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

Bonehead mistakes:

All the post-processing in the world won't fix a bonehead mistake. Shall we stoll down memory lane?

  • Forgetting I'd placed the camera in manual focus mode
  • Opening the back of the film camera before winding the film back into the canister
  • Watching your expensive view camera lens fall in slow motion into the surf
  • Driving off and not remembering the tripod which now resides on the edge of a magnificent overlook
  • I thought you packed the back of the 8x10 camera!
  • I'll only need one cable release
  • Hitachi Microdrives
  • It was expensive, it must be good.
  • It's not that windy. It can't possibly blow over the tripod.
  • I guess I was supposed to unlock the AE/AF Lock button for the next shot.
  • I hope the motel maid can find use for my Panasonic camera battery recharger
  • I'll update my eyeglasses prescription next year.
  • Got the shot! One exposure will be enough.
  • I know it's a holiday, but surely there will be one gas station open.