Here's a thought

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April 2023

May 2023

June 2023












HT1518 - A Special Year for Fall Leaves

This fall, I'll be in the Northeast and I suspect I'll photograph some fall leaves. Mentioning this to a friend, she said she hoped for a particularly brilliant display this year for my photography. I wondered if her statement we're still pertinent considering the vibrance controls in Photoshop.


HT1519 - Clutter and the Creative Life

Early on, I discovered that one of the most important aids to the creative life is the constant battle against clutter. When I failed to keep my negatives organized, I wasted valuable creative time just looking for the right negative. The same thing still happens in my digital workflow. The same thing happens and my studio, my residence, my books. Clutter complicates my creative life and organization is the answer.


HT1520 - Another Reason Why You Can't Go Back

The old canard that "you can't go back" is often used in photography because old farm building collapse and new construction replaces the nostalgic subjects of the past. Another reason, however, is that things grow, for example, trees grow. Wow, do they grow!


HT1521 - Learning Software Is Not an Art Making Activity

In recent years I've noticed a lot of workshops offering to expand our creativity and provide keys to making better art. Upon examination, however, I discovered that these workshops are mostly about mastering software.


HT1522 - Cluster Shooting versus Composition

Cluster shooting and searching for the best composition are two variations in shooting strategy that seem similar but are not. I often find I flip back and forth between these two strategies while I'm working a scene, but they are different activities with different goals.


HT1523 - Damn Spots, Again

Why can't I get it through my head that once I stop down to extremely small apertures like f/16 or f/22 that any tiny dust spots on my sensor will show up as dark blobs in my image? I know this, I forget this, I then spend ridiculous amounts of time getting rid of them. I need a new routine for these small apertures.

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HT1524 - There Is No Substitute for Time

We live in the age of multitasking, a pace of life that would amaze our ancestors and possibly frighten them, and where careers are measured in months or years rather than decades. Perhaps this is one of the most valuable aspects of engaging and artistic life — the slowing down that is required if one is to make meaningful art.


HT1525 - Physical Skills

The common characteristic of art making, regardless of the medium, is some physical, mostly manual dexterity and performance. Photography as an art medium requires almost no physicality. Perhaps that's why it's often discounted as an art medium. But with the introduction of AI, what little manual dexterity was required is now completely eliminated. Is this a good thing, or an inconsequential development?


HT1526 - Commitment

Making artwork requires a commitment. Commitment to a composition, commitment to a medium, commitment to an idea, commitment to an execution. The results of art making are an accumulation of decisions that that make manifest a series of commitments. Not a pursuit for the faint of heart.


HT1527 - What Kind of Stack

One of the most powerful features of the Lightroom library is the ability to stack images together like we used to do with slides on a light table. There are all kinds of reasons to stack images, but not being a sharp as I once was, sometimes I can't remember why I grouped images into a stack. Wouldn't it be handy to have a stack label?


HT1528 - Sharper Photographs at Dawn

I was recently reading a blog post in which the photographer proposed the sharpest photographs were made just after the sun comes up. The reasons, he proposed, were the angular detail-revealing light, the calm winds, the lack of dust. He never mentioned stabilizing the camera, getting closer, or using a better lens.


HT1529 - Dry Eyes

Here's a weird one. I noticed that the world had seemed to get fuzzier in the last year. Time for a new prescription for my glasses. The eye doc said no. My prescription hasn't changed, but my eyes were dry. Eye drops and an oral supplement and the world is in focus again!


HT1530 - Return to Manual Focus

The other day, I was photographing a red alder seed cluster hanging from a nude winter branch. No matter where I placed the focus indicator, the camera locked focus on the background. My only solution was to manually focus on the seeds. Manually focus? Oh, the horror!


HT1531 - The Most Important Lesson

Look back at the last year of your creative life. What is the most important lesson you learned in those 12 months? Said another way, what improved your photographs the most? Was it new equipment, technique, processing, creative thinking? I'll bet not. I'll bet the thing that improved your photography the most was doing the work.


HT1532 - Which Industry Is Down

There is lots of lamenting and gnashing of teeth these days because of the freefall collapse of the camera business in the last few years. Why is no one celebrating the explosive growth of people who own a camera? Surely all these cameras in the hands of so many is a good thing for, well, PHOTOGRAPHS.


HT1533 - Losing History

So many young photographers I talk with know all about the latest gear and software features. I suppose this is good. I'm often nonplussed how shallow their sense of photographic history is in comparison.


HT1534 - Making the World More Like the World

What is your goal as you process an image? Are you aiming to make the world look more like the world? That is, are you adjusting the photographic technologies to more closely reproduce what you see? Or do you process an image to make it better than the world or different than the world?


HT1535 - Virtual Copies Everywhere

I love the virtual copy feature in Lightroom. I use it universally. That is to say, I don't process my original RAW/DNG because I always want to be able to see them in their unprocessed state. I know I could do so by flipping back in the history panel, or possibly doing a snapshot, but I find it easier to just use virtual copies. Anytime I process a file for printing or use in a project, I do so on a virtual copy.


HT1536 - The Divide Between Lightroom and Photoshop, Part 1

I do almost all of my processing in Lightroom, taking an image to Photoshop only on rare occasions. I know there are other photographers who use Photoshop almost exclusively, perhaps not even using Lightroom at all but preferring Bridge. I would be fascinated to know the statistics on this divide and why photographers choose one application over another for their work.


HT1537 - The Divide Between Lightroom and Photoshop, Part 2

The Library and Develop modules in Lightroom probably satisfy 95% of my processing and organizing needs. In those two modules, I use 100% of their features. In Photoshop, I probably use about 5% of its features. I wonder if this is a generational thing based on whether or not one forms their basic habits in the analog dark room?


HT1538 - Turning the Ordinary Into the Mundane

A common refrain is the advice to photograph in your home, photograph in your yard! More often than not, this turns the ordinary subject into a mundane photograph. The challenge is not to make photographs in a familiar location, but to think and see differently in a familiar location.


HT1539 - Mix Tapes

Remember mix tapes? I guess we now call it "shuffle play." It's a fun way to adjust the music you listen to based on your mood and day. Why not do this with photographs? I have a playlist for Sunday Mornings, and I could easily have a "displaylist" of photographs


HT1540 - Express Yourself

We take photographs and make digital captures. Why all this aggressive language? There is such an acquisitiveness about this, but this can also define the divide between fine art photography and other kinds. Isn't the true core of fine art photography expressing ourselves? That is to say, isn't fine art photography and outflow rather than an inflow?


HT1541 - Buffalo Paparazzi

I've mentioned before that I'm not particularly motivated to photograph in the big national parks. I've had a chance to think about this more deeply this last week while I was staying in West Yellowstone.


HT1542 - Unicorn Photography

In the most generic sense of the word, what we all seem to want to photograph is the elusive unicorn. That is, we search and search for something magical that is rare and elusive. Hence, Yosemite, Nepal, Antarctica, and (as I was saying yesterday) buffalo.


HT1543 - Accuracy Is Not the Same As Significance

In my youth, I fastidiously measured all my darkroom chemicals and controlled the temperature of my developers to plus or minus a tenth of a degree. I cringe now to think how many hours I must have wasted by confusing accuracy with significance.


HT1544 - Film Images, Digital Projects

I wonder if I'm like others, or perhaps I should say if others are like me? The transition from film photography to digital photography was far more than a change in the medium of production. There was also a change in what I produced. With film I make images; with digital I shifted to projects.


HT1545 - Photographic Proof

Whatever sense of photographic truth was left, with the new feature in Photoshop beta called Generative Fill, photographic truth is now a quaint memory.


HT1546 - Definition of Photography

The Generative Fill feature in the current Beta version of Photoshop has a lot of people talking. I heard one YouTuber say this would be the death of photography as we know it. Doesn't this depend on how we define photography? Is photography defined by a process or by a result?


HT1547 - Photography As Diary

Not surprisingly, most of us photographers can use our image archives (or our Lightroom catalogs) as a sort of visual diary of our life. The answer to "When was that?" is often found in our EXIF data. Perhaps formalizing that and turning our images into the stories of our lives would be something of real value to our descendants.


HT1548 - Photogenic Locations

A big part of the fun of being a landscape photographer is the thrill of spending time in spectacular locations. Who doesn't love visiting Yellowstone or Yosemite or any of the other landscape treasures? But for me, an even bigger thrill is finding some out-of-the way location that I've never heard of that offers extensive potential for some great images.