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:

Same neighborhood Chinese opera as yesterdays picture, this time after the performance.

What I don't like in the picture:

Nothing "wrong" with the above, but it's just a snapshot. Anyone standing there with a camera could make this image.

What I learned:

I brought my monopod with me for this shoot because I wanted the flexibility of longer shutter speeds without the hassle of a tripod in a crowd. I did not anticipate how useful the monopod would be to raise the camera far above my head for unique angles. I used the self-timer to release the shutter, so it was a bit hit and miss. The image at left is far more interesing to me than the one above because the camera captures more of the scene.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wonder what the length is of the longest monopod they make?