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'm slowly working on another project of dried grasses.

What I don't like in the picture:

I loved the pattern of the grass, but the above seems a bit dull. I tried several processing alternative but got no where.

What I learned:

And then later down the line (photographed the same day, but a few hundred yards down the road), I saw standing grass that was back lit. Bingo! Working a project" often means making lots of pictures that won't make it into the final selection, but they have the purpose of teaching you what you want. That's an important contribution to the finished production.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Should I do something with those black areas in the upper right?