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:

Circular pattern in the ice.

What I don't like in the picture:

My memory of this image is dominated by the freezing temperatures and the howling wind. As I recall, it was -240° Kelvin. I may be remembering this emotionally.

What I learned:

When anticipating a crop in post, back up or zoom out so you haver room for the crop. Which I did on this occasion, and was able to make this straightened panorama without clipping that left edge in the lower left corner. At least at those temperatures my brain was still working.