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:

Old boat by the side of the road.

What I don't like in the picture:

I was hungry and driving to the breakfast cafe when I passed this boat. I popped out of the car and grabbed a quick shot.

What I learned:

I really wish I'd take more time with this boat. I think there were better images I could have made, but this was all I got. I regret that. I could have skipped breakfast and never missed it. I do miss the lost opportunities with this boat — especially now that it's gone. I drove past it a few months ago and it's now a Starbucks. Oh, well, at least I got something.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I shot this with my 45-200mm lens at 200mm — which is well known to be a tad soft. The one at left is feeling just a little bit crunchy. I may have oversharpened it a bit. I miss the boat; I don't miss that lens.