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:

Same flock of birds from yesterday's post.

What I don't like in the picture:

That patch of land below and that bird-less sky above are contributing nothing to the above image.

What I learned:

Photographing birds is a sports event. I've learned to place the camera into burst mode and just fire away. I have a feeling this is a sort of cheat, but unless I confess this to you, you'd never know.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

This one could easily be b/w, I think. The color of the sky and the wheat are not adding anything important.