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:

The moon.

What I don't like in the picture:

With the focal length I was using, I couldn't get the moon and the alder tree branches in focus together even at f/18.

What I learned:

No problem, I'll just do a two-shot focus stack. Then eliminate the 6.2 million dust spots as a result of the f/18. I might be speaking emotionally.

A bunch of work and still an image I'm not very excited about. I'm going to need to do a lot more experimenting with this idea to get a useable photograph.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Clean the sensor, clean the sensor, then clean the sensor again.