Here's a thought… Calendar for June 2020

Calendar for May 2020

The most recent three videos are available below.
The entire collection is available (including all previous episodes) to members of LensWork Online.












HT0454 - The Least Amount of Fussing

I know that some of you just love fiddling with your camera and enjoy the process of working the mechanics of photography. I'm the opposite and want the least amount of fussing between me and the image that is possible.


HT0455 - C1 and C2

In my trip to China and Japan last year, I experimented with two custom configurations determined by the shooting style I would use. It worked spectacularly.


HT0456 - Presets and Templates

Just as I use custom camera configurations for different shooting scenarios, I also use presets and templates in software to jump to a starting point. There is always more to do, so a preset is not the end of the process, but it is a shortcut to a better starting point.


HT0457 - Composing In the Field

I've observed two completely different strategies used by photographers in the field. One group will survey a subject, walk around it, study it from different angles and then make an exposure. The other group leaps in and just starts shooting, emphasizing the spontaneous response.


HT0458 - The Old Fred Picker Newsletters

I remember those newsletters not so much for their technical content and nit picky equipment rants, but rather for the inspiration he provided to pursue excellence in the details. That is a message that is just as valid today as it was when those newsletters were first published.


HT0459 - A New Photoshop Trick

We all know what the world looks like when your only tool is a hammer. The real trick is to know when a hammer is the perfect tool for the job.


HT0460 - The Best Answer

In my wet darkroom days I would typically work and image until I had it matching my previsualized aesthetic. In the digital darkroom, I typically make many variations, sometimes radically different, and then pick the best one for the project.


HT0461 - Radical Processing

I've noticed that most of my favorite images from the last decade or so seem to have some radical processing -- meaning that the final image looks quite different from the scene as it appeared to me when I was originally looking at it.


HT0462 - A Delight to the Eyes

Music has the concept of harmony and dissonance. I've always suspected photography has a similar thing in terms of tones. Some combinations just sing; others seem to fight each other. We can use that in our aesthetic decisions.


HT0463 - Analyzing Metadata

According to the metadata in my Lightroom catalog, I've used 6.3% of my captures in one project or another. However, at ultra-wide focal lengths of 7-12mm (m4/3), I've only used 0.8% of them in a project. Hmmm...


HT0464 - EXIF audio notes

If I could have a magic wand and add any feature I wanted to a digital camera, it would be a button that would allow me to insert and audio note into the EXIF data of an image.


HT0465 - My Primary Tool for Shallow DOF

It seems that most photographers rely on fast lenses to achieve shallow depth of field, so I purchased a couple of fast primes. I never use them. (In fact, I just sold them.) For my needs, a longer lens used at close distance is a much better solution.


HT0466 - Legacy Language

We are creatures of habit. How else can we explain why we still talk about: 8 x 10, ISO, digital darkroom, or the contact sheet — instead of a 10" print, gain, our creative desk, or the preview grid. Because it would sound so odd to say, "After I select my image from the preview grid, I adjust the gain and go to my creativity desk to make a something by 10."


HT0467 - Working Fast

For some kinds of photography, working fast with a fast camera is a virtue. For the kinds of work that I do, working fast usually leads to mistakes and less than ideal results. I think the difference has to do with an inner process, not a photographic one.


HT0468 - Patterns in Your Career

Art careers tend to create a wake of pattern. Rarely can we know an artist by looking at one or two pieces of their work. To really understand them, we need a longer look to see patterns.


HT0469 - Slightly Off, but Creative

The syncopation of Nancy Wilson and how I use that same idea in photography by composing just off the rule of thirds or just off dead center.


HT0470 - Judging a Camera by Its Specialty Tools

I need my camera to take a picture. If it doesn't do 4k video at 180 fps, I'm ok with that; If it doesn't make in camera panoramas, I'm OK with that; if it doesn't shoot 1200 RAW still images in a minute (20 frames per second), I'm OK with that. There will always be an extreme thing that a camera won't do, But how important is it that your camera be capable of making every possible specialty image?


HT0471 - Wasted Pixels

How often do you make a 32x40" print? Seriously, how often? If you do, then a high megapixel camera is best, but if you are like me and almost all of your prints are 17x22" or smaller, then 29 megapixels are all you need. The rest are just wasted pixels.


HT0472 - What the Eye Doesn't See

When we are trying to learn the capabilities of our camera, we will often do comparison shots. One camera might be noisier than the other, render better color than the other, etc. But in the real world our viewers will never see these comparisons — they will only see our finished images.


HT0473 - The Love-Hate Relationship with a Camera

Every piece of gear I own is brilliant. Every piece of gear I own is frustrating. I have one camera that makes great pictures, but every time I use it, I want to run over it with the car. I guess success is defined by overcoming the obstacles, including the gear I just hate using.


HT0474 - Target-rich Locations

One of the things that has radically changed in my photography career as I've gotten older is that I now have a better discipline about finding target rich locations. Said another way, I learned how to recognize them whereas in my youth, I probably would have just driven on by. Learning how to find them is an important, but often neglected skill.


HT0475 - The Long and the Short of It

One of the things I love about photography is its complete plasticity. It's perfect for long projects, it's perfect for short projects. It's perfect for projects that consume an hour or two of shooting, just as easily as it can accommodate a project that takes years or decades to complete.


HT0476 - Zero to Sixty

Starting from scratch without the benefit of momentum is hard enough. Turning without momentum is almost impossible. It seems that motion is much easier from even a slight bit of momentum. Hence, my love of art books.


HT0477 - Vibrance +100

Just because it's possible to crank the saturation and vibrance up to a 100, doesn't mean it should be used with every picture. In fact, I'm not sure it should be used on any picture, ever. It hurts my eyes. Ditto for the Saturation control


HT0478 - First Ideas, Then Images, or Vice Versa

I am often asked which comes first, the idea for the project or the images? Answer: both ways work, both ways are used, but for me images tend to come first more often than not.


HT0479 - Turning About Face

Here is a strange phenomenon that comes up more frequently than you my guess call one I'll start a project and part way through all realize I've got it exactly backwards. Sometimes a serious project morphs into one that's quite humorous; a project I think is about a place, I suddenly realize is about a time period. The point is, I would never arrive at the "better alternative" unless I was at first contemplating the preliminary one. Here again, art making is a process.


HT0480 - f/5.6 and Be There

When I was young and still cutting my teeth in photography the rule of thumb was f/8 and be there. f/8 seemed to be the universal sweet spot for most situations and most lenses. It's hard to discount such age-old wisdom, but I now find f/5.6 to be my statistically most used aperture and the sweet spot that has become the starting point for all my custom presets.


HT0481 - Becoming an Artist

Adobe has recently announced a new smartphone app called Photoshop Camera. It uses "lenses" to simulate all kinds of aesthetic manipulations. This is supposed to make us all artists, but if we believe this hogwash we are fooling ourselves.


HT0482 - Trophy Landscapes

As a landscape photographer myself, I love the success of making a great landscape image. More and more, however, I've come to realize this an increasing number of contemporary landscapes rely heavily on luck - - lucky light, lucky weather, and then just "click." I guess I like to think that photography should require some talent and skill beyond just luck and good timing.


HT0483 - Copyrights

Copyright is primarily a commercial consideration. But if we don't have commercial aspirations for our work, what is the role of copyright?