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:

Curious appendage in a pine tree.

What I don't like in the picture:

The one above is about branches that make a cross. What I wanted was a photograph of the curious appendage.

What I learned:

Taking just a moment to clarify your thinking about your intent in the photograph is always a good thing. The instant I clicked the shutter on the above, I knew it was wrong. A quick zoom in and the one at left was easy. I'm not saying it's a great photograph — because it's not. I am saying it more accurately reflects the intent I saw in my mind's eye. I might use this someday. I might not. At least it is a true reflection of my vision at that moment.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

As you can see, I darkened and reduced the color saturation in the background. I hope I didn't take it too far.