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:

I'm always amazed when a flock of birds fly in unison.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the above image, there is too much empty sky above and the birds are all out of unison in their various unsynchronized flapping of their wings. They need more practice if they ever expect to make the big time.

What I learned:

The birds at left are all in unison, gliding away from me. I whipped up my camera and fired away, capturing an unintentional Dutch angle. I like it! I feel the tilt of the flock.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Which one of us hasn't dreamed of flying like this?