Category Archives: Dreamcatcher

April 12th, 2019 … Some Thoughts and Findings … Andre’ The Ricoh GR III

First off I need to answer a few questions about the Ricoh GR III. I got 2 batteries from eBay and they are as fine as the OEM. I paid $9.00 for both with free shipping. I have a Tamrac 5217 case that holds the camera, lens pen, and 2 batteries. It sells for around $10.00 or so on the bay. I have 2 and I bought them years ago. I have a wrist strap that is from the bay also. It’s a Sony Wii strap and sells for $1,00. I have 20. I have an ACMAXX screen protector on and I highly recommend these. I don’t use the touch screen but the protector works.

Andre’ the Ricoh GR III is loaded with MOJO. That is not available from dealers or stores. You have to find your own with the camera and make it your own. There are some negative remarks about the GR III. I prolly never pay attention to them unless it’s an obvious crucial issue. The AF seems to bug some people. I think it’s acceptable in normal lighting but as others mentioned, low light is not as good as anticipated. Usually outdoors or in normal light, I am at 5.6 or 8,0.

Most of the time I’m in snap focus mode anyway. More than enough FOF at 5.6 or 8.0 and I can get close enough to hold focus. so the left button on the wheel is set to Snap/AF. I think everyone familiar with Ricoh cameras does that. If not, how come? The right button on the wheel is set to Snap Focus Distance. This differs from the GR II. The same function, different location. I mention this because if you’re coming from the GR II, some things are different. I call it anti-intuitive. See, we all know how the GR and GR II were so easy to get to an intuitive state.  So here ya are out on the street with the GR III and you kinda feel at home but it’s not the time for that yet. There are enough things that are similar between both cameras but the little things will bite ya in the…. well, you’ll see.

The key features for the street are, Auto ISO, AF, and Snap, Aperture, and FStop. The GR III sets up quickly and those elements become intuitive very naturally. I couldn’t think of a good utility for the Fn button.  So after some consideration, I set it for Picture Effects. The jpeg’s from the GR III are spectacular, pity I never use them, but I sure like them.  The Bleached Bypass is not as nice as the GR or GR II.

Alrighty, all youse EV Haters, have I got something for you.  Ricoh has given birth to a group of wandering thumb shooters. Ricoh knows that we all hate the up/down button on the GR II. Oh yeah, they know. See, with the GR II your thumb gets tired of just holding the camera and then starts the wandering thumb procedure. Oh yeah, What happens, is that the thumb hits the up/down button and without telling you, changes EV setting. The issue besides exposure is, the wandering thumb will become intuitive. For real, it’s thought to be an accidental process but it in time becomes natural. Dangerous and more frustrating than I can say. Don’t believe me, ask Giovanni. He is living testament of the Wandering thumb Procedure.

So, Ricoh cares about their customers and they didn’t let us down.  Ok, I’m 69yo and sometimes a cocky bloke. I had and have excellent cameras. I have many Ricoh’s in the cabinet. When I got the GR III, I felt a loss of the wandering thumb procedure. I looked and low and behold, no rocker switch. I smiled inside because I finally knew that the rocker will no longer mess with me. Yay, I thought, FREEDOM, FREEDOM.

Ricoh makes great cameras. We all know that. Little did we all know, the Ricoh engineers have a sense of humor. Yeah, not kiddin’. I figure that they all sat back and drank Budweiser and ate string cheese when they invented the wandering thumb. Ok, in the USA in many states, hooch is legal. The engineers must be celebrating their humor and the movement of the wandering thumb and smoking lots of hooch.

Now I ain’t one to spread rumors and I’ll deny that youse got this from me…..The thumb now finds the rear wheel and at times, it will change EV and or the movement of the AF Focus Point. I have not found a stable lock. You can change EV by moving the wheel. You also can move the AF Focus Point by moving the wheel. It is said in the annals of Ricoh Engineering that if you hold the OK button in, then the point will center.

If there was a lock you wouldn’t need to do that anyway. I guess it’s an anal thing and I don’t understand.

April 10th, 2019 … More Than A Shot … More Than a Day … Ricoh GR III … Fuji X-Pro2

The day came and went and I was Minus my Leica M240 and a few Zeiss lenses. The camera is, of course, joy and actually a great camera to slow down and FEEL what you are doing. See, it’s that feel thing that got me. Great camera, no issues but too damn heavy for me. I could not use a neck strap. I could not use my ACAM 25 in any mode. You would think that cross shoulder would work but nada.  So I sold it to a camera store and got a fair price. What does this have to do with anything shooter? Get to the point old man.

I mean for me my cameras are friends with names. I can’t deal with nor have I ever had tolerance for camera intrusion. The intrusion in Leica is the weight. Ohhhh, wait, wait…. Leica isn’t the only camera that intrudes. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III intrudes with his stupid OK button. What happens is, hit the ok button by accident and you could move the AF point. Yes, if you’re in the right mode, you can hold down the OK button and the AF Point centers home. Fuji has that and on my X-Pro2, it can be and is locked. Can’t be locked on the Ricoh GR III that I know of. Maybe it seems trite but when you’re out working and the AF Point is dow lower left and you’re making a photo, your focus point is wrong. Nice huh. The Ricoh Engineers bumbled this big time.

Also, the wheel has a sense of humor and you can change EV unknowingly. Here’s the thing. I’m talking about a camera becoming a friend and getting a name and not intruding in our vision we share together. Unacceptable for me.

If your fiddling with a camera, how ya gonna find and make your photos?  Not easy.

The most important thing I discovered as a photographer, and perhaps as a human, is Complacency.  See the photo above. I have worked these posters etc and never tire of them. So what does this really mean? It is a fact that the habits of all sorts are easy to get hooked into. Usually, we don’t even notice we have a habit. As a shooter, it’s very easy to get a habit going. Does that make the work complacent? I think it could, depending on one’s outlook and approach. The battle in your work and mine too is to enjoy a particular scene and then to deal with it. For this means to be non-complacent. I enjoy revisiting a scene and then getting my juices to accept an alternative outcome from what I already have. It’s great to travel around the world and see new sites and meet new people all the time. I’m sure most of you do that on a regular basis. Well, here in NE Philly I don’t get to do that. What I do get to do is work areas that I have worked many many times.

 

Here’s where the battle of complacency takes place. Let me tell ya something. What to watch out for is what you don’t pay attention to. Did ya’s ever heard the expression “The little things are what get’s ya”? It’s true and even more so with us shooters. Those little things get ya cause ya don’t even know they are with ya.  Our mind seems to create a buffering system to either negate or just disregard the little things. That don’t mean they aren’t there.

Most definitely it means not to get complacent with the little things. Ya know, I think we shouldn’t get complacent with the big things either and for all that matters with anything. Remember this … Ya can’t see something as new if ya have seen it before. Maybe if your good, and I know a few of ya’s are that good but mostly just not as good but trying to be good…. ya can try to see things differently. This is where your creative talent and or energy comes to play.

 

 

There are times when I’m working that I feel like a Zen has formed an invisible cloak around me and tries to keep me inside this cloak and be focused. I know this is meant as a great thing but maybe sometimes I get complacent with Zen. I mean doing something over and over and allowing it to go to a state of being and feeling all is right, this can get complacent also.

I like to stretch my envelope but not get crazy with it. I’m too old and they all told me years ago ya can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So, now as an old dog, I am pre-programmed to not try new thing easily.

 

 

So, for me the inspiring energy has always been, to work where you live. See, I been the Philly Streetshooter since  1070″s. I want to say that it has been a struggle for me to make photos. I want to say that I get bored and need to be in an exotic location to get my juices flowing.  If I said all that and more, it could not be true no matter how convincing I was. See, I have never known a day that I was not hungry to make photos. I have never been bored or even complacent with any part of the process.

The way to maintain this attitude is to spend $1000.00 every month on a new camera. Don’t use any other camera for a month and then buy another one in a month. Wait, wait…. that’s bulldinky shooter. Get real again.

Ok, my flight is landing and I’m adjusting to being partially sane again.  Look, here it is in a nutshell. You can buy all the cameras and gear and everything you desire. You’ll be happy for a brief period of time.. The wondrous thing in life is LOVE. I love photography and everything about it. I suppose that’s what keeps it all interesting and keeps it vitally alive for me. I love it all.

Some shooters asked me about the Ricoh GR III. Ok, I have an ACMAXX screen saver on the screen. I have a Tamrac 5217 case that has a strap I cut off and just use it on my belt. Small. I got two Kastar batteries from, eBay and the price was $9.00 for both including shipping. They work like OEM.

I’ll get more focused in the next few dazes and do mostly Ricoh GR III. work.

 

 

March, 21st, 2019 … Spring Hath Sprung … Ricoh GR III Arrives today

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I will be soooo glad when Spring arrives in town. Well, today is March 20th, 2019 and here in Philly, it’s the first day of Springer…oppps, Spring.

 

The Ricoh GR III arrives by USPS today. I am excited as Ricoh makes a camera the way I think and feel. Anyway, I’m not writing too much cause I need to save the words for posting about the GR III.

If Tanya sees that photo above, all bets are off and I’ll be homeless like people I help on the streets I guess tomorrow starts the GR III posting.

Be blessed

March 9th, 2019 …. Observations … Things Are Not Always As They Appear … Dissecting Some Photos

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ok ok, I’m letting youse all have access to my inner self. Lately and many times before, I find myself observing myself observing. Let me clarify from the git-go…. I have a shrink. Why is this important? I don’t really know or even care about it. What I do care about is my photos and the driving inspiration for them. I’m walking around with Garry the Olympus Pen-F 20mm. Let me tell ya, not easy to top this outfit for the streets. I see these two in the window and they have a kinda snickering look about them. Some girls walk by, nadaa…a few guys walk by nada…. then as if the fairy from Mother Light sends her magic to the scene. Now, this may seem crazy but my instincts tell me, if nothing is on the right side of the frame, it’s a dead frame. Then, oh yeah, then a woman walks into the frame. She’s the complete opposite of the ladies in the window.

Now the next few seconds are extremely important to the life of the photo is made. The graphic elements (yes Olivier) are of course crucial and then the emotional aspects are also important. I’ll attempt to explain. The woman is moving from the right to the left side of the frame. The window gals are on the left side. This creates a very left weighted photo. Then as if MAGIC is happening, the guy in the reflection comes from the right and anchors that section…… but wait, oh yeah,,,, we need to breathe, See, if the walking woman reaches the black window divider, it’s all crapola. I  need the visual tension from her face to the black divider. That’s about the dynamics of the frame and the mechanics of the photo

Now, the emotional part. Our window ladies seem to be having a ball. So that creates a stance for the photo. Perhaps this will not be an easy juxtaposition. Sure, we could have anyone in the frame but the emotional impact needs to be very strong and obvious. Some things maintain their strength but just being. Oxymoron, Juxtaposition are 2 that happen to come to this photo. Ya know, maybe CONTRAST is very obvious too. So all these things and more are banging around my head and heart. This all happens in a fraction of a second… she’s walking, the window ladies are behaving themselves, or reflecting guy is happy and ….CLICK!

 

 

Mom, the Ricoh GRII and I are on our way to the VA Hospital. We are coming to the steps of the parking lot at the Frankford Transportation Terminal. As we walk down the steps, I see a woman hunched over and her leg on the angle. The light is really nice and creates a somber mood. I stick Mom the Ricoh GRII thru the fence to get the photo. As I do that, I take a deep breath and then realize that the fence is coming from inside her.  Most Mental Health issues, including PTSD, are felt by the person alone. There’s a feeling of not being able to escape the situation that is internalized. Then those feelings seem to manifest into the reality that takes over the mind. It feels like there’s no escape. The main issue is, the person going thru these episodes, gets to a point of no return and then doesn’t even care anymore. I’m looking with Mom and then, I see the frame and the fence and the woman….CLICK!

 

There’s a beauty in life as well as death. Suzanne asked me why I am attracted to posters and things of that nature. The beauty of photography is its ability to compress and abstract7 3-dimensional objects, people etc to a 2-dimensional state. We as photographers all know that but yet it’s not widely understood. What I am fascinated by the way photos to compress 3 dimensions into but more, I love the way 2-dimensional objects come to the photo. They are natural to photos and work well with 3-dimensional things.

For me, it’s magic and I work it constantly. Then when it’s ion my head as to the abstraction, I need the emotional content. This woman is the same as the guy is. Borth 2 dimensions and yet the emotional content, for me, makes the shot.

Mom and I walk around a lot together. I see this woman in the window and she captures me instantly…. there’s no reason to make a photo. Then, as I am flirting with her and she’s making that face…. this guy walks in front of the camera….I wait and he moves just a wee bit left and then looks at me dead on to the eyes. The photo is not working, I need her eyes, …then as if Hertzog directed him, he turns left as if on cue. I see the headphones and it immediately brings the relationship of the loneliness a woman has when she’s there and her man is listening to music and ignoring her….CLICK!

I will do this format for a while because some shooters have asked me to. I hope youse alls find this worth your time and it’s interesting.

Be Blessed, one and all…………. shooter out…………..

February 12th, 2019 … Some Photos and a Mild Discussion … The Prunes of Photography??

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…damn right it’s cold. oh, sorry folks, I didn’t know youse all were here. See, I was talking with a Police Officer and we decided it’s cold. He works for the Transit Authority, better know as Septa. I see him many times as I travel by public transportation as much as I can. I love it. I know most hate it but for me, it’s the mix of the people, the buses, trains and whatever. I’m not going to tell you the officers name because he said if I do he’s locked me up in a cell with my wife for 10 years. Let me tell ya if that doesn’t scare the doo doo out if ya, nothing will. Anyway, I have Mom the Ricoh GRII with me. Youin’s all know I name my cameras. I do that because they all have a way of seeing that’s different from each other. That translated to how they work differently with me.

I was just asked by one of youse to briefly explain the reason for naming my cameras. Ok, short and sweet. Let’s assume we all love photography. We all love making photos.  So if this a fact, and it is…. this love is directly related to time and life. The naming of a camera makes it personal for you and also makes a tangible connection with the camera and the art of making photos. It’ forms a closeness or a bond.

That’s it……

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…..anyway back to the unnamed police officer. I’ve seen him many a time and he sometimes goes to the Dunkin Donuts and has a box of a dozen and a large container of hot coffee, He goes around to some homeless people and gives them a donut and a cup of hot Joe, as he calls it.  He told me that his superiors told him he wasn’t allowed to do this coffee thing.

….and then the statement from him that matters to all. Yes, every human and subhuman like politicians etc needs this lesson. “If we abandon our humanity, what is left? It’s a small thing I do but it keeps me human and lets the people I help know they have some dignity and humanity left.” Wow!

Many years ago, my Grandmother told me, “What goes in has to come out.” Sree, I was a young teenager and had eaten much junk food. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Junk food wasn’t invented yet. My grandmother was aa pre-junk food advisor. Anyway, I was bloated with, um food. She walked to the cabinet, forbidden to all but her. I could hear the music of the Ride of the Valkyries in my head. No speakers, or digital; versions. It was music to scare the do do out of me. I knew instantly her intention was to clear my bowels. I was horrified that she would reach for the dreaded enema bottle. My butt cheeks locked in anticipation. Then, then out of the cabinet, my nerves settled to a lower point of the guard. In her hand, small wrinkled and slightly shaking, was a bag with black things in it. She handed me 4 of these wrinkled black things. She said, eat the Prunes one at a time but get all 4 eaten in a few minutes. In the HOLY SCRIPTURES, no matter what religion you follow, there is a law that is the 11th Commandant. “THOU SHALL NOT EVER DISOBEY YOUR GRANDMOTHER”  Whit all due respect, I ate the prunes as instructed. Nana told me to sit and relax in Pop Pop’s chair. This was a high honor bestowed upon me by an act of love.

After about 15 minutes, but who’s counting, I felt the Valkyries rumbling in my poor belly. I ran upstairs to the bathroom. Quickly dropping my drawers and sat on the almighty toilet. The prunes immediately without hesitation, battled the Valkyries and won the battle. The rest of the toilet procedure is better left alone.

I learned a few things in this episode. One was that above all people on the earth, no one will ever love you like a grandparent. This of course in adaptable to anyone you love or loves you. I made that statement so when Nana reads it in Heaven, she won’t have bad feelings.

What does this have to do with photography? I know if your reading this, you have a complete understanding,  That goes without thought. Please bear with me cause there are some new people here and they don’t really get my style of writing.  So I’ll explain to them and youse regulars don’t have to read this.

See, we are making photos of things we find interesting. My brain is a Capco, model 256a, 1949 issue. It’s slower than the new models and doesn’t have the features that newer models have, What my brain (mind) does, it connects my optical sensors (eyes) with my emotions stemming from my blood pumping station, (heart).

So, if what goes in has to come out, why do we need to be concerned anyway. When we work, we essentially process info that has been put into us. The output usually is a result of input and the mix with what we add to that input.

There is no photo ever made or will be made that is PURITY. what we need do as photographers, is to recognize the results of our photos. Recognize the source of inspiration. Is it an overload of info coming into us from outside sources? What part of the photos is our contribution to stimuli?

Essentially what I’m saying is to try to locate and define the stimuli entering your mind and to acknowledge that it’s impossible to escape it. Stieglitz had a body of work called, “Equivalent”, Part of it was, a cloud in the sky and it equaled the torso of a body.

I am not saying to do that. I was sitting with Ding at the museum and he showed me some Stieglitz photos. I saw and held some Equivalents.  I understood what the intention was and the emotional impact they had on me. My heart changed its pattern of beating. Ding took the prints and placed them in their box.  Then he handed me a print I was very well in love with. It was The Steerage. 

Let me tell ya.  I held that photo from the edges, the way he taught me. I had all kinds of emotional feelings. I studied every small part of the photo. The faces embedded in me before embedding was invented. Ding smiled and asked me, “What do you feel about this image?” I immediately understood “Equivalent.”

This is the key to the life of a photographer is. Each photo you make is equivalent to the experience of living at the time of exposure. So, you owe it to yourself to determine how much of the images are from the part that needs prunes or how much is actually your creative input. We are not alone in the world, We are not alone in life. We are not alone in our photos. We just should strive to recognize what’s in them and then to understand all the facets of the photo.

Do you SEE your photos? Do you see YOU in the photos?

February 5th, 2019 … Once Upon a Dream

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I often talk about being in the moment. Ya know how the Inverse Square Law works. Less is More and More is Less. Well, I discovered that there is depth to the law. See, usually, I am deep inside things and that means it’s more complicated to be free of things. I like being deep in the stuff but there are times in my life that I want to just flow with the current and let it take me where it shall. This is one of those times.

Think about the contrast of life. Let’s just keep our eye, heart, and mind on the Inverse Square Law. If in fact, less is more and more is less, maybe we need heed the warning of Opposite Attraction. Photographically, it works like a magnet. They say opposites attract. Do they really and what does that mean to our shooters. If it’s always warm where you live, then a cold front or snap carries a lot of weight. It’s the living contrast that effects us.

Maybe you’re in the Southern States of The USA. You have beautiful sunny weather. You are walking around in shorts and a tee shirt. In a flash of a second, a Tornado or Hurricane comes and you don’t have a home anymore. Yout little dog is up there with Dorothy and her Red Slippers. I may be making light of the situation but it’s real and not at all funny. It’s the Opposite Attraction that is working.

We as shooters have similar situations. Think about Oxymorons in your work. Opposites. So, we go on in our comfort zone making photos. We even get people that like what we are doing. We feel safe and secure in our Eye, Hear and Mind. We don’t think about the hurricanes that disturb our vision and work. Just because we don’t think about those hurricanes, does not mean they aren’t resting and building energy to awake and add chaos to our sanity and vision.  Do we need to prepare for the approaching storm? I think not. It generated for us and generally is not as destructive and other things in our life.

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Well, Like finding our little dog up there with Dorothy. That’s an exercise in futility. We are creatures of habit. We are comfortable in repetition and strive to repeat results by working towards them. This means that perhaps, we carve out a set of guidelines or rules that we assume will give the desired result, that we are comfy with. Generally speaking, the satisfaction of producing acceptable work to others and to ourselves.

I think part of the human condition is, taking things for granted. I’m not a religious man. I mean, I lost my religion in Vietnam in 1970. I feel I have violated the WORD of the LORD and am not worthy of the benefits of being religious. Decades ago, I went to a Catholic Priest for guidance. We chatted a few times and I felt like a man he was understanding. He never passed judgment on me. A short time later, I went to see a Rabbi. His father lived in the home also.  His father was also a Rabbi and was about 86 when I met him. I asked simply if I could deal with the father. It was agreed upon. As the 3rd session was ending I felt some relief but still this feeling of guilt and aloneness. The old Rabbi told me, “Don, there are many ways to live your life. You should just be Spiritual and not worry about the Dogma of Religion. Don’t take this guilt with you to your death bed. Go with a clean heart and soul. Life has passed judgment on you, not GOD. You can’t control what happens with your death but you can with your life.”

So, it’s important to be in the here and now, we all agree on that. But if you’re always in the here and now, then how to appreciate it and how not to become complacent? We need the contrast in life to appreciate what we have and what we don’t have. To be in the here and now, does that imply being not in the here and now is the opposite?

Let’s say that we are working on a series of photos of reflections. What seems to take place, is….when a shot develops and it’s a reflection, we think it suites our series. It’s a nice filling feeling. Self-accomplishment. What of the photos that are not reflections. What happens to the series and what7 about the anti-series photos.

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Decades ago, I used to lay out photos like a scrabble board. Visualize the horizontal line of photos and it’s about 8 images.  Of course, the photos need to be related, not just related by nature but by intent. Now you bring photos to the layout and then you see, that there is a photo that relates well to one image but not really to the series laid out. You place that on the line going horizontally to the photo it relates too. After doing this, you see this like a scrabble board and your photos are the tiles.

If you try this, you’ll see that opposites really do attract. The series is well defined and the photos spawned off the main line leads to new directions. They appear to be opposite of the main series but are they really?

As photographers, we depend on sets of constants. It’s difficult to work off the normal comfy places in our hear and hearts. As creatures of habit, we tend to dismiss anything out of our norm. I am told by my mind, that I haven’t finished this exercise. I will write more thoughts shortly

… to be cont’d …

January 30th, 2019 …. Re-Experiencing the Experience … Other Thoughts Too

There are times that I make a photo and it does more than the others. what I mean is, there’s certain energy the photos pass on and shares with me. Sometimes this energy is subdued and not calling out for attention. Other times, there’s a reverberation inside that conjures up memories and just keeps resurfacing over and over. We all do self-portraits in one manner or another. But there are some photos that conjure up messages that we may or may not want to deal with.

It was 1978 and I was in our bedroom and wanted to make a self-portrait. I was wearing boxer shorts and that’s it. I was using a 50mm Cron, early version. Anyway, I was framing the photo, similar to the one above. As I raised the camera to my eye, on the ready….my son2 years old popped his head up from behind the bed. I did not see him. I framed and made the exposure. 3-4 days later the roll was filled and time to make negatives. My fav part of the darkroom. I processed the film and decided to print a few negs. I put the self-portrait in the enlarger and looked at the image on the easel. I decided that an 8″ x 12″ was the right size. I slipped in a sheet of strips to get a basic exposure and then put in a sheet of Portriga Rapid. I made the exposure and developed it and when it was in the fix, I noticed my son Paul’s head on the corner of the bed, peering out to me. I thought the photo was funny and move to another negative. When I took the strip of negs out of the Leica Enlarger, it fell out of my hand onto the floor.

I couldn’t see it so moved around and got safe for white light. I looked down for the strip and low and behold, I had accidentally stood on it. I picked it up and it was destroyed beyond repair. I knew at that instant that this was the only print to ever be born from this negative.

I took Andre’ the Leica M240 and went into the bedroom. I saw the light come thru the curtains and the frame starts to form. I looked around and realized I made a similar photo 41 years ago. I had the feeling of energy reverberating and memories gallop thru my mind. I raised Andre and got ready and made the photo.

I miss my son Paul.

So I often wonder what the trigger is for the inspiration in making photos. I_ mean of course I know most of my triggers but the thing is, where do they come from and why? See, I believe making photos is more than pointing the camera and clicking. There’s an internal release and an external release. They each have a target of intent. Together, they make the moment of the experience happen. Apart and you’re just taking pictures. There are a time and place or making and talking and it’s only important if you understand the difference. If not, maybe you’re the lucky one, just go about freely and take as many pictures as you feel. Not a whole lot of accountability but some need to be that way. Looks around the room carefully and makes sure none of those people are here. Actually, anyone that does photography that way, won’t be here with us anyway.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. It means that if you developed a trigger mechanism many years ago, it’s still inside you and in working order. It also means that if you made a photo that you really respond to and love, you’re probably gonna have that photo in your heart and mind and maybe subconsciously hunt for it again. There’s nothing wrong with this process as long as you are aware of what you are doing. So there are many things in the tangled web of thoughts and emotions that we need to try and sift thru to make the experience of the next photo and rewarding as any before it.

look, of course you can always go on and just find things and hope for the best. It’s natural and acceptable and a proven way to work.

Back in the 1970s, I read a series of books by Carlos Castaneda. Some say he made the entire series up and discounted the entire thing. The thing is, if you read or do anything to give you input, good, bad or indifferent, it affects the way and what you think. Castaneda said that death lives on your left shoulder. As you go thru life, you need to pay attention to your death. He also said that when you do something, do it as if it’s worth dying for. That’s all heavy stuff but the fact is, you can’t escape that. What does all this have to do with photography? Perhaps you figure that out. I may, in fact, have it all wrong. I just know that there isn’t too much in my life that comes close to my photography. Maybe that’s not so great, but I focused on everything and saw most.

So, I have a thing for backgrounds. Funny thing. See, those posters etc are made for you to absorb a product or some kinda info. Oh yeah, I know it’s a hard thing to grasp but they are really advertisements.  So, by making them a background, I am in fact maybe kinda responding to the ad. There is a communication going on and I find it very interesting. We are bombarded by images, media and info, and more every second. How we respond to it all is what I find interesting.

When I look at shooters photos, I like to find the trigger or stimulus for the photo. Not always easy and interesting to see what others see. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to wonder why they made the photo and not so much how they made the photo.  If you wonder how they made the photo, you might end up in a camera store. If you wonder why they made the photo, you’ll more than likely end up looking for your own photos.

Look Y’all, I believe if your not thinking about stuff like this, before, during and after making photos…. you ain’t thinking. Ya probably ain’t feeling either. Not a good thing I tell’ya. If we don’t challenge ourselves to try and find the light, then we just see the light others shine on us. One of the techniques I used to get info into my student’s heads was….. tell them to bring 5 questions about why the others made a photo. See, we look at photos from all members. Then I instruct each member to choose 3 photos. 1 was to be their own and the other 2 from someone else. Now they have till next session to come up with questions and reasons for those questions about the photos. You would be surprised how difficult this really is. The learning experience was to read the questions for others and then the question and answer for their own work.

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I got a message from my Eye, Heart, and Mind. The message states that I am not done writing and expressing myself. It also states the I need to go to the toilet so I need to end this post now. Not my choice but bodily functions rule.

I will do more over the coming weekend. As always my friends, be Blessed on your journey.

…..end transmission…..shooter out…….

January 9th, 2019 … Blinded With Clear Vision … or … Wake Up the Past to Find the Present

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… you miss the point and you miss and abuse the flavor of life. I will not entertain you with an argument, let me just say, you will never connect your heart to your photos. You probably don’t connect anyone with your heart and for that I feel terrible for your friends and family but my friend…not for you. You have the gift of life and take it for granted.

Sorry friends. You caught me off guard as I was in a discussion about the heart of life and the heart of photography. See, there’s many ways to make photos and many uses and or purposes for those photos.

Flashback….we are at base camp near LZ Liz. I’m sitting around with a couple troops and we are talking about the value we feel for life. Some guys are saying, they would fight to the death and die for America. I feel that way also and continue field cleaning my 45ACP. Spud a soldier from Idaho and on his 5th tour says to me, Jingles, you would die for your friends here and die for your country. I bravely and boldly say, damn right

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Spud knocks me on the head and looks in my eyes. The other troops are looking and trying to figure out what’s happening. Spud says so all the others can hear, Jingles, it’s easy to die here. It’s a worthy cause to die for your friends and your country. You need to find a reason to live for them and America and not die for them. You need to always fight for life, not death. If you survive, you must fight for life every day until you die. You must never surrender to death and when you die, make sure all the world knows it.

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I thought about the dichotomy of life and death. Spuds words resonate in my heart and mind to this very second and I often wonder if he was recognized as a ZEN Master. I asked Spud why he was here so long and he said because here, I am able to feel my life and in the world, I feel I am not worthy and will abuse it.

The thing about photography is, that it is a representation of our life and existence. There is a path to self discovery and for me it has always been with a camera.

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On this path to Self Discovery, we must realize that it is a lonely path and ends in our death.  This does not mean that we can’t share time with others but you’ll catch hell trying to get someone to die with you. That Landmark is strictly a lonely one. OK, so we can’t cheat death or life but what we can do and should do and simply put, must do is: Live our life in a manner that brings focus to our hearts and souls and honors those before us.  As photographers, we should make a worthy battle to maintain our integrity and honor our work as if it is our life’s worth..

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We need to honor our history. It is said that we should see things as if seeing for the first time. Such a simple virgin excuse. By doing so, we erase our history and neglect any value that the work had or has for us. I rather acknowledge;edge my history and maybe make a new photo of the subject but keep the history alive. You simply can not erase the history of your work. So, then, love it and see things differently and make a new photo of whatever you are doing.

Proof that I am not too crazy. We all do exactly as I said every time we make photos of our friends and family etc. If you make photos of a loved one, do you erase the history or embrace it?

I will write more shortly…. go in peace alls………

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January 1st, 2019 … Mummers Day … Ricoh GRII-21mm

Happy New Years to one and all and this mean YOU. The Girl Child Linda called and wanted to go to the Mummers Parade and said to meet at Suzanne’s home. Okie, so I get downtown and head to Suzanne’s home. Inside, there are about 7 people and all younger than me. Most have cameras and they are showing each other what they have.  Linda and Suzanne come to me and hug me and each kisses my cheek. I look at the Heaven’s above and my heart sings… I don’t know what I did to deserve this LORD but I if this is the end of the journey for me, I’m all good to go.

As it turns out, it wasn’t the end of my journey and I have my two young shooters to hang out with. We sit for a few and Linda brings me a cup of coffee. Low and behold, fresh roasted Kona, light cream and alls right in shooter world. So, then Suzanna says to Linda, hun, can you grab my Leica from the bedroom? Linda replies, sure babe. Neither of them ever called me hun or babe. I’m feeling some kinda way. So I ask is Polly going to join us? Suzanne replies, Polly is back in Japan and may not be coming back here. Awww, okie, she is a lovely person I said.

We finish our coffee and head out the door. Linda and Suzanne and myself. Linda asks what I’m working with and I reply, Mom, the Ricoh GRII with the 21mm adapter. I have Andre’ the Leica M240 but I’m not feeling him too much lately. Linda is using the unnamed Leica M10 and Suzanne is using the unnamed Fuji Xpro-2 and the unnamed Leica M10P. I think they were kinda put off cause I was using the GRII but I was embarrassed to be seen with all the unnamed cameras. I mean, after all, this IS 2019. Unnamed cameras, The Horror! We get to walking around and the ladies stay close to me. Cameras start clicking, and smiles get to happen. I make a few frames and quickly realize I don’t need the company even tho these ladies are like my daughters.

I walk to Suzanne and tell her I need to be alone and work. She smiles, gives me a major hug and kisses me softly. Don, I want to thank you for everything you do for me. I guess you know, Linda and I are a couple.  Well, (my chance to get in a shot) you mean a couple like um,,, kissing and holding. A couple like sexin and being in bed together. Her brow raises…(see, when a woman’s brow raises, it means, 1 wrong word and you’ll reap the wrath of a woman scorned, and HELL won’t go there) Okie Suz… as long as youin’s don’t be gettin nawty. I smile and hug her and tell her, I love you both and I am happy if I was instrumental in forming your bond. I tell Suz and Lin to be careful and we will meet in a short time.

Now I vanish in the crowd. I start to feel some energy and breathe in the scent of my photos. There’s a lot of people all around me. I have Mom the Ricoh GRII-21mm at the ready. people are everywhere and yet we are all nowhere. I feel the loneliness cast upon us and then, this woman appears and I see her and she turns to try to find herself…..CLICK!

I love how the Mummers get so engulfed n the energy of the parade. This energy is never-ending. I’m not usually seen on the streets. I kind vanish and appear when it’s time to release. Anyway, the mummers are in front of WAWA and the guy to my right, with his back turned, is stuffing a hoagie in his mouth. I kinda didn’t want to disrespect anyone so I waited….He slowly turns his back to me and then the other guy….CLICK!

There are no illusions in my head about seen/unseen as a photographer. See, there are a few ways to work. Here are my thoughts on 2 of them. We work as an observer and ideally, we are not seen or a part of the photo. The other way is to be a participant and your actions, regardless of how subtle, may influence the outcome of the photo. There exist no proper right way and also no proper wrong way. There just is. The important thing is to be aware of the differences. That is a quality of work that creates the bond between you and your photos. We are supposed to be aware of our environment when making photos. Perhaps this emotional and mental landscape is equal if not more important than actually working. It’s called intent and as fine as a word and meaning that it is, with the practice of the definition, well, no pretty photos will be born.

So much for being unseen….CLICK

There are people that are not in the Mummers Parade but yet Stars in the Parade of Life. This young woman is drawing attention from anyone around her. I’m smiling inside and just observing and then…. she takes her jacket off and is wearing a sports bra. Youse all know me, I have no interest in that sorta stuff. I guess I’m not the target of her attractions, Dude comes over and stands next to her. He’s checking ever art of her with intent. Oh yeah, people that are not shooters may have intent also. I’m watching him as her studies her. She’s comfy and she turns to me and makes a face like, what’s up with dude? Out of the corner of his eye, he’s perving her and then looks slightly away…. CLICK!

Suz called and invites me to have lunch with her, Linda and some friends. I pass and tell her I need to get home. Tanya is alone with Barsik and I want to be with them.

If you’re looking for the traditional Mummers Parade shots, you’re in the wrong place. Be blessed everyone…..

Happy New Years…………….. end transmission…..

December 17th, 2018 … One Shot Per Shoot …

 

 

Today is December 17th. The above photo is frame 17 for the month of December. Been sick and can’t get out. Luckily I need to go see my Primary at the VA Hospital. I figured that I might as well take a camera with as always. So, Mom the Ricoh GRII and I headed out to do the journey to the hospital. As we are on the train to center city, Mom is telling me that there is an updated version of her and I shouldn’t get any ideas about updating the new camera with a new name. Mom will suffice she said. I agreed. I argued enough with mom when she was alive and on the planet and I don’t want to argue with her now that she’s my camera. Ya know that Jewish Guilt Trip? Well, it’s real and always working. See, I think if I just agree with Mom the Ricoh GRII, then Mom in the grave won’t be inside my head so much. I tell youse about this cause I’m older than most but not all. That means you can feel comfy knowing others live inside your head. It’s best if it’s family and even your mom but might not be. Now ya can feel comfy knowing that your not the only one with issues. The old shooter, gotz goodies.

It felt good to be able to breathe the exhaust from the cars and trucks. I still coughed some but not terrible. The noise from the school kids yelling and horns honking. Beethoven doesn’t have anything on that. The hustle and bustle and the people bumping into me and not saying excuse me, wow, what a great feeling. The young guys busting bad with their eyes, right at me and of course, I stare them down. Mom the Ricoh GRII in my pocket keeping warm. She’s on the ready but not turned on. Lens extension procedures never in the pocket. The sky is bright gray-blue. You know that color of exhaust mixed with baby blue, well that’s it. Oh, don’t forget the clouds that look more like released tokes of pot, not medical, from the guys on the corner, only these dissipate slower. yeah man, life in Philly. How good does it get? So the A Train is rolling along the track and I look out the window to the junkies and prostitutes on the streets. It’s like 46F so the streets are loaded. Of course, people are shopping for their Xmas gifts and groceries. Kisa that are cutting school, riding their bikes and hopping around. Cigarettes are burning all over and the blunts are like a wildfire. Even on the train, I can smell the fresh scent of HIGH.

A Train is making the approach to 11th Street, my stop and I need to wiggle past to young girls to get by. I bumped into one’s little butt and said thanks luv. They both giggle……I smile back. Walk up the steps and hit the street.

Mom the Ricoh GRII  comes out of the pocket and mounts to my hand by the Sony Wrist Strap. I have many straps of very good quality. The best wrist strap is the Sony Wii. It’s on eBay all the time for about $1.00. You will be hard pressed to find a better strap. Anyway, we start walking and this older couple are in front of me. I know I need to make some photos and I watch them walk. Then we approach the Fashion signs and I see a photo. I move forward and watch the elegance of age creep along the street thru the crowd of people. Mom starts wiggling in my hand….My Shrink says this is an illusion but the camera is shaking I tell Ya…. they get to catching up to me and ……CLICK!