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:

Reminded me of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above is not a monolith. It's a big rock in the forest with unflattering light and a competing background.

What I learned:

As an experiment, I decided to try some extreme processing with this one, just for fun. Lens Blur and a huge decrease in exposure — almost looks solarized. Then extreme contrast, clarity, and whites make the rock look like it is glowing from internal radiation. I like it! I'm in that phase of extreme processing with this one where I can't decide if it's really cool or really silly. Definitely looks like it came from The Outer Limits.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Couple of white spots in the background need to be darkened.