Category Archives: Dreamcatcher

………of course the camera has a lot to do with it………

Many of my friends are writing on their blogs and in forums etc that it’s the shooter and not the camera. Well, not to be argumentative but I probably am as my wife definitely thinks so….. all the time. See the camera is much more important then most realize.


Barsik (the best muse I ever met)

It’s true that ones vision is the main ingredient in photography that needs the most attention. You can read fancy books, go to school, take workshops, classes whatever you like and it’s mainly about your vision. It should be….until you go to WORK!

Here’s what I teach. There is a process to anything, even drinking a beer. One should be totally into the here and now during the process in order to get the most out of it.



So lets move along and go to work. We will analyize the process of making photos. Now please don’t think there is only one way or even my way. My way works for me and I really don’t want you to do it that way….I’d rather you find your own method of working.

(the camera Don, get to the camera part…..) allright, allright.

Your on the street. Your eyes are like that of a hawk. Your walking and your in step with the life that surrounds you. You can smell the perfume from that young lady……over there,…to the right….you smell the exhaust fumes from the buses and the cars etc.

Your camera (I hope you named your camera by now)… is in your hand just waiting to respond to your every whim. Sorry, the guy over there has his camera on a neck strap….that’s fine…… ok….



You can feel something on the horizon but it’s not yet….just a little bit further down the street….

Then, out of nowhere this lady walks out towards you and the light behind her is perfect…click!

You didn’t get that, geeze, why are you fiddling with the controls to set exposure? You, over there…see…you raised the camera to your eye and she saw you and well….. there’s a million things to come between you and your photos. The one thing that can’t be tolerated is your camera. So if the camera is just a tool, then go hammer a nail with it.




Your camera must be an extension of your process. You must have a friend that your working with and not an intruder that just causes lost images. You should be able to make an adjustment in just a few seconds. If the camera is not an important part of your work, then your probably just looking for a scapegoat for you shooting failures. Yeah, this is heavy do do. It’s easy to say, my camera is a pain to work with.

The point is, you have to take responsibility for your choices in camera acquiring procedures. I have a Pen3 with the 25 lux and the 14 2.5. The Pen3 is a very good camera to work with….for me…. I can go back to around 1967 and I didn’t like SLR’s. I just didn’t like the form. I still don’t. I loved Leica M’s because they worked so well.

Flash to 2013 and I still feel the same way…almost. I had the Fuji X10 and really loved the camera. It reconfigured in a flash. Well, I never got a single RAW file to be processed the right way. I have all the goos processors..I make presets, right. I make photos right!

Now the Fuji X20 is at home and it does RAW like I love clams. The point is that this these cameras are mine and I use them. The offer no intrusion to my process, especially on the street.

I beg to differ with my friends. I state here and now that the camera may be a tool to them but to me and my readers….bunk. It’s an extension to our vision because we chose the right one……

No go and sit with you cameras and come up with names….cameras like names…..well…I do take meds for this sort of thing but my wife states that they ain’t working……


I saw this dude on my ride home.     Dude didn’t see me on the ride home.



More Preset Madness

Yeah…yeah! I’m stuck on the computer doing presets. Well, I’m really stuck on 2 computers that refuse to co-operate with me or each other. Me poor brain is starting to think in terms of color. My brain, not my mind. But I must admit that working in color is teaching me lot’s of things.

Oh yeah…. I’m learning what I already know. I don’t like color but I do like making the presets.


So because I don’t really care for color, I have to find a way to trick the ole’ brain into thinking it likes it. I have sent some of these presets out to shooters and have all good responses from them. I guess that means I might have my brain fooled.



What I am doing is this. When I work, streets usually, I see the world in color. It’s not my idea but they put color in everything. So, in my brain, I reprocess the image in front of me to be in shades of grey. This of course is happening in the mind….now enter my cameras. I have them all to have a B&W screen. If they can’t do that….they belong elsewhere.

So, if I take the color out of the scene and then make a B&W photo the way I want, then add color to it with a palate I can live with….I get what I have up top there….. see those up there……




I do this for those that like the color presets….for the rest of us……. up there is where it’s at….


Tis a Color world we Make our Black and Whites from

I’m a wee bit out of place here so bear with me. I’m very aware of the difference of working in color vrs b&w. I’m not teaching a course here, just merely explaining how I work within each method. Your findings may be different but this is how I see it.

I’ve been doing b&w street for almost half a century. During this time I have only on rare occasions used or even seen color. Part of this is that I really don’t think in color. Of course I see it but I discount it’s intensity and meaning when I’m shooting. I remember more then a few decades ago, my friend Paul McGuirk (actually my brother for all intents and purposes) started shooting color slides and then color negs. I felt betrayed by his images. I felt that I would not let this color disease enter my world. Then one weekend in Washington DC, he showed me his photos. We did this often, share thoughts and discuss our work together.

Things changed for me as far as vision goes. We were looking at some photos and one just sang out to me….”I’m a color shot, don’t you see that”? Well, it’s a photo of the Lincoln Memorial. That photo in itself changes the way I thought. It didn’t change the way I worked but it had a very profound effect on me. Issue two of The Inspired Eye will have an interview and photos by Paul in it. The vision changing thought provoking photo is in the issue.


Move ahead many years and here I am. A great thing for me is to have my screen on the camera see in b&w. Then when I go to LR, I see a color raw file. At this point a decision can be made as to the life of the photo. I still don’t see color out there but when I re-photograph in LR, that’s where color has a chance. I started making presets in color because if I am going to work that way, I want it to be my way.




I think these 2 images express how I relate to color. You may or may not agree but it’s how I respond to it. Long gone are the days of having to make a decision before exposure with films……


Walker Evans In The Garden

If you know me at all, you know that I name my cameras. My White GRD4 is named Walker. It doesn’t matter if you know who Walker is, but nice if ya do.

Tanya, my wife..not a camera and I work hard in the garden. We plant bulbs and watch as the squirrels dig them up and eat them. We plant grass seed so that we get a nice thick furry covering of Kentucky Blue Grass just so I can hack it down with the mower and weed whacker. This also feed the birds.

I always make a rock garden so that I can pick up a rock and find a squiggly worm to hold in my hand and watch Tanya freak out. I get to order pizza for a few days after that episode. Tanya calls lettuce salad. I think the rabbits agree with her….I don’t really know because after 7 years, I’ve yet to taste the lettuce from the garden. The rabbits always smile at me whenever I walk by them.

There’s something about Russian Woman and Cucumbers. When I talk to Tanya’s sisters or mother, they always ask about cucumbers. Money in the bank means nothing if you don’t have cucumbers. That’s a good thing that we get lots and lots of cucumbers.

We adopted a cat so that the squirrels would be afraid to come to the yard. I look at Barsik as the Killer Cat that hates anything moving. The squirrels see Barsik as a friend and a guard for them as they eat the garden. I think the squirrels see the garden as a grocery store. It must be a co-op because they don’t pay or work for anything. Tanya said we are the welfare dept for the local animals.

I like the garden because I get to nurture the flowers with ever so gentle a hand. I water and put miracle grow so that the flowers grow tall with wonderful colors.

I do this so that I can cut them down, put them in a vase, bring them to the dining room table and as I watch them die, I get to use Walker to make photos of them.


4/18’s pick

……….. thank’s doc….seeya in a month. Dr G…. is a good shrink. I guess I like him because he’s not threatening. Then again at the VA Hospital, one shouldn’t be. I finished Blood Draw, went to Primary…Dr J….then off to Pharmacy for Dr L then to Mental Health. That’s a funny thing to me. Mental Health?

Stopped to talk to a few Vets from my AO (Agent Orange) group…..then to see a troop from the sandbox that had  both legs blown off. He’s from someplace out mid west. It took me a month to get his wife to come to see him. It’s not an easy task and older vets like me try to lend support to our brothers. Jeff is feeling somewhat better, his wife will continue to stay married to him and try to work it out.

I leave the hospital and as I’m walking to the trolley, my head is still filled with all this reality and life. I need a draining, I need a fix.

I pull the GRD4 out of the pocket….jeans pocket that are tight on me but the camera fits…. hmmmm imagine that. I’m on the trolley and my brain is saturated with thoughts of all kinds of things. I need to escape this for a little bit.

The trolley is clacking along, (I love the sound of the train wheels on the tracks…ya know when the wheel hits the rail joint) ….that sound is sooo comforting to me. The Ricoh is at the ready, waiting patiently, never letting the screen go to sleep or drain battery power.  The trolley pulls into my stop and I walk down the crowded isle looking and feeling for a photo. I cup the camera in my hand because some of these people want to bang against it and maybe hurt the lens. Walker is protected. Come on now… do name your cameras don’t you…..

I’m on Auto ISO, Snap Focus at 1 meter and f/5.6. Other details in the exif file. As I’m walking into the dimly lit tunnel, I see the walls and ceiling separating into different quadrants…… even the light is changing but not the same on each side…..I felt like I was seeing inside my mind and was at the hospital and then this beautiful woman walked in front om me….CLICK!



it ain’t the Camera…it’s the Eye, Heart and Mind.



I was on Market Street again….Yeah, after 45 years I ain’t tired of  it either. Anyway….the light is that early Spring light with a harshness yet a warmth in the shadows. It’s like walking around with Kodachrome in your eyes. I was using my favorite camera, the Ricoh GRD4. I’m on Snap mode at f/5.6….. 1/2 meter to Karen in Scotland is in focus. I made several photos in 45 minutes and that surprised me a lot. I felt energized. I felt at one with the world, well not all of it but the part I could hear and see and that’s enough for any shooter. I can’t hear Tanya yelling so I know I’m at the right distance from home…….

I see this woman standing against a wall. I immediately think about a few things. I think that Pete would like this scene cause she’s a smoker…hey…hey….smoking a ciggie….ok.  I recognized in my brain, not the mind that this had a familiar feel to it. I’m still in this Dream mode and life with or without the camera is wobbling in and out of my mind.

I remember just a day or two ago that I made a very similar shot. Now I’m getting excited. The finger is starting to dance on the release. Ricoh knows that the finger is the important part of photography and cameras. That’s why they make it so big and so sexi.

My feet start to move towards the image. My eye is now totally focused on the woman and framing the image before my feet get me there. I see it forming, I smell the smoke of the Marlboro. I quit 1 1/2 years ago and still love the smell of a good hot smoke…..

As I move in closer my body goes into shooting mode. That means that my body language is totally non aggressive in appearance.

She doesn’t see me. I start to get closer and frame for the shot… I approach, she looks at me and I slow my pace so that she just thinks I’m nothing in her reality…….then her head lifts ever so slightly…..Her legs move into a secure position and her head again lowers…..I see the light starting to grow on the upper right and the shapes remind me of smoke…..

Then I get to where my Eye….Heart and Mind say…….CLICK




This is the photo that was made just a short time before the above.

For Wouter Brandsma & Jorge Ledesma also for the Ricoh GRD5

So I’m in the middle of the interviews for Issue 2 of   The Inspired Eye  Magazine. I’m gonna have to drop a few names here because they get me to thinking about stuff. Nah, it’s not like I need inspiration or ideas or even trouble. I certainly dang sure don’t need any GAS.

Anyway, Wouter and I are going back & forth with interview emails about photography, not photography etc. Whoa…..hold yer horses now. I got Pete Tachauer, Christophe Debon and Paul McGuirk all working on the interviews. The reason I mention the 2 culprits above is that….

I’m working the street…hey…hey…making photos ok. Sheeeesh…. I get an email and I figure I could use a break. I sit down on a bench in front of the Liberty Bell. I pull the ole’ antique iPhone 4 out and open the mail program.

Now let’s get something straight right off the bat. I love the EP-3 and the lenses I have for them. Yup, I gotz 2 Pens. So I got the Silver Pen….Walker with me and he’s sportin’ the 17mm 1.8. Now I ain’t one to question things when they start to working just righty fine. There’s enough to do when the stuff hits the fan…….. The email shooter, what’s in the email? ok…ok…sorry..brain fart.

So there on my phone screen is this post from that Jorge Ledesma fella. Now I like Jorge and his blog. I read it because he bust his hump making it entertaining for his readers. Today he made the ultimate post for dreams of the new future. See, he posted a video about the new GRD5. Well, I damn near had a hissey fit when I watched the video. Nah, the first 5 times I just watched but that 6th time…that was it. I was figuring it’s a fake, again. So I forward the email to Wouter and he confirmed that it was a real camera and that the video was in fact true.  Now until we get the camera in our hands…it’s a dream but this dream, if it comes true…dang, I’ll sell my M43 stuff again.

The reason being is that the GRD4 is about as good a camera as any camera could hope to be…..the GRD5 will move to a whole new level.


I ran home to my garden and made this real quick with the GRD4 but…this is exactly what I envisioned the image to be.


Thanks Jorge…..Thanks Wouter, see ya on the emails shortly….Thanks Ricoh….Sorry Olympus….

shooter out…………………………………………………………………..

Saturday Morning Dreams



The question has been put forth to me many times as to why I make photos like this. My answer is because I can. If anyone, yeah even you looked thru my archive, you’d see that this is not a new venture for me. I used Infrared film in my M’s for years. I got these really cool tones and contrast things happening. I did everything photographically for about 3 years with this film. Then one day I said to myself….Self, we have to wait for LightRoom to be invented so we can make what we see and feel. That was 37 years ago but worth the wait.


04-13-0428The Grim Reaper…..?

The cool thing about photography is that each shooter has the capability to realize his/her own vision. Sometimes it takes guts to stand on your own feet and pursue your inner vision. Just do it!




I gotta tell ya….when I look at my images, sometimes I get totally blown away. I mean, it’s a humbling experience. I see these photos and think, these images give birth to me over and over. They recognize me and they form my identity and give reason for the day.

I’m not the guy that stands and says, I made these photos, look at them, look at me.

Nah, I am aware that they made and continue to make me. Without them, I cease to exist.






I know I probably sounds a little crazy but I just hope that you get the same satisfaction from your work as I do. If you are near the threshold of your creativity and you have a camera in your hand…maybe we’ll meet on the other side.


Hold on now…….I mean about shooting….not about dying,,,,that we all do by ourselves……

Have a productive weekend even if ya do nuttin…….