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:

Stormy skies are a photographer's friend.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the above, I had no intention to photograph a bird. I was simply capturing a dramatic sky above the landscape.

What I learned:

Be humble and thankful for all the lucky ones that come your way. Notice that the clouds in the above are the same clouds in the image at left — 42 seconds apart. Thank you lonely bird for adding a feeling of isolation in the storm.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

No, I did not Photoshop in that bird. I'm not opposed to it, but in this case all I did was point and shoot.