I learned:

I got pretty close to the wildlife at left. Didn't help. Neither did cropping. Sometimes we just have to know our limitations.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

For wildlife images, I think I'll stick to buying books from those who know how to do it well.