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.

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021









HT0880 - Failures and Extreme Processing

We all know that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but you can sometimes make an interesting piece of artwork out of an otherwise mundane or even crummy photograph. Extreme processing opens up possibilities that can often become quite interesting.


HT0881 - Stieglitz and Those Damned Equivalents

I give up. I've read no less than two dozen essays in which the writer / photographer attempts to explain what Stieglitz was getting at with his concept of equivalence and his pictures of clouds and trees. Perhaps I'm just too dense to grasp it all, but it always seems like another example of lipstick on a pig. His photographs are beautiful, but all the philosophical musings he can heap on it don't seem to make them more interesting.


HT0882 - Bookstore Treasures

I could not even begin to estimate how many hours of my life have been spent joyfully in the photography section of bookstores. The hunt for some previously unknown treasure are some of the most pleasant hours of my life. I miss those days.


HT0883 - Photography as an Extreme Sport

The spectacular sunset, the unusual landscape, the extraordinarily beautiful model, the once in a century event. I can appreciate all of these kinds of photography, but the way these extreme moments seduce us into pursuing the unusual does a disservice to the art of seeing.


HT0884 - Photography as Fantasy

Dreams and wish fulfillment have a place in life, and I suppose that goes for photography, too. But I must confess that the romanticized and idealized landscape gets tiring after a while. It's like desserts that are too sweet; the first few bites might be satisfying, but desserts as a steady diet become unbearable.


HT0885 - Panoramas and Storytelling

The panorama image has a marvelous built-in storytelling capability. There can be a subject on the left side of the panorama that's all involved in something interesting, and a different subject on the right side of the panorama that's also involved in something interesting. But where a panorama really shines is when the left side and the right side establish a narrative or comparison that goes beyond either of their separate stories.


HT0886 - You'd Best Tell Them It's a Metaphor

In Guy Tal's book More Than a Rock, he divides photography into either representational imagery or creative imagery. Using a camera to reproduce what the world looks like is, by far, the most common use of photography. So if your project uses photography to create a metaphor, it's a good idea to tell your audience that. Otherwise you run the risk of them interpreting your image as strictly representational.


HT0887 - Expectations

In music, when you go to a concert hall you have a pretty good idea what kind of music you're going to hear. Same could be said for the local pub, or even a street musician. But when you go to a photography gallery, you have no idea what type of photography you're about to see, and that can be a serious challenge that we should address so our audience is at least a little prepared.


HT0888 - When They Leave the Gallery

Part of the purpose for having a gallery exhibition is to show and possibly sell some of your original prints. But a secondary reason for a gallery exhibition is to make a connection, and perhaps even establish a relationship with the public. The best way to do so is to make sure they leave the gallery with something in their hands.


HT0889 - Stabilization with Tripods?

I have searched and searched for a definitive answer on whether or not it makes a difference if I leave IBIS turned on when I use a tripod. Answers abound both yes and no. I've tried to do determinative tests on my own, but they've all been inconclusive. Anyone have a definitive answer?


HT0890 - My Fisheye Lens

Just for fun, I purchased a fisheye lens with a 170° angle of coverage. I'd seen a few projects that I really liked using these odd lenses, so took the plunge. I've owned this lens now for a year and am yet to find a subject that seems appropriate for it. At what point do we give up on an experimental process or a novel piece of gear?


HT0891 - Impossible Conditions, or Unique Conditions

I'm down this week in Central Utah photographing in the Capitol Reef area. This bit of geography is known as one of the cleanest air locations in the entire United States. It makes for great photography. Except this week, when they smoke from the Idaho forest fires has blanketed the region. It may not be the anticipated conditions, but these unique conditions are making for some really interesting photographic possibilities.


HT0892 - Dumb Mistakes

I've been involved with photography for 50 years but that does not make me immune from making dumb mistakes. I had one earlier this week and I just discovered it. Big mistakes I seem to be able to excuse, but really dumb mistakes are, well, dumb.


HT0893 - A Really Big Print

In 2014, I made the biggest print of my life — an 8-foot panorama of Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef. Here is a quick look and a bit of the story behind that humongous panorama.


HT0894 - Enlargements

Here in the 21st century it's easy to forget what a technological breakthrough it was to enlarge a negative into a bigger print. For the first roughly a hundred years of photography, this was either impossible or at least crude and expensive. Consider the humble 8x10, which hardly anybody makes anymore, that was considered an enlargement for almost all cameras just a scant 90 years ago.


HT0895 - The 10-mile Test

What if I were to propose a challenge to make as many interesting images as you could within 10 miles of where you currently are? Feel free to accept this challenge, but I have a reason for proposing it. It clearly demonstrates The difference between traveling to a photogenic location where you know photography can be done, and allowing the photography that surrounds you to emerge and become visible. The first is a hunt for the known, the second is an openness to the unknown.


HT0896 - Harry Bosch

A friend turned me on to the Amazon prime video series Bosch which eventually led to Michael Connolly's series of novels featuring the lead character Harry Bosch. There's actually kind of an interesting lesson for us photographers about this, thanks to Michael Connelly.


HT0897 - Building Up from Black

The physics of photography is that every image starts totally black and builds up from that by adding light. Sometimes this can be a very useful philosophical exercise as well as a practical way to make a photograph. Start with dark, and then slowly increase exposure until enough light is added to make the photograph. ETTR aside, this is a great way to build a photograph, particularly ones that have dramatic illumination.


HT0898 - The Problem with a Pile of Prints

We've all had the experience of showing a pile of prints to someone who asks to look at our work. But there's a subtle thing that happens unconsciously when people look through a pile of prints that may not be what we would hope for.


HT0899 - Sequencing Logic

There are all kinds of strategies for sequencing photographs in a project, but one of the simplest I've ever run across that seems to work with consistency is what I call "sequencing logic."


HT0900 - Unintended Subjects

Years and years ago I interviewed John Wimberley and of course we discussed his famous image, Descending Angel. I remember him telling me how it was an accidental shot that he considered a gift from who knows where. His story seemed a fanciful tale until, that is, this week when I photographed an angel myself, and didn't realize it until I looked at the images back in Lightroom.


HT0901 - The Mythology of a Photograph

Certain photographs have a mythology about them, sometimes true and factual, sometimes I suspect not. Either way, knowing the story enhances our experience of viewing the photograph. Could we put this to our advantage and create mythologies about our own images?


HT0902 - Media That Encourage Productivity

The more work you do, the more you will learn and improve. But does the medium you use promote productivity or discourage it?


HT0903 - I Always Assume It's Me

When technology goes wrong, it's so easy to blame the technology. The problem with that is that there is no learning involved. It's just a blame game. Whenever something goes wrong, I find it a much better approach to assume it's me, that is, "pilot error." When I search and discover what I've done that led to the problem, I can then correct it and never have to worry about that again.


HT0904 - Your Best Work

All the great artists of history have a few pieces of work that are generally acknowledged as their best. When we see this historical analysis, I think it's natural for us to think about our best. But I suspect we will never know which of our photographs are best because we lack the perspective of time and, of course, best is in the eye of the beholder.


HT0905 - The Advantages of Big

I continue to wonder at the photographic world's fascination with big prints. What advantages are there to big prints that make them so compelling?


HT0906 - No Regrets for the Big Purge

Six months ago I was involved in the downsizing and preparation for my current travels. Part of that downsizing was a giant purge of my photographic archives, particularly all those prints I made in my youth that in retrospect are quite suspect. 99% of it went into the landfill and 6 months later I cannot tell you how relieved I am to not have that albatross still holding me back. There is a research group that might be worth reviewing called the Foundation for Photographic Preservation. And their website


HT0907 - People with a Camera

Most people with a camera are not photographers, at least not in the sense that you and I think of when we do photography. It's too bad there isn't a word that easily defines those of us who use cameras to make personally expressive artwork. This is precisely why I prefer to call myself an artist or a storyteller rather than a photographer. I wonder what people would say if we started referring to ourselves as "image poets."


HT0908 - Photographic Celibacy

I was recently introduced to the term photographic celibacy, meaning and approach to the art life in which one isolates oneself and doesn't look at the work of other photographers. The argument goes that working in isolation keeps us pure, but it seems to me to draw an arbitrary line that eliminates a tremendous source of inspiration.


HT0909 - Your Bad Pictures

I would propose that your bad pictures are not nearly as bad as you might think they are. In fact bad is a relative term that only makes sense when we know the final objective. If you're objective is the great photograph to go above the fireplace, then any given image might be bad — for that purpose. That doesn't mean the image can't be used in some other way, in a project for example, or at worst case an image to practice your technique upon.


HT0910 - All Art is a Lie

And for a medium to be an effective means of producing art it must provide a means of lying successfully. So says Henry peach Robinson in an essay published in 1892. I wonder what he would think about photography here in the age of Photoshop?