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Here's a thought . . . (May 2020 Calendar View)

Short videos with snippets, fragments, morsels, and tidbits from Brooks' fertile (and sometimes swiss-cheesy) brain.

Usually just a minute or so.

Pretty much daily.

Always about photography and the art life.

April 2020

May 2020

June 2020


















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.


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.


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.


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.


HT0427 - Our Self-Identity

When you call yourself a "photographer," what do you mean by that?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.