Category Archives: Street Photography

Covid-19 … Embracing The Unacceptable

8-20--120… water is boiling and I am ready to brew my coffee. I used to use an electric percolator. I did for years. I still do but I have been switching between methods so I have excitement. Gotta tellya, the Melita drip gets work. My favorite method is a Bodum French Press. The problem is that for many years, no many decades I love a French Press but I break the glass every time. So, COVID keeps me in the house. Actually My Russian Czar wife Tanya keeps me in the house and COVID supports her efforts. So, Amazon is my best friend. I started my brain working and it told me to get a French Press. I’m not one to fight with my brain so I figured…it will add excitement. Go for it! I did!

8-20--129-Edit

So, on the Amazon site and I am a regular there, I searched for a French Press. Ya know, all the same, but minor differences. Then, staring at me and all shiny… EUREKA! I see a French Press but it’s made of Stainless Steel. Instantly I order it at 1000pm and Amazon says the will deliver the next day.

Why did I write this? Well, excitement and fresh air and inspiration are few and far between. I’m 70 and it takes away from my enjoyment of life to just watch TV. What does this have to do with photography? Ok, my thoughts. Think of your body as a storage and processing facility. Lots of things enter and things exit. What is the hard part, is filtering input.

8-20--133

Now what happens is this. We sit around waiting for the magical moment when THE MAN tells us we are safe to go out and start enjoying life again. Not so fast buster. Ideally, we are in tune with our Eye, Heart, and Mind. We absolutely need clarity in order to work but we get bombarded with negative energy, negative thoughts and it sleeps inside us. It’s damn near impossible to work in a respectful manner that represents ourselves.

You really can’t do battle with yourself in a way that is not harmful to your essence. I know because I have internal wars that my shrink says will never end. Making photos for the soul is a spiritual experience. Maybe not for everyone but for me, it certainly is and I am very tuned to every part of the experience. That kinda enforces a clarity of eye, heart, and mind.

img009

I find that having clarity or a clear clean vision does not mean negative or postive energy is not present. It means that those energitic forces are present but in a benign mode. Many shooters have a bias to thier work and must have it. It’s a method of seperation for the other point of view they try to lesses.

Back to the streets. This bias to the work and vision is may be called a point of view.  Methinks that there are many points of view working but ya know, as far as the eye can see, there’s not much difference in point of view between most street shooters. This is a beautiful thing. Each of us has a different point of view of the street and of life. Hold on, hold on. The street is more than a place to work and more than a place to find our photos. It’s the recognition of our life and life’s work.

So this energy thing going on has a pronounced effect on our creativity. Look at the places you post your work. Check the photos by others. See if you can determine their creativity and emotional state. Many shooters have lowered their output expectations due to the virus and ther things. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. In fact it’s brilliant and it’s better to work than not. Expectations should be a personal process. It should only be adjusted by the shooter on demand and not by any other person or sourse. It’s an act of survival.

8-20--135-Edit

Many years ago I had a woman that I helped with her photography. She was very much in love with all aspects of it. She worked in my darkroom and had a wonderful free vision. One day she called me and told me she was assaulted in South Philly and the guy took everything and her camera. Then she said, “Don, I must go back to Isreal and try to find a life, I lost my camera and will never be a photographer”. She left a book of negatives here and never called me again or asked for her work. I have no idea what happened to her but I know one thing…..

….negative energy will and does kill our creativity and life. Instead of believing she would eventually find a camera and continue, she surrendered and abandoned her work. COVID-19 is very much the same. It draws energy, promotes negativity and drains our creativity. We must not surrender. We must re-evaluate our expectations and make and adjustment for the current period of instability.

We absolutely must continue and make photos. Rememher, our photos are our remnants of our life.  Live it best you can and make your camera a friend and take it with you even if it means another room  where you live.

Bethany & Paul, at Peace

8/4/77 M4 35mm Cron

 

 

 

 

 

Covid-19 … The Never-Ending Story

8-20--123

Atreyu, Atreyu….. the COVID nothing is almost upon us. We must find the childlike empress of light. Ringy, ring, ring…hello, who is it? Shooter, it’s Atreyu. I’m not allowed out cause the Covid-19 monster will find me. Everyone is hiding from it wearing a mask but I can’t. I am trapped between the pages of the book and the movie.

I feel like Atreyu in a way because time is slipping away and COVID isn’t. I hear tell that there are a few being affected by Mr. COVID. It’s not easy to accept but I stand on the position that we have to believe. Believe in what, I don’t know anymore. I don’t think I want to know anyway. Maybe I never kneww anyway.

img001

The assault on my creative energy is beyond anything I could ever perceive. I know that’s the case with many but I just want to focus on the facts that engulf me. Most, not all artists are able to work in a studio or something more protected. Street shooters don’t really have that luxury. We are destined to be active in the world. When the world is in such disorder, our drive and energy start to dissipate. It diminishes our ability to rise above the madness and the visual lockdown.

8-20--115

I suppose the main issue is that we are supposed to be in lockdown and if we venture out of the safety of our confines, to do so with caution. Sure, yeah ok, I get it. What about making photos? What about the interaction with people on the street?  There aren’t many out there anyway but soon enough many will be out. Most but not all will wear a mask and try to keep a social distance. There are those amongst us that don’t care.

Photography requires the joining of the eye, heart, and mind. There is no other way. Once you have those 3 elements in focus, then it’s time to find the subject that you react to in many ways. The inhibition of the COVID Virus has placed a damper on life and on the creative process and energy. Wearing the mask and you absolutely should is a constant reminder that things, as you knew them, are being altered.

8-20--113

The hard part for me is not being able to work the way I did and want to. I’m 70 and now I find I am not trying to change the world but defend myself from a world-changing me. My friend from my past, Paul, said a long time ago….”People like to look at the world thru rose-colored glasses, I look at a rose thru world colored glasses.”

As the years passed, and my life experiences came and stored in my memory banks, I realize that what Paul said was a very profound set of words. The meaning is still  resonating between my eye, heart and mind. I have talked with many that trust me and depend on me for answers they can absorb and live with.

The idea of Zen in photography is offset and over ridden by the Zen of Life. So, craetively, we must find the solution of our life in photography. Maybe, just maybe, for now, the best solution is to take the pressure of of being with the camera and just breathing your work from the archive. I find that doing this gets me working again and maybe just easees my weary soul.

img007

I have some things to pose soon but for now, enjoy what you’re doing lest you don’t.

 

Covid-19 … Home is Where the Heart is … and So Are Your Images

Every time I walk past this mirror, there’s that guy again.

My shrink tells me that it’s me in the mirror but I don’t believe it. If I talk to that guy, I see his lips moving but I can’t hear what he’s saying. Ya know, I learned a few things in 70 years. First off is to never be complacent with yourself. Never ever take yourself for granted. Accept your failures and successes with equal intent and passion. If you’re not getting failures, you are not working hard enough. Not everything in life is a success and even if it was, complacency sets in rapidly, and that leads to laziness. The failures are where you learn from because you question why.

I love making photos around the house. Often there are hidden gems that get discovered but then time moves in and I give up the image quest at home for the streets. This time, homework is the work.  Not so easy to navigate around and keep the interest alive.

The Bloodstream of My Work

My photographic history has always fascinated me. It allowed me to see where I have been and what I was doing there. Many of my photos are marks in time where life has allowed me to be in sync with all that I was at that moment. I have been going thru many photos because I have the time, thanks to Covid-19. I started to breathe m,y work. I started to see history as the bloodstream of my work. I then started to see the DNA of my photography. I started to dissect the intent of many photos.  There’s a difference between doing something and being aware of doing something.

I sat back and started looking at my favorite photos from my digital revolution. I went back to around the turn of the century. Then as if life presented itself to me thru the camera, I saw the DNA  of my photographic essence appear in the newer work. The bloodstream has flowed thru my eye, mind, and heart. I started to see that the bloodstream has carried me thru decades and continues to flow feeding my creative soul.

The enemy of life is time. The gift to photography is time. I think that our minds are implanted into an elastic box. We can stretch all around and eventually bounce back to the center. That center is the core of our essence. That core of existence is the signature of our breaths. We can explore and work in many genre’s and yet our efforts and work will read of our existence. That becomes the signature of our life’s work.

Things happen in life that may shine or tarnish the very core of our work. What’s essential is to stand strong against the winds of time and the words of criticism. Now in this time of need and mask, I try to find photos that make me feel alive and around the home. I always loved the option of Homework and it was an option. I could work at home because I chose to and if I got something alive with my essence, I was elated. Then briefly back to the streets where my bloodstream pulls me to the rhythm and cadence of life.

Now, it is clear to me that Homework is essential for my sanity and ability to want to breathe. Homework is now and always was a strong beat to my heart. The difference is that in the bloodstream of my history, there was a choice and now, there exists not that I can apply, any choice.

….shooter out….namaste’

Covid-19 … Vintage Work 2

Gamb’e Game June 2005                                                             M4 35mm Cron

What I was saying before about organizing my work, this is a prime example. I would have made this anyway but I knew instantly how it would fit with the rest of the Gamb’e Game photos. Some friends criticized me for not maintaining freedom in my work. I felt and still do that I have a responsibility to my work and myself before any freedom is granted.  At any rate, I was out making photos and the sun was doing its magic but the shadows are what always interested me.

The sun as nice as it is was playing hide and seek.  I would see a shot and then right away, the sun would hide and shadows would hide also. Then, then Mother Light saw my efforts and said quietly to me… shooter, get ready. So Andre’ heard Mother Light and all of a sudden she shined the light right in front of me and I was like so, where’s the magic…. an old man is right there and his shadow….Click!

New York Public Library 1972                                                  M4 35mm Cron

There were times when I was hungry for NYC. I would save up and take a train round trip and spend the day. I had friends there but wanted to be alone and make photos. I would just take Andre’ the Leica M4 and a 35mm Cron and a few rolls of film. I knew if things got busy, I can always buy more film. I usually took a subway ride to Wall Street. The walk to Columbus Circle. So I was about dead in my tracks and made it to the Library. I sat on the step to relax and rest. It had just finished raining and I was still wet. I looked at a puddle. It captured my interest. Then I stood and moved a bit and I saw an arrow and another and another. I readied Andre’ and framed and made the shot. I went back to sit and some kids, College Kids were where I was sitting. I sat anyway and then a girl asked me if I was using a Leica. That started the conversation and most of them were asking me questions and it was a nice talk. I hailed a cab and went to the train station and headed back to Philly.

2nd & South, Philly   1987                                                               M6 35mm Lux

I used to love to go to work at night and early morning. This was about 0200am. The thing is, usually, the sun is sleeping this early in the morning. So any light that finds you will most likely be artificial light. There’s a quality in artificial light that is very seductive and captivating. I was walking around and kinda the only one around except for the ladies of the night. I could breathe in the perfume and my senses would get dizzy as I walked past them. I love them tho because there is no pretense about them and usually they have a sense of humor and a sweet smile. I’m standing talking to 2 hookers and I gotta well, relieve my liquids. I asked them where I could go and one pointed to an alley about 50yds away. So I ventured down the street and sure enough, I saw the alley she mentioned. Not a soul around. So I prepared for a liquid relieving procedure and looked at the light and the shadow. I was draining and raised Andre’ and Click!

The shadow you see is me in the relieving position. It’s possible for a man to do 2 things at once.

I remember my daughter came home for a visit from the Air Force. I can’t tell you the joy of having her close to me again. Anyway, the time came for her to go back to her base and I was upset but of course, being a Nam Vet so can’t let emotions slip out. After 2 days of her absence, I couldn’t take it anymore and packed a bag with my M4 and 35mm Cron and some rolls of Tri-X. I even had some clothes and stuff. I called the airlines and got a price and not really bad at all. I was ready to order the tickets when Andre’ the Leica M4 said, Listen, son, we fly all the time. We see nothing but pretty clouds. How about we take a train or bus and go? I didn’t want to give Andre’ the props but really, who better to advise about photos? I started thinking about how much I have missed by flying. I mean, ya fly across the country in 5 hours. A bus would be like 4 or more days. That means ya get to see many things ya never ever see from a plane.

The bus was a real trip. Many on the bus were migrant farmworkers. There were some cowboy and cowgirl people also. We stopped every so often so people could use the restrooms or eat or just walk around and make photos like yours truly. One night we stopped at a rest stop and it was late and dark. There were some truckers parked and it was very quiet. There was no one around and that’s cool but also scary. I mean, my Leica was the guest of many checking it out. I wasn’t worried cause Andre3′ wasn’t the only thing I had with me to shoot. I had Jock the 45AQCP in my bag with Andre’. I had a Nam Vet Tee Shirt and hat on so I felt that was a deterrent.

So I walked and saw this lone truck and waited. A young girl and i mean young and pretty walked to it and climbed in. Well, Andre’ told me the bus was leaving so I snapped the shot and got on the bus to continue.

 

Covid-19 … Vintage Work

M4 35mm Cron                                                                                            Phila  1975

My wife was pregnant with our son Paul. I had a short time to hit the streets. This is at 18th & Walnut. I used Andre’ the Leica M4, I saw the light and that’s what I was attracted to. Then this guy comes and lays down right in front of me. Even then I didn’t like making photos of homeless people. I did tho because, in my mind and heart, I wasn’t exploiting anyone. Not much was happening and I waited to see if anything would develop. I was just about to leave when I saw a few well-dressed ladies walking towards me. Closer and closer and then very close. Two of the ladies walked faster than the lady in the rear. Mother Light was gracious and started shining brightly. I started to feel a photo and then the 3rd lady, walking past the man and me as if we didn’t even exist. I looked at the shadow of her high-class shoes….click.

M4 35mmCron                                                                                         Phila 1976

Kosmin called me and told me he had a special deal on film for me. So I went to the store and he told me he had a lot of 35mm Infra-Red film. The rolls were 20 & 36 exp. Well, he charged me $50..00 for 90 rolls of film, a changing bag, and sold me separately, 10 Leica film cassettes. He told me that if I spooled the Kodak Film into Leica cassettes, I wouldn’t need a changing bag and could load the film in the camera the same as always. No FOG! He said, just count 3 to start the roll. I went to the darkroom in the store and loaded a roll in the Leica cassette. Well, I thanked him as always and started home. I never used a light meter and still don’t like them. So I guessed exposure and made some snaps on the way home. I believe the shot above is the first with the Infra-Red film. When I processed the film, I was amazed. It’s like I see this in my mind for years and didn’t know how to make it. I spent about 3 years using this film and used it for everything. I was loving the way it made me see light.

Khalid NYC  M6 35mm Cron                                                                        1986?

I was walking all around time square and wasn’t feeling anything. I think I shot like 1/2 roll of film. I had the Black M6 and haven’t really used it that much. I had the M4 also as a backup.  I saw that Ralph Gibson was doing ads for  Leica and as much as I was into my M cameras, I was intrigued by the M6. For me, making the transition to the M6 was a major experience. The camera for me is my friend and we have a creative synergism. I feel the image and feel the light and set the exposure intuitively. I have been doing that since 1970 in Nam. Now the new kid in town had red lights inside. The connection for me has changed but I committed to adapt.

I’m walking on the side of Macy’s and it’s hot and humid and stinky. I see this man sitting against a wall and he seemed kinda mellow. I leaned against a wall and made a shot. I walked to him and he asked me to sit so I did. We talked for a while and for some unknown reason, I was at peace, within. I didn’t make any more photos of Khalid. I didn’t feel the need. When we parted company, I felt kinda like a small part of me was being left behind. It was an uneasy feeling, like when you leave home and keep thinking ya forgot something. I didn’t print this photo fro over a year. When I did, Diana bought it and sold some for me,.

M6  35mm  Cron                                                              17th & Chestnut  1987

I have been doing shadows and legs etc for a long time. I believe in method and intent. For years friends told me to just make photos and not categorize them. Just work. Well, I wasn’t and still not good about taking orders. Anyway, I found it very helpful to have a series of work or groups, etc. I have some like…. Gambe’ Game, shadows, reflections, icons, public transit. There’s more but this gives an idea of working.

The street is about trigger mechanisms and recognizing them. For me, it became a method by keeping order or my photos. I went against everyone but I have to do it my way. If there’s a solid path for your journey, it is easy to go off and wander around and find your way back. If there is no path, then you just wander around aimlessly and hope you find your way to what?

The other important thing about the organization is, if you ever get bored or lost, you have your history to look at and find the path again. History gives a clear view of where you once were and a guide to where you could go now.

It was really hot and the sun was at full blaze. I was on 17th street and there was scaffolding and I went under it to get out of the direct blast of the sun. I watched people walk past and the shadows and legs were exciting….. then a businessman was walking into view and all of a sudden, the light turned on high intensity and the shadows just captured me …..Click!

M4 35mm Cron                                                                                                        1988

Years before that, my friend Paul and I were looking at each other’s photos. He said to me, “nice juxtaposition Don”. I was badass man, I didn’t flinch.  I had no clue what juxtaposition meant. I went to the library the next day and asked the librarian about the meaning. She got a dictionary and explained it. Now I was a juxtpositioner and I knew how to be all that and more.

Covid-19 … Rework the Blog

Everyone on their own becomes a part of everything. Perhaps what should we discover is our part of the everything. I am anti-philosophical about my philosophical ways and views. We mostly work for ourselves and that established as a means to satisfy our own creativity, We eat drink and sleep photography in hopes of finding the elusive image. We make many many photos that lead us astray for the elusive image. Perhaps it’s not elusive at all but the idea of it is.

Then one day, we sit and ponder how we have made advancements in our work. We start to feel that we, at last, start to understand the way of it all. We work all this for the simple satisfaction of the self. This is not to suggest that it is an egotistical process. Far from it. It’s more like breathing and being in the here and now with each breath. Trust me, all those that do not believe in the Zen of life will crave the next breath and be aware of that breathing and how it keeps us alive.

There will be no argument about breathing upon the last breath we each have. Let’s not jump the gun tho. We should back up a million breaths before the last one. That means we have a life to live and many photos to make. We have many cameras to buy without our spouses knowing. Isn’t that half the fun? Be honest, of course, it is. This is all about us. During our life, we need to stand tall and be accountable for our stance in our lives. We can not falter or tilt to the thoughts and words of others. We must believe that what we are doing is worth living for.

This is all still about ourselves. It is the intent and the purpose and the method of living as a photographer. Shooters above all are people that need process and reason. We are also result fixated. It is important that we know our life means something to us and then……

here’s the other side of that coin. We do all this for ourselves. Years ago I was in a conversation with some shooter friends and I said… photographers work for other photographers. For the most part that is the truth but not true enough.

Viewers vary with knowledge.

There is an intent for the viewer also. It can be very inspiring or very deflating.  It’s very risky to have viewers checking out your work. We all do it and we all must do it for a number of reasons. Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt, we must maintain our stance. Everyone has the right to criticize and when you show your work, you open the door for critique. You can not escape this process if you decide to show your work. What you can do is maintain your stance.

Well, here are a few thoughts from me. We were at base camp in Chu Lai. Everyone was kinda feeling melancholy and drinking or smoking weed or both. I made countless photos as often as I could. This day Jock joined us and I always felt good when he was around. I’m clicking away and KJock stands behind me and says, One Breath One-Click…. be it.  Whenever he would say something like that, I could feel my insides awaken to the call. I would become more alert and more positioned with my life in the life I was living in the moment. I would be turned into exactly my role at this moment.

Jock wasn’t teaching me about Zen. He was turning me on to the accountability of me and the viewers of my work.  We all know about the here and now. I mean we are able to understand and accept the here and now and that’s what should be natural about it. Well, I kinda like to know what it is I am to be doing. So I have dissected my own personal here and now and discovered a few things. Your version of the here and now may vary from mine so don’t get upset about it.  Having a personal here and now is what makes us all special.

Not that we need to feel special but we are as humans with a camera anyway. So, let’s enjoy it.

A pity in life is that we never think about or really appreciate our breaths. Let me tell ya, in your life …there is nothing more important than your next breath. The last exhale is someplace in time. There is no countdown to this exhale, so we should really apply that absolute truth to everything we do.

Of course, like me, youse are all concerned about the truth of your photography. no 2 people breathe the same way. No 2 breaths are the same.  No 2 people are the same or have the same emotions and thoughts. Wait just a minute shooter. Does that mean we are alone in life? Does it imply that we work for ourselves and wait,,,, does it mean that our photos have an individual presence to each?  Is it possible that each breath equals a click or could be?

Can it be that each breath and each click could span a lifetime?

Thoughts … 1 breath and 1 click … a Question in Time

Everyone on their own becomes a part of everything. Perhaps what should we discover is our part of the everything. I am anti-philosophical about my philosophical ways and views. We mostly work for ourselves and that established as a means to satisfy our own creativity, We eat drink and sleep photography in hopes of finding the elusive image. We make many many photos that lead us astray for the elusive image. Perhaps it’s not elusive at all but the idea of it is.

Then one day, we sit and ponder how we have made advancements in our work. We start to feel that we, at last, start to understand the way of it all. We work all this for the simple satisfaction of the self. This is not to suggest that it is an egotistical process. Far from it. It’s more like breathing and being in the here and now with each breath. Trust me, all those that do not believe in the Zen of life will crave the next breath and be aware of that breathing and how it keeps us alive.

There will be no argument about breathing upon the last breath we each have. Let’s not jump the gun tho. We should back up a million breaths before the last one. That means we have a life to live and many photos to make. We have many cameras to buy without our spouses knowing. Isn’t that half the fun? Be honest, of course, it is. This is all about us. During our life, we need to stand tall and be accountable for our stance in our lives. We can not falter or tilt to the thoughts and words of others. We must believe that what we are doing is worth living for.

This is all still about ourselves. It is the intent and the purpose and the method of living as a photographer. Shooters above all are people that need process and reason. We are also result fixated. It is important that we know our life means something to us and then……

here’s the other side of that coin. We do all this for ourselves. Years ago I was in a conversation with some shooter friends and I said… photographers work for other photographers. For the most part that is the truth but not true enough.

Viewers vary with knowledge.

There is an intent for the viewer also. It can be very inspiring or very deflating.  It’s very risky to have viewers checking out your work. We all do it and we all must do it for a number of reasons. Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt, we must maintain our stance. Everyone has the right to criticize and when you show your work, you open the door for critique. You can not escape this process if you decide to show your work. What you can do is maintain your stance.

Well, here are a few thoughts from me. We were at base camp in Chu Lai. Everyone was kinda feeling melancholy and drinking or smoking weed or both. I made countless photos as often as I could. This day Jock joined us and I always felt good when he was around. I’m clicking away and KJock stands behind me and says, One Breath One-Click…. be it.  Whenever he would say something like that, I could feel my insides awaken to the call. I would become more alert and more positioned with my life in the life I was living in the moment. I would be turned into exactly my role at this moment.

Jock wasn’t teaching me about Zen. He was turning me on to the accountability of me and the viewers of my work.  We all know about the here and now. I mean we are able to understand and accept the here and now and that’s what should be natural about it. Well, I kinda like to know what it is I am to be doing. So I have dissected my own personal here and now and discovered a few things. Your version of the here and now may vary from mine so don’t get upset about it.  Having a personal here and now is what makes us all special.

Not that we need to feel special but we are as humans with a camera anyway. So, let’s enjoy it.

A pity in life is that we never think about or really appreciate our breaths. Let me tell ya, in your life …there is nothing more important than your next breath. The last exhale is someplace in time. There is no countdown to this exhale, so we should really apply that absolute truth to everything we do.

Of course, like me, youse are all concerned about the truth of your photography. no 2 people breathe the same way. No 2 breaths are the same.  No 2 people are the same or have the same emotions and thoughts. Wait just a minute shooter. Does that mean we are alone in life? Does it imply that we work for ourselves and wait,,,, does it mean that our photos have an individual presence to each?  Is it possible that each breath equals a click or could be?

Can it be that each breath and each click could span a lifetime?

Covid-19 … A Lesson From My Cameras … Fuji X100V

This is all slim pickins because my time on the street to work is extremely limited. So I get to analyze my motives, processes and intent because, what else I have to do anyway?

O_k, about the Fuji X100V.  I have it about 2 months and 2 things keep popping up that make me want to get rid of it.  The first is that it does not have IBIS. For me now that’s a critical feature. My essential tremors have progressed to Parkinson’s Disease. Most cameras I can’t handhold below 1/250 sec. Yeah I know, sucks. The Leica M9 is certainly a heavier camera and in a way, it steadies for me. At any rate, when the time comes that I can’t use the M9 on the street, it will be time to buy the farm.

The Fuji X-Pro2 is similar to the M9 because it’s also a heavier camera. I adore that camera  and still have to use it around 1/125 sec.

I had the Olympus Pen-F and sold it 3 times and still think about it. It has IBIS and probably the best of any camera until….The Ricoh GRIII. This camera is a life line for me because of the iBIS. It is sooo efficient and I can handhold @ 1/15th sec. Sharp images, handheld at 1/15 sec… awesome. It works beautifully and flawlessly.

This is the first issue I have with cameras. I won’t sell any because they make me aware of my  shortcomings and that I need to work on them. Now I’m gonna tellya alls about a time past that things were different. There were alchemist that worked in the dark. The dark workers produced photos on some kinda paper and when you touched those photos, it was a delightful magical experience.

The real beauty back then that has manifested to current times, is THE CAMERA.  There was no IBIS in the film cameras. I look back at some of my archive and many images have a slight blur. Mostly unnoticeable but it’s there. I I used 1/125sec @ f/11 as my base exposure with Tri-X.  I had no tremor issues the that I was aware of and yet if I study the negatives, the tremor is there. If I had a Ricoh GRIII back then, no problems.

Back to the present, Covid-19 day 5-14-20. Because of the issues with camera shake, I have used soft releases on most cameras. The idea is, your finger will softly press the release and stop shake at the moment of exposure. When the Fuji V100V arrived I did 2 things right away. First as always is to install a Screen Protector. The next thing is the soft release. I have many of these and most are the convex style. It lets my finger have a point of contact that is natural feeling.  Here’s why you need to name your cameras and have conversations with them.

I had an experience 3 years ago. I got a Fuji X-Pro2. I put on a soft release and went for a walk, It was raining and it was a nice feeling to feel safe in the rain and make photos with a camera. I arrived home in a few hours and noticed the soft release was gone. No sweat, I have many. I went again with a soft release on the X-Pro2 and sure enough, it was gone when I got home.

So I decided that Walker the Fuji X-Pro2 and I need a chat. I looked Walker in the 23mm eye and said, wassup wit da soft release thing?  Walker said, “I doin need no stupid soft release on my body”‘ I gotta tellya, I thought that was kinda a nervy thing to say to me.  He continued by saying …”Shooter, your a nice kid, but who likes kids” We are partners thru a life in photography and that means we need to work together to bring the images alive.

Ya know, Walker the Fuji X-100V had a good point. I never used a soft release on him again.

I was sitting at my desk working in Light Room and I can hear a mumbling. I look around and methinks, I hear a mumbling a callin’. I looked in the camera cabinet.  It seems that Walker the Fuji X-Pro2 was talking to Walt the Fuji X100V. They are having a deep chat and Walt was explaining that he will be sold off shortly. He wanted to stay with Walker and the other cameras.  Walt was nervous to talk with me directly. Well, Andre the Leica M9 stepped up and said him and i need to talk. So I said I will sip a scotch and listen. Well, 3 shots later and I was all good to go.

Andre’ said, shooter for almost 2 months, you been having problems with the new kid on the block,  Walt the Fuji X100V. I said, yes sir, I can’t get the release right. Almost ever time I press the release  it fires many shots like continuous mode. I’ve had enough and i decided to sell the camera.

Andre’ said.  shooter sometimes your a smart guy and your good looking and many woman like to look  at ya. Some men also, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The thing is and we in the camera cabinet all agree, sometimes your not the sharpest pencil in the box. This is one of those times.

TAKE THE DAMN SOFT RELEASE OFF WALT.

Covid-19 … Escape to Sanity … Bringing The Past to the Present

It was 1962 and I was 13 years old. I worked part time with my grandfather, He had a family business doing Hardwood Floors. We were heading to a job near center city Philadelphia. We rode along Market Street from 28th down to 2nd Street. I had never seen Center City before. I was captivated and just observed everything my vision  could digest. It was a visual wonderland for me and I was in love. I learned from a school mate how to get around on PTC the Public Transit Authority. I traveled all around and saw a lot of the city and surrounding regions. I was a real photographer, only thing was, I didn’t have a camera and I didn’t know what photography  was. I damn sure was a street shooter. Yeah baby!

Years would pass by before I knew what photography was but still couldn’t do it. All in due time. As I look back thru my life and the years that melted into the present, I realize that those times forged the path for me to walk now. I had a makeshift darkroom built on a meager budget but it was mine and I learned. I won’t go into many details about that but needless to say, it was a feeling of love I never experienced. I had a friend named David. He was a family friend and taught me and guided me thru this part of the journey. We worked in the darkroom and he would say,  how much time for exposure for the enlarger? I would say, 1:30 1 min 30 seconds. He would smile and then make the exposure as I suggested. We made many prints and I always felt the exposure and that’s what we used. After a brief time David told me I didn’t need him anymore. He said, Donald, there are many millions of people that do photography and they all love it. He continued, you are the only person I ever met that photography loves. Honestly, these words had no meaning for me then.

After Nam I was kinda secluded in my heart and mind. I stayed in my room for a while and didn’t want to leave the comfort and safety of my personal womb. Sometimes during the day in my room, I would have flashbacks. At night almost always nightmares. Inn time I realized these images needed to be dealt with as photos. I started thinking that I needed, wanted to see my beloved Market Street. I grabbed my camera and headed down town. That single event saved my life. I walked all around and compared the now to the past I remembered. I made photos of whatever I was attracted to. The city, buildings and mostly the people living in the poetry of life.

That was 1971 and I haven’t stopped walking Market Street or making photos. Ya gotta love what your doing or how can it love ya back.

Ya gotta watch your life cause no matter how close you are with someone, it’s your duty, just as it’s their duty top watch their own life. I have been told several times that I am too serious with photography. I’m guilty as charged. It’s my life’s work and I can’t feel that it’s a light duty experience. It’s not that I’m special about photography, it’s that photography is special to me.

That shoots me to the present. I think that the camera, any that I have and use, keeps me in the here and now. It becomes an anchor and friend I can work with. It becomes a connection of sorts. If I start to have my mind wander around and pick up thoughts, the camera keeps me on track. That’s why I name my cameras and call them my friends. Because they keep me alive. They are not just objects for me, they are a part of my essence. 

Why am I writing all this? I suppose in a way it’s a ventilation because i’m in lock down since March 11th. I went to the vA Hospital and for about 90 m in, I walked around Market street and made some photos. I can’t tell you the therapeutic value that had on me. My soul woke up and saw the light for a short time. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all. Be Blessed and thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Shhhhh… I get to the VA again on Tuesday so shortly thereafter, I’ll make another pose.

Covid-19 … Week 9 of Lock Down … Fuji X100V

I ordered a Silver X100V and then I was told that it would be delivered late March and this was mid February.  Well, I was feeling like I don’t even want the darn thing anymore. Then the guy in the camera store tells me he has a black one in stock and I immediately asked to get it. He agreed and the next day it was delivered. The camera was delivered March 20th. I’m glad he shipped it because I could never get out of the house anyway. We started Lock down March 11th. Anyway, I haven’t really had the time with the camera on the street. Oh, before I forget. The Fuji X100V is named Walt after my life long friend that passed a few years ago.  For some reason I was compelled to christian the camera with his name. I been making some shots with Walt the Fuji X100V and just kinda feeling him out. I gotta tellya,, I was less than enthused with this camera.  I had every version of the X100 and my fav was the X100T.  The X100F never hooked me even tho I made many good photos with it. So maybe I came to Walt the Fuji X100V with a poisoned mind. It’s a covid moment to have time to do things, except’n gittin away from da wifey. I know O joke around a lot but gettin away from da wifey is no joke.

I looked at Walt the Fuji X100V and figured it was time to get into him.  Something clicked that was familiar. It was the bonding between the camera and I. I can never actually identify what clicks but i know something did. It felt like anything I wanted to with the camera I knew how to do. So I am starting to find my groove with Walt the Fuji X100V.

Fuji X100V  OOC

Ricoh GRIII  OOC

Let it be known that I am a true Ricoh Lover and have been since long before Digital. Let it also be known that I have used Fuji cameras for decades. So I am not really doing a comparision because there’s 2 shots. The thing is, that the Fuji enlightened me in ways I didn’t wanna be. I had every intention to use the Fuji X100V for a few months and then get back to the Leica and Ricoh.

All this is going on while I am in Lock Down from Covid-19.  It’s terrible to go thru the stripping of energy and right of passage. It cuts the line of inspiration to my eye, heart and mind completely from my soul.

I believe there is a source of images that we draw the energy from. If one is an awake shooter, that shooter is aware of the personal pool of image energy. Maybe this seems mystical or like magic and ya know…it is. I come from a long line of Don’s. Long ago, there lived a Don soaked in the magic of life. He rode a horse with a lance and attacked the Great Windmill Dragons. He is my Don Ancestor and guardian of the magic lance. Today know as the Magic Camera.

When I was a young man, a famous Don summoned me to his presence. I walked into his chamber,  cigar smoke abound. He sat on a throne kinda chair and 4 men sat on his perimeter. He said to me, “Don Shooter, you have a responsibility to the life you live”. He continued by saying, ” Don Shooter, During the course of human history, many Dons have graced the planet. You are a Don and must continue the path of wonder and magic that you travel and love. ” Well, I looked at the 4 men around him and they looked at me and all shrugged.

The man in the throne said…”you are the Don Shooter and you must continue working even thru the Covid-1`9 fiasco. ” The he told me to leave and I asked what this was all about. He said, I dunno, some guy gave me a script to follow but Brando got the role.

So I left Don Vito Knows Nothing and now I’m here with you all.

I’ll hopefully be here another day also….

Be blessed all, stay safe and sane and remember……..hmmm forgot