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:

Continuing my search for a project about the granite hills in Vedauwoo, Wyoming.

What I don't like in the picture:

Here's another one that has poor clouds — well, at least clouds I wish were more dramatic.

What I learned:

Rinse and repeat — another image with a new sky via Photoshop's Sky Replacement tool. I'm not nearly as happy with this one as I'd like to be. These clouds are overwhelming the tree. I need to search through my Lightroom catalog for a more compatible cloud RAW file. Drama is good, but too much drama makes me cringe.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I think I over did the gray tones in the sky and some of the upper branches in the tree lost their subtle color. Maybe I've been in too much of a hurry to crank this one out.