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:

These giant leaves in Hawaii are simply magnificent, especially with raindrops.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above (from 2012) is okay, but its real value is that it got me thinking.

What I learned:

When I returned to Hawaii in 2015, I had the image at left already in mind. All I had to do was find the right leaf with the background I wanted. That accomplished, the photograph was easy. This image eventually became the cover image for Kokoro, Vol. 1, No. 8 Aug-Nov 2015.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I do think this image would have been improved if I had done a focus stack. Live and learn.