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:

Fantastic thunderheads. I love photographing clouds.

What I don't like in the picture:

When my back is bothering me, I'll sometimes just position the truck so I can shoot from the driver's seat without getting out of the vehicle. I know it's a cheat, but aging is no joke and I refuse to let it intimidate my photographic impulses. Unfortunately, sometimes I catch the window frame of the truck in the shot and don't see it until later.

What I learned:

Chimping is my friend.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

My first impulse was to rectify the trees at the bottom. The more time I spend with this image, the more I like the tilt — especially because the cloud doesn't look tilted. So which is it? Tilting trees or tilting cloud? Can clouds be tilted?