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:

Lots of Japanese temples have this type of walkway from the front gate to the temple.

What I don't like in the picture:

I am just not a talent with a wide angle lens. I keep trying them, but I just don't like the pictures I get.

What I learned:

Until recently, that is. After 50 years, I finally figured out that a wide angle lens is not for making wide pictures; it's for making deep pictures. It's for near/far relationships. If I want wide, I should shoot a panorama. Why does it take 50 years to learn this stuff?

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I need to do a thorough meta data review of my small focal length images for just the portrait orientation ones. I'll bet I have some treasures I could uncover with such a search.