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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Bird Week

As I've confessed before, I am not a "wildlife photographer." I do, however, like using birds in my compositions. They are such great metaphors for all kinds of emotions.

What I saw that I liked:

The most obvious thing is the unison such flocks of birds exhibit, darting this way and that.

What I don't like in the picture:

The above gray skies I find blah. I had hoped that tree on the right would add context. I was wrong; all it adds is distraction.

What I learned:

Adding that strip of land at the bottom implies the birds were not soaring. I wanted soaring, which is more the feeling I get from the image at left.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This lens vignettes a bit too much for my liking. Before I use the image at left in a project, I need to lighten those corners a bit.