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.

Click on the image to see it larger

Previous image  |  Next image

Original digital capture

Click on the image to see it larger

What I saw that I liked:

Lovely little waterfall in the shade, and I'm in the sun.

What I don't like in the picture:

Because I'm in the sun, it is falling directly onto my lens. The lens flare in the image above is not supposed to happen with a modern coated lens, but it does.

What I learned:

I always used a lens shade in the old view camera days because the lenses were either uncoated or were using a primitive coating from the Jurassic period. Today's lenses are far superior, but a direct sunbeam onto the surface a lens will still play havoc with an image. To create the flare-free version at left, I used my hat to cast a shadow on the lens. Don't laugh, it works.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Buy a hat with an even bigger brim.