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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What I saw that I liked:

Halfdome in Yosemite. Well, what I almost saw through the smoke and haze from the nearby forest fires.

What I don't like in the picture:

Expectations can be such pesky things.

What I learned:

This is the famous view of Halfdome from Olmsted Point. While I was setting up my camer for this unique view in heavy, hazy smoke, a busload of German tourists arrived and complained loudly of the lousy view because of the nearby fires. So which is it? A unique opportunity to photograph Halfdome in a rarely seen condition? Or, a terrible view because it doesn't look like we wanted or expected it to look? Personally, I prefer to approach Nature with a humble demeanor and accept what she gives me. My image of smoky Halfdome won't make a postcard or a calendar shot, but seeing it this way was an experience I won't forget.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Even the Dehaze filter can't elminate the haze in this one.