Category Archives: Garden

Covid-19 … Homework … Efforts To Persevere

…..nay, I’m ok, it’s just a mental thing…you won’t understand. Seen my VA Shrink called to check up on me. I mean he’s a good Doctor and even better cause he kinda understands me. So, he asked me how I was getting along and I told him I’m fine, taking my meds, easy on coffee but my cameras need help. He asked me to explain soooo….see Doc, Covid-19 has me home bound. I’m on lock down. I get out to the backyard and that’s the end of the world for me. My cameras are feeling lock down also.

I have 5 cameras on duty. There are others that are sleeping in their boxes that basically are coffins because I forget about them and that makes them dead. Back to life and the living. The new kid on the block is Walt, the Fuji X100V. New camera and old important name for me. I treat all my cameras as equals because they all have different qualities that support the photography we do together.

Beings a new guy, Walt the Fuji X100V has  ways to attract me and keep me hypnotized to keep using him.. The other cameras tell him about the streets and how they get out   and work. Walt, the Fujix100V has never been off the homeland. Things are so dry here on the Homeland, I’m looking for Carrie.

Part truth is, a committed shooter should be able  to make photos at all times, regardless of a virus etc. I do believe this to be true. I also believe, that the landscape you are in influences the energy you can muster up.

Maybe the thing is, not to feel and live the restrictions we place on ourselves. I don’t know. All I can do is work at home and dream of the streets again. I have always said that street is another term for life. That should mean that you plug your eyes into anything and see photos. I think for the most part that is true. What gets be is the monotony of being in the same space day after day. Funny thing is, I can walk the same streets for years and never feel this way.  I notice many friends out on the street making photos. They post them all the time. I wonder if they feel better about the situation and i wonder if they consider the damage that could be done to others and themselves. I suppose it’s the “to each his/her own” thing. I think about this stuff because we are mostly living it. I get to work a little when I fee so inspired, not very often either.  I been told my many that I should see things as if seeing it for the first time. That’s sooo much bull-dinky, I discount it immediately. What I try to do is, fall in love with my life and all the things that share it with me.

I hope everyone finds the inspiration to carry on the good fight. It’s not about winning or losing but about the battle to survive. 
We should “endeavor to persevere” as Lone Watie taught  Josey Wales.

Stay in, stay safe and love everyone enough to wear a N95 or similar.

The Grass Is Always Greener … Covid-19

The Grass Is Always Greener on the other side, and it’s true. Now get this, ….I know why and I will tell you all right now. The grass nis greener over there because there’s more bullshit (pardon my profanity) over there to fertilize it.

Anyway I always thought that I’d love to have more time to work in Light Room. It’s been an unrealized dream.

I’m not a heavy shooter, just 186lbs…laffs. The thing is, I have time to process from a days shoot because ,I don’t burn a lot of pixels. The time I dreamt of was time to go thru decades of photos and re-shoot them and find the ones I let sleep in hopes of one day bringing them home. Well Mr Covid 19 has put the lid down on my thinking. Now I have the time  to do the editing and sorting I always wanted.

The time we desire is the time we waste and the time we live is the time worth dying for. Now I have time to edit and process and whatever. I even have time to discover the things in LR that Olivier shows me. What do I do, well the green green grass of home is with my cameras.  Lucky enough, We have a garden out back and big enough I can find things to make photos of.

So, having time to spare and waste, causes the brain to kinda turn to spaghetti. I said to my self,  don,, yes…. we need to do photography but spend time doing it. Hmmmm we both thinks me has a good idea. I will take the new Fuji X100V  out to the garden and make 1 frame Just 1. Ok, sooo where’s the magic? Well I go and make 1 frame and then come into the PC and do Light Room on that 1 frame.

The idea for me is, to use time productively and be aware of the process.  This method works. I have shot a fair amount of frames and processed a fair amount. This gives me the experiences that I no longer have till Mr Covid-19 let’s us breathe again.

This has been an ordeal for Tanya and me. I’ mean we all know I am easy to live with, get along with almost everyone, just a joy to be around. Well, sure we all know that, it’s a constant in the universe. The thing is, Tanya has her own ideas. Every time I go to the garden, she wants to know what I’m doing.

See, she knows when I have a camera in hand, I am in another plane of existence. I could walk on her seedlings or plants etc raspberry or strawberry plants and then not even know I destroyed things. But I get the photo I tellya, like she gives a hoot, no damn sure don’t  Even Barsik the cat is careful in the garden We have there bags and fill them with  good soil and she plants stuff in them. They are great because you can move them to where the sunlight is. Barsik thinks they are his litter bags.

Of course for me everything is camera food. I mean Mr Covid-19 has locked me in and as I write this, I am 33 dayz in.   I started to wonder what Tanya is doing in the yard. She’s smart and frugal as she’s digging a big rectangular hole. I guess she want’s fresh dirt cause it’s a deep hole.  She’s digging and the looks at me and has this kinda weird smile like a Hitchcock smile, Well, I won’t say anything we both need to have a way to spend our time.

Stay in, stay focused, stay safe and keep an eye out for others. We are all in this together so, be aware………….I’ll write again soon but Tanya just told me I don’t have to worry about that. She’s digging and a digging…..

April 14, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Some Macro Mode Shots


So, it’s Sunday and I can’t get out too much because I have bites all over my right leg. Time for Neosporin. This also means that Tanmya is watching me like a hawk. I put Andre’ the Ricoh GR III in Macro mode. He focuses close in normal mode, that macro is out of focus because I am not close enough. Amazing. I don’t want to be that close but Andre’ insisted I either move him closer or back out and use regular focus mode. There is or should be an emotional impact on images. I mean that we sometimes use the magic of photography in a manner that gives more of a feel from the photo instead of the technical aspects. The flower above is straight from the DNG. The color trips me out. The softness, as if a woman, just is lovely. Nuff said.


The Ricoh GR III is made and designed to be an all-around companion. I am wearing a pocket tee shirt. Andre’ fits in the pocket safely. The GR II also fits in a tee shirt pocket but sticks out some and kinda nervous as it might fall out. The point is one could carry the GHR III in any pocket and it fits comfy. I know many of you don’t name your camera and I do feel bad for you. Photography for me is about love. I can’t seem to grasp making love with a woman and calling her it. Hmmm, I suppose not a good idea and certainly, disrespectful. Anyway, your choice but I will say the Ricoh cameras like to work with the shooter and having a name draws the entire process together. The shot above is DNG run thru Silver Efex. I use my presets there a lot.


All of these photos were shot in standard AF mode. I thought to try macro but can’t find anything that small that interest me enough to make a photo. I will venture into this deeper during the week. I love this camera as I love all my Ricoh’s. This one has mojo already for me and I don’t go too far without it with me. Tanya still will not have Andre’ the Ricoh GR III in bed with us.

Anyway, just a short post cause I love the garden photos I will make with Andre’.

Be Blessed on your Journey……..


Ricoh GRII… Garden


Tanya is the dedicated homemaker both inside and out. She gives life to the garden and everything growing and also to me. I am no easy task for anyone but Tanya has that Russian upbringing and that seems to work. Between her and my Doc at the VA hospital, I have it well under control. Look, I don’t mind doing the dishes. I’m actually very good at it. When I’m tired of doing them, I’ll leave a small piece of food on a dish and that’s it…..I now have a few days off from that chore…..

“Go use your cameras, do something constructive. ” Okie…. so anyway, she bought some Orchards and we are seeing how we can keep them alive. I am seeing how many photo I can make of them as they change shape day by day. Flower and plants are children. We need to nurture them so that they nurture us in different ways. Our veggie garden will provide nice things that will be better than anything that could be bought in a store. The flowers nourish my heart and soul.


As far as making photos goes, I m kinda burnt out on the street. I feel that I need a new location to work but I know that’s not it at all. I just need to readjust my frame of mind so that my mind can see the frame in a way that excites me again. Until then I usually get depressed and complacent with everything again. The garden for me is a go to eye, heart and mind refresher. So I might be a little slow on posting for a little bit and then again, maybe not.

All I know is, I’m in the September of my years and I ain’t wasting any time being depressed or lazy.It’s gonna be the Ricoh GRII for a spell cause Ricoh has always been my go to camera for just being in the moment, wherever that may be.

Seeya’s in a few days… peace and be blessed all…..

Streets Of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 63 … A Gift Of Life From The Garden


My wife and I do a nice garden every year. Well, Tanya makes the garden and I make the photos from it. It’s very inspiring to me and also rewarding in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s like New Life has come to visit me and maybe help me settle a little with the anguish living inside me. I won’t get too mushy here or explain too much detail but I will state that I feel every Vet from every war would benefit from doing a garden. Instead of seeing things dying all the time and that’s not just in Combat, it’s the aftermath that is the hard time to deal with and they call that PTSD. Vets see their relationships slipping away and dying and not know how to deal with it and even worse, not give a shit about it anyway.

The Garden brings new life without prejudice of what was before. So, I do as the flowers etc suggest…..just bring a camera and enjoy making photos….and I do.


The Tulips are just starting to come up and they call to me right away. Tanya does a lot of work like the Garden’s Mother taking care of her children. I go out and just find a few moments of peace and tranquility. I don’t expect or ask for more.

Every minute is “A Gift From A Flower To A Garden”.

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 43 … Olympus TG-4 … One ShoT pEr ShOOt …Ralph the Squirrel


They say, “Lifes a bitch and then you die”. Ok, I got something to say about that. Everyone close your eyes…..sit back and I’m taking you to the start of the growing season here in Philly. Keep em closed….it’s warm and our Crocuses  and Tulips and Daffodils are starting to come up. We are excited because the garden means we can do things and not fight too much. Oh yeah, as long as I do things according to Mrs Shooters plans, no fight. The garden is a proving grounds for love and lasting relationships.

Hey, I didn’t make it up, some old couple back in the Roman Empire days did, I’m  just passing it on to youse. Well, here’s the point. Youse alls eyes are still closed and you’re warm in the garden as I’m out here freezing my ass off. So, the squirrels see our garden as the local grocery store. Yeah, no kidding. They go up and down the aisles, grab some strawberries, maybe raspberries or even some lettuce or whatever they want.

They like to dig the bulbs up. I planted 350 2 years ago. They were Snow Crocuses. Beautiful and a sure sign that winter is ending. Now, I had 7 last spring. Yep, grocery shopping for squirrels.  and actually play together. We even got a killer cat. Barsik the killer cat. He’s like 26 lbs and the king of the garden. Well, he’s a pacifist. him and the squirrels are friends, they play together. Just great.

I got my son-in-law to get me a BB gun. I’m in the garage and I got my camos on, night vision helmet, radio commo, air support, my trusty BB gun ready to slaughter the squirrels. Tanya comes to the garage, now the firing range. She looks at me. What are you doing? I’m getting ready to launch an attack.

She grabs the gun, looks at me and says, look my hero, I made tea and Russian salad. I never did see the gun again.

We needed water and a few small things from the market. So I put on my backpack and head to the store in the snow. I get everything and start to head home and low and behold, there, there right in front of me is Ralph the squirrel. He’s not looking too good. Actually, he’s preserved from the cold.

I pull my TG-4 out of my pocket and look at Ralph and make a photo. Of course, I can’t be sure it’s actually Ralph the squirrel. I mean maybe it’s Ralphess the lady squirrel. I felt in that moment, that we need to appreciate life in all its forms. Maybe I saw the light that squirrels are really my friends and I need to make the garden and slave out there and listen to Tanya tell me I do everything wrong unless it’s done her way so we don’t get to eat anything but we have fat ass squirrels running around and I’m supposed to be grateful that the squirrels bless me by eating and destroying everything and making houses in the trees so when I walk by they can drop squirrel turd on me head.

Nah… wait till Springtime you bastards, we go to war again.. For now, I take a moment to remember Ralph the squirrel.

Ok, that’s enough….. stay warm youse fine peeps…….

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 8 … Lesson From Ilya Bolotowsky


This is the crossover from West bound to East bound on the Elevate train. I’ve been in love with the design and metal ever since I was a kid. I remember being around 13 and passing thru this and thinking, some day when I’m older and a photographer, I’m gonna make a photo of a lady as we look at each other. Maybe it took 50+ years but I’m glad young shooter remembered to plant this idea in our head. So as I was passing thru the time/directional tunnel, I became aware of a woman passing thru from the other side. I raised Andre’ the Fuji X100s and he was ready. She looked dead in my eyes and I got Andre’ in position and ….CLICK! The young shooter from the past is long gone. He stayed at home with Mom when the getting older shooter went to Viet Nam. I think a lot but not all of my innocence died over there. When I got home Mom said to me, looking right in my eyes, “Where is my son, your not my son”? Ya know parts of me died in Nam lke every other Vet but I managed to bring pieces of me home. When mom said that, well, the rest of me died.


I guess that Mother Light kinda adopted me and made me her child. I was actually saved by photography. There’s many ways to get saved and I implore you to find a few ways to salvation but remember, as shooters, we save ourselves and each other.

Photographers don’t work just for themselves. They work for other photographers. We seek and find satisfaction from each other and that feeds the selves that we are. Our responsibility is to our selves and to feed each other energy so that other photographers may continue to work.

Photography is about instant gratification. It’s very easy to see what we captured almost instantly. Then bring the image to life in LR and then send it to Flickr and other social media spots. When we see hits and likes and comments, it drives us to continue the good fight. So this instant gratification is an ongoing project. It’s the battle to fight for photographic survival.


This relationship with others is most important, especially for fuel to continue. But if we look at what’s going on in our process, we begin to see many symbiotic relationships thru the entire process. Many years ago I was photographing American Artist. I travelled all over to make the acquaintance of the artist and to make the photo. I made many including BB King, Salgado and his wife, Harry Bertoia, Luciano Berio, Edmund Bacon and many more.

I started to ask questions about the art that they were producing. One conversation was with Ilya Bolotowsky. I used an Arca Swiss 2×3 with a roll film back and also a 4×5 Deardorff. These cameras intrigued the artist. Ilya asked me why I used the Arca Swiss. I said it was a great tool, compact and extremely efficient. He looked at me and said, “Pity”. Then Ilya called me to his table where he had his brushes. I looked at them and thought he has many brushes. He said, Don, there are my friends. We work together and they know more about holding paint then I do but we work together to make the painting. He pointed to one really used brush. He said, this is “Jasper.” He helps me get the lay of the canvas. He picked the brush up and held it like it was alive. He looked at it, and I know he said something to it quietly. I could almost hear it but I definitely felt it. So we sat and sipped tea. It was the same tea my Grandfather gave me when I was very young. I looked at Ilya with a love that  I didn’t understand but knew someday, I would grasp it.

After tea, we made the photo. Ilya smiled and so did I. He said to me,”your camera is your friend but it’s your partner more then a friend.” On the train back to Philly from New York, I started to understand Ilya and what he was teaching me. I looked in the bag and saw Ilya laying there in rest and peace. See, I named my 2×3, Ilya. When he came to Philly for the opening of his exhibition, I brought 2 framed 16×20 prints. Ilya saw me and walked to me right away. I was honored because this master recognized me. I showed him and his wife the print. She dropped her jaw and Ilya look at it carefully and said, thank you maestro. I handed Ilya his signed copy and he immediately said, I didn’t sign yours. I panicked and went in the back of the gallery, opened the frame and then Ilya signed it. I still have that framed print on the wall.



I learned from Ilya about symbiotic relationships within my work. I name all my cameras and they may be subject to name change but they all have a name. They are all my friends and they are all share a synergism with me in my work and my life. Sure many younger shooters think I’m crazy. It’s ok I accept the charge and I will continue to be crazy. The Ilya Bolotowsky photo was made in 1976.


The beauty of life is found in the streets but it’s not the only place to find it. We should strive to see and capture life wherever and whenever we can.  I love the garden because it sings of new life daily and praises the passing of life from those plants that died. Tanya does all the work and I do all the photography. Sometimes I am allowed to use the lawn mower but never the weed wacker. she doesn’t care if I kill the grass but hurt a plant, I sleep in the garage. This is one of my Sunflowers. It’s now about 5′ high and will get to over 8′. I have 15 planted and 13 living. I looked at this in the morning going to the bus stop and after I came home, I wanted to make a photo. The wind had a sense of humor. See, it was still all over the garden, not a wisp of air. Then as I framed the camera, wind came and blew the flower all over.I looked at the garden and saw the beauty of the stillness and as I focused, the wind moved the flower all over. I closed my eyes and felt the blessing from above.  Ilya was making sure I had a name for my sunflower and he made sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I named the flower Oscar, and then the wind slowed, and then the wind stopped and ….CLICK

Thanks Ilya………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Homework … Penelope the Ricoh GRD 4 likes it … More Thoughts From Philly

03-15-171-EditSometimes I get kinda art schooley and I make photos that remind me how much I still have to learn. Problem is I enrolled in the  school of life a long time ago and never graduated. I was afraid of graduation cause then if I was a graduate I would be making photos of my cat and plants. I’s have too much education to do things like that. It would be beneath a life graduate to make silly simple photos. You’d need to get a pardon from the international life committee of graduated and non graduated students and that wouldn’t be easy. So of course the easiest way to do this is to make the photos and never post them anywheres. They just become records of our innocence lost. We need not worry about our peers seeing our silly photos that may mean a lot to us but we stay in the closet and not let them be borne. It’s prolly easier to come out of the closet and say your Gay or Les or Bi or Trans than saying, hey, I’m a serious photographer, Look at my cat photos.

03-15-176-EditI know none of youse ever suffer thru this situation. I know it’s my personal bullshit that makes me feel stupid silly things but nonetheless, I do feel it. Does that make sense? No matter, my Doc thinks I’m not all crazy, he swears I’m half sane and that’s a good point to hold on to. I got Penelope off the shelf and as soon as I turn her on, she turns me on. Now I think I’ll dig on the shelf again and pull someone off that hasn’t seen the light of day in a while. Tomorrow I’m on the streets again and will bell rest of week. I need to get way from the cat and the plants. They making me crazy.


So the Canon EOS M2 has found a new home thanks to ebay. Nice camera, great IQ but it has a Touch screen I cant turn off… by,enjoy your new home. I have Andre’ the Fuji X100s and  Walker the Nikon Coolpix A to do the work. I have Rogers Leica M’s and some other things around if I need another camera. I don’t. My Olympus Pen EP-5 came home 15 months ago after being repaired and I never opened the box. I guess it’s fixed. Dunno, wanna just go with the flow the 2 guys can feed me.


So I am ready to go out and work in a steady manner. I prolly won’t stop my Homework or Plant Life stuff cause I love and don’t have to stop.That stuff satisfies on a different level but it is very satisfying and I will keep looking for photos.

Isn’t that what real photographers do, they can make good photos of anything with any camera. I envy them there ppls cause I’m not that.I always wanted to be a good all arounf photographer.I worked that life pursuing that dream and fell short always.

I guess I just have to be a Human Being with a camera, sheeeeesh… go figure





Barsik The Cat and Andre’ the Fuji X100s Face Winter


Don’t worry, Walker the Sony RX100M3 was there also. See, I don’t really like winter. It’s not just the cold, or the lack of warm sunlight. It’s not that I have to wear 200 lbs of clothes and still be cold, nah.. not any one of those. It’s not even getting lectured how I’ll be cold if I don’t wear the proper protection against the cold, nope not that either.

It’s not just the cold on the cameras that makes my hands cold because I’m not wearing the gloves that Tanya told me to wear so I wouldn’t have cold hands and I know that cause it’s been that way since I was a kid and I still ain’t learned to listen. 01-15-0208-Edit

No it’s not any one of those things I hate about winter, it’s the whole damn package. All of the above and more are problems for me. So, what to do?

Well, first make sure your batteries are fully charged as cold makes them get uptight too and they drain faster. Keep your lens and all glass surfaces clean. This is obvious right, don’t believe it.

The thing is for me… winter makes me aware how precious life is. I mean I see my beautiful garden covered in snow and the remains of all the work and all the love in a frozen state. I see the cold all over the world I live in and it effects my energy, my vision both internal and external. So I guess I’m stuck in a mode of not stagnant but kinda like slo mo forward with a lot of looking back. I mean winter is a slow down time. It’s a most important time and I look forward to it every year. Why? Well I slow down and smell the dead frozen roses.

It’s a time for reflection, a time for cleaning the memory banks and deleting those things recorded that make us complacent. It’s a time to dream about the warm weather and the body loosening up and how we can’t wait ti get out and really work.

Winter is a reality check for Lightroom. Oh yeah, I got the balls to say it. Time to work the catalogs, just ask Judy, she knows. Time to organize everything. Time to drink Kona in the morning and Spatlese at night.


I’m not the only one waiting for warm weather. All the birds in the world come to my birdbath. Now they just sit and wait. No camera, no lightroom, no Kona or Spatlese.

Just sit and wait…… patiently and in the cold and wait… yup, just wait………….

September 15th, 2014 … Andre’ The Fuji X100s … Meets … Ding The Nikon Coolpix A


Look, don’t get me wrong, ok. I really do love the X100s and it provides a wonderful working experience.

What, but everyone knows that already. Ok, ok! Andre’ is upset because I called the camera X100s and not it’s proper name, Andre’. He also said, “Look shooter,  everyone calls you Don or shooter. No one calls you the human or photographer and you wouldn’t be without me anyway.” So now I get it. Andre’ the Fuji X100s is jealous

09-14-0053-EditSee, word on the camera shelf is that there’s a new kid on the block. Yes, it’s very true. The Nikon Coolpix A has taken up residence on the current camera shelf. The new camera has been named Ding, after Kneeland Ding McNulty.

Ding mentored me for a while and gave me valuable life lessons and how to have photography fall in love with me. He wasn’t concerned about my love affair with photography but wanted to make sure that photography and I had a life long symbiotic relationship. So I decided to name the Nikon after him. So of course Andre’ is upset and kinda jealous because he thinks he will get less street time than he used to get. Nothing could be further from the truth. See, both Andre’ and Ding will be out with me always starting Wednesday. Till then, Ding and I are reacquainting our selves as it’s been decades since we spent time together, at least on the physical plane.

09-14-0152-EditSee, for me it used to be a 35mm lens on my M Leicas. The when the digital imaging made cameras that worked like cameras, it seemed that 28mm was the preferred focal length. I still lean to the 35mm FOV but the 28mm FOV has a place embedded in my brain’s firmware. Well, now that my brain is back from vacation, I will have to update it’s firmware to the Nikon;s UI and FL and combine that with Andre’, the Fuji X 100s.


There are thing for me to write about and I am excited again to feel visual freedom once again. Ding is proving to be a worthy companion and I hope in due time that Andre’ and Ding will get along.

At any rate, I’ll be posting more for the next few weeks as the discovery and challenges arise working with these two cameras.

Shooter Out……………………………