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:

What's not to like about old pilings other than they are as cliché as it gets.

What I don't like in the picture:

I've always felt that the subject dictates the orientation. This group of pilings should be either a vertical or a square. Then why did I decide it needed to be a horizontal?

What I learned:

Cropping has it limits — at least with my m4/3 camera. This image gets strangely soft and I don't like it. I remember where this subject is, so maybe I'll go back and try again.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I really needed a neutral density filter to soften the water a bit.