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:

Beautiful light just before sunset.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is okay. I even kind of like it. But there is too much on the bottom that is not contributing anything. I cropped that out. An then the hills have quite a bit of blue in them, so I felt it needed to be warmed up a bit.

What I learned:

Here again — for the thousandth time — it's not what you take than counts, but rather what you make. The one at left is far more emotional to my eye. It has that feeling of the last light of the day.