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:

All along this dirt road that followed the stream in the background, there were dried weeds of various types. The hazy smoke in the sky make a wonderful warm, soft light.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above is a seductive bulls-eye composition that I really don't like. I sometimes do it anyway, just out of habit. I wish I could hook up an electric buzzer in my camera that would shock me every time I place the main subject in the center of the frame. BZZZZZ!!!

What I learned:

Playing around a bit with the different weeds (at left), I accidentally found this composition that reminds me of fairies dancing. Not everything has to be in focus when it's an ensemble.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I definitely want to do more of this. Can't wait for next fall when all the weeds have dried out.