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:

I was tempted to start this by saying that a fisheye lens is an odd duck — but that's just not right.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is from Day #1 with this odd lens. I didn't have a clue how to use it. When I looked at the images from that first day, I realized I was approaching it with preconceptions about what it would do. I was far too conservative. These types of lenses are made to be fun, so have some fun!

What I learned:

Curved objects are not that interesting. There is more to composing with a fisheye than just warping stuff. The image at left start to explore the vertigo possibilities. Starts, but I'm going to need to play with this thing a lot more to master it. I suppose that could be said of any lens, any focal length, any style. They all have optical quirks. In the word of Master Yoda, "Be the lens."

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wonder what could I do with the Sky Replacement tool?