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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Architectural Tourist Week

This week I'm looking at image made while touring historic buildings and their interiors. Dark, three-dimmensional, and cramped subjects imply using high ISO, focus stacking, and with tripods not allowed, these are all handheld. Very technically challenging subjects. It is very fun to overcome these difficulties and end up with images that I'd be happy to show anyone.

What I saw that I liked:

Back in the basement where I couldn't get any closer due to the restrictions of public access.

What I don't like in the picture:

This entire image needs to be sharp, but it's so dark I needed to use a wide-open aperture.

What I learned:

Are you starting this week to see a pattern? ISO 1250, wide-open, 1/30th sec 7-image focus stack. Processed with Enhanced Noise Reduction, blend the stack in Photoshop, and then Generative fill to get rid of the distracting window and glare. Once you get the hand of this sequence, these types of challenging compositions are almost easy! Almost.