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:

A nice pastoral scene of a fall wheatfield.

What I don't like in the picture:

Yes, that is the mirror on my truck poking in on the right side.

What I learned:

Sometimes, I photograph by rolling down the window and shooting from the driver's seat. Is this cheating? Is it lazy? Quite honestly, if I were to get out and set up my tripod for this shot, how would it be better? How differently would that composition be compared to this shot out the window? As long as I don't include the side mirror in the composition, ahem, I don't feel any guilt at all.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

The sky really was that pale blue due to a little haze in the sky from the nearby forest fires. I think I'd like this better if I intensified the blue to look more sky-like.