Here's a thought

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1

HT1184 - The 10% We Use

I would estimate that I use about 10% of what Photoshop is capable of doing. The other 90% of advanced photoshop features I've never needed and can't imagine a scenario in which I would. The same could be said for the advanced features of my camera, the advanced features of my computer, the advanced features of pretty much every technology I use. What does that say about manufacturers? What does it say about me?

2

HT1185 - My Asset Library

The other day I was talking with a friend about Lightroom and instead of referring to "my Lightroom catalog," I accidentally said "my asset library." I love that term! That's exactly how I feel about it.

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HT1186 - Prime Lenses

Here is a practical observation about using prime lenses. I've noticed that I tend to do more cropping on the image files that were shot with a prime lens. With a zoom lens, I crop in the field, but that's not always possible with the prime lens. Maybe this is a reason why prime lenses are a better fit with high megapixel cameras.

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HT1187 - Process for How It Feels

I don't remember which workshop I was in when first heard, "Photograph it for how it looks, process it for how it feels." I find that is still sound advice. In fact, with the processing capabilities we now have, I suspect this advice is truer now more than it's ever been.

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HT1188 - The Spirit of Repetition

Early in my Zen training, I heard the maxim, '"If the spirit of repetition leaves you, your practice will become difficult." Said another way, drudgery exists. Disciplined persistence is the answer. This pertains to the art life, too.

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HT1189 - I Am Not a Landscape Photographer

There's a difference between photographing the landscape and photographing in the landscape. I like using the landscape in my photographs, but the images I end up with are rarely intended to present a view of the land.

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HT1190 - What a "Like" Communicates

When someone says they "like" your photograph, or gives you a thumbs-up "like" vote in social media, what does that actually mean? Does it mean they approve? That your photograph meets their expectations? That they think it has artistic merit?

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HT1191 - Everyday

We all know that to be really proficient at art, music, sports, or writing, it is important to practice every day. It isn't always practical to do photography every day, but it is possible to think about photography every day. That's precisely why I post these Here's a Thought . . . Commentaries every day — to keep your creative juices flowing so when you do have time to pick up the camera or head to the darkroom, you can jump in with at least a bit of momentum in your creative life.

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HT1192 - Comparisons

It's my observation that photographers are not very good at accurately assessing their own work. They either think it's far better than it is or that it's far worse than it is. In my youth, I went through a long period where I compared my work to the Masters I admired. I think this was a useful exercise. But at some point these kinds of comparisons can become debilitating because it can degenerate into copying.

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HT1193 - Old Photography Books

My chosen addiction is used books. Nothing thrills me quite like discovering a great used bookstore on my travels. I really wished that extended to used photography books, but it doesn't. Nothing sadder than a poorly printed photograph.

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HT1194 - There Are More of You than You Think

In my dad's generation, his friends were our neighbors, and maybe a buddy or two who lived across town. What made them friends was a shared interest. They were golfing buddies or card game buddies. But how many fine art photographers live in your neighborhood, or even in your town? There are a lot more of you than you might think. They're spread all over the place.

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HT1195 - 100 Compositions

Art is not volumetric, but art making should be. I will guarantee you that you will come up with an interesting project if you discipline yourself to photograph 100 different compositions of the same subject or place. You won't use 100 images in the finished project, but with critical editing you will find you've accomplished something important.

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HT1196 - Muscle Memory

Without thinking about it, can you tell me what the front dial on your camera does, the one you control with your index finger? What about the back dial that you control with your thumb? I'll bet you have to think about it for a second but when you use your camera you don't! Muscle memory kicks in and you just do what you need to do to create the change that you want to make.

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HT1197 - Gray is Also a Mood

I love the Oregon Coast, but boy can it be gray! I learned an important lesson about that years ago that has helped tremendously on this trip. Gray is not just a color, but it's also a mood.

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HT1198 - Burst Mode

How times have changed! In the 1970s I purchased a motor drive for my Nikon FM Camera. I was amazed at how fast I could burn through a roll of 36 exposures. Now my current camera can do a burst of 60 images in 5 seconds and I'm frustrated that the buffer takes so long to write to the memory card. I'm shopping for faster cards. Geez.

 16

HT1199 - From a Distance

I remember a conversation with Oliver Gagliani about how some photographic papers carry over a distance better than others. At the time, it sounded goofy to me. When I tested it, I found out his observation was true. To this day, I always evaluate new papers up close and from a distance.

 17

HT1200 - The Diffraction Bogeyman

Diffraction exists, that can't be denied. But in my experience the loss of sharpness due to diffraction is only visible when comparing, side-by-side, prints made with different apertures. I have no qualms about using f/22 on my m4/3 camera because no one will see the diffraction in my uncompared print. In addition, the soft DOF from f/4 looks more out of focus than the diffracted f/22.

 18

HT1201 - Elusive Depth of Field

It seems that in the last few years there's been a tremendous push for shallow depth of field. But in my work, the Holy Grail has always been the pursuit of a tremendous depth of field with everything tack sharp from near to far. That used to be helped with tilt and swing cameras, very small apertures, and a ritual goat sacrifice. Now we have focus stacking and goats everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.

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HT1202 - Which Comes First

Do you learn software in order that someday you might be able to use it? Or do you find a challenge and then learn the software that solves a problem? I suppose both of these approaches can be valid, But I've always found it more functional to push my creative impulses that develop new challenges and then search for technical solutions that help me succeed.

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HT1203 - Zoom Lenses

A zoom lens is a marvelous tool for changing the framing of a photograph. But changing the frame by standing in the same location does not change the geometric relationships between the subjects in the frame. To do that, you need to change where you stand and then change the zoom to match the subject size.

 21

HT1204 - Half Empty, or Mostly Full

I've noticed that, with consistency, YouTube camera reviews emphasize what a camera cannot do rather than it's incredible capabilities. I doubt there is any one camera that does all things exceedingly well. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses. The wise mechanic chooses his tool for what it can do, and never blames the wrong tool for its faults.

 22

HT1205 - Let It In

There are times when I'm out in the landscape that I just don't see a damn thing to photograph. The whole world is uninteresting, poorly lit, dull, boring. At those moments, if I'm lucky, I remember that childhood lesson when my dad said, "Only boring people are bored." My reaction to the landscape is a psychological projection whose solution is to let go of me and start listening.

 23

HT1206 - Correction vs Creation

I find it useful to divide my processing of an image into two separate and different activities. There are corrections I need to make that fix flaws, and then there are creative ways of altering the emotional content. Corrections tend to enhance an image; creation tends to repurpose an image.

 24

HT1207 - Picture as Window to an Idea

If your picture simply shows me what is, then the what that is shown had better be quite spectacular if it's to capture my attention. On the other hand, if your picture is a window to an idea, the thing photographed is in service to the idea and not merely an attention grabber.

 25

HT1208 - The Size of Ownership

Owning a photograph is a splendid thing. Owning a giant print is a challenging and cumber something. Giant prints are best seen in giant rooms. Doesn't it make sense that if you want individuals to own your prints that it's best if you make them a size that fits the rooms in which they will be seen? And for most people, isn't that likely to be a modest size print?

 26

HT1209 - You Pay

The most fundamental rule of economics is that we work in order to gather the assets that allow us to pay for the things that bring us pleasure. We may not be passionate about our work, but we do it so that we have the ability to pursue our passions — like eating, living under a roof, playing golf, or photography. Producing art is the endpoint of our passions, not the beginning point of our work to gather assets.

 27

HT1210 - Viewing Distance

Go to a museum or a gallery and watch how people look at photographs. Notice how people vary the distance at which they view a photograph based on the size of the photograph. If it's an 8x10, they'll move very close to view it. If it's a 40x60, they move farther away. What does this tell us?

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