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.

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022


















HT1002 - Winter Light

We all know the advantages of the golden hour and the blue morning hour. But has it occurred to you that the low angle of light that scrapes across the landscape during those hours is also experienced in the low angle of winter light. As I record this, we have a month to go before the winter solstice, which means, to me, that we are entering the two to three months that are the best months for photography.


HT1003 - The Most Bizarre

Has it ever occurred to you that so much of landscape photography is a search for the most bizarre? Almost every national park is a national park because it is so unusual, so out of the ordinary, so bizarre. But, on thinking about this more deeply, I realized that so much of photography is about the bizarre. The most beautiful people, the most noteworthy events, the most spectacular light. But then, there's Pepper #30.


HT1004 - Credentials

In some photographic circles, there is tremendous emphasis given to credentialed accomplishments. This is all about rank and approval. Rather than rank and approval, doesn't make more sense to just look at the artwork people have produced and let it speak for itself?


HT1005 - The Zone System in Retrospect

In my generation of photographers, one of the key indicators that you were a serious photographer was whether or not you had mastered and used the Zone System. Looking back on it, I can't help but think that's the Zone System was an incredibly complicated and convoluted way of understanding some fairly simple principles. Sort of the photographic equivalent of a koan.


HT1006 - Too Much Faith

During my first trip to Japan in 1990, I lost about 80% of the images I photographed because I had too much faith in what turned out to be a defective light meter. It wasn't until common sense kicked in that I even realized it was giving me incorrect exposure information.


HT1007 - Personal Photographs

There are a couple of dozen photographs I've made that are truly personal photographs. By that I mean that they are images that no one in the world will appreciate because the photograph is so tied to my personal experience. Without that experience the images are meaningless. These images are incredibly important to me and viewing them brings forth a memory or a sensation that enriches my life.


HT1008 - East Coast, West Coast

I'm a West Coast photographer for no more significant reason than the coincidence that I was raised in Oregon. I had more exposure the West Coast photographers, so they became my heroes. Now, however, in my later years, I'm beginning to realize how much I missed by not pay more attention to some of the East Coast photographers I wish I knew better.


HT1009 - The Perspective of Time

It's always an interesting exercise to go back and look at an issue of LensWork or my own personal work 6 months or a year after publication. With the passage of enough time, I tend to forget all of the battles and struggles to complete the project. It's only then that I have an objectivity that lets me see the work without being influenced by the challenges of having made it.


HT1010 - Not Famous Places

In the course of my photographic life, I've made a few thousand images I'm really proud of. It's amazing how few of those images come from famous places, national parks, or locations perennially photographed by fine art photographers. Famous locations can be a challenge just because they are famous - - crowds, restrictions, access. Not famous places are more conducive to the contemplative creative process.


HT1011 - Cloning

I taught a workshop in 1998 about making versus taking photographs. This was in the early days of Photoshop. I demonstrated how to clone out a powerline - - which launched a long discussion about artistic ethics. How quaint that all seems now in 2021.


HT1012 - Audio or Video

I've been producing these "Here's a Thuoght" commentaries as both audio and video media, but statistics show an overwhelming number of your prefer the audio. Do I need to keep recording these with video, or is audio only acceptable?


HT1013 - First, Be a Good Person

Morley Baer once said in order to be a good photographer, you first need to be a good person.


HT1014 - Perfect Photos Every Time

What if you could make a perfect photograph with every click of the shutter? What is that we're almost guaranteed by the advancing technology? If there were no technical challenges to be met and conquered, would you still be photographer?


HT1015 - Goldilocks and Print Sizes

There are some photographers who insist that there is a perfect size for a given image and that larger or smaller will diminish the impact of the photograph. Is there a perfect size for an image?


HT1016 - Each Project Is a Journey

One of the fundamental differences between viewing a project of photographs and viewing a single image is that projects take us on a journey. There is a starting point, a path we traverse, and an exit. That journey leaves us with something we didn't have at the start.


HT1017 - The Collapse of Time

Novels require hours to read, a movie only a couple hours, a television show can be half an hour, a pop music song is over in 3-5 minutes, and apparently social media believes it requires only seconds, or even a fraction of a second, for a photograph. Tweets are 140 characters, TikToc videos are 15 seconds. Everything in social media is about the collapse of time.


HT1018 - Copyright Violations

I just happened, by sheer coincidence, to recognize an image that we published in LensWork on the cover of a new album and CD. I contacted the photographer and was relieve to learn that they used this image with permission and compensation! On the other hand, if they hadn't, it would have clearly been a copyright violation that wasn't authorize. Maybe all of us in the LensWork community can help each other by being extended eyes and ears for potential copyright violations.


HT1019 - Sunsets

During all those years I was a strictly b/w photographer, I never paid much attention to sunsets. In the last 15 years of adding color work to my tool bag, I've paid lot more attention to sunsets and discovered they are a lot harder to photograph successfully than I thought. It's not a technical issue, but a real challenge to avoid the cliché.


HT1020 - My Most Valuable Photographic Tool — Sitting

I know there are some styles of photography and some photographers who prefer a frenetic approach. I'm the opposite. One of the most enjoyable ways to photograph for me is to pull up a chair and just watch. The photograph invariably reveals itself.


HT1021 - The Lost Stream

I once photographed a stream that was simply magical, so beautiful that I've wanted to go back and photograph it some more. Try as I might, I've searched for that stream for 20 years now and still not been able to find where it is or where I made that photograph.


HT1022 - The Beatles vs Ansel Adams

I continue to find all kinds of interesting comparisons between pop music and photography. If the Beatles and Ansel Adams were the unsurpassed megastars to their respective audiences, who would be the Rolling Stones of photography? Or would there be any other superstars besides Ansel Adams whom the public in general would revere as a photographic artist?


HT1023 - Fear

One of the most common refrains I hear over and over again from photographers is that they are fearful of submitting their work or seeking out an exhibition. It's almost comical to listen to a photographer express extreme self-doubt as they show you simply wonderful photographs, one after another. I wish there was a magical "confidence potion" I could offer, and not, scotch does not count.


HT1024 - The Romance of the Camera

In the days of film and the wet darkroom, the hidden secret was that for every 60th of a second in the field, there were hours and hours in the darkroom and print finishing. It's always been one of the chief misunderstandings of photography by the general public that it is an instantaneous art medium. To the general public, being a photographer means being out in the world clicking away — and perhaps that has led us to the Instagram generation.


HT1025 - Immensity versus Intimacy

I think it's important that we photographers know our own strengths and weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is showing immensity in my images. Conversely, I feel pretty confident about showing intimacy and details. One comes easily, the other I have to work at more diligently to succeed.


HT1026 - You Can't Always Plan the Best Discoveries

This is a story about how I didn't get to my targeted destination and how it turned out best that I didn't.


HT1027 - Reverence for What We Photograph

It always seems more meaning for me if I have a relationship with my subjects before I photograph them. In fact, it's more than just having a relationship with them - - it's having a reverence for them. Allowing oneself to be photographed is a gift from the subject to the photographer. That's true even if the subject is a rock.


HT1028 - Making Lemonade Out of Rain

The work most people identify with me is from my first book, Made of Steel. If it hadn't been for a miserable rainy day, that entire project may never have occurred to me. Sometimes the serendipitous is the best creative path.


HT1029 - Kerosene Light

A weekend of photography completely off the grid. My friends lived in a handmade log cabin and had only kerosene lanterns for light after sunset. Much to my surprise, I found it a marvelously beautiful light for long-exposure photography.


HT1030 - There's Weather, and Then There's WEATHER

I'm on record as saying that bad weather makes for good photography. Like all maxims in life, there are limits. As I record this, I've been looking at the images from this week's tornado damage, some erupting volcanoes around the world, and I'm hunkered down here during a huge wind and rain storm. Be careful out there, people. It is, after all, winter. Chasing a photograph is not worth losing your life.


HT1031 - It's Already Been Done

In Death Valley, I met up with one of the Seeing in SIXES photographers, Jennifer Renwick. She does absolutely marvelous work photographing dried mud patterns in the valley floor after rain storms. I love her work, but it has presented me with a dilemma. I love it so much I would like to do it, and she even showed me a place that was ripe with potential. But should I? At what point do we cross the line where we are copying someone else's creative vision?


HT1032 - E-C-R-S

My late great business mentor, Fred Meyer, used to teach the philosophy that all things in life tend towards increasing complexity, without exception. He would say that once you institute a new procedure, just give it time and that procedure will inevitably expand into all kinds of new procedures, regulations, restrictions, and ridiculousness. The antidote, he insisted, is to constantly eliminate, combine, rearrange, and simplify. This is equally true for photography.