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:

Steely cold, that's what I get from the above. That is no doubt partly because of that cold, cold gray sky that looks like it want to snow some more any minute. The middle-line of the horizon gives the feeling that the land is subjugated to the sky. Brrrrr!!!

What I saw that I liked at left:

The version at left is all about the patterns, that is the three distinct pattern swooping left, the lines slithering up the middle, and the base lines down below. It's cold here, too, because of the snow, but this one feels less threatening.

What I learned:

These two were photographed about 50 yards apart. As long as you are "working a scene," work it for the ones you easily see as well as the not-so-obvious ones you have to work for.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Both of these are a touch dark. I'll need to do some delicate tonal adjustments to get them right.