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:

Minimalist leaf.

What I don't like in the picture:

Eliminate the unnecessary. Eliminate the unnecessary. Eliminate the unnecessary. Like the protruding branches in the upper left of the above.

What I learned:

This felt like a natural landscape orientation image, so I shot it that way. Doing so included those distractions in the corner. I couldn't move to the left, but I could rotate to a vertical composition and accomplish the elimination. I love simple solutions.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

BTW, this is a good example to illustrate the myth about depth of field and wide apertures. This was shot at f/4.5 (f/9 eq in full frame) using a 200mm focal length (400mm eq in full frame). How much more blur do you need?