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.

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021


















HT0911 - Working a Landscape

There are times in the landscape when there seem to be an image that is simply outstanding and the only challenge is to photograph it effectively. But I generally find that kind of landscape less interesting, and surely less fun. I prefer to find myself in a landscape that I can work with variety during a few hours of intense labor.


HT0912 - I Failed, Badly

I received an email from a fellow who had seen my latest book, Dreams of Japan. He wrote to advise that I might want to consider getting a better lens because all the images were slightly soft and, to make matters worse he continued, the highlights were fogged due to lens flare. Evidently, this fellow completely missed the idea that I was trying to present dream-like images, hence the title Dreams of Japan. With him, I clearly failed to communicate how my chosen aesthetic made sense in the context of the project.


HT0913 - Advertising and non-Advertising

The best way to get the word out about your artwork is the way that always been and always will be the best way — word of mouth.


HT0914 - The Scouts Were Right, Be Prepared

You never know when you will stumble into a basket of good fortune and terrific photographic opportunity. And of course you will lose those opportunities unless you are prepared.


HT0915 - Equipment Limitations

Many times, pretty much any equipment will do the job. There are, however, times when a specific piece of gear is the only path to success. That's bad news for our budgets.


HT0916 - A Good Day

How do you assess the success of your day out photographing? How many "keepers" does it take to make a good day in the field?


HT0917 - The Ethics of the Sky Replacement Tool

Photoshop's new sky replacement tool is simply amazing, but is its use ethical? I think how we answer that question is determined by our basic philosophy of how we use photography. It's another form of the age-old question about whether we take photographs or make photographs.


HT0918 - The Downside of the Gathering Assets Strategy

One of the challenges of digital photography is that the machines have become so good that we can return from a session with literally hundreds of properly focused and properly exposed images. That allows us to gather lots and lots of assets, but what do we do with all those images?


HT0919 - One Subject, Two Orientations

Most frequently, I find that the subject of the photograph determines the orientation I use. As obvious as that might sound, I've also found it an incredibly useful strategy to force myself to use the opposite orientation. Does not only keeps me out of creative ruts, but I can't tell you the number of times I've been working a project only to wish I had an image in the opposite orientation because it fit the layout of the project better.


HT0920 - Baby, It's Cold Outside

No doubt photography is one of the greatest visual media of all. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to be very clever indeed to invoke other senses. Things like our sense of smell, touch, or our sense of temperature are not aspects of our photographs, but they can be aspects of the viewers experience if we are clever enough to include them in the visual.


HT0921 - An Inner Glow

Photographs technically cannot have an inner glow because they are not a source of light. Any light we might perceive is reflected. Nonetheless, experientially, some photographs do. It's undeniable. So how does this happen?


HT0922 - Fact or Metaphor

A great train of thought comes from Guy Tal's book, More Than a Rock, in which he differentiates between representational photography and creative photography.


HT0923 - Beyond "It's pretty"

Photographs of the Grand Canyon exist by the bushelful on the internet. I reviewed, for reasons I'll discuss elsewhere, several hundred images and they all seemed based in the same premise: the Grand Canyon is a pretty place. That's true, but that's not the only perspective by which we can enjoy this seventh wonder of the world.


HT0924 - Just the Right Amount of Tired

It's a fairly consistent truth in my photography that it improves when I'm ever so slightly tired. I think when I get a little tired, my mind shuts down just a little bit, and my photography becomes less intellectual and more reactive. If I get too tired, then my photography gets worse because I become lazy. Just the right amount of tired is the sweet spot where I make my best work.


HT0925 - What Your Camera Captures

What your camera actually captures is, in theory, what your eye actually sees. But that is not the basis for art making. The real question is not what you see with your eyes, but what you see without your eyes, that is to say, what you see with your heart. That is precisely what we should hope to create as a work of art.


HT0926 - Stand Here

I'm still amused by the fact that most uses of a camera are to make family snapshots and vacation pictures of where we've been, even if where we've been is a marvelous and spectacular subject. Most people will use that fantastic subject as a backdrop for their selfies and their Kodak smiles.


HT0927 - Optimism by the Bushelful

I've just started to look at the entries to this year's LensWork Community book project, Our Magnificent Planet 2021. I have to tell you, there are more wonderfully creative and talented photographers out there than you would guess and it is my privilege to see the work of so many talented people.


HT0928 - The New Canon R3

I must confess that I struggle just a bit with a camera body that costs $6,000. Of course there will be photographers for home this is the perfect tool, but it seems to me that it's such a specialty device that it has about as much to do with photography as a formula one car has to do with transportation.


HT0929 - Finding Where a Tool Works Best

I mentioned last week that I was using the dehaze tool with my photographs of the Grand Canyon from a hazy day. I noticed that the dehaze tool does not seem to work as well in blue skies. I simply modified my compositions so that they had no skies and things worked great. I suspect this is true that every tool has applications at which it is superb and others at which it fails.


HT0930 - Crescendo and Whisper

I've been playing of late with an idea that the best photographs either provide a crescendo or a whisper and that photographs in the emotional middle are less prone to success. Clearing winter storm by Ansel Adams is a crescendo, whereas migrant mother by Dorothea Lange is a whisper. Applying this thought process to my own work has been very useful.


HT0931 - Your Peak Moments in Photography

What part of the photographic process brings you the peak of exhilaration? Being with the subject? Clicking the shutter? Processing the images? Hanging the exhibition? Selling the work? Whatever it is, doesn't it make sense to try our best to have more of that and less of the grunt work that contains the seeds of discontent and discouragement?


HT0932 - Recent Work

The problem with recent work is that "recent" is so easily misinterpreted. What is meant by recent? If I see work In the recent section of your website that is a year old, it might make me think you aren't very active these days. Perhaps an alternative description would be less likely to mislead people into the wrong conclusions.


HT0933 - The Most Important Print

Tradition would have us believe that the most important and most valuable print is the one made closest to the exposure date, the so-called vintage print. These are the ones that collectors value the most. But I've always thought this is backwards. The most recent print is the one that contains my most mature interpretation and, as artwork, shouldn't it be the most important print?


HT0934 - Nope, Not Gonna Buy It

From time to time, we all find ourselves lusting after a new piece of gear. I've been having so much success with the Panasonic Leica 50-100 mm zoom lens, I thought I might step up to their 100-400 mm zoom lens. But when I looked through my Lightroom catalog, I had to admit I didn't have a single instance in which I wished I had that extra reach.


HT0935 - Anthology vs Specialist

I was recently looking at a website from a well-known photographer who seemed to exhibit only two kinds of work. Her work is spectacular, and voluminous, but it appears she's only interested in photographing two subjects. Becoming a specialist can have its advantages, but I much prefer an anthology approach to my work.


HT0936 - You Are an Integrated Whole

There is our photography life, and then there is the rest of our life. But is it so necessary to compartmentalize our art life away from all our other interests and activities? Why not use your camera to tell the story of the other things you are so passionate about?


HT0937 - Old Images, New Techniques

As photographic technology progresses, it opens doors to possibilities that were previously unthinkable. For example, repairing the negative my cat chewed holes in. It's a good idea to hang on to the old failures because someday you might be able to use them with tools we now can't imagine.


HT0938 - Questions

Picasso once quipped, "Computers are useless. All they can do is give you answers." When it comes to artmaking, the questions are far more important. Curiosity drives creativity.


HT0939 - That Final One Percent

I was reading an essay in which it was proposed by the photographer that the difference between failure and success is that final 1% improvement that most people simply don't pursue. I don't agree.


HT0940 - Fifty Years from Now

We can predictably assume that fifty years from now the technology of photography will be far better than we have today. If your images rely on today's technology to be noteworthy, will they still be noteworthy when the advance of technology makes your images seem quaint or perhaps even primitive?