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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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

We unexpectedly stumbled into some snow. Looks great on the wheat stocks.

What I don't like in the picture:

Background way to busy and this was about as shallow as I could get with depth of field.

What I learned:

By changing the composition (in this case, looking for different wheat stalks), I could move the background much farther away and get the shallower depth of field I needed. The gray sky doesn't hurt, either. Makes if feel more like a winter day.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

That lower left needs to be removed with Photoshop, I think. A case where Lightroom's spot removal tool just isn't up to the task.