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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Historic Bible at the Barneveld Unitarian Church.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the above, my sloppy composition leaves too much on the left and cuts off the right. Even worse, the available depth of field was too shallow and leaves the top half of the text blurry.

What I learned:

Compose carefully — duh! Focus stack — duh! And finally sharpen and color correct — voilá. There are no short cuts to getting it right in the field.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I love that the pages are so thin that there is a ghost of the text from the adjacent pages coming through. Very textural.