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:

In 2020, I found this small waterfall and made the image above. Then promptly forgot I'd been there.

What I don't like in the picture:

The fast shutter speed.

What I learned:

In 2022, I found this waterfall again and made this image (left) and am thoroughly pleased with it. Nothing unique by any means, but it's a nice clean rendition.

Later, while roaming around in my Lightroom catalog, I found the above. I guess sometimes you can go back. Maybe should go back. At least the second one isn't the same as the earlier one. Scenes might stay the same, but we are always changing.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

That broken limb in the center bottom bugs me. It would require some detailed cloning to remove it, but I think I need to do that.