Here's a thought

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January 2023

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HT1429 - Yay for Zoom Lenses

From the buzz about prime lenses that has buzzed around photography for my entire life, I suppose they are the ultimate. Primes are certainly not the preferred for my kind of photography. Over the years, I've tried lots of primes, but I always come back to zooms when I get frustrated with the limitations of primes.


HT1430 - Hidden Images

I'm constantly amazed when I run across an image in my Lightroom catalog that has escaped my attention for a while. We see when we are ready to see. I guess that applies to image we may have captured years ago but haven't been properly prepared to see them.


HT1431 - How Many Pictures

Here is a question that comes up with some frequency. How many pictures should there be in a project? There is not, of course, a specific numeric answer to that question, but there are some principles that might help you think about this.


HT1432 - D-76 and Dektol

In my early days in photography, my instructor would only allow us to use D-76 to develop our file and Dektol to develop our prints. His contention was that we needed to learn how to use these two well before moving on to other developers. Does this still apply to how we learn today?


HT1433 - Start to Finish in a Few Hours

Photography projects can take a long time to complete. Years are not unheard of; decades are required for some projects. At the other end of the spectrum are projects you can complete in a few hours, perhaps an afternoon. Why would you want to do that?


HT1434 - Landscape Stories

When it comes to still photography, what do we mean by the word "story"? When I think of the word story, I think of some sort of tale that reveals events happening over time. Clearly, that is a challenge in a medium like still photography. So the word story must imply something else.


HT1435 - Money

I remember once having a conversation with Oliver Gagliani when he said emphatically that when money got into photography that it ruined it. I think he was talking about Photography with a capital P, but I think his statement is equally applicable to individual photographers.


HT1436 - Unreasonable ISO Fears

"Always shoot at the base ISO unless it's an emergency situation." I can't tell you how many times I've heard this so-called advice. I think this might have been true in the earliest days of digital photography, but today's cameras are so much better.


HT1437 - When 24 Equals 21

Subtitle: When more is not nearly as much more as you think it is. Panasonic would love to seduce me to buy their new full-frame 24 megapixel camera. For me, those 24 megapixels are not as seductive as they could be because they are in my least favorite aspect ratio.


HT1438 - Ergonomics of a Phone Camera

I know that phone cameras have the potential to be used to make serious photographic artwork. I've seen it, I've published it, but for the life of me I can't do it. I simply cannot take a phone camera seriously and I think I know why: it's the ergonomics.


HT1439 - The Daily Photo Game

I've said for a long time now that artmaking is a conversation between us and others, including other artists. Here is a fun example of that in photography.


HT1440 - Bigger Explosions and Faster Car Chases

I'm certainly not the first one to notice that Hollywood has decided that the key to success is bigger explosions and faster car chases. I'm also not the first one to propose that this is a trend that is indicative of the lack of new ideas and story plot lines. There is a parallel about this and the world of photography.


HT1441 - Mood As Subject

The three most common themes I see in photographic projects are what I characterize as portrait of a place, portrait of a thing, or portrait of an event. Photographers find an interesting location and make a bunch of pictures there; or, they're fascinated with some object and make a bunch of pictures of that object in different locations; or they capture the goings-on at an event. Surely, there are some other themes around which we can build a project.


HT1442 - The 10 Percent We Use

Clearly I can only speak for myself, but I know I only use about 10% of the capabilities of Photoshop. The other 90% I don't need and have never missed. There are similar statistics with the features of my camera. Am I a simpleton or is this a function of how engineering works in the real world of design and marketing?


HT1443 - Pictures Arise from the Silence

One of the best ways I know to find a photograph in the chaos of the world is to simply stop looking for a photograph. There's a great analogy used in the world of meditation that I have found to be flawless in helping me find photographic subjects.


HT1444 - The Subtleties

Every one of us sweats bullets over subtleties in our images and prints that are likely to never be seen by most of our audience. If no one will notice those subtleties, why do we put so much effort into that last 1% that improves our photographs? We do it, of course, for ourselves and for that 1%.


HT1445 - No Technical Barriers

What if I could wave a magic wand and eliminate all technical barriers from your creative life? Would you find that a relief that unlocks a flood of productivity? Or would you find that the removal of technical barriers brought you face to face with the challenges of knowing what and why to photograph?


HT1446 - Multi-shot High-resolution Mode

I've been playing around with the multi-shot high-resolution mode of my Panasonic G9. Here are a few observations and first conclusions about this clever bit of technology.

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HT1447 - The Ideal Gear

After 50 years in photography, I can unhesitatingly state that there is no such thing as the perfect camera. Every camera I've ever used has had limitations that frustrated me. That said, today's cameras are light years closer to the ideal than any time in the history of photography. Not even debatable. The goal is symbioses with your camera.


HT1448 - The First Time You Do It

No one is born with the knowledge of how to be an artist. We have to learn it through experience and education. Therefore, there will always be a first time you attempt to do anything. Nowhere else in life would we expect the first time will be our best, but that seems to be a common assumption in the art life of photographers. "Been there, done that, no need to go back" is never a good strategy in artmaking.


HT1449 - Five Stars

The star rating system in Lightroom has a flawed premise. In fact, it has two flawed premises. Does an image deserve five stars because it meets your expectations? Or, does it deserve five stars because you can process it to fit a specific goal? Whose goal? What goal? Can there only be one goal?


HT1450 - Five Stars - An Alternative Use

Yesterday I was talking about the flawed strategy of using star ratings as an indication of the quality of an image. But that's not the only way we can use the star rating paradigm. Here's my alternative.


HT1451 - Rereading Moby Dick

Like many high schoolers, I had to read Moby Dick — and simply hated every moment of doing so. So when a friend suggested I read it again, I was more than a little hesitant. I dreaded the thought. Nonetheless, I jumped in and am finding it one of the most interesting books of my life. What changed?


HT1452 - Ruthless Editing

The earliest steps in assembling a project for me has been to build a collection in Lightroom of potential candidate images. The implication of this beginning is that the final selection is arrived through a process of elimination. This is really a difficult strategy because so often I find myself needing to eliminate images I really like.


HT1453 - Interruptible Time

One of the most valuable yet unexpected benefits of a digital workflow is that it is interruptible. That is to say, if I only have 10 minutes to work on an image, I can still make that productive time. In the wet darkroom days, I needed an uninterruptible number of hours to produce a print. That was fun, but not always practical.


HT1454 - Image Stabilization and Focal Length

I've noticed that with wider angle focal lengths, the image stabilization doesn't seem to work as well as it does with long focal lengths. On the other hand, it's true that shorter focal lengths don't need as much stabilization. This all falls apart in low light.


HT1455 - Repeating Yesterday's Success

Photography can be such a frustrating pursuit. Nothing ever turns out exactly like we'd hoped. When it does, or at least comes very close to our expectations, perhaps it's natural that we should want to repeat that success. Ultimately, however, the way to improve our artwork is not to repeat or former successes, but push forward to our next successes.


HT1456 - Where the Limitations Reside

Our best can be foiled by limitations. We may be limited because our creative time is limited. Or perhaps our travel budgets are limited. We are constantly encouraged to upgrade our gear so as to remove limitations. But is that where the real limitations to our creativity reside?