Here's a thought

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October 2023

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HT1702 - It Will Be Better Next Week

I'm recording this in late October of 2023, my first fall in The Northeast. For the last month, I've heard all the locals claim that the color in the fall leaves will be more intense next week. Come to think of it, I've heard about the virtues of "next week" my entire photographic life.


HT1703 - Advice on Where to Photograph

It's amazing how many times I will be given advice on where to photograph by a well-meaning friend or relative. If I'm advised to go left, I've always found better photographs by going right. My advice is to always ignore advice and instead follow your internal spidey sense.


HT1704 - Out, Out Damned Ball Head

In the course of my photographic life, I've probably owned 30 or more tripod ball heads. I love the concept, but I hate the drift. I'm going back to a geared head because I detest equipment that fights me.


HT1705 - Captions Not Allowed

If I were to pick at random one of your photographs, I'll bet you could tell me an associated story that expands my appreciation of your image. Every photograph has a story. So why is it that photographs framed and displayed on the wall never have that story as a part of the artwork? When was the last time you saw a photograph that even had a title as a part of the artwork, let alone the full story?

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HT1706 - The Eternal Battle of the Artist

For as long as there has been art, there has been the battle waged by the artist to cajole recalcitrant materials to conform to the artist's vision. This requires effort, talent, sometimes a gift from God. What happens when a means of production is developed that completely eliminates this contest, when the artist (or photographer) can easily produce whatever they can imagine? Aren't we getting dangerously close to that in photography with the pixel level control of digital workflows?


HT1707 - Rachmaninoff In The Background

When I'm busy doing something else, like cooking dinner or reading the newspaper or even chatting with friends, it's nice to have music playing in the background. There are, however, certain types of music that don't work for this purpose, for example the piano concertos of Rachmaninoff. I have to listen to his music with concentration and single-focused intensity To play Rachmaninoff in the background as ambience seems disrespectful. I feel the same way about photography.


HT1708 - Sunday Morning Books

For 30 years now, I've had a habit of setting aside time on Sunday morning for looking at art books. Most of those, of course, our photography books, but not always. It's time in which I can give my full attention to others creative expressions.


HT1709 - Global Shutters

Contain yourselves. With the news of the new Sony a9 Mark 3 and its global shutter, we can all now take photographs at 120 frames per second. I have no doubt that the money behind research and development for this camera came chiefly from hard drive manufacturers.


HT1710 - The 24 Megapixel Sweet Spot

Isn't it interesting how many new cameras are being announced in the 24 megapixel range? It's almost as if the industry has figured out that that's as much as most people will ever need. After all, 24 megapixels are enough to do a wonderful book, or a 16x20 print. And on those rare occasions when you need more there are a few workarounds like stitching and multi-exposure high resolution mode.


HT1711 - Ultra-Deep Depth of Field

Last weekend in Acadia, I was photographing floating leaves on a pond. To gain access, I was using a long telephoto lens which resulted in many images with insufficient depth of field. The ones that solved that problem were the focus blends and 100% of the images that I photographed with my ultra-wide lens.


HT1712 - Notes That Work

Images create thoughts and ideas. Thoughts and ideas can lead to projects, even if you don't have an image yet in mind. Note in our image's metadata can work, but it's cumbersome and not always available when the idea pops up. For years, I've used Microsoft OneNote for this purpose. Evernote is a powerful software, too. Regardless of what you use, capturing ideas, quotes, images, questions, and thoughts is an important part of the creative process.


HT1713 - Managing the Consumables

I don't worry anymore about running out of film, but I do worry about running out of space on my memory cards or battery power. So, I've stocked up on both. Never once have I needed to change my card in the field, but every time I'm out photographing I need to change batteries.


HT1714 - Center Stage, or Supporting Actor

Photography so easily slides into the supporting role, a background player, the decor of the room, the illustrative/accompaniment of the all-important text.


HT1715 - 100 Gifts

I do photography for fun. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it because I'm motivated to share my life experiences with others. The more I can share, the happier I am. So why not engage a project to give away a hundred gifts just because I can, just because it's fun, just because it's rewarding to do so?


HT1716 - The Constant Pull of Diversions

Getting old is the process of learning what's important and letting go of the unimportant. Today's life is filled with 10,000 diversions all vying for our attention. Time is a precious commodity, and perhaps the most important strategy we can adopt is a vigilant resistance to the trivial.


HT1717 - The Next Generation of Cameras

I don't need more megapixels, but I could use an easier menu, built-in GPS, a larger screen, programmable shutter release stiffness, audible beep for out-of-focus images, in-camera metadata notes, and longer battery life.


HT1718 - Voice Command Shutters

I just discovered a very cool feature on my smartphone. I can use my voice as the shutter release trigger. I simply say shoot, smile, cheese, or capture and it will take a picture without me having to press a button. This reduces a lot of handling fuss and camera movement. Why can't this feature be built into my DSLR camera?


HT1719 - About Dates

It's a common practice to add the date to the title of a photograph. In fact, location and date have become the default for titling prints. But there are two dates that are equally important and I rarely see them both listed.


HT1720 - Exact Duplicates

An unavoidable reality of digital printing is that we can make exact duplicates. This was practically impossible to do in the analog darkroom, so every print had its own unique characteristics. Collectors know this and choose carefully. But in the digital world? Do limited editions even make sense?


HT1721 - The Photogenic

We've all had that moment when we look at something and think to ourselves how photogenic it is. What is it that makes something "photogenic"? Isn't this another way of saying that it will make a picture that looks like we expect it to look, that is, sort of a cliché?


HT1722 - Adding to the Pile

Is a Lightroom catalog of 200,000 images a better indicator of quality than 50,000 images? Does adding to the pile of images we already have mean that we've produced better artwork? Is artwork measured numerically or should we be striving towards some other, more sensitive goal?


HT1723 - Answers

Training courses, workshops, YouTube videos, how to books — they are all designed to give you answers. But do you really want answers? If photography becomes simply a matter of following instructions to a predetermined answer, doesn't it lose its power to be a meaningful artistic pursuit?


HT1724 - Nuance the Message

It's easy to misinterpret a single image. A project that includes a few images offers us the ability to surround the central idea with greater clarification. Just as a thesaurus provides us nuance in language, so a multiple image project provides us nuance in our visual medium.


HT1725 - Another Example of Learning by Doing

Maureen used to refer herself as "Two Time Mo." She knew that anything she tried to do that I was new to her would require at least two attempts before she'd get it right. At least two. This reminds me of Tchaikovsky.


HT1726 - Ranking Artwork

I will admit that sometimes I enjoy the absurdity of YouTube. An example was a video I watched the other day that purported to rank from best to worst the albums of Joni Mitchell. Against what criteria would such a project unfold? Is it remotely valuable, useful, or universal to rank artwork?


HT1727 - Prints, Books, Screens

For simplicity sake, I'll propose in this commentary that there are three basic ways we can view a photograph. Photographs can be expressed in a physical print, the commercially printed book or magazine, or some type of digital screen. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The question of the moment is, which is your favorite way of viewing photographic work? Why? Seriously, why?


HT1728 - Naming Is Not the Same As Knowing

A few years ago I was out photographing with a nature enthusiast. Every time she set up the camera, she would tell me the name of the tree or plant she was photographing. I think I was supposed to feel informed by her identifications, but when I asked her to tell me more, she couldn't. She confused naming with knowing.


HT1729 - Over Time

Photography is a powerful tool for showing us the evolution of something over time. Think of a simple project that shows us the same scene over four seasons. But these kinds of projects are always logistically easier if they are close to home, locations where we have easy access.


HT1730 - The Edge of Change

It's amazing how many photographic opportunities exist at the edge of change. Where the water meets the land, sunrise when the night turns today, when winter storms clear, when leaves fall, when it snows in the desert. Wherever there is change, look for photographic opportunities because they abound.


HT1731 - Making Do

Wouldn't it be lovely if we owned the perfect camera? Wouldn't it be lovely if we could command the weather at our will? Wouldn't it be lovely if the light was perfectly cooperative with our whim? But the reality of life is that things are never perfect. Art making is an attempt to create the perfect creative statement in the midst of an uncooperative world.