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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Indecision Week

Which image is better? This is the question that plagues all of us when making a selection from the thousands of images we've captured. This week, let's get right to it. Here are pairs of images that I simply cannot decide on. Your thoughts?

What I saw that I liked in the above:

The grasses are spectacular. Love the green, the textures, the patterns. But is it only patterns? Maybe all that grass is just a background. So, I composed with the tree stump. I like it now because there is a point of focus for our attention.

What I saw that I liked at left:

On the other hand, finding a closer view of the grass emphasizes the brush patterns more and I don't feel like I need a focal point other than the grasses.

What I learned:

Snap decisions like this in the field can leave us missing out when we are back home making edits. Shoot them both and sort it out later.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

In either image, I'll probably take out some of the yellow to make the grasses even greener.