Here's a thought

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

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021














HT0668 - Boulders and Pebbles

At the start of each day over morning coffee, Maureen would tell me what were her "boulders and pebbles" for that day. It's a fun little analogy about prioritizing your tasks and managing your time. What are your boulders and pebbles for 2021?


HT0669 - Showing Less Shows More

I like to think of cropping as "intensifying" as well as eliminating. With this in mind, it also serves as feedback for when we go too far. Sometimes cropping too much weakens the image, and the perfect amount of cropping is when the content achieves maximum intensification.


HT0670 - Different Every Time, on Purpose

One of my favorite jazz tunes is Poinciana from 1936. In particular, I have a dozen recordings of the song by pianist Ahmad Jamal. He's well-known for his interpretation of this song, almost a signature piece for him. Strangely enough, this can teach us an important lesson about photography and the creative life.


HT0671 - Device Agnostic

I had a very remarkable experience yesterday that I didn't realize was so extraordinary until it was over. It started when I began watching the movie on my computer in my office.


HT0672 - Enlarging from Scanned Negatives

Just because I've scanned a negative doesn't mean that I can expect to be satisfied with a bigger digitally printed enlargement than I would have found acceptable by enlarging it in the wet darkroom. If it was grainy and out of focus in the analog darkroom, it will still be grainy and out of focus in a digital print from a scanned negative.


HT0673 - The Moment of Impact

It may be a strange way to think, but isn't it obvious that light is perfectly invisible until it strikes something. We photographers record the impact of light energy as it meets some solid object. It may be a stretch of the analogy, but the same can be said about our photographs: they are perfectly invisible until they impact the receptive attention of some viewer.


HT0674 - New Tricks, the TV Show

The British television program New Tricks aired from 2004-2015. But I just discovered it last month and am binge watching it now. This is precisely why we shouldn't ignore our older work and why a website can be such an important part of your distribution strategy.


HT0675 - Format Longevity

Should we worry that our PDFs may not be readable at some point in the future? Perhaps if we use the dominant formats, we can be a little more comfortable. There is more to worry about in the media than there is in the file format.


HT0676 - Metadata Analysis

Santayana so famously said that those who do not learn the lessons from history are destined to repeat them. I suppose that's true for photography, too. Which brings up the idea of looking at EXIF metadata to analyze any patterns that might repeatedly occur in our images that fail.


HT0677 - Hands-free in the Field

One of my favorite new gadgets from the last several years is the hands-free Spider Pro camera holster, a belt carrier for my camera. In previous years when I was exclusively using a tripod, I never gave this a thought. But now that I'm doing more hand-held photography, being able to quickly and temporarily park my camera on my belt is an incredible convenience.


HT0678 - Adaptability Is the Key

You've heard me talk about the strategy of "gathering assets" in the field. One of the implications of just responding to whatever you discover is that it's important to be adaptable to unanticipated opportunities. That influences my choices when it comes to gear.


HT0679 - Buying the Signature

Perhaps you saw the recent news item about the big auction of original Ansel Adams images from the David Arrington collection. Great images for big money, but also quite a number of pretty mediocre images sold for tens of thousands of dollars. The only conclusion I can come to when thinking about these also-rans is that buyers are buying the signature, not the artwork.


HT0680 - Organizing Your Digital Files

With the accelerating number of digital image files we are all accumulating, finding a particular image has become a complex challenge. Do you know about Lightroom's custom labels?


HT0681 - I'm Not Feeling Too Well

Don't worry, I feel fine, but I remember a photographer I knew years ago who would periodically announce a health crisis whenever he was low on cash and needed to sell a few prints.


HT0682 - Bill Jay's Photography

Bill Jay would often tell the story of his failure as a photographer and how that led to a life in writing and teaching photography. It all began when he met David Hurn. For those who haven't heard it, let me share it with you.


HT0683 - Update on My Road Life Preparations

A number of you have asked how things are going in my preparations to live full-time on the road. Here is a quick update on my preparations.


HT0684 - Learning Tchaikovsky

I've learned in the course of my life that a particular pattern repeats itself that I find useful in photography, too. Whenever I first listen to a new piece of classical music that is unfamiliar, it seems disorganized, cacophonous, just noise. I have to discipline myself to listen to it a dozen times before I begin to understand it and even love it. I think the same can be said for photography, but it's not a common discipline.


HT0685 - A Grand, Legacy Project

It's all well and good to have fun with our photography, but I think there is a strong reason to, at least once in your life, create a grand, legacy project.


HT0686 - Limits

We have huge memory cards, burst modes, and more megapixels than we probably need. It seems as though our capabilities are limitless. But it might be useful, just as an exercise, to try to work within some tighter constraints. What can you do in a print that is only five by five inches? What can you do if you only have five exposures for an entire day's work? What can you do with one light and one prop?


HT0687 - Learning Outside Photography

I would bet a considerable amount that in the last 30 to 60 days you have learned something new about the technical aspects of photography. Maybe you've picked up a new software technique, or maybe some new printing technique. Terrific. What have you learned in the last 60 days about life, about the process of being a human being, about something outside photography that you can express with your photographic skills?


HT0688 - Let's See More

There are a few visual ideas I'd like to see more of : non-quadrilateral images, grids and triptychs, and selective color palettes.


HT0689 - The First Level of Organization

There's probably 10,000 schemes we could use to organize our digital files, but I have often thought the first level of organization is the most critical. I organized mine by location rather than by date or subject. I'm more likely to remember the location than I am the date.


HT0690 - Numeric Motivation

In looking back on my photographic life, I realize that my most productive projects have almost always been tied to some numeric count. It started with the 100 Prints Project in 1988, then the New 100 Prints Project, and those of you who are observant have noticed that these Here's a thought videos are numbered, as well as my Kokoro PDFs. It's almost as though numbering something defines it as a series which provides its own motivation for completion — or at least continuing the work.



HT0691 - Rentable Artwork

When I lived in Portland, my local library had artwork in frames that you could check out, like a library book, and use in your home for a period of a few weeks. I always thought this was a neat idea. It seems particularly appropriate for photography because, should anything unfortunate happened to the artwork, it is so easily reproducible. I'm surprised there isn't somebody somewhere who has pioneered a rental program for photographic art.


HT0692 - The Forgotten Photographer

Are you familiar with the website Shorpy? It's a fascinating photography-based daily post that features photographs from history. Almost without exception the photographers are long forgotten, but the images still survive. Isn't that interesting?


HT0693 - Historic Photographs

If we look at paintings from, say, five hundred years ago, there are ever so many that have survived and that we still enjoy today. Do we remember the portraits of political figures or events? Probably not. What photographs will be remembered as historically significant 500 years from now? My vote goes to the incredible images from Cassini, Hubble and other space explorations.


HT0694 - It's Worth What Someone Will Pay

In going through my archives the other day, I found one photograph I own that is by a very famous photographer. I happened to mention to my sister-in-law that this image had been sold at auction a number of years ago for $24,000. She asked me why I didn't sell my print. But of course it's only worth $24,000 if you can find someone who's willing to pay that amount.


HT0695 - 400,000

I wrote my first book on an old Radio Shack computer whose floppy disks would each hold 175 kilobytes of storage. I remember being amazed when a friend of mine bought a computer with a hard drive that actually would store 5 megabytes of data. I couldn't imagine needing that much storage. This week, I purchased a new portable hard drive to take with me on the road. It's capacity is 5 terabytes and will hold over 400,000 raw files. I'm pretty certain I won't live that long! Oh, and by the way, it cost $109.


HT0696 - Preserving Your Digital Files

Please learn from my almost disastrous experience. If your digital files are important to you, spend a little time developing backups and recovery strategies for all the various ways things can go wrong. We almost lost the entire LensWork archives this week, but were able to recover them by the skin of our teeth. Whew!


HT0697 - Backup Gear

Yesterday I was talking about the challenge of backing up our digital assets and files. But speaking of avoiding disaster, we should also look at our critical gear. I remember once leaving for a week-long photographic adventure but forgetting the ground glass back to my 8x10 camera. That's a critical failure.


HT0698 - Chopin, with Tears

Here is an interesting exercise I want to challenge you with. On YouTube, you will find a dozen or more pianists playing Chopin's Waltz in C Sharp Minor. It's a short 4-5 min piece of music. Listen to as many as you can and you will hear some performances that are technically wonderful, but fairly emotionless. Other performers play the piece with such emotion it will bring you to tears.