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:

Boney fish, yum!

What I don't like in the picture:

Clearly, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to flash photography. I knew it was too dark in here for a non-flash shot, but I was completely unaware that my lens hood would cast a shadow when used with my wide angle lens and a camera-mounted flash. Amateur mistake.

What I learned:

The funny part about this place was that it turns out I didn't really need the flash after all. The one at left was shot at 1/5th of a second using a monopod. Even though the fellow is slightly blurred from his movement, it just isn't a problem in context of the rest of the scene.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Just in case you are wondering, no I didn't eat here. I have a pretty hardy stomach, but this Chinese kitchen seemed just beyond my comfort zone.