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:

Water. Yay.

What I don't like in the picture:

Bad advice from people who should know better.

What I learned:

Whatever you do, don't shoot at very small apertures because you will introduce diffraction that will degrade your image.

Yeah, right.

Except both of these were shot at f/22 with my m4/3 camera, so the eq of f/44. Do you miss the detail that supposedly would be visible at a more open aperture? Or does the detail seem sharp because our eye compares it to the movement of the water and therefore sees the rocks as sharp? Use your head and your eyes, not the rules and questionable advice.