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.

October 2021

November 2021

December 2021












HT0972 - Shuffle the Deck

The essence of card games is to create order out of chaos. That chaos starts, always, by shuffling the deck. The same strategy can be used in our art life. One of the great strengths of applications like Lightroom and all the other image cataloging software is it's ability to shuffle the deck and present us with new ways to see our images.


HT0973 - The Missing Lightroom Feature

I sure wish I could lock an image in Lightroom so that no further changes could be made without unlocking it. That would give me a sense of security that I won't accidentally overwrite or lose hours of work. But because there is no way to lock an image in Lightroom we can use a couple of workarounds: virtual copies, snapshots, history.


HT0974 - Wind

I can only think of three ways to show wind in a still photograph: have an object captured in a position that's not natural on a windless day (for example, a flag); show an object bent over because of the wind (for example, prairie grass); show an object blurred due to movement. Am I missing any other ways?


HT0975 - TIF vs JPG

When I work on an image or even a project I'll make archive copies of all the image files for long-term storage just in case I need to go back to them at some point in the future. I know a lot of photographers store their long-term archives as Tiff files or maybe even PSD files, but I'm not sure there's any reason to do that. I use JPGs and the reasons why can be seen in the LensWork Online Creative Lab titled "Lossy File Formats in the Real World."


HT0976 - Ugly Skies and the Mean Stack Technique

In a LensWork Online Creative Lab I showed how to use the Mean Stack technique to eliminate high ISO noise. Guess what - - that same technique works to smooth out blotches skies created by the aggressive use of the De-haze slider.


HT0977 - Photography Teachers

The most valuable thing a teacher can help with is not the execution of some technique or photographic trick. The most important thing they can do is show you their high quality work. If a photography teacher isn't bombarding you with examples of excellence, it's time to find a new teacher.


HT0978 - The Weakest Link

We all know the old maxim that the strength of the chain is measured by its weakest link. Same can be said for photography and especially lens design.


HT0979 - The So-called Continuous Tone Image

Photography is a world of dots. Whether it's the grains of silver in analog film or the pixels we record with digital camera, or the dots that comprise the visible print, anyway you slice and dice it, photography is about dots. Crossing the visual dot threshold.


HT0980 - "Just Because" Images

Sometimes the subject is so spectacular we must make an image. Sometimes the subject is so unusual, or sometimes our response is overpowering. But there are also images that we make that we can't explain. We make them just because. What are these images about? What prompts us to make them?


HT0981 - The Physicality of a Print

Two stories from my 50 years in photography about the physicality of prints.


HT0982 - Looking at Images, Part 1 – No Comments

I've recently had four different visitors, all photographers, visit me in my trailer home on the road. I have photographs on the walls that are a mixture of work I've made this year while on the road and older prints I have with me. Not one of these photographers made any comments about the prints on my wall whatsoever. I find that odd.


HT0983 - Looking at Images, Part 2 – Conversation Starters

Yesterday I was talking about the lack of comments about the prints on the wall in my trailer. It occurred to me that people may not know what to say. Here are a few conversation starters that might be useful.


HT0984 - Looking at Images, Part 3 – Being Helpful

Feedback as to whether or not you like or don't like an image is not very useful for the photographer. There are some things that can be useful, for example, what you see in a photograph, fellow travelers, and connecting the dots.


HT0985 - Looking at Images, Part 4 – Beyond How

Because we are a photographers, it's easy to look at an image and wonder how it was made. The much more interesting questions are why, the emotional and metaphorical content, and what are the connections?


HT0986 - Looking at Images, Part 5 – Photograph as Teacher

I remember the first time I read a Charles Dickens novel. I could only do so with a dictionary at my side and found I needed to look up a new word or two on every single page. I was not only reading the plot but learning a vocabulary about description and character development. The same can be said about looking at photographs. We need to learn a visual vocabulary and that learning never stops.


HT0987 - Center Column Woes

In the ongoing questions about OIS (optical image stabilization) and IBIS (in body image stabilization) on a tripod, I've discovered that it makes a big difference whether or not I have the center column extended.


HT0988 - What Ever Happened to Workshops?

Whatever happened to workshops where the goal and objective was to learn something about the art life, maybe a technique or two, and most of all to see some great work and hang out with some terrific and accomplished photographers? It seems like so many workshops I see being offered today are really traveled tours whose objective is to take you someplace that you couldn't supposedly explore on your own.


HT0989 - Craft vs Artistic Vision

A friend of mine just sold a signed Ansel Adams print for $3,500. But there's a story behind it that's even more interesting because of what it tells us about the art market.


HT0990 - Original Vision

Revisiting my thoughts on what today is the "original" in our photography.


HT0991 - Print Swap Groups

Looking back on my 50 years of photography, one of the most interesting group projects I've participated in are a number of print swaps. I still think this is a valid idea, particularly in the first half of one's photographic life. In particular, it's a great way to break out of our self-imposed ruts.


HT0992 - Ten Variations

Every time we click the shutter, we have, more or less, some idea about what we would like the photograph to be. But of course in today's world of incredibly capable post-processing, that same click of the shutter could probably become so many different images. And interesting exercise might be to force yourself to process a favorite image into 10 variations just to be sure you aren't developing habitual grooves in your decision making.


HT0993 - Benefit of the Doubt

When we look at artwork that's outside our normal likes and predispositions, it's easy to dismiss it and move on. I've found it very useful strategy to ignore my knee-jerk predispositions and to give the artist the benefit of the doubt and try to understand what they are attempting. Sometimes, with time, I learned to appreciate the artist's accomplishment in unexpected ways.


HT0994 - Being Influenced

I know a number of photographers who maintain a philosophy that they won't look at other photographers' work because they don't want to be influenced by it. What's wrong with being influenced? Didn't Isaac Newton put this issue to rest when he suggested that business about standing on the shoulders of giants?


HT0995 - Making Order Out of Chaos

I had a very interesting question from a photographer whose work was not selected to be included in our latest book, Our Magnificent Planet 2021. He asked if there was anything in common in the 300 images that were selected for publication? In fact, I think there is.


HT0996 - Perennial Favorites

Each one of us have certain pieces of artwork that we return to over and over again, year after year, perhaps even decade after decade. I can't remember the last time I played an album by Bread (once one of my favorites), but I listen to Kind of Blue by Miles Davis at least once a month, and have for 30 years since I first heard it. What makes that elusive character of artwork that gives it longevity?


HT0997 - Enough, Thank God

There's not a single piece of photographic gear that I need or want that I don't already known. Black Friday is meaningless to me. Well, except for that super bright flashlight I might need for nighttime light painting here in Death Valley. Damn.


HT0998 - Sharing Prints, Sharing Images

I received an interesting email from a friend of mine who was describing a gathering of photographers that took place at his home. He mentioned that they shared a lot of photographs with one another. I had to ask him whether or not these photographers were sharing prints or digital images.


HT0999 - Location, Location, Location - Subject

Have been spending a lot of time thinking about where I want to travel next year as the weather improves and I get back to being mobile. I was discussing this with a friend when he suggested that I should spend less time thinking about where I want to go and more time thinking about what I want to photograph. Bingo!


HT1000 - 10,000 Thank-You's

Let me take just a moment here at "Here's a Thought" #1,000 to express my gratitude. I'm grateful for all of you who listen to these random thoughts, for all of you who are subscribers to LensWork or members of LensWork Online, but I'm even more grateful to all the photographers - present and past - who through their generosity have shared so much that has shaped my thinking and understanding of this wonderful medium. I hope I'm doing them justice by passing along what I've received from them.


HT1001 - Creating a World

For reasons I need not get into, I just finished reading all seven volumes of the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. It occurred to me that part of the reason these novels are so successful is that they create an entire world that is fascinating. The novels are plot driven, but the world in which the plot unfolds is equally fascinating. Sometimes this same idea can apply to photography. Think of the worlds created by Duane Michals, Joel Peter Witkin, Keith Carter, and Sally Mann.