I was sitting out on the terrace this morning, enjoying some coffee and thinking about photography and lessons learned.
While walking through downtown Chicago this past spring, I was struck by the contrast of a green staircase against the red brick of the building it was attached to, so I shot it. Later, to my great dismay, I looked at the shot and for the first time noticed the large shadows on the building spoiling the effect I was going for. How I managed to not see those shadows, I don’t know — but I was so intent on the color contrast that I completely missed them.
A series of digital manipulations later, I have a shot that’s more or less what I was going for (although still not perfect). I also got a valuable reminder of the fact that you don’t get the best results if you focus on the parts, and not the whole.
This (rather obviously) applies in plenty of other areas in life, not just photography.