Here's a thought

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September 2021

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 1

HT0941 - Death by Harddrive

Once you are gone, what happens to all those images on your harddrive? Will anyone know how to gain access to them, assuming they might want to? Leaving behind prints or even PDFs seems a safer route to immortality.

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HT0942 - My Personal Legacy

I have plans to be around for a good while yet, still publishing, still producing my artwork, but the truth is I'm no spring chicken. The bulk of my career is behind me, but I'm hopeful that the best of my career is yet to come. A few thoughts on my photographic legacy.

 3

HT0943 - The Background

As we've been going through the entries for our upcoming Our Magnificent Planet book, one of the most interesting observations is of the images we are not choosing for publishing. The subject is often terrific, the lighting wonderful, but the backgrounds are distracting and compete for attention. Backgrounds are supposed to be, well, backgrounds. They are part of the image and should contribute, not distract.

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HT0944 - To Be a Photographer

You've probably heard the old observation that if you buy a camera you're a photographer, but if you buy a violin you own a violin. The wisdom of that observation was evident as we looked at the images submitted for our magnificent planet. Some folks were just more skilled than others. There were around 50 photographers that had more than one image selected in our initial voting. It was sometimes very difficult to narrow that down to one image per photographer.

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HT0945 - Weeds, Bones, and Dry Creek Beds

It's always fascinated me that certain subjects are photogenic and others seem not to be. We saw lots of flowers and grasses, but no weeds; We saw lots of winter trees with their skeletal structures, but no pictures of bones; waterfalls and ponds galore, but not a single picture of a dry creek bed.

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HT0946 - Five Techniques to Improve Your Photography

I don't have five techniques to improve your photography. I confess that's a clickbait title that will help me make my point: there are no shortcuts to improve your artwork, but there are shortcuts that will help you arrive much faster at a cliche and predictable image.

 7

HT0947 - Quiet Light

John Sexton used the term "quiet light" as the title of one of his books. It seems the photography world has always been a buzz about the "golden hour" and the "blue hour," but I've always found that the hour just after sunset, the so-called quiet light hour, offers all kinds of interesting illumination that to my mind is far more interesting than the golden hour. Some of that may be due to the long exposures and reciprocity failure with film. But I suspect it's the quiet part that has more to do with a frame of mind.

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HT0948 - Connecting the Dots

One of the reasons I love small projects with multiple images is what happens in the interstices between the images. We fill in information while we connect the dots from picture to picture in our mind's eye. In fact, image selection and sequencing is all about that process that takes place as we connect the images and their content.

 9

HT0949 - The Weather

Unless your entire photographic efforts take place indoors, weather will definitely be a factor in your photography. Speaking strictly about comfort levels, it would sure be lovely if the weather was constantly sunny and 72°. But when it comes to photography, it's been my experience the days of rapidly changing weather make for the best photography.

 10

HT0950 - Art Is for Humans

Art may not always be about humans, but it is always made for humans. One of the great challenges of landscape photography, for example, is how we relate what is before the camera to the humans who will view our artwork. They're always has to be some human connection, even if we only make art for ourselves. Assuming, that is, that you who are reading this are, indeed, a human being.

 11

HT0951 - Three-dimensionality in the Landscape

Fundamentally, there's two types of three-dimensionality in the landscape: from near to far, and from ground level up. One or the otheSr should probably be used in most landscape photographs and deciding which is not always as easy as it might seem.

 12

HT0952 - A Grand Slam Home Run

In baseball, every batter who hits a grand slam home run knows it's not strictly and solely a matter of their batting skill. It requires a pitcher to make a mistake in order for the batter to capitalize on it. The same thing can be said of grand slam home run photographs. It's not strictly a matter of the skill of the photographer, but also relies on a certain amount of distribution luck and a coincidental synchronicity between the photograph and the public's receptivity to that specific image.

 13

HT0953 - Just Make It

The younger generation in particular, I think, is obsessed with the idea of developing their own audience. Facebook and Instagram are all about getting your work seen. That's important, but success is often a mixture of talent and fortunate coincidences. A lesson from Artie Shaw and his big band.

 14

HT0954 - Fellow Travelers of a Different Sort

When it comes to improving our photography, it can be important to select with considerable care those whom we choose to study. There are some who are fellow travelers and some who are terrific in their own right but perhaps have less to teach us. And then there are lessons that can come from totally unexpected directions.

 15

HT0955 - Archival Content

Sure, it's important to produce our work to careful standards and to preserve archival practices. But that is only part of the story. Archival content is far more important than archival materials.

 16

HT0956 - Invisible Subtleties

When I was photographing at the Grand Canyon, I made 463 compositions which were culled down to 161 images that night as I reviewed the images in Lightroom. Later I started to see subtleties that differentiated images and was able to make a cut down to 62 images. The more I looked, the more I saw, and the easier it was for the subtleties to be revealed.

 17

HT0957 - Snow Can't Be White

One of the things that makes objects like snow so delicate to print is that the paper base itself is white. If we make the snow white, then it just looks like paper and in particular we can lose the edge of the photograph.

 18

HT0958 - The Problem with Drones

Drones are still a relatively new thing in photography and drone images are still novel and fun. But the more drone-based images are seen the less novel and less unique they will become. Eventually they will be judged not on their novelty but on their creative expression. Novelty always wears off.

 19

HT0959 - Disappearing Colors

If you photograph in color, it's absolutely important that you understand the role of gamut in reproducing your images. Commercial offset printing has difficulties achieving equivalent saturation with certain colors and that can substantially affect some images.

 20

HT0960 - Over Time

Photography is ideal for capturing the moment, but a single photograph does little to tell us about changes over time. Fortunately, we have an ideal presentation method to show changes over time — the diptych, triptych, and even more images in a single frame.

 21

HT0961 - Honey, I Shrunk the World

With the exception of macro photography, every other kind of photography shrinks the world. This is compounded because distance and perspective shrink it even more. This implies certain conventions that simply cannot be avoided.

 22

HT0962 - Dialog

Modern novelists know that dialog is much more immersive and captivating than mere description. How can we take advantage of this is in photography which appears to be so much about description and not at all about dialog?

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