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:

At the Portland Japanese Garden.

What I don't like in the picture:

Waterfalls like this that are deep in the shade will tend to render the falling water with a purple cast. I'm sure there is some optical/physical reason why, but I don't know what that is. I just know they are always purple.

What I learned:

Fortunately, there is an easy fix. In Lightroom, I just desaturate the purple from the water and the remaining colors will look normal.

BTW, as a side comment, this exposure was at 1/6th of a second, handheld using a 150mm lens on my m4/3 (eq of 300mm). State-of-the-art camera image stabilization is a miracle.