Category Archives: Garden

A Wouter Brandsma Stroll Day …. of a Different Kind.

08-13-0207Wouter is taking some time off and going thru some personal issues. That’s understandable if you follow his blog like I do. You do follow it right? I thought so….

Well, I’m a walker by nature, used to be a runner but too old and can’t make photos running thru the streets cause a cop will see you holding the camera in your hand and know that you stole it and need time in jail to readjust your sick mind.

We all know that already. What we didn’t know….oh yeah…don’t try that stuff around here…I’m not the only one knowing that Wouter is a stroller. He’s so much a stroller, I think he invented it. It’s being traced thru the historical documents because there’s another guy that is a stroller….Pictor The Strolling Shooter. There’s no clearly defined person that actually invented the Art of Photographic Strolling.

08-13-0222So beings the walker that I am, I asked the GR if she would like to take a walk and she happily replied yes. I think she knows that I’ve been spending a lot of time with the guys out there. What, oh sorry…the guys are the Sony Nex 6 and the Ricoh GXR M Mount. They get along fine and both share the same lenses. Not many squabbles but occasionally they argue over the resolution in the images.

So Tanya, you remember…the Ricoh GR is named Tanya and I headed out to center city….my favorite spot. She was hot today and I noticed a few cameras checking her out. She made me promise to spend more time with her in the next few weeks and I agreed.


08-13-0228So for a spell, the GR will get a workout again and can rest assured that she’s not being sold off. I like Wouter’s work both in photo and words. I guess as a younger shooter he will just keep a strolling along and I the elder will keep on walking….. and I’ll keep on doing that with camera in hand till I reach the end….


The Eye, Heart and Mind … a Recipe for the Streets


There comes a time when most photographers, especially street shooters, feel a connection to the images they are making. Ya know….it’s been said that one should try to connect to the subject  matter. In a way I agree with that and in a bigger way I don’t. Let’s face it. You might, maybe, almost have a few seconds before you click the shutter. In those few seconds are we suppose to connect to our subject matter? Yeah right…it ain’t happening, well here in Philadelphia it ain’t. So here’s a way to do this.


Work and work hard. Edit your efforts and get a grouping of images you like and relate to. I know youse all do this all the time so why am I preaching again? Well, if you want to connect to what attracts you out there, first you have to see it in print or on your screen.

See, now that you have these images in front of you, it’s time to read what you saw when you made the photo. You have to find the path to your Eye, Heart and Mind. Seriously, you’ll never get connected to your work just looking for it out there. You must connect to it in front of your eyes. You now have the time to study your efforts, thoughts and even reactions to what you do.


So now go out and do this…I’ll wait here……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Ok, glad your back.

There are triggers that get you to release the shuter and there are triggers or attractors that get you into the image. Once you are aware of these, when your out there on the street….it’s like markings on a map. You are never lost and if you feel the road is all to familiar, it’s easy to steer off into a new direction. The point is, to be aware of your Eye, Heart and Brain and your place in the here and now.

08-13-0169The Power Of Suggestion… figure it out….


The Voigtlander 21mm f/4 Skopar 7′ Rule for the Street


Here’s some good stuff for the real street shooters. I’m using the Nex 6 and soon to be GXR M Mount again on the street with Voigtlander lenses. Ok, no biggie everybody does that. So what’s up wit dat Shooter?

The 21mm f/4 Skopar on the APS-C cameras comes out to 31.5mm FOV. This appeals to me in a very special way. See, for many years I used 35mm FOV on my Leica’s and even Digital Cameras when I could. Then it happened that 28mm became more natural for Camera Makers to do so I was forced to change my Natural Field of View, 35mm to 28mm.

Years ago I actually got 2 M6’s because of the 28mm in the frame lines. I was excited, got the Elmarit and never used it much. Now I am at the point that I still love 35mm but I also love 28mm. Enter the Skopar. Converted to 31.5mm it’s kinda right in the middle.

Love working with it. One of the issues with manual focus lenses is just that, focus!


So here we are and we wannna shoot the street with the Skopar but how to do it fast. I mean real fast. Here’s what I do and why.

I set the lens to 7′. My shutter is usually around 1/400 +- depends on light. Here’s the inside scoop on this.

f/4            5 – 11′

f/5.6   4.5 – 15.3′

f/8       3.9 – 30′

f/11    3.3 – Infinity

f/16   2.7 – Infinity

f/22   2.2 – Infinity

It’s easy to see that the DOF carries very nice, even wide open. So now the Aperture plays more important than before. If you are in lower light, f/4 will get a nice image even up close, the blur will be very sexi. I work this lens all the time like this and it’s as fast as the GR on Snap mode. That’s what I need on the street….speed and accuracy. I find the frame just right because it’s right in the middle of my Natural Field of Views.


This is a very stimulating way to work. There’s no auto something. You set the exposure, set 7′ and frame the photo. The beautiful thing here is that if you need to change anything at all…it’s right there as fast as you can do it.


I’ll be posting more tips and tricks shortly. Until then, The Inspired Eye Magazine, Issue 3 is being published today.

I hope you read it and more importantly, I hope you enjoy it. It’s a great read…..

Later, enjoy the weekend if it’s that time in your corner of the world.


The Ricoh GR …. Off Street …. A Great Camera For Lasting Memories


One of my favorite photographers from way back to 1973 is Emmet Gowin.

The reason was that he photographed his wife’s family usually with a large format camera. I immediately connected with his vision because I was doing the same thing but differently. His photos of his wife Edith sent chills down my back and sent film to my cameras. It would energize me all the way to this morning’s walk with Tanya in the rain. I had an instant realization of how important the Family Album was and is.

Someday I hope my archive of negatives will be found by a family member and they can have the history of our family printed. I even have negatives my Grandmother gave me from the late 1880’s of as many family members that were photographed and the images survived. My generation is the next to exit and I hope that my family album survives me but because it’s many negatives, the younger members won’t know what the heck this stuff is.


The Ricoh GR …. A Great Camera for Lasting Memories.

The Ricoh GR …. Freedom on the Street …. but a Camera Killer


I made a discovery some time ago that the Ricoh GRD4 was a camera killer. The reason I say this is because once I pickup the GRD4 and take it out, it’s days to say the least before I can even start to think about using any other camera on the shelf. Ya see, this camera is as close to perfection for a street camera as one can get.

The new Ricoh GR is a very close companion to the GRD4 but it maintains a few differences. I’m not getting into firmware wants/needs because that is outside my real use of the camera. Sure, I want some things addressed but I am a shooter first and a shooter second also. I must be able to use the camera the way it is and not dream of what it may become after a firmware update.


The camera does everything a concerned street shooter requires to be able to do the work. In fact, it may do things too well. The Ricoh GR has captured the KILLER Instinct of it’s mother, the GRD4. Yes, this camera has the ability to kill the desire to use any other camera on the shelf. This creates a real problem for me and maybe others. After a session with the GR and I mean just a day or two… I am hard pressed to pick up the Nex6 or GXR. This is the dilemma I created and now live in. Of course I visit this mad house regularly.

The break point for me is actually a simple but difficult thing called FOV. See, I use the Nex and GXR with MF lenses only. I am using the Voigtlander 21mm & 35mm. These give me a FOV of 31.5mm & 52.5mm. That may be the saving grace in this GR situation. The GR gives 28mm. See, there must be a justification for me to switch FOV other than just the availability.

I know many think I’m nutty and I probably am but I’m also a dead serious shooter. When I raise my camera, the image is already burned in my mind. I’m not struggling with distance, lenses, FOV etc….. I just SEE and Click.


Garden work today so I may be tied up for a day or so.

The Inspired Eye Issue 3 is just about ready to be published. Keep an eye out, it’s a doozey……..

The Streets With The Ricoh GR


Ok, ok…so I didn’t dump the GR. Ya know…there’s a time and place for all things on this green earth. Even if your place isn’t GREEN, in one way or another…there’s still a time and place.

I have been working hard with Olivier to get the Issue 3 ready to publish. I have to say, the kid, ya know that Olivier fella, he knows his dew dew. So the Gr has been sitting on the shelf and probably somewhat nervous about being sold off.

I was in LR5 and working on some presets. It was this time that the GR revelation hit me. I am doing a few new sets and in the B&W I’m working on a gritty look that I love. I tried this on the GR a month ago and the images were too sharp and contrasty. That’s good for most but I want to be able to produce a look regardless of the camera. The NEX 6 is no issue at all. The files are extremely elastic.

So I pulled a few images from a month ago thinking they were from the Nex and started to work the Preset.



All the sudden, I started to see some mojo start to happen. A tweak here, some hot water there, a fire over there and nex thing I knew….I had some really cool presets starting. I said to myself in my usual excited tone, self….let’s get this saved and try it on some other cameras. Well, self said back to me…yo stupid….this is made on the GR. WAT? dskfhfkflghkhgdsmh!!!!!?




I was very surprised and extremely pleased. Ya see, I made a stupid mistake that my self figured out and now I have to admit that my Shrink at the VA is right about me not being too crazy but let’s not get carried away Don your still from from normal…..

So Iam now keeping the GR around me at all times, even the times that I shouldn’t have it with me because the Ricoh GR is not waterproof in the shower.

See, the most important thing about Presets is and must be embraced. Not every Preset will work on every file. That for me, would be too generic. I’m not making these for generic shooters, I’m making them for my friends and they deserve the best that I can do.



So I am working on a few exciting things. The GR has it’s new shot at staying in my pocket and won’t be sold.

The Inspired Eye Issue #3 is almost finished.

The New Presets are almost done and will be a knockout for street shooters….either B&W or COLOR!

More tomorrow when I get back from the VA.

The EYE, HEART & MIND …. Keeping Focused on INTENT.


The quest for me has always been to stay focused with my eye, heart and mind. I’ve managed to do so in spurts of time and energy and at the same time, get unfocused as well. I remember sitting against a tall oak tree with Minor White. The class was all about making photos that may or may not in time have or have not any value.

Minor related to me more so than the others because I was a combat vet  from Nam and really because I was always asking him questions. He told me that the hardest part of living was not in finding subject matter to focus on but focusing on my inner self. 07-13-0558

I came to understand what Minor meant but so far, I have failed to find the inner self and stay focused on it for a prolonged period of time. This is what he meant as explained to me. The words may not be exact anymore but the meaning lives in me and will forever.

The single word that maintains value above and beyond all others is...“INTENT’. So maybe I have photos of flowers as above. The thing is, to most they see pretty flowers. To me and other photo warriors, we see INTENT. I see that what I felt at the moment of exposure is realized in these images. No, it’s not The Decisive Moment. (I’m not a firm follower in that saying anymore. Besides there are about 3600 seconds in a moment here in Philly. YMMV. That’s not using any fraction of seconds. So, today shooters have destroyed the essence of what Bresson was talking about. I choose not to subscribe to that ruination.)




So, if one’s intent is intact, then whether another gets the photo or not doesn’t matter at all. Photography being a form of visual communication needs to communicate. But with whom? If the photo lacks intent, it’s just like writing hogwash with words. The words are there but there is no intent and thus no message.

Photographers are more prone to suffer a lack of communication than other communicative arts. You can buy all the cameras, lenses, darkrooms, lightrooms etc you can afford. Shoot countless hours, days, weeks months etc. Take as many workshops as you can all the while, what you need to succeed in your quest is just plain and simple…INTENT.

Intent is the focusing of your….Eye, Heart and Mind.


Nex 6 and Voigtlander 21mm Skopar & 35mm 1.4 Nokton


The more things change, the more they stay the same. What the heck does that mean….dunno?

I find myself walking the same streets, alleys etc. I see the same buildings, cars, buses yeas and even people. With some people I’m past the nodding stage and have moved onto saying, yo…or hey, or hi or something to acknowledge I recognize that person. That person but not all because Philly is a big city and has many people in it and most are human but not all for sure but that particular person I say yo, hi, what’s up etc to also says the same to me.

It’s a ritual on the street and must be carried out without failing to miss someone. This does not in any way allow you to make photos of anyone but it would help things along if you wanted to.


There are times when I see people that I don’t know but still want to make a photo of them. Maybe they are doing something I find interesting. Maybe I find something interesting and want to make a photo and they are in the photo making procedure with someone else. Does that mean I am sharing the experience or does it mean I am just making a photo of their experience that they probably will never view the photo I made? Geeze, I’ll probably never view the photo that they made. They will but I won’t…..hmmmmmmm?


This Rocky fella, he don’t care about how many people make a photo of him and he’ll never see any of them. He just wants ya to pay money and come to see his movies. It’s ok cause he fought the Viet-Nam war better than I ever did.


Philly’s a cool place. we even got dads that drag their kid around cause he’s to friggin busy talking on the damn cell phone and he won’t stop the call so the kid has to get scraped from the concrete and bleed all over…… Nice Day Out With Daddy.


This is in the Visitor Center at Independence Hall. We got Ben Franklin, we gotz Geo Washington, Sam Adams (very famous Beer Maker), around the corner we have Besty Ross and her house. Don’t forget the LIBERTY BELL and the CONSTITUTION and all kinds of important historical stuff. Please don’t whatever you do….forget the Phillies…….

So everything stays the same here for me and maybe a few others. The faces change and my cameras and lenses change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


The Challenge …. Re-learn Yourself …. Re-learn Your Vision

Nex 6 Street Shot

…. I know, I know….you know all this stuff….I do too so what? The other day I was rambling on  about changing lenses FOV etc. Well, here’s some more good info that means much to your personal work.

We know that working with a FAVORITE focal length is nice, easy, not challenging and just plain good sense. So why rock the boat and how would you anyway? Glad you asked cause I asked this same question to myself.

Nex 6 Street Shot

Here’s the info in a nutshell. I’ll put it forth the way I work and hopefully youse will get it. If not, read again as I’m sure youse will get it.

I’m working with the GR which is very compact, very fast and almost thoughtless as far as mechanics go. The GR does allow an enormous amount of freedom to work with. So, I’m getting good work out of it and let’s just suppose that I get somewhat complacent in my thinking about my images.

Nex 6 Street Shot

It’s not boredom that comes around it’s familiarity that breeds contempt. This doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with the GR, it doesn’t …. it has to do with visual challenges. What I did to change the world was to start using a Nex 6. Youse know that already. What does the Nex 6 and how does the Nex 6 change anything?

Nex 6 Street Shot

The GR is a screen only camera. Maybe you use a finder on top but it’s a screen camera at heart.  So I use it as such and I love screen cameras for many years. It’s got a 28mm FOV and some funky 35mm mask but it’s a 28mm at heart. I’m used to this to the point that I’m comfortably numb. I can see my photos on the street before I get to the street. That’s not being complacent, it’s experience.

The Nex 6 has a screen, it has a viewfinder that is unreal. It takes interchangeable lenses either AF or MF whatever you prefer. It has a different grip and that takes getting used to.

I like using my 35mm 1.4 Nokton. That converts to 52.5mm on the Nex. Uh oh……wait a second there fellas….I like 28mm, I love 35mm, what’s up with the 50mm? THE VISUAL CHALLENGE! I don’t take the GR out with the Nex because I will use the GR and not the Nex. I now have to SEE in a tighter frame. I have to adjust my FOV and perspective to accommodate the different lens.

I use the Peaking and the Magnifier so that requires me to FOCUS the camera by myself. I remember back when I hunted dinosaurs for dinner that my cameras were manual focus. Then I drank 6 pints of Guinness and when I woke up…everything was Auto Focus.

Nex 6 Street Shot

So now I am challenged, not just mentally cause the VA Doctors talk to me and give me drugs to stay here on the world but because I have to re-think a lot of what I always took for granted. So the Nex is my camera of choice to re-learn and re-thing all that there is in Shooterville.

Nex 6 Street Shot


I’ll be post a lot more on this and also I’m working on the BOOK LIST  for my rare and vintage sale. There’s a new page up top and keep checking it out….

Thanks Friends…….don

The Nex 6 makes Garden Dreams

Nex 6 Garden

The continuing saga of the shooter changing his vision but not really cause he sees that way anyway but now the cameras see with him is moving along. I love my cameras and they are my friends. If I don’t love them, they aren’t here and maybe you bought one off eBay or a forum. The GR is second nature to me because I spent a lot of time working with it for a new camera.

Nex 6 Garden

The camera that is demanding attention at the moment is the Sony Nex 6. This of course means that I have to find the vision I want from the camera. The GR is excellent at 28mm. The Nex doesn’t need that FOV for me but I do have the 2 Sigma’s…the 19 & 30mm.

Geeze, how do they even make lenses soooo good for sooo little money? No answer required. So I pulled out a few of my older film lenses….what…huh…oh, ok…scuse me…my Legacy glass. I don’t like any of my Leica M lenses on digital cameras. Not even the M cameras. The images seem to0 digitized and artificial. I mean I used my lenses on the Eppy RD1s and even on the M8 & M8.2. I’ve used them on Rogers M9, M Mono and the M240 that is really a nice camera if they get it up and running. My issue is that I’m old school.

Nex 6 Garden

I want my photos to read as photos first and if the viewer cares to get into the technical aspects, they can afterwards. So I like a slightly not so sharp image, with liquid tones and as little pixels as possible to block the viewer from entering the image. It’s not a film reproduction but a way to make digital easier to read emotionally. So I know my Leica lenses are too sharp for digital FOR ME!

Nex 6 Garden

I guess it comes from my past and my non school learning from Ding McNulty that I want to continue to see my work the way I always did. I am very happy with my PP work and I need cameras that provide the files for me to realize my vision. The GR is a no question camera. It does what it is supposed to do better than any other camera ever invented or any that ever will be for 20000 years.

That being said…let’s talk freely. The GR doesn’t see 50mm like the Nex does. I hear tell it doesn’t see anything but 28mm perfectly and tries to see 35mm but that’s it. Enter my dilemma. I am seeing 50mm more and more as I work. I also see 35mm and that is my NATURAL FIELD OF VIEW anyway. The Nex 6 offers me something I really like.The files are very liquid, more so than any other camera I used. I love the Pen camera line but it just doesn’t cut it for what I want.


A qualifying statement. I write these words and put these photos in because photography is not a hobby for me. It is not something I practice. It isn’t something to pass the time. It is in fact, my life’s work. Being so, I have a responsibility to my work to do it as close to a faithful representation as I possibly can.



So for the foreseeable future I will be working hard on the multiple lens, multiple FOV scenario. There is also the Finder to deal with. Don’t for get the amazing Peaking….and how about the…..