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:

I love the challenge of these heavy undergrowth scenes.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the one above, everything sort of runs to the right. It's not balanced. My eye just bounces out of such a poorly composed image.

What I learned:

The one at left is more balanced. I also like the light and dark areas that contrast one another. As a side comment, the foliage in the one at left was the same color as the one above. I shifted everything away from the yellow and more toward a pure green. If I did it right, you'd never know except that I just told you.