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:

Raising the pilot house is a big deal in shipbuilding. I watched this in amazement and shot a lot of distant images.

What I don't like in the picture:

In the version above, it's not obvious that the pilot house is suspended, held by three cranes.

What I learned:

Timing is everything in a shot like this. A few minutes after the above, I saw the image at left and realized I'd not anticipated how much more dramatic the image would be if I waited until there was visual separation between the pilot house and the rest of the ship.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I could string together 5 or so shots into a sequenced quintych.