LensWork - Photography and the Creative Process

LensWork - Photography and the Creative Process Podcast

Random Observations on Art, Photography, and the Creative Process. These talks focus on the creative process in fine art photography. LensWork editor Brooks Jensen side-steps techno-talk and artspeak to offer a stimulating mix of ideas, experience, and observations from his 50 years as a fine art photographer, writer, and publisher. Topics include a wide range of subjects from finding subject matter to presenting your work, and building an audience. Included in this RSS Feed are the LensWork Podcasts — posted weekly, typically 10-20 minutes exploring a topic a bit more deeply — and our almost daily Here's a thought… audios (extracted from the videos.) Here's a thought… are snippets, fragments, morsels, and tidbits from Brooks' fertile (and sometimes swiss-cheesy) brain. Usually just a minute or two. Always about photography and the art life. Brooks Jensen is the publisher of LensWork, one of the world's most respected and award-winning photography publications, known for its museum-book quality printing and luxurious design. LensWork has subscribers in over 73 countries. He is the author of 13 books on photography and the creative life -- the latest books are The Best of the LensWork Interviews (2016), Photography, Art, and Media (2016), and the four annual volumes of Seeing in SIXES (2016-2019).

HT0486 - Panoramas In Practice
I've recently become quite interested in panorama images. The ability to stitch images together and then print on roll paper has opened the door. The key to this process is to have a perfectly level tripod head - - and the key to that, I've learned, is what's called a "leveling base." It's an adjunct to your tripod that sits between the tripod and your tripod head. Great device if you are interested in panoramas....

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HT0485 - Perfection or Precision
Perfection is an unattainable goal in art making, but precision is not only attainable, but a more reasonable objective. Perfection lies in the eye of the beholder, but precision is totally within our control as art makers....

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HT0484 - Artmaking is Not a Competitive Sport
From time to time in photography, the concept of competition in art making re-surfaces. There are entire photographic organizations dedicated to the idea of competitive awards. The problem with this is that every competitive sport has to have a very rigid set of rules so the competition is fair. But art making must be without any rules, or it simply isn't art making....

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HT0484 - Artmaking is Not a Competitive Sport
From time to time in photography, the concept of competition in art making re-surfaces. There are entire photographic organizations dedicated to the idea of competitive awards. The problem with this is that every competitive sport has to have a very rigid set of rules so the competition is fair. But art making must be without any rules, or it simply isn't art making....

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HT0483 - Copyrights
Copyright is primarily a commercial consideration. But if we don't have commercial aspirations for our work, what is the role of copyright?...

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LW1201 - We Are Artists, Not Dictators
If we're willing to be flexible in the media we use for our artwork, our audience will only grow. You might also be interested in. . . Every Picture Is a Compromise, a new series at www.brooksjensenarts.com. and... "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, a...

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HT0482 - Trophy Landscapes
As a landscape photographer myself, I love the success of making a great landscape image. More and more, however, I've come to realize this an increasing number of contemporary landscapes rely heavily on luck - - lucky light, lucky weather, and then just "click." I guess I like to think that photography should require some talent and skill beyond just luck and good timing....

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HT0481 - Becoming an Artist
Adobe has recently announced a new smartphone app called Photoshop Camera. It uses "lenses" to simulate all kinds of aesthetic manipulations. This is supposed to make us all artists, but if we believe this hogwash we are fooling ourselves.....

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HT0480 - f/5.6 and Be There
When I was young and still cutting my teeth in photography the rule of thumb was f/8 and be there. f/8 seemed to be the universal sweet spot for most situations and most lenses. It's hard to discount such age-old wisdom, but I now find f/5.6 to be my statistically most used aperture and the sweet spot that has become the starting point for all my custom presets....

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HT0479 - Turning About Face
Here is a strange phenomenon that comes up more frequently than you my guess call one I'll start a project and part way through all realize I've got it exactly backwards. Sometimes a serious project morphs into one that's quite humorous; a project I think is about a place, I suddenly realize is about a time period. The point is, I would never arrive at the "better alternative" unless I was at first contemplating the preliminary one. Here again, art making is a process....

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HT0478 - First Ideas, Then Images, or Vice Versa
I am often asked which comes first, the idea for the project or the images? Answer: both ways work, both ways are used, but for me images tend to come first more often than not.....

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HT0477 - Vibrance +100
Just because it's possible to crank the saturation and vibrance up to a 100, doesn't mean it should be used with every picture. In fact, I'm not sure it should be used on any picture, ever. It hurts my eyes....

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HT0476 - Zero to Sixty
Starting from scratch without the benefit of momentum is hard enough. Turning without momentum is almost impossible. It seems that motion is much easier from even a slight bit of momentum. Hence, my love of art books....

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HT0476 - Zero to Sixty
Starting from scratch without the benefit of momentum is hard enough. Turning without momentum is almost impossible. It seems that motion is much easier from even a slight bit of momentum. Hence, my love of art books....

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LW1200 - Most Important Contemporary Photographer
Who is the most important contemporary photographer? An interesting question from a LensWork reader -- that I try to answer, at least from my perspective. You might also be interested in. . . Every Picture Is a Compromise, a new series at www.brooksjensenarts.com. and... "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. Lens...

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LW1200 - Most Important Contemporary Photographer
Who is the most important contemporary photographer? An interesting question from a LensWork reader -- that I try to answer, at least from my perspective. You might also be interested in. . . Every Picture Is a Compromise, a new series at www.brooksjensenarts.com. and... "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. Lens...

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HT0475 - The Long and the Short of It
One of the things I love about photography is its complete plasticity. It's perfect for long projects, it's perfect for short projects. It's perfect for projects that consume an hour or two of shooting, just as easily as it can accommodate a project that takes years or decades to complete....

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HT0475 - The Long and the Short of It
One of the things I love about photography is its complete plasticity. It's perfect for long projects, it's perfect for short projects. It's perfect for projects that consume an hour or two of shooting, just as easily as it can accommodate a project that takes years or decades to complete....

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HT0474 - Target-rich Locations
One of the things that has radically changed in my photography career as I've gotten older is that I now have a better discipline about finding target rich locations. Said another way, I learned how to recognize them whereas in my youth, I probably would have just driven on by. Learning how to find them is an important, but often neglected skill....

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HT0473 - The Love-Hate Relationship with a Camera
Every piece of gear I own is brilliant. Every piece of gear I own is frustrating. I have one camera that makes great pictures, but every time I use it, I want to run over it with the car. I guess success is defined by overcoming the obstacles, including the gear I just hate using....

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HT0472 - What the Eye Doesn't See
When we are trying to learn the capabilities of our camera, we will often do comparison shots. One camera might be noisier than the other, render better color than the other, etc. But in the real world our viewers will never see these comparisons — they will only see our finished images....

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HT0471 - Wasted Pixels
How often do you make a 32x40" print? Seriously, how often? If you do, then a high megapixel camera is best, but if you are like me and almost all of your prints are 17x22" or smaller, then 29 megapixels are all you need. The rest are just wasted pixels....

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HT0470 - Judging a Camera by Its Specialty Tools
I need my camera to take a picture. If it doesn't do 4k video at 180 fps, I'm ok with that; If it doesn't make in-camera panoramas, I'm OK with that; if it doesn't shoot 1200 RAW still images in a minute (20 frames per second), I'm OK with that. There will always be an extreme thing that a camera won't do, but how important is it that your camera be capable of making every possible specialty image?...

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HT0469 - Slightly Off, but Creative
The syncopation of Nancy Wilson and how I use that same idea in photography by composing just off the rule of thirds or just off dead center....

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LW1199 - Selling or Sharing
I tend to think of my personal website not as a brochure for selling my artwork, but as a way to share what I'm doing photographically. Introducing a new series, Every Picture Is a Compromise -- a look at some "also-rans" and the lessons they offer about photography and the creative life. Every Picture Is a Compromise, a new series at www.brooksjensenarts.com. You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photogra...

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HT0468 - Patterns in Your Career
Art careers tend to create a wake of pattern. Rarely can we know an artist by looking at one or two pieces of their work. To really understand them, we need a longer look to see patterns....

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HT0467 - Working Fast
For some kinds of photography, working fast with a fast camera is a virtue. For the kinds of work that I do, working fast usually leads to mistakes and less than ideal results. I think the difference has to do with an inner process, not a photographic one....

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HT0467 - Working Fast
For some kinds of photography, working fast with a fast camera is a virtue. For the kinds of work that I do, working fast usually leads to mistakes and less than ideal results. I think the difference has to do with an inner process, not a photographic one....

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HT0466 - Legacy Language
We are creatures of habit. How else can we explain why we still talk about: 8 x 10, ISO, digital darkroom, or the contact sheet -- instead of a 10" print, gain, our creative desk, or the preview grid. Because it would sound so odd to say, "After I select my image from the preview grid, I adjust the gain and go to my creativity desk to make a something by 10."...

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HT0465 - My Primary Tool for Shallow DOF
It seems that most photographers rely on fast lenses to achieve shallow depth of field, so I purchased a couple of fast primes. I never use them. (In fact, I just sold them.) For my needs, a longer lens used at close distance is a much better solution....

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HT0464 - EXIF audio notes
If I could have a magic wand and add any feature I wanted to a digital camera, it would be a button that would allow me to insert and audio note into the EXIF data of an image....

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HT0463 - Analyzing Metadata
According to the metadata in my Lightroom catalog, I've used 6.3% of my captures in one project or another. However, at ultra-wide focal lengths of 7-12mm (m4/3), I've only used 0.8% of them in a project. Hmmm......

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HT0462 - A Delight to the Eyes
Music has the concept of harmony and dissonance. I've always suspected photography has a similar thing in terms of tones. Some combinations just sing; others seem to fight each other. We can use that in our aesthetic decisions....

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HT0462 - A Delight to the Eyes
Music has the concept of harmony and dissonance. I've always suspected photography has a similar thing in terms of tones. Some combinations just sing; others seem to fight each other. We can use that in our aesthetic decisions....

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LW1198 - The Best Tool for the Job
When it comes to decisions about our equipment, we first must know what it is we're trying to accomplish. You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more ...

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HT0461 - Radical Processing
I've noticed that most of my favorite images from the last decade or so seem to have some radical processing -- meaning that the final image looks quite different from the scene as it appeared to me when I was originally looking at it....

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HT0460 - The Best Answer
In my wet darkroom days, I would typically work an image until I had it matching my previsualized aesthetic. In the digital darkroom, I typically make many variations, sometimes radically different, and then pick the best one for the project....

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HT0459 - A New Photoshop Trick
We all know what the world looks like when your only tool is a hammer. The real trick is to know when a hammer is the perfect tool for the job....

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HT0458 - The Old Fred Picker Newsletters
I remember those newsletters not so much for their technical content and nit picky equipment rants, but rather for the inspiration he provided to pursue excellence in the details. That is a message that is just as valid today as it was when those newsletters were first published....

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HT0458 - The Old Fred Picker Newsletters
I remember those newsletters not so much for their technical content and nit picky equipment rants, but rather for the inspiration he provided to pursue excellence in the details. That is a message that is just as valid today as it was when those newsletters were first published....

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HT0457 - Composing In the Field
I've observed two completely different strategies used by photographers in the field. One group will survey a subject, walk around it, study it from different angles and then make an exposure. The other group leaps in and just starts shooting, emphasizing the spontaneous response....

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HT0456 - Presets and Templates
Just as I use custom camera configurations for different shooting scenarios, I also use presets and templates in software to jump to a starting point. There is always more to do, so a preset is not the end of the process, but it is a shortcut to a better starting point....

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HT0456 - Presets and Templates
Just as I use custom camera configurations for different shooting scenarios, I also use presets and templates in software to jump to a starting point. There is always more to do, so a preset is not the end of the process, but it is a shortcut to a better starting point....

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HT0455 - C1 and C2
In my trip to China and Japan last year, I experimented with two custom configurations determined by the shooting style I would use. It worked spectacularly....

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LW1197 - The Idealized Photograph
Is the idealized world at the heart and soul of fine art photography? You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Brooks Jensen...

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HT0454 - The Least Amount of Fussing
I know that some of you just love fiddling with your camera and enjoy the process of working the mechanics of photography. I'm the opposite and want the least amount of fussing between me and the image that is possible....

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HT0453 - Diffraction in Practice
Advice abounds about avoiding apertures smaller than f/8 lest diffraction softens focus and blurs details. A few thoughts separating the theory from the photographic practice.....

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HT0452 - Blogs About New Cameras
When I'm shopping for a new camera, blogs and opinion reviews can be very helpful. But once I've made my purchase, my attention shifts away from the gear and back to the task at hand -- artmaking....

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HT0451 - Levels of Attention
I can ride my bike while carrying on a conversation. The conversation happens in the foreground while the bicycle management happens in the background. Similarly, we can look at a photograph with our foreground attention or it can just be decor in the background of our consciousness. Audio books and music....

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HT0451 - Levels of Attention
I can ride my bike while carrying on a conversation. The conversation happens in the foreground while the bicycle management happens in the background. Similarly, we can look at a photograph with our foreground attention or it can just be decor in the background of our consciousness. Audio books and music....

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HT0450 - The Problem with Wide Angle Lenses
The fundamental essence of composition is cropping out the unnecessary. The fundamental essence of a wide angle lens is to include more into the frame. Wide angle lenses are tricky because their optical characteristics oppose the essence of composition. Their strength is that used wisely, the resulting tension can be marvelous....

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HT0449 - Where to Sign the Print
Some photographers sign inside the image; some on the mat board. I've always thought it best to sign on the photographic paper, below the image. Implications for matting....

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HT0448 - The Convention of Using Mat Board
Paintings don't use mat board. Now that so many photographs are being viewed on devices, is the "mat board aesthetic" becoming dated?...

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HT0448 - The Convention of Using Mat Board
Paintings don't use mat board. Now that so many photographs are being viewed on devices, is the "mat board aesthetic" becoming dated?...

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HT0447 - Three Kinds of Black
RGB black, CMYK black, and Super Black — and how they can render differently in ways we might not want them to....

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LW1196 - Purpose - The Seven Roles of Photography
What is the purpose of your photographic project? Here are seven roles (or purposes) that can help clarify your thinking about a project and what the next steps might be. You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloa...

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HT0446 - My Don Quixote Years
I once had a fantasy about converting my pickup and camper into a traveling darkroom. I've since learned that this was a common dream among photographers of my generation....

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HT0446 - My Don Quixote Years
I once had a fantasy about converting my pickup and camper into a traveling darkroom. I've since learned that this was a common dream among photographers of my generation....

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HT0445 - The Context of Culture
Here in the age of missing children on milk cartons, that famous photograph by Wynn Bullock, Child in Forest, 1951 takes on a frightening new interpretation. I can't help but wonder how my innocent images made today will be so differently interpreted 50 or 100 years from now should they survive that long. Fortunately, they most likely won't....

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HT0445 - The Context of Culture
Here in the age of missing children on milk cartons, that famous photograph by Wynn Bullock, Child in Forest, 1951 takes on a frightening new interpretation. I can't help but wonder how my innocent images made today will be so differently interpreted 50 or 100 years from now should they survive that long. Fortunately, they most likely won't....

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HT0444 - Jumping to Conclusions
A then B then C then Banana. Viewing art can be so tricky because there is little we can do to overcome the natural human tendency to jump to a conclusion. Each viewer brings their own thought patterns and habits to the interpretation of an artistic statement....

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HT0443 - Beyond the Symbol
"Blue" is not a color: it's a word that symbolizes a vast array of colors. Understanding the subtleties beyond the symbol is the heart of artmaking. In fact, one of the best reasons to be an artist is to sensitize ourselves to the subtleties of perception and life....

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HT0442 - Why Photography is an Art
Art is not defined by a medium but the use of a medium defines art. You can use paint to cover a boat or a house or to make art; you can use words to write a grocery list or a poem. You can use your voice to order take-out over the telephone or to sing an opera. Use defines art, not media....

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HT0441 - Print-on-demand Books
Like all new technologies, the early days of print-on-demand books left a lot to be desired. Quality and consistency made them less than ideal for fine art photographers. But, there are quality improvements just around the corner, and familiarity with this technology is becoming more and more valuable....

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HT0440 - Finding vs Making
Is the picture already there? If so, where did it come from? History and cliché expectations? Rules and compliance with normalcy? Or did it come from you, the true and unique you?...

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LW1195 - An Everyday Exercise
An exercise you can do every day to keep your aesthetic brain lubricated and ready to go when you next pick up the camera or work on your images. Direction and character of the light; Color and Contrast: Edges and Corners; Layers and ranges; Subject and the Deeper Subject You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as ...

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HT0439 - Compositional Surprise
Sometimes the true impact of an image doesn't reveal itself to us until we see some small detail. The success of these photographs is delayed revelation....

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HT0438 - The Pursuit of Those Dancing Angels
Although it can be fun chasing a noise-free, tack sharp, infinite detail, high dynamic range photograph, such efforts can easily become an obsession that pulls us away from the heart of artmaking....

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HT0437 - The Next Generation
The next generation often toils in the shadows of giants, but that doesn't mean their work is unworthy of our admiration. Because they didn't have to pioneer techniques and ideas, their work often shows a maturity that is surprising and well worth our effort to seek them out and remember them....

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HT0436 - What Was I Thinking!
Looking back at our earliest work and the seeds that can be found there. Some of them have matured; many ideas are just as well forgotten, but some need re-discovering and our attention. Some images may be worth pursuing with new tools, more mature ideas, and could lead to something very interesting....

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HT0435 - Faster Than I Am
In my youth I owned a motor drive for my Nikon FM for a short while until I learned how many rolls of 36 exposures I could burn through in jig time. But with today's cameras, there is a reason to revisit this old strategy....

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HT0434 - The Intellect and the Heart
If someone says that one of your photographs made a powerful connection with them, which would you value more — that it made them think? Or, that it made them feel? And, of course, there are those rare images that do both. Wow....

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LW1194 - Twelve Reasons Why I Still Make Prints
In this age of digital everything, there are still plenty of reasons to make and treasure the printed photograph. Prints may not be the sole medium for our images, but prints are still an important part of my art life. You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes...

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HT0433 - An Artistic Pseudonym
I was recently reading a novel set in old Japan from the turn of the century by Onoto Watana. It turns out that Onoto Watana was a pseudonym adopted by a very American author named Winifred Eaton. This got me thinking about how pseudonyms are used in marketing. Think Weegee the Famous. Maybe I need a pseudonym, too.....

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HT0432 - Letting Go of Gear
I struggle when it comes to selling gear I no longer use. There is always that nagging question about whether I might need it someday! I have gear I've hung onto for 40 years thinking I might need it someday. But I have a new strategy to try and I'm on the warpath against stuff....

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HT0431 - Three Mistakes I Try to Avoid
Confusing image quality with technical quality: one is about emotion, the other is about technology. Confusing activity with progress: activity tends to gather, progress tends to discard and distill. Confusing "photographing" with photography: being out with the camera is not the same as using photography to comments about life....

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HT0431 - Three Mistakes I Try to Avoid
Confusing image quality with technical quality: one is about emotion, the other is about technology. Confusing activity with progress: activity tends to gather, progress tends to discard and distill. Confusing "photographing" with photography: being out with the camera is not the same as using photography to comments about life....

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HT0430 - Single Image Mindset
I find I have a completely different mindset if I'm doing a project that will include a group of images as compared to a single, stand-alone image. More importantly, I need to be able to flip back and forth between the two strategies as needed....

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HT0429 - What If
Asking "What if?" is a game of imagination that can open lots of interesting creative possibilities. What counts is not the answer to "What if?" but rather the secondary ideas that pop up once you engage the "What if?" exercise....

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HT0428 - Setting the Exposure
The old Zone System maxim was, "Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights." Now, especially with ETTR, we need to do just the opposite: Expose for the whites, process for the shadows. In either case, the goal is the same....

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HT0427 - Our Self-Identity
When you call yourself a "photographer," what do you mean by that?...

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LW1193 - Innovation and the Cliché
The innovative is the unexpected whereas the cliché is the thoroughly expected. The deeper question is which do we value more? You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of conten...

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HT0426 - Smartphones
I rarely use the camera on my smartphone, but it has become one of the most important tools in my photographic life. Notes, field recordings, interviews, sunrise and moon rise data, remote camera control, and even Lightroom Online....

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HT0425 - Our Hybrid World
Most electronic devices these days (camera, phones, etc.) are hybrid use devices. That's great for manufacturers, but I've learned that I just don't work that way. I can't do stills and video at the same time. My brain just doesn't flip back and forth that easily....

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HT0424 - Telephoto Lenses
Most photographers use a long lens to pull distance object closer, particularly small subjects like birds. I tend to use my telephoto lens in the 10-25 feet range so I can take advantage of its tight cropping and shallow depth of field....

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HT0423 - A New Life
Long forgotten novelists are getting a new audience because of the Kindle. Certainty, this could not have been predicted. What future technology might do the same for our photography? We can't know, not we can anticipate that there will be something....

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HT0422 - Has the Magic Disappeared
I remember in my youth how I was speechless when viewing certain images. They were simply magical. I could not fathom how they were made or with what expertise was to be found in the priesthood photography. But now? I can't remember the last time I was speechless when looking at a photograph. Does this Just say something about me? Or is it something about the technology of photography and its progress through history?...

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HT0421 - The Fleeting Nature of Fame
J .S. Fletcher was one of the most popular and widely read novelists of 100 years ago. Who reads his novels or remembers him today?...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0421 - The Fleeting Nature of Fame
J .S. Fletcher was one of the most popular and widely read novelists of 100 years ago. Who reads his novels or remembers him today?...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0420 - Curriculum Vitae
How does your lengthy curriculum vitae improve your artwork? I can't help but wonder if a curriculum vitae is a way for people to sidestep judging the quality of the artwork....

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LW1192 - Opening Doors You Never Knew Existed
Finish your work and get it out where you can. If you do that, doors will open that you didn't even know were there. You might also be interested in. . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, conten...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0419 - Photographic Typos
Perhaps it's because I'm a publisher that I'm so sensitive to typographic mistakes. I cringe each time we discover one in a printed edition of LensWork. I've transcribed this idea into my photography, too, and look for "photographic typos" in my images....

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HT0418 - Long-lasting Relationships
We have a Memento Smart Frame in our living room that I can program to show images for a specified amount of time. I'm surprised at my response to the speed with which the images change. Also, a thought about how this compares to prints....

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HT0417 - Deleting Those Failed Images
Don't delete those failed images. Rather than deleting images that don't measure up to your expectations, try changing your expectations! Can you use that failed image as a background, salvage a part for use in another image, set it aside for some future project you can't now predict....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0416 - Conformity
Some 35 years ago, I flirted with black mat board. I had good reasons to do so. But the pressure to conform to the standard white mat board was simply overwhelming. Why is conformity such a big deal in a pursuit that supposedly values creativity so highly?...

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HT0415 - Trends
When we are in the middle of a trend, we may not be able to identify it as a trend. But, with enough years and perspective, we see how fashions come and go. For example, in my youth it was all about maximizing depth of field and hence the view camera with its tilts and swings. Today it's all about shallow depth of field and the virtues of full frame cameras. The pendulum swings....

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HT0414 - The Measure of Your Success
How do you define artistic success? I can think of about 100 different answers to this question. All of them are valid for someone. But the only answer that matters for us art makers is the one that applies to ourselves. And if you have more than one, how do they rank?...

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HT0413 - Photographing at Home
There are suddenly lots of suggestions about how to photograph something at home while we are quarantined during this pandemic of 2020. Why do we have to make it an unusual project? Photographers have been making great artwork at home for generations!...

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LW1191 - The Aesthetic Moment
Art is -- or can be -- a vehicle that can connect us with the world and to life in The Aesthetic Moment. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more conte...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


HT0412 - Universal Subjects
I recently discovered, thanks to the Internet, the pages from Fox Talbot's historic project, The Pencil of Nature. I was surprised to see an image of a broom prompt askew in a doorway that his eerily similar to an image that I made in Japan a number of years ago. What is it about universal ideas and what we determine is photogenic?...

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HT0411 - Some Colors Are Just Wrong
Skies can be blue or orange or yellow, but a cyan sky looks like a color palette mistake....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0410 - Of What Use Is Art?
I'm often asked this question about my folios and chapbooks, "Of what use are they?" Framed prints have a use to decorate the wall, to enhance the room decor, but how does a folio and chapbook function in the practical world? Do we ask this of music, of ballet, of poetry?...

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HT0409 - Reduced to an Image or Two
It's a shame when a photographer's life work is reduced to just a couple of images....

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HT0408 - The Passion to Produce
Artists of the previous generations often exhibit a drive to produce their artwork at the expense of their financial success. They often lived in poverty or at best modest means. Contrast with today where photography appears to be a hobby for those who have disposable income to spare....

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HT0407 - Artwork and Money
I enjoy the TV program Antiques Roadshow. One thing that always fascinates me is how people who are reasonably calm and emotionless get so excited and even tearful when they hear what their art work is worth. I wonder if they ever get so excited about the artwork itself?...

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HT0406 - The Aspect Ratio of Human Vision
Human vision, including our peripheral vision, is an oval in an aspect ratio that is approximately 1.87 to one. Why, then, isn't it natural for photography to use the ubiquitous 16:9 aspect ratio as its standard?...

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LW1190 - Photographic Literacy
If you're interested in broadening your photographic literacy, here are a few ideas. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Br...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0405 - Dynamic Range
Some thoughts on the dynamic range of a print versus the dynamic range of a screen. Many photographers are not comfortable with electronic presentation of their images, but it must be acknowledged that the dynamic range of an electronic display is far greater than that of any type of paper-based print....

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HT0404 - The Theme and the Thread
In LensWork #124, Beate Sass' theme was local baseball and in particular the dugout. But, the thread that tied all the images together were her many close-up images of hands, hands with baseball, hands with gloves. Theme and thread worked together to make this a terrific project....

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HT0403 - Revisiting Your Older Work
Technology changes, times change, and of course we change. If our objective is to make the best work possible, maybe revisiting older work is Justified if we can make it better....

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HT0402 - What You Feel Today
A lot of fine art photography is based on the spectacular scene or the spectacular place. An alternative to that is to simply try to photograph what you feel today. An example from LensWork alumnus Al DaValle. www.davallephotography.com....

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HT0401 - Shadow Detail
I've always thought that preserving detail in the deep shadows and the bright highlights is more important than color fidelity. I'd much rather have dynamic range than more megapixels....

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HT0400 - Waiting
Photography is waiting: for the light, for the alignment of objects, for the idea, for the moment of action. Employing the 180-degree rule gives us something to do that might be productive while we wait....

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HT0399 - The Great Divide
The schism in my photographic archives unknowingly created when I converted to a digital workflow and all those analog film negatives that I now need to scan in order to make them available with their digital cousins....

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HT0399 - The Great Divide
The schism in my photographic archives unknowingly created when I converted to a digital workflow and all those analog film negatives that I now need to scan in order to make them available with their digital cousins....

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LW1189 - The Metaphysics of Photography
We know we're really connected to our subject when it occupies our full attention. But before that happens, it has to start in our subconscious. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally teraby...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0398 - The Never-ending Crescendo
Music needs soft passages and loud ones, allegro and andante. So does an exhibition or publication of photographs. When every image has the vibrance and saturation turned up, the onslaught can over-power our senses....

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HT0397 - Print Size and the Angle of View
Print size and a comfortable viewing distance. The angle of view and the pragmatics of presbyopia....

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HT0396 - Fellow Travelers
Who are your photographic fellow travelers? What can you learn about your own work and creative path by studying their work and their biographies?...

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HT0396 - Fellow Travelers
Who are your photographic fellow travelers? What can you learn about your own work and creative path by studying their work and their biographies?...

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HT0395 - What You See, What You Think
Photography can be both a mnemonic device and a device we can use to make a response to the world....

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HT0394 - Millimeter by Millimeter
If we were painters, we would take as a given that we had to cover every millimeter of our canvas with a paint of our conscious decision. As photographers we don't normally think this way. Perhaps we should....

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HT0393 - Living with an Image
I remember being advised, in my youth, To take a print and thumbtack it to the bulletin board and live with it for a while before I made any final decisions about processing. I can't recall a single image that I didn't improve after I had lived with it for a week or so....

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HT0392 - Hyperbole in Artwork
Bierstadt's painting and our hyper-everything culture....

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LW1188 - Exploring the Possibilities
Launching a new LensWork Online video series, "Exploring the Possibilities" -- Not "How to", but the What and Why of post-processing decisions. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabyt...

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HT0391 - Strategic Regularity
This is a comment specifically for those of us who do photography as a personal passion or hobby. It's so easy for us to produce work sporadically. It's so much better if we can develop a strategy that works in our life that makes our productivity more regular....

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HT0390 - No Room for Your Bruised Ego
Every experience of your life has the seeds of artistic growth. Even being rejected offers lessons of value, if that is your bruised ego doesn't get in the way....

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HT0389 - A New Bit of Terminology
Photoshop is the brainchild of Thomas Knoll. Because we have Daguerreotypes and Woodburytypes so called for their namesakes Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and Walter B. Woodbury, why not the Knollotype for all the analog purists who insist that a digital work flow does not produce a true "photograph"?...

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HT0388 - Connection
We live in the age of media, which means we live in the age of "one to many." By that, I mean that one person speaks, or writes, or photographs, and many people listen, read, or look. But this is not the heart of art. The heart of art is one to one....

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HT0387 - Edward Weston's Camera
It is said that Weston knew his camera and lens so well that once he had set his tripod in position, he never needed to move it because he knew the lens coverage perfectly. I wonder if this was actually true?...

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HT0386 - The Mona Lisa by Microscope
I suppose there might be scientific reasons for examining the Mona Lisa with a microscope, but not if you want to appreciate it as artwork. I silently cringe when someone views my prints from nose-print distance because I know they are not looking at my artwork....

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HT0385 - How You Define Fun
There are all kinds of ways to engage fine art photography. How do you define fun? And isn't every possible definition just as valid as the next? It's a matter of knowing where fun is found for each of us....

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LW1187 - FOMO and Managing the Exceptions
All of photography is a compromise of one form or another. Our success is a measure of how well we manage those compromises. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, conte...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0384 - The Dedicated and the Gifted
Lots of photographers I talk to say they want to make money by selling their photographs. Athletes who make money with their sport are not just working at it full time, every day, but they're also naturally gifted. Wouldn't that pertain to us photographers, too? Why not just have fun?...

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HT0383 - For What Purpose
There is a flaw in the premise of the star rating paradigm in Lightroom. How do you rate an image if you don't know its purpose?...

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HT0382 - Working a Project
For me, "working a project" rarely means making more exposures. It usually means refining the idea. Trim the superfluous, clarify the essence, distill to the necessary....

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HT0381 - The $19,000 New Leica S3
At heart, I'm a free-market capitalist, so if you want to pay $19,000 for a medium format Leica camera, I say go ahead! On the other hand, I'd be really curious to see your photographic reasoning for justifying this. It seems to me it's more about owning the camera than it is a decision driven by photographic need....

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HT0380 - Buggywhips and Photographic Prints
Did the buggy whip makers see what was happening to them while it was happening? I wonder what we would see via hindsight a hundred years from now in the times we are living through! I wonder what we are oblivious to today precisely because we are living through it....

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HT0379 - Audience Segmentation
Let's say you want to read Oliver Twist... Each rendition has its own audience so there are countless variations in the experience of consuming Oliver Twist. Of course, can't we say the same thing about our photography in this media-diverse age of photography?...

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HT0378 - How to Make Your Photos Better
I have no idea. The key word in that sentence is "your", and anything that anyone might tell you about how to improve those photographs will simply be advice on how to more closely follow the rules, the expected, the accepted, the normal. If that's what you want to produce, then lots of people will have lots of advice for you. If you want to produce something that's truly your own, the only thing that counts is whether the photograph works to communicate what you want to say....

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LW1186 - So You Want to Do a Book
A few practicalities to think about before you leap into a book project. First, have you thoroughly thought about why you want to do a book? You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes o...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


LW1186 - So You Want to Do a Book
A few practicalities to think about before you leap into a book project. First, have you thoroughly thought about why you want to do a book? You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes o...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0377 - Image Stitching and Detail
There are three basic strategies for getting more detail in our images: higher megapixel cameras, multi-shot in-camera with a moving sensor, and stitching. I'll use stitching every time I can because it gives the most detail when I need it....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0377 - Image Stitching and Detail
There are three basic strategies for getting more detail in our images: higher megapixel cameras, multi-shot in-camera with a moving sensor, and stitching. I'll use stitching every time I can because it gives the most detail when I need it....

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HT0376 - More About More
How necessary is it for our photographs to have more detail when they will be mostly viewed at a distance? Does it make sense to spend our creative energy to that very rare viewer can examine our 4-foot prints from a distance of 6-inches?...

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HT0375 - When More is Not Really More
More pixels are not a virtue if you make smaller prints; more bit-depth is not a virtue unless you do a lot of aggressive post-processing. More can be better, or it can just clog up the system with unnecessary data....

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HT0374 - Information Graphics
The dance between texture/details and line/shape/geometry. And, a great technique for use in the field thanks to Huntington Witherill....

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HT0373 - I Don't Remember
Sometimes when I get back from a photographic trip, I'll discover images in review that I absolutely do not remember photographing. These are always important images because they come from deep within my subconscious and are gateways to understanding elements of our art making that are not known to us....

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HT0372 - Guidebooks
Some people love guidebooks because they help with info that tells them where to go. I avoid guidebooks because I prefer the freedom to discover things on my own. I want the intensity of a new discovery not dulled by foreknowledge....

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HT0371 - What Went Wrong
Every time you click the shutter, you think at the time that you've made a good photograph. Far too often, we find later that it doesn't succeed like we thought. Why? Do you study your failures to learn why they are failures? Perhaps you should, like studying game films....

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LW1185 - Empirical Thoughts about What Matters with Cameras
Once we've made the decision about the scale of our images, we are free to explore the quality of the content rather than the technology. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of ...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0370 - Bad Photographs
There are plenty of photographs you won't show anybody, that will never see the light of day, that don't measure up to your highest standards, but that doesn't make them bad. They are good, maybe even great, in showing you the way. If you don't make them you may not learn that all-important thing that gets you to the finish line....

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HT0369 - The Perfect Camera is Also the Worst Camera
A butter knife makes a lousy screwdriver even in an emergency, but it always makes an excellent butter-knife - - always. My camera is the perfect camera for what I do, but it might be the worst possible choice you could make for the photography you want to do. We live in the age of specialization....

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HT0369 - The Perfect Camera is Also the Worst Camera
A butter knife makes a lousy screwdriver even in an emergency, but it always makes an excellent butter-knife - - always. My camera is the perfect camera for what I do, but it might be the worst possible choice you could make for the photography you want to do. We live in the age of specialization....

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HT0368 - More About Zabriskie Point
It's tempting to revisit the exact location of a famous photograph, but invariably I experience a bit of a letdown as I realize the photograph was made more spectacular than the place is by a talented photographer....

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HT0368 - More About Zabriskie Point
It's tempting to revisit the exact location of a famous photograph, but invariably I experience a bit of a letdown as I realize the photograph was made more spectacular than the place is by a talented photographer....

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HT0367 - Zabriskie Point
The Edward Weston image is intimidating, but the adjacent area offers just as much potential. Where are the photographs of Twenty Mule Team Canyon?...

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HT0366 - Photographing at Sunrise
The quality of the light is more important than the time of day....

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HT0365 - Trusting Our Creative Self
We each have unique eyes, unique experiences, unique memories, and unique points of view. These things are the keys to avoiding the cliché photo when we are in the cliché landscape....

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HT0364 - New Tools and Old Prejudices
I used to avoid making landscapes on hazy days, but now we have the Dehaze tool that can help. Nonetheless, my old habits often kick in and I have to remember that I have this new tool and just make the exposure....

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LW1184 - More on Content and Performance
A continuation of last week's thought experiment about the balancing act of content and performance in photography. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and ...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0363 - To Crop or Not to Crop
By the very act of framing the shot, you are cropping a section of the world into your photograph. Why would further cropping in the darkroom or the computer be considered inappropriate?...

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HT0362 - Miles Per Shot
How many miles per shot do we need to drive and why I've become a fan of "Destination Location" photography....

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HT0361 - Color or Black-and-White
Depends on the subject and whether or not the color is important. Just like in composing, eliminate the non-essential....

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HT0360 - One Word Response
Here is an interesting exercise for your photo group or during a critique/feedback session....

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HT0359 - Inside Jokes
Art that requires an education in art in order to understand it, is like an inside joke. It may be funny to those in the know, but ultimately excludes everyone else from the appreciation of the artwork....

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HT0359 - Inside Jokes
Art that requires an education in art in order to understand it, is like an inside joke. It may be funny to those in the know, but ultimately excludes everyone else from the appreciation of the artwork....

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HT0358 - Distracting Bokeh Balls
Shallow depth of field seems to be all the rage these days, but one of the problems that such depth of field can introduce is distractingly white and extra-large bokeh balls....

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HT0357 - Naming Things
What mountain is that? What flower is that? Where was that? Naming something is not a way of knowing it, but rather a way of dismissing it. As the Buddhists say, "The five colors blind the eye, the five notes deafen the ear."...

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LW1183 - Content and Performance
Photography is often a balancing act of content and performance. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Brooks Jensen's podcasts, t...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0356 - Sharpness and Our Expectations
Today's sharpness is not the same as yesterday's sharpness. Today's lenses are better, software more sophisticated, and the standards have been raised. But it isn't at all fair to judge yesterday's images by today's standards....

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HT0355 - Finding the Magnification of Meaning
Photography is as optical tool and therefore every time we photograph something we use an optical magnification whether we are aware of it or not. This leads to an interesting strategy for finding the magnification of meaning....

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HT0354 - Leaning Toward Minimalism
The world is naturally a chaotic place and a large part of art-making is to simplify to the essentials. We are always leaning toward minimalism, and only on the most rare occasions do we create photographs that are more chaotic than the world....

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HT0352 - Known for One
Dickens would still be great if you only knew him via Oliver Twist. But it would be a shame to only know Oliver Twist because he wrote so much more that was just as inspired. The same could be said of Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, and all the great photographers in history. They're known for an image or two, but if you dig more deeply there is so much depth to be discovered....

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HT0353 - No More Photography
What would you do if you could no longer make photographs? Would you make other kinds of art? Would you give up artmaking? If you had to become a poet, what would your subject be?...

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HT0351 - No Excuses
Caravaggio, Rachmaninoff, Josef Sudek, three artists we don't remember for their excuses, but rather for their accomplishments in spite of their incredibly valid reasons for not producing their art....

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HT0350 - Daydreaming
How I spend the majority of my time in Lightroom will probably surprise you. I find it a great tool for daydreaming an allowing the threads and ideas hidden in my work to make themselves visible....

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HT0350 - Daydreaming
How I spend the majority of my time in Lightroom will probably surprise you. I find it a great tool for daydreaming an allowing the threads and ideas hidden in my work to make themselves visible....

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LW1182 - We Have Arrived
Are we now at or near the point where our cameras have no limitations? You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Brooks Jensen's podca...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

LW1182 - We Have Arrived
Are we now at or near the point where our cameras have no limitations? You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Brooks Jensen's podca...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


HT0349 - Editioning
We photographers can borrow an idea from publishing -- the edition number -- for each implementation of a revised creative vision for a project or an individual image....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0349 - Editioning
We photographers can borrow an idea from publishing -- the edition number -- for each implementation of a revised creative vision for a project or an individual image....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0348 - The Element of Time
I was fascinated with an email I received from a friend describing his process for looking at my Kokoro PDFs. I realized his method would be completely lost (and diminished) if he were to cede control of time to a video or slide show....

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HT0347 - Books vs Videos
Who controls the element of time? In slide shows and videos of still photography, the producer controls how long each image appears. I'm not in favor of losing control of how much time I spend with a photograph. Give me books, please....

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HT0346 - The Precious Print
What are we to do when consuming the artwork destroys it? An example of a challenging exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute....

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HT0345 - The Missing Golden Rectangle
For all the fuss the art world places on the Golden Ratio, why are there no photographic aspect ratios that fit that supposedly sublime 1:0.618 formula? I never see prints that are 8 x11.3, no 11x15.5, no 17x24. Curious....

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HT0344 - Conversation First
When making a portrait of strangers, I always find it best to start with a conversation before I pull out the camera. Talking with them and asking a few questions removes suspicion from the encounter....

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HT0343 - Art Left to Be Found
In our dominant commercial culture, it's nice sometimes to just make a photograph to be left behind somewhere and discovered serendipitously by an unsuspecting member of the public. Why? Maybe it's as simple as good karma....

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LW1181 - Our Magnificent Planet
Now accepting entries for our 2020 LensWork Community Book Project! We are shifting gears from six-image projects to outstanding single images. Our 2020 book project is for those of you who prefer to create a stand-alone, stand-out image. This book will revolve around a theme, and will be titled Our Magnificent Planet. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about t...

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HT0342 - Two Levels of Creativity
At any location where I photograph, I invariably find there are a dozen or so pictures that come easily. The important ones, however, are the ones you have to work for, the compositions that aren't so obvious. Don't give up too early,...

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HT0341 - Bill Jay's Exhibition
Bill Jay did a project titled, "Men Like Me" where he photographed the older homeless guys near where he lived in San Diego. This story from Bill about an exhibition of his portraits touches me and I can relate to it with my own work....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0340 - The Relationship Between Print Size and Decor
The bigger the print, the more dominant it becomes in the room, and the more dominant it becomes in the room, the more it needs to fulfill its role as décor - i.e., not clash with the couch....

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LW1180 - Your Intent
We can't always control the message people see in our work, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have one. You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more cont...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

LW1179 - Questions to Ask While You Are Looking at a Photograph
In today's Here's a Thought . . . video, I proposed that really looking at a photograph involves effort -- or should. In our Instagram world, this is an odd thought. But what does that mean to apply effort when looking at a photograph? You might also be interested in… "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online...

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LW1178 - When Your Brain Works Against You
My quick introduction to the reticular activating system. You might be interested in . . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. LensWork Online includes hundreds of hours of audio, video, and downloadable content - literally terabytes of content, content, and more content. All 1200+ of Brooks Jensen's podcasts, th...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


LW1177 - Photographic Myths
Just because everyone says it and it's deeply rooted in conventional wisdom, that doesn't make it true. As a pragmatist, I'm amazed how many myths about digital photography simply don't describe what I experience as a pragmatic image maker. You might be interested in . . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. Lens...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

LW1176 - Digital Myths
Just because everyone says it and it's deeply rooted in conventional wisdom, that doesn't make it true. As a pragmatist, I'm amazed how many myths about digital photography simply don't describe what I experience as a pragmatic image maker. You might be interested in . . . "How to" tutorials and camera reviews are everywhere on YouTube, but if you're interested in photography and the creative life, you need to know about the incredible resources you can access as a member of LensWork Online. Lens...

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LW1175 - Fundamental Decisions
Before I left for Asia this year, I went back and did a deep review of my images from 2009 - in particular, those images that had a technological failure. From this review, I developed a strategy that I'm delighted to report worked perfectly during this year's trip. You might be interested in . . . Announcing the 2020 LensWork Community Book Project! In 2020, we are shifting gears from six-image projects to outstanding single images. Our 2020 book project is for those of you who prefer to cr...

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HT0272 - Insulation Through Diversification
Here's a thought ... The more completed projects you have, the higher the likelihood that one of them will connect with any given viewer....

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HT0271 - A New Camera
Here's a thought ... Why do we want a new camera? Is it a technological reason, or a case of artistic creative avoidance?...

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HT0270 - Defeating Noise
Here's a thought ... ISO invariance and ETTR, at least from my pragmatic, non-scientific understanding....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0270 - Defeating Noise
Here's a thought ... ISO invariance and ETTR, at least from my pragmatic, non-scientific understanding....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0269 - Sharpening
Here's a thought ... Over-sharpening is not the same thing as making a photograph too sharp. I'm beginning to think this is an aesthetic question rather than a technical one....

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HT0268 - Your Equipment Budget
Here's a thought ... Which is more important, the camera you use or the lens? I've always thought that lenses are more important than cameras; the lens touches the light, but the camera doesn't. Well, today's cameras do touch the light with the sensor. Nonetheless, I still allocate most of my budget for lenses....

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HT0267 - It Takes Two
Here's a thought ... I've often talked about my conviction that art is about connecting people. But as artmakers, we have only half of that equation at our disposal - making the work. The rest of the connection is in the hands of our viewers over which we have no control. We let go and walk away....

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HT0266 - Regrets
Here's a thought ... What you can do is more important than the regrets over what you can't do....

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HT0266 - Regrets
Here's a thought ... What you can do is more important than the regrets over what you can't do....

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HT0265 - Emotional Content
Here's a thought ... Photographs of objects struggle to have emotional content because objects don't have emotional content. For example, landscapes prompt an emotional response from the experience or memory of the viewer....

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HT0264 - Borrowing Ideas
Here's a thought ... Russian Orthodox icons and their layouts; film noir and its use of lighting; comic strips and thought balloons. Why not borrow some of these layout and design ideas for photography? It might not be traditional photography, but it might be a great use of borrowed ideas....

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HT0263 - Deep Viewing
Here's a thought ... Mortimer Adler's book on how to read a book. Engaging artwork rather than merely looking at it; asking questions, considering points of view, arguing with the photographer. This is all part of the conversation of and about art....

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HT0262 - Travel Photography
Here's a thought ... There are several strategies for travel photography, but the one I find always works best for me is when I have a base camp and then spend each day exploring in a different direction of the compass. I spend less time traveling and moving suitcases, and more time photographing and thinking about what I'm seeing....

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HT0262 - Travel Photography
Here's a thought ... There are several strategies for travel photography, but the one I find always works best for me is when I have a base camp and then spend each day exploring in a different direction of the compass. I spend less time traveling and moving suitcases, and more time photographing and thinking about what I'm seeing....

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HT0261 - Too Close to Home
Here's a thought ... Two completely different experiences photographing in the same place based on our different upbringing....

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HT0259 - Access
Here's a thought ... You may be able to go back, but that doesn't mean you will be able to make photographs....

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HT0260 - When a Project Ends
Here's a thought ... Or, does it? We may conclude something, like an exhibition or a book or a PDF, but unless our interest in the idea ends, the project probably never does....

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HT0258 - The Odd One That Opens the Door
Here's a thought ... The spirit of Minor White, or Wynn Bullock, or Paul Strand, or some image I've seen from a photographer unknown will often creep into my creative process and encourage me to photograph an odd image that doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I've been photographing. These images often open the door to very interesting ideas and projects....

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HT0258 - The Odd One That Opens the Door
Here's a thought ... The spirit of Minor White, or Wynn Bullock, or Paul Strand, or some image I've seen from a photographer unknown will often creep into my creative process and encourage me to photograph an odd image that doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I've been photographing. These images often open the door to very interesting ideas and projects....

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HT0257 - Shooting in Clusters
Here's a thought ... I used to shoot in single shots, possibly because I shot film, possibly because I was focused on the single spectacular image. More and more, however, I find myself shooting in clusters....

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HT0256 - The Establishing Shot
Here's a thought ... With every project, it's worth thinking about whether or not we need and "establishing shot" so viewers have some idea about where or what they are about to see....

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HT0256 - The Establishing Shot
Here's a thought ... With every project, it's worth thinking about whether or not we need and "establishing shot" so viewers have some idea about where or what they are about to see....

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HT0255 - Luck
Here's a thought ... Artmaking must be more than mere luck. Well, that's true most of the time....

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HT0254 - Focus Bracketing
Here's a thought ... When it comes to the pragmatics of modern cameras, I would rather have innovative features like focus bracketing than an ever-increasing number of megapixels....

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HT0253 - Right for Me
Here's a thought ... Each of us are different and our minds work differently, too. Thank goodness for customizable camera buttons and configurations....

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HT0252 - Compliments
Here's a thought ... Form over substance. I don't think Dickens would value a comment about one of his novels if it was limited to a compliment about his penmanship....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


HT0252 - Compliments
Here's a thought ... Form over substance. I don't think Dickens would value a comment about one of his novels if it was limited to a compliment about his penmanship....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0251 - Emotional Color
Here's a thought ... White balance and tint can dramatically effect the emotional impact even if the colors are not true. For art photography, truth has a certain irrelevancy when it comes to color fidelity....

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HT0250 - My Favorite F-stop
Here's a thought ... A visit to Stonehenge on the Columbia Gorge motivates an agreement with Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap about going to 11....

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HT0249 - Whatever It Takes
Here's a thought ... Reproducibility is illusive. Diligence and attention to detail are the antidote. Reflections on a recent press check and a few challenges....

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HT0248 - My Deep Angle Lens
Here's a thought ... I've come to an evidentiary conclusion that I am a lousy wide-angle photographer. I am, however, pretty good at deep angle photography....

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HT0247 - Waiting for the Light
Here's a thought ... I often find that light is not the most important factor when photographing. At other times, it is so important that a good photograph is entirely dependent on it....

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HT0246 - The Weather
Here's a thought ... The outdoors is, well, out of doors. Weather is a factor that that can ruin the best plans. Adapting to the weather is the antidote....

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HT0245 - Feature or Flaw
Here's a thought ... Are smaller sensors flawed because they struggle to render a shallow depth of field, or is their ability to render a greater depth of field a virtue that gives them a decided advantage?...

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HT0244 - The Intrusion of Advertising
Here's a thought ... When I visit a photography website, I go to look at photographs, not be overwhelmed with advertising, pop-up screens, flashing graphics, and other crap that gets in the way....

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HT0243 - A Preflight Checklist
Here's a thought ... Before I start shooting… turn on phone GPS tracker; sync clock between phone and camera; new folder on the camera; cleanliness of the lenses; picture of the sky to check for dust on the sensor....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0242 - Backups and Equipment Failure
Here's a thought ... Tech failures are normal and should be expected. But, when failure is not an option . . . Batteries and chargers. Cards. Cameras. Spiderlight holster and pins. Backup lens caps. Spare eyeglasses....

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HT0241 - Friends I've Never Met
Here's a thought ... The photographic portrait allows connections with a stranger far out of proportion to expectations, even if those connections are through another photographer as the third party....

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HT0240 - Snapshots and Art
Here's a thought ... Google Maps and Google Street View are filled with photos that can be useful in planning a trip, but they sure do illustrate the difference between camera-as-recording-device and photographer-as-artmaker....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0240 - Snapshots and Art
Here's a thought ... Google Maps and Google Street View are filled with photos that can be useful in planning a trip, but they sure do illustrate the difference between camera-as-recording-device and photographer-as-artmaker....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0239 - Gathering Ideas
Here's a thought ... Preparing for my upcoming trip to Asia has me fretting over the gear list. What I should be doing instead is thinking about what I want to photograph and why. Ideas, not gear, will be the measure of success of this trip....

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HT0239 - Gathering Ideas
Here's a thought ... Preparing for my upcoming trip to Asia has me fretting over the gear list. What I should be doing instead is thinking about what I want to photograph and why. Ideas, not gear, will be the measure of success of this trip....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0238 - Special Typographic Characters
Here's a thought ... Em dash, ellipses, typographer's quotes, thin white spaces. These are just a few examples of typographic characters that professional typographers use, and that if we don't, will tend to make our work look amateurish....

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HT0237 - Unbridled Lust
Here's a thought ... For the vast majority of my photographic career, there was a camera that was the object of my unreasonable desire -- a Deardorff 8x10. In retrospect, I didn't lust after the Deardorff brand or craftsmanship; I lusted after the exquisite sensuality of an 8x10 contact print....

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HT0236 - The Printed Picture
Here's a thought ... Fantastic overview of photographic image media, particularly of commercial means of printing images since the inception of printed media....

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HT0235 - The Subject of the Story
Here's a thought ... We can remember the process of making a photograph. It's easy to tell a story about that process. But if the story is about our process (instead of the subject), it will be a lot less interesting to the viewer....

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HT0234 - Brown
Here's a thought ... Brown is such a lovely color for a black-and-white print, but such a difficult color to nail perfectly. Finding the right tint of brown is a matter of trial and error....

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HT0233 - What We Leave Behind
Here's a thought ... I read last week that Ginger Baker passed away. Thankfully, now that he and Jack Bruce are both gone we can still enjoy their creative output....

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HT0232 - An Introduction Book
Here's a thought ... An idea that makes photographing access much easier when you are in a foreign country, especially if you don't speak the local language....

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HT0231 - Edges
Here's a thought ... Wherever there is an edge, there is potential for a great photograph. In a print, wherever there is an edge or a corner, a distraction is magnified. In photography, manage the edges and your photography will improve....

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HT0231 - Edges
Here's a thought ... Wherever there is an edge, there is potential for a great photograph. In a print, wherever there is an edge or a corner, a distraction is magnified. In photography, manage the edges and your photography will improve....

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HT0230 - An Inspiration from Japan
Here's a thought ... The Zen monk Sengai (d. 1837) simply refused to do work on commission or for sale. For him, artwork was a joy to experience, not a commodity to exchange for good and services....

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HT0229 - The Odd One
Here's a thought ... No matter how much you love an image, if it doesn't fit with the rest of them in the project, it has simply got to go....

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HT0228 - Sketches
Here's a thought ... Inspiration for today's photography from a Victorian author from 180 years ago....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0228 - Sketches
Here's a thought ... Inspiration for today's photography from a Victorian author from 180 years ago....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0227 - What's Really Necessary
Here's a thought ... Minimizing the barriers and hindrances between our creative mind and the photograph we want to make. Gear, distractions, habits, history....

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HT0227 - What's Really Necessary
Here's a thought ... Minimizing the barriers and hindrances between our creative mind and the photograph we want to make. Gear, distractions, habits, history....

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HT0226 - Orchestrating the Light
Here's a thought ... On days with flat light (especially in the landscape), I often previsualize some sort of manufacture in post-processing of some sort of shadow I can create artificially....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0226 - Orchestrating the Light
Here's a thought ... On days with flat light (especially in the landscape), I often previsualize some sort of manufacture in post-processing of some sort of shadow I can create artificially....

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HT0225 - Tools and Why
Here's a thought ... Leaning new techniques or employing new tricks is one thing, but knowing when to use a technique or a preset is even more important....

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HT0224 - The Time It Takes to Simmer
Here's a thought ... For a medium that supposedly is "instantaneous," I find that slowing down and letting ideas simmer for a while to be a better approach....

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HT0223 - Zebras and ETTR
Here's a thought ... By combining the strategy of ETTR and Zebra stripes (if your camera has them), we can have the best chance of selecting the best exposure....

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HT0222 - From Deep Within Us
Here's a thought ... It's easy to think that making photographic art is about observing the world, but it is even more about reacting to the world and expressing our reactions....

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HT0221 - The Hunt
Here's a thought ... What are you looking for out in the landscape? A specific shot, or just a generalized aesthetic?...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0221 - The Hunt
Here's a thought ... What are you looking for out in the landscape? A specific shot, or just a generalized aesthetic?...

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography


HT0220 - Depth of Field Calculator
Here's a thought ... I'm using a new depth of field calculator app on my smart phone and it is really useful to be sure I am not under or over estimating what aperture I need....

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HT0219 - Transition Time
Here's a thought ... I often need some time to switch from "daily life mind" to "creative mind." It's not an instant switch, but if I'm lucky, I can make the transition without too much loss of opportunity....

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HT0218 - What You Learn
Here's a thought ... The success of a project is not measured by what you produce, but rather by what you learned. In the art life, understanding is more important than accolades....

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HT0217 - The Second Time Around
Here's a thought ... The first time you do something, it's likely be, well, a beginner's result. It takes the first time to learn how to do it the right way, so it's not until the second time that things begin to fall into place....

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HT0216 - My Response
Here's a thought ... One of the turning points in my photography was when I learned that art-making was less about photographing what is there than it is about photographing my response to it. In that sense, art photography is autobiography....

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HT0215 - Premature Announcements
Here's a thought ... Don't announce what you are going to do; announce what you've done....

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HT0214 - Video Stills
Here's a thought ... Extracting a video still as a means of capturing the perfect peak moment is about to become a lot more practical in the world of 8k 60fps cameras.....

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HT0213 - ISO and Noise
Here's a thought ... A real-world challenge about crop sensors, high ISO, and noise. Maybe things aren't quite as dire as the equipment reviewers would have us think? Maybe we might do some post-processing to compensate for the limitations of our equipment, pretty much like photographers have been doing since the invention of photography....

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HT0212 - The Signature
Here's a thought ... The cult of personality and celebrity. If you want your print prices to escalate, you need to cultivate your celebrity status. When it comes to print sales, fame is more important than quality. Sorry for being such a pessimist....

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HT0211 - The Viewing Mindset
Here's a thought ... Viewing photography on a digital device is fraught with distractions. Another reason I prefer the PDF as a delivery medium. -- fewer temptations compared to a web page....

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HT0210 - Dictation from God
Here's a thought ... That scene from Mozart. For me, the creative process is more like sneaking up on rabbit that naturally wants to skitter away....

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LW1174 - Precision
Strange as it may sound, I do miss the precision demanded of me by the processes in the wet darkroom. Perhaps it's time to recognize that precision is still required, but in a different area of our art life. You might be interested in . . . We wish to thank ALL of the photographers who entered their projects in our 4th and final Seeing in SIXES book competition! Once again, an enthusiastic response from the LensWork community provided a diversity of excellent work. Pre-order this 312-page book at...

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HT0209 - Ideal Conditions
Here's a thought ... Listening to music on my phone versus with my best Sony headphones. Same can be said for photography; there are good, great, and ideal conditions for appreciating a photograph, but the best photographs don't require ideal conditions to make an impact....

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HT0209 - Ideal Conditions
Here's a thought ... Listening to music on my phone versus with my best Sony headphones. Same can be said for photography; there are good, great, and ideal conditions for appreciating a photograph, but the best photographs don't require ideal conditions to make an impact....

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HT0208 - Black
Here's a thought ... Black density is important, but our eye will adapt. Black detail is where we should be paying the most attention. Dynamic range is far more important than D-Max....

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HT0207 - Onions
Here's a thought ... That Zen business about the finger pointing at the Moon. Peeling away the layers of understanding and meaning....

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HT0206 - My Favorite Air
Here's a thought ... We had the first foggy morning of the fall yesterday and I'm just itching to start the new season of photography....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0206 - My Favorite Air
Here's a thought ... We had the first foggy morning of the fall yesterday and I'm just itching to start the new season of photography....

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HT0205 - The Original
Here's a thought ... Here in the digital age, is it still valid to consider a print as the original artwork?...

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HT0204 - The Precious Print
Here's a thought ... Koudelka's exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Compared to the white glove mindset....

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HT0203 - Kind of Blue
Here's a thought ... The sixtieth anniversary of this historically important jazz record. After completely wearing out my first copy through repetitive playing, I bought another, pristine copy to start over again. Then I realized this applies perfectly to photography, too....

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HT0202 - The Animated Portrait
Here's a thought ... Morrie Camhi told me this story about making the portrait moment....

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HT0201 - Rating Stars
Here's a thought ... Ranking an image from 1 to 5 only makes sense when you know what the objective is. Any given image might be a one-star for Project A, but a five-star for Project B. This is why I don't use stars for ranking. Instead, I use them for "processing status."...

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HT0200 - Aspect Ratio and Megapixels
Here's a thought ... You may not need those extra megapixels for bigger prints, but they might be useful when you change the aspect ratio of an image. For example, a 24 megapixel 3:2 camera only yields 21 megapixels if you print in a 4:3 aspect ratio....

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HT0199 - You Can't Go Back
Here's a thought ... If you go back to someplace you photographed before, it may have changed. Of even greater importance, we are not the same. So even though you can't go back, there is every reason to do so....

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HT0198 - Lightroom Collections
Here's a thought ... How I use Lightroom collections and Ueslmann's "gathering assets" strategy to brainstorm ideas and images and build toward a project....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0197 - Gathering Assets
Here's a thought ... A strategy that works far better for me than the classic "previsualization" of Ansel Adams. Learned from Jerry Ueslmann in an early LensWork interview....

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HT0196 - Depth
Here's a thought ... Watching a movie more than once (even if you know the outcome), re-reading a novel , and looking more deeply at a photograph can help develop a deeper understanding. That's why it worth the time look again....

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HT0195 - Hits and Misses
Here's a thought ... I love Joni Mitchell's work, but don't like her latest album, Shine, at all; Paul Caponigro's Megaliths leaves me cold, but almost all his other book I love. Sometimes people won't like our work. It happens....

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HT0194 - Letting the World Come to You
Here's a thought ... Sam Abel technique I'll be using a bit during my upcoming trip to China and Japan....

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HT0193 - The Foot Zoom
Here's a thought ... Longer lenses change the geometry of the subject, increase depth of field, assist in creating a candid moment, and often allow me to crop tighter than I can by walking closer with my "foot zoom."...

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HT0192 - It's Not What We See
Here's a thought ... Hi-res multiple-image captures and the flaws created with moving subjects. Flaws? Only in relation to the underlying premise....

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HT0191 - The Experience
Here's a thought ... Colin Fletcher story about breaking his camera at the beginning of his great adventure....

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HT0190 - The Size of the Emotion
Here's a thought ... Tony Northrup unconsciously validated a point I've been making for years — it's the size of the impact that a photograph makes on a viewer's consciousness that counts, not the size of the print....

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HT0189 - Repetition
Here's a thought ... Ahmad Jamal and the song Poinciana. He's never played it the same way twice....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0188 - Pre-fabricated Websites
Here's a thought ... Templated website providers do make it easy to have your own website, but is it really an advantage when your website looks like everyone else's?...

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HT0187 - Trusting Your Creative Vision
Here's a thought ... Why I never went to the desert Southwest and what I discovered there once I did....

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HT0186 - Using What We Don't Have
Here's a thought ... Workarounds and figuring out ways to make our existing equipment suffice for our needs can also be a part of the creative process....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0185 - The Lure of the Famous Place
Here's a thought ... "I went there and you didn't!"-- always seems a tad aggressive. Instead, why not, "Let's share this feeling!" -- in which case the destination is immaterial....

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HT0185 - The Lure of the Famous Place
Here's a thought ... "I went there and you didn't!"-- always seems a tad aggressive. Instead, why not, "Let's share this feeling!" -- in which case the destination is immaterial....

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HT0184 - Alternative Formats
Here's a thought ... Grids, jigsaws, and panoramas....

photography fineartphotography blackandwhitephotography b/wphotography

HT0184 - Alternative Formats
Here's a thought ... Grids, jigsaws, and panoramas....

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HT0183 - The Mundane
Here's a thought ... The saying goes, "If you can't make a great photograph of a mundane subject, at least make a mundane photograph of a great subject." But before you run off to Yosemite of Nepal, perhaps it might be worth thinking about this a little more deeply....

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HT0182 - Little Johnny One-note
Here's a thought ... Arnold Newman and his book Arnold Newman: The Early Work, published by Steidl in 2008. Including street photography, still life, architecture, abstracts....

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HT0181 - Artifacts
Here's a thought ... All of photography as a matter of tricking our eyes into thinking that little dots create continuous tones. The premise of that, however, is that we are not looking at a photograph, but rather at the real world. What if we actually want to look at an artifact that is art work and doesn't pretend to be the real world? When we read a novel, we don't believe we're actually witnessing people speaking a dialogue....

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HT0180 - Blind Pigs
Here's a thought ... Steve Allen, Anthony Trollope, and the occasional truffle.....

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HT0179 - The Randomness Factor
Here's a thought ... In my upcoming trip to Asia, I'll have a week to spend photographing in China. But where to go? China is huge and the possibilities are endless. But perhaps the more important question is, does it really matter? I suspect I could throw a dart at the map, go there, and find interesting things to photograph. And this says nothing about China, I think it's about seeing and the very nature of photography....

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HT0178 - About More
Here's a thought ... The camera business is doing its best to convince us we all need more megapixels. Perhaps we do, but more important than more megapixels is our need for more gigabytes, that is to say, more captures. We could use more time, more ideas, more insight, more curiosity....

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HT0177 - Art for Whom
Here's a thought ... The classic Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens, didn't set out to write "classics" for the educated elite. He wrote for the masses; he was a populist. I worry about how much of photography today is intended for other photographers....

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HT0176 - Spending Time
Here's a thought ... Time, of course, is our most precious commodity. We'd better have a pretty good reason to go somewhere to photograph. Perhaps it's as simple as wanting to spend time there....

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HT0175 - Looking and Seeing
Here's a thought ... Always seeing, sometimes photographing....

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LW1173 - Practical Tech
Here is a partial wish-list of practical features I'd love to see added to the next generation of cameras - or better yet, included in the next firmware update for my existing camera! You might be interested in . . . If you like Brooks Jensen's podcasts, check out his new video series titled, "Here's a thought..." These short 1-2 minute videos will give you a daily dose of creativity and something to think about. The three most recent videos are available to everyone at  daily.lenswork.com. The ...

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HT0174 - Quantifying Archivalness
Here's a thought ... How many years is long enough for our archival artwork? Wait a minute, isn't it more important to connect with an audience today rather than some nebulous audience in the distant future?...

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HT0173 - Changing with Time
Here's a thought ... I didn't like bleu cheese when I was a kid, but now I do. I used to like sugary cereals, but now I don't. Our appreciation of art will change over time, too, for better and for worse. It just will....

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HT0172 - Small Observations
Here's a thought ... The Rodeo Hat project and a bit of fun at the county fair....

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HT0171 - Those Delicate 1% Dots
Here's a thought ... The challenges in book publishing that result from paper opacity characteristics....

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HT0170 - The Thrill of Tones
Here's a thought ... Sometimes a gorgeous chord of black and white tones is all that's needed....

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HT0169 - Inverse Bokeh
Here's a thought ... The reason I used a view camera for 30 years — and prefer m4/3 cameras today....

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HT0168 - PBPA
Here's a thought ... Photography by Pooping Around. Trusting in the process of discovery....

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HT0167 - The 5% We Use
Here's a thought ... Our tools are getting more and more sophisticated — which probably means we are using less and less of their capabilities. I use only a small fraction of what my camera can do — and even less of what Photoshop is capable of doing. As they say, "Enough is as good as a feast."...

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HT0166 - Online Aesthetics
Here's a thought ... Because we are in the visual aesthetics business, doesn't it make sense that we want to control how are artistic statements are seen? Browsers and online apps complicate that because so much of page layout is not under our control. This is precisely why I am an advocate of the PDF format which allows total control over layout and design....

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HT0165 - Major Equipment Failures
Here's a thought ... I've experienced two major tech failures in my 40 years of photography: a defective light meter, and a faulty microdrive. Two in 40 years of photography....

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HT0164 - An Equipment Crisis
Here's a thought ... Oh, no! I have all the camera equipment I might ever need. Now what do I do?...

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HT0163 - Viewing Lights
Here's a thought ... A story about Paul Strand and why his original prints are so dark....

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HT0162 - Bad Advice
Here's a thought ... I cringe whenever I see a so-called photo expert tell another photographer how to improve a photograph by describing what they would do if it were up to them. This completely disregards what the photographer was intending to accomplish...

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HT0161 - Our Ever-changing Medium
Here's a thought ... Painters and sculptors are using the same media as their artistic ancestors. Same for novelists, singers, and a lot of musicians. Not photographers....

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HT0160 - The Marketing of Vivian Maier
Here's a thought ... Contemporary, inkjet prints without originals to know how she would have wanted them printed; sold in galleries as numbered and limited editions for original print gallery prices. Something is just not right about this....

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HT0159 - How We See Prints
Here's a thought ... Different sized prints are literally seen differently. Big prints are seen in small sections and assembled in our mind. Small prints are taken in all at once. The correct print size is a function of the subject, the composition, and how that is best seen....

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HT0158 - Workshop Instructors
Here's a thought ... The best workshop instructors have a combination of three skills: they know photography, they can teach, and they will have empathy for what it is you want to accomplish on your creative path....

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HT0157 - A Basement Full of Books
Here's a thought ... When budgeting for your photography book, don't overlook one of the most expensive aspects of publishing — the cost of unsold inventory....

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HT0156 - Universality
Here's a thought ... A photograph of your cat may be important to you, but it won't be meaningful to the rest of us unless it says something more universal about cats in general — or perhaps about pets, love, or something we can relate to. Art states the universal by way of the specific....

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HT0155 - Not in the Market
Here's a thought ... Camera sales are down because there are lots and lots of us or not buying (literally) the hype about the latest introductions. Sony just introduced the $3,500 a7 Mark IV, but this is so far out of need for most of us that we will simply pass. Actually this is a compliment to the capabilities of their previous models....

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HT0154 - Hype and Fake PR
Here's a thought ... "Twenty 20 photographers who are redefining the medium." Huh? When it seems to be more important what people are saying about your work that what the work is actually accomplishing....

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HT0153 - Copies
Here's a thought ... Photography is the ultimate copy medium. Copies of the appearance of the world; copy of what someone looks like; copying each other. But then there is personal expression — a better term than "fine art photography."...

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HT0152 - Others Lives
Here's a thought ... Photography is a way to explore other people's lives — to get out of our own skin. But this requires curiosity, empathy, even compassion. These don't seem like photographic skills, but they may be more important than understanding depth-of-field or the difference between an 8-bit or a 16-bit digital file....

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HT0151 - Back Issues
Here's a thought ... One of the things that I'm most proud of about our 26 years of publishing LensWork is that every issue we've published is just as valid today as it was the day we published it. They never go out of date. And that makes LensWork a fantastic resource....

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HT0150 - Book Resolution
Here's a thought ... The largest physical book in my library of 5000 photography books is the reprint of Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment. The largest images in that book require 19 megapixel images....

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HT0149 - 1 of 1
Here's a thought ... If we are honest with ourselves, physical photographs are not precious; the infinitely reproducible medium. If anything is precious, it is our creative time and energy. Anything beyond 1/1 is a commercial decision....

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HT0148 - Moving Beyond the Obvious
Here's a thought ... The first time we photograph a new subject, we are likely to capture the most obvious compositions -- the cliché image. To move beyond the obvious, we need to go back, and go back, and keep digging....

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HT0147 - The Size of a Project
Here's a thought ... Big and little, long and short — strategically include projects of various sizes to prevent burnout and to encourage experimentation....

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HT0146 - Preserving Our Work for the Future
Here's a thought ... Physical artifacts vs digital content. The importance of multiple copies....

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LW1172 - Our Own Judgment
Are we qualified to judge our own work? Some research into this suggests it is more complicated that we might think. You might be interested in . . . If you like Brooks Jensen's podcasts, check out his new video series titled, "Here's a thought..." These short 1-2 minute videos will give you a daily dose of creativity and something to think about. The three most recent videos are available to everyone at  daily.lenswork.com. The entire back-episode archive is always available to members of LensW...

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HT0145 - Adapting
Here's a thought ... If it's not the right light, adapt to what it is. If you don't have the right camera, adapt to what you can do with what you have. Photography is always a compromise between the ideal and the doable -- and that means photography is all about adapting....

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HT0144 - Editing
Here's a thought ... Writing is easy; editing is hard. Photographing is easy; editing is hard. Evaluating the options that say it best....

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HT0143 - Social Media Relationships
Here's a thought ... I don't do social media because of the types of relationships it promotes....

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HT0142 - Instagram Incentives
Here's a thought ... Social media rewards come in the form of "likes." What people expect to see, clichés, a push that incentivizes the center of the bell curve rather than artistic growth....

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HT0141 - Levels of Fandom
Here's a thought ... Joni Mitchell, and the press that focuses on a few of her greatest hits. To really appreciate the depth of an artist, we need to dive deeper than the surface of their greatest hits....

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HT0140 - Henri the Painter
Here's a thought ... From Cannery Row by John Steinbeck: "Henri the painter was not French and his name was not Henri. Also, he was not really a painter."...

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HT0139 - Proofing
Here's a thought ... The need to check, recheck, recheck again and never take anything for granted. Press check of Conn's monograph....

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HT0138 - Bookstores
Here's a thought ... I miss that 20-foot long run of photography monographs at Borders Books. A couple of days ago I was in a Barnes & Noble store that had exactly five photography books, period. Five. Very discouraging....

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LW1171 - Motivations versus the Market
If you want to sell you photographs, you'd better be willing to let go of your internal motivations and produce the photographs the market demands - even if that's dewy spider webs and kittens playing with yarn. You might be interested in . . . If you like Brooks Jensen's podcasts, check out his new video series titled, "Here's a thought..." These short 1-2 minute videos will give you a daily dose of creativity and something to think about. The three most recent videos are available to everyone a...

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HT0137 - Finding Inspiration
Here's a thought ... Reading Cannery Row by John Steinbeck makes me want to pick up my camera. Surrounding ourselves with excellence....

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HT0136 - Role models
Here's a thought ... At first, I wanted to be the next Ansel Adams. Then I wanted to be the next Wynn Bullock. It took me twenty years to learn to strive to be me -- the best me I can possibly be. In fact, I'm the only one who can be me, and I'm still figuring out what that means....

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HT0135 - Renting
Here's a thought ... A lot of artwork we rent, rather than purchase. Radio and television, live performances, museum tickets. How do we use this idea of renting artwork in photography? We're missing something....

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HT0134 - The Six Senses
Here's a thought ... The five senses are eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch - but the Buddhists add a sixth: the mind. Evoking more than just the visual sense intensifies the art viewing experience....

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LW1170 - Submit
Time to send in your work for review and possible publication in LensWork. Why not? Our Submission Guidelines can be found at our website. You might be interested in . . . If you like Brooks Jensen's podcasts, check out his new video series titled, "Here's a thought..." These short 1-2 minute videos will give you a daily dose of creativity and something to think about. The three most recent videos are available to everyone at  daily.lenswork.com. The entire back-episode archive is always av...

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HT0133 - Untitled
Here's a thought ... The premise is to avoid influencing how the art is interpreted. That's an abdication of responsibility....

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HT0132 - Competition
Here's a thought ... Who's better, Caravaggio or Titian? Prokofiev or Hayden? CSN or Cream? Does competition even make sense in the world of art?...

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HT0131 - Exotic Media
Here's a thought ... So-called "alternative media" can be a trap that lends itself to bragging rights. Better if it is used because it's the strongest way of communicating....

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LW1169 - Beyond Geometry
Most people think of composition as a matter of placement, lines, and controlling eye movement. Beyond geometry there is the language of composition. A short discussion of four of the most important bits of compositional vocabulary. You might be interested in . . . If you like Brooks Jensen's podcasts, check out his new video series titled, "Here's a thought..." These short 1-2 minute videos will give you a daily dose of creativity and something to think about. The three most recent videos are av...

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HT0130 - No Man's Land
Here's a thought ... Be exact or be really different, just don't be close or it will look like you tried and failed....

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HT0129 - Anthologies
Here's a thought ... Quite simply, anthologies provide more opportunities for people to find something they like....

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HT0128 - Good Technique and Good Content
Here's a thought ... Good technique is really hard in big prints. Good content is hard no matter what the size is....

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HT0127 - Nude Workshops
Here's a thought ...Advice from other workshop programs; cheesecake nudes are simply not for us....

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HT0126 - Those Coveted Collectors
Here's a thought ...Bill Jay proposed that there are only about 2000 serious collectors in the world; he may have been an optimist....

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HT0125 - The Third Axis
Here's a thought ...The obvious ones are left/right plus up/down plus forward/backward. Add to that the extreme forward and backward that radically changes MAGNIFICATION....

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HT0124 - Curriculum Vitae
Here's a thought ... I've never bothered with one. We don't read them. The quality of the work should be all that matters....

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HT0123 - The Golden Hour
Here's a thought ... Not the time of day, but rather the angle of light incident on the subject; winter at high latitudes; noon with vertical subjects....

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HT0121 - On Being Left Out
Here's a thought ... I simply don't understand certain sub-genre's of photography....

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HT0122 - Predictable Categories
Here's a thought ... The 39 categories we used in SIS and how few projects ended up in Misc....

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HT0120 - Our Rate of Failure
Here's a thought ... Success is an elusive thing. Get used to it, because it's a part of photography that unavoidable....

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HT0119 - Just Around the Corner
Here's a thought ... Why bother making photographs with today's primitive cameras when the really good technology is just around the corner....

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HT0118 - Acquisition Stories, Part 2
Here's a thought ... It's not just collectors who share acquisition stories, but a lot of times I find photographers talk about their work in terms of acquisition stories, too....

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HA0118 - Acquisition Stories
Here's a thought ... My observation is that when a collector talks about the work in their collection, it's never about the content of the photograph, but rather the story of how they came to purchase it.....