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.

March 2021

April 2021

May 2021













HT0758 - Fatigue Images

I've noticed over the course of my photographic life that I tend to make different pictures depending on my level of fatigue. At the end of the day, after driving or hiking for long hours, my images are more intuitive and less intellectual. And better! I wish there was a Lightroom metadata sort by time of day.


HT0759 - The New Schedule

Starting next week, we are adding three new channels to our LensWork Online content — Exploring the Back Issues, Q&A, and Field Notes.


HT0760 - Rethinking the Tripod

The primary use for a tripod all these years has been to stabilize camera movement. But now with OIS and IBS, tripods have fallen out of favor. Too bad, because eliminating camera movement is not the only reason to use a tripod.


HT0761 - Print Size and Archivability

An odd lesson from my recent downsizing was the challenge of archiving large prints. I realized that the larger the print, the more challenging it was to keep it, to store it, to protect it, to find a home for it. The larger the print, the more of a challenge and problem it was to deal with in my downsizing project.


HT0762 - Print with Margins

I used to print my images in the wet darkroom as close to the edge of the paper as I could. This allowed me to make larger images. But I've discovered that a lot of those images have damaged or bent corners just from handling. Now I leave a generous margin between the edge of the paper and the image content — just to be safe and help avoid damage to the image itself.


HT0763 - Life Happens

An important bit of self-knowledge is to understand the difference between being lazy and being unproductive in our art life for some pretty good reasons. Sometimes, life just happens.


HT0764 - Damned Fuzz

A couple of quick things to understand about optics and gunk.


HT0765 - Butterfingered Disasters

It's a good thing I'm not a surgeon. A really good thing.


HT0766 - The Old Stores

I miss those old camera stores where you could find every piece of odd and ancient gear of your dreams. I'm not sure I'd want to go back to those days, but I do remember them fondly.


HT0767 - The Importance of Failures

First, if you have no failures you are it far to safe. And if you are not spending time with your failures to learn from them, you are wasting one of your greatest assets.


HT0768 - Genuine Help

I've said before that print critiques based on the I like / I don't like paradigm are pretty useless. So what are we to do instead? How about simply offering genuine help about how to achieve the results the photographer wants to achieve?


HT0769 - When to Pull Out the Camera

When I find a new location in which I want to photograph, I'm usually so excited that my knee-jerk reaction is to pull the camera out immediately and get to work. But I've learned that's almost always a mistake. Instead, it's better to take a moment to just look and absorb and think about it more deeply before I pull out the camera.


HT0770 - Peer Pressure

Early in my photographic life, I experienced the influential nature of peer pressure. I flirted for a while with black mat boards, my theory being that white light would look whiter in contrast to black. It didn't take long for me to abandon that idea because of peer pressure, not because it was wrong. It was one of my first lessons about conformity in the art world.


HT0771 - What They See

As is always true in art, the viewing experience is the intersection of the content of the artwork with the viewer's interpretation. Sometimes their experience can so color their interpretation that there's little we can do to overcome that gap between our intent and their understanding.


HT0772 - Bouncing Off the Surface

The vast majority of photographs I see (and make) are, truth be told, pretty shallow. Viewing them I feel like I just bounce off the surface. But every once in a while there's an image that connects with me in a way that engages my conscious attention more deeply. I ask questions, I think, I feel, I spend time with it. My imagination is engaged These are the images that are the reason why we are involved in photography.


HT0773 - When I Think About Photography

When I'm reading a novel and think, "What a beautifully written paragraph," I know there's trouble. When I look at a photograph I've made and think, "That's a clever photograph" I know I've failed. Success in art is achieved at its highest level when we are unaware that we are looking at art.


HT0774 - Better Than the Original

On numerous occasions, I've discovered a new piece of music, at least new to me, because I have heard what is called in the musical world a "cover." Someone has re-recorded a song made famous as an original by some other artist. It's amazing how many times I like the cover better than the original, but maybe because I heard it first?


HT0775 - Half Dome

That giant monolith in Yosemite known as Half Dome certainly has a very special relationship with photography. It's such an iconic location and such a famous photographic subject, I think it would be fascinating to see an exhibition of, say, a hundred images made by different artists of just that one subject. It would be interesting to see how many of unique and how many different ways that rock has been interpreted by photographers.


HT0776 - The Story Behind Image

Jerzy Kosinski and Josef Koudelka both demonstrated to me the power of the backstory to bring interest and understanding to an image or photographic project.


HT0777 - Post-processing versus Creative Processing

I find it useful to separate my thinking between the kind of processing I do to an image. I do "post-processing" to correct issues that can improve the image capture; I do "creative processing" that changes the image on a fundamental level and brings the photograph closer to my imagination. The first tries to make the image visually real, the second tries to make the image emotionally real.


HT0778 - Giving In to the Possible

If I'm working on an image and it just won't bend to my will, my knee-jerk reaction is to stop and move on to the next image. Over the years, however, I've learned that there's another alternative: let the image become what it wants to become even if that quite different from my intentions.


HT0779 - How Black Feels

It's easy to become seduced by the measurement of maximum black as some sort of photographic virtue. But when it comes to artwork, how black feels is more important than how it measures.


HT0780 - Rotating the World

We all know about cropping and use the crop tool with regularity. It's much more rare, but sometimes incredibly powerful, to use the crop tool's ability to simply rotate an image. It's a brain thing.


HT0781 - Expanding Time

If photography has an Achilles heel, it's that it presents us with an instant in time. One of the great challenges of Photography is how to expand that time. When successfully accomplished, it can dramatically alter the impact of a photograph.


HT0782 - A Concert of Cymbals

I was recently reviewing a body of work in which every image was over-the-top spectacular with over-the-top color saturation. It was like listening to a concert that was all crashing cymbals with no subtlety. It didn't take long until I just wanted to give my eyes a break from the cacophony.


HT0783 - 90-minutes of Media Fun

Last night I felt like reading, so I pulled out my current novel and dove in. It was 7pm. About 8:30 I realized my eyes were tired and so I put down the book and decided to watch a movie. When the movie ended about 10, I went to bed. As I was lying there drifting asleep I tried to remember the last time I spent 90 minutes with either a photograph or, more likely, a book of photographs. Why is it so easy to spend 90 minutes with music or the theater, but that seems unreasonably long for spending time with still photography?


HT0784 - 20 mph

When I go out photographing, my most preferred method is to drive very slowly — 20 miles an hour or so — so that I can look and think. Nothing irritates me more than trying to photograph when I have to drive fast because of traffic. This means I tend to choose roads where there is very little traffic and I can lollygag at my own pace, stopping whenever I want, sometimes even in the middle of the road. I wonder if this influences the kinds of things I photograph because of the kinds of roads I prefer to drive?


HT0785 - Features I Didn't Know

I think with most photographers from time to time it occurs to them that they might need a new camera. But today's cameras are so complex and so feature-laden it might be that we just need a deeper dive into the feature-set we already own.


HT0786 - Becoming One with the Camera

When a talented musician wants to play a musical phrase, they don't have to think how to move their fingers. They're so at one with the instrument they just think the melody and their fingers find the keys. The same can be said of learning a new language. There comes that moment when you don't have to translate in your mind, you just start thinking in the new language. That "becoming one with the instrument" is what we should strive for with our cameras.


HT0787 - Memory Cards Don't Last Forever

Yesterday while I was out photographing, I had a memory card simply fail. There was no logical reason, I hadn't done anything, there were no static discharges, simply no reason the card should have failed, but it did. I'm so grateful I had a camera with dual card slots and a backup card to replace the failed one.