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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Here is another one that I passed by for years in my Lightroom catalog that just needed some TLC.

What I don't like in the picture:

Fun subject, but dull and gray. Yuck.

What I learned:

Gee, Brooks, wonder what would happen with a little pumped up contrast? I'm beginning to think that decisions in the field should be based solely on compositional geometries and textures. Forget the tones; they can be adjusted in post. Am I missing anything here?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

BTW, in yesterday's post I bemoaned the 45-200mm lens because at 200mm it's a little soft. This image was made with the same lens at 109mm. Tack sharp from corner to corner. A good example of why it is important to really know your equipment and its idiosyncrasies.