Category Archives: Street

Covid 19 … Philly Tales … Where The Streets Have No Name

It was a brite lit morning, and i was on a street making photos. Andre’ the Leica M4 and I were minding our business and then a guy, looks kinda young and frazzled comes up yo us. Andre said t me, no way we are making any photos of this dude. Ok I said. Dude walks closer and me thinks, dude ain’t from around here. I said hi, he said hi. He says, shooter, I’m hungry and wanna get some grub. Andre’ the Leica M4 is freaking out cause howz dude know my name? Dude says, where can I get some breakfast? I said I can’t explain it cause the streets have no name. Dude has this weird look on his face. I can see musical notes coming out his…ummm ears, i won’t say ass cause I gotz too much class. He’s in this trance and saying, Where The Streets Have No Name. Then he walks near the curb and I firmly say dude, careful your near the Edge. He looks at me and eyes spinning around in his poor head. Dude says, shooter, I gotta go and write a song. He’s all excited, I’m thinking…kids’ today. Dude starts walking away and says, shooter take care brother. I said U2. He stops in his tracks and has this look on his face. He seemed like a nice guy, not too smart but good personality. As Andre’ and I walk away, I said to him. can you imagine that guy writing a song. Andre’ said ya know shooter, nice guy and even if he had a band, they’d never make it.

 

Andre wanted to get a cup of coffee. So we went to his favorite greasy spoon. It’s a German place and he’s got  crush on Hilda the German waitress. I sip coffee and Hilda takes Andre’ and holds him and makes him feel special. Hilda says, Mr Shooter, I am from Wetzlar. Andre’ the Leica M4 is my kin. Meanwhile, Andre; is all up in her hands and breast and his knobs are turning and lens focusing in and out, my my. I’m not really kinky but this is an entirely new dimension to Camera Porn. I wink to Andre’ and he knows time to go. He tells Hilda the German waitress, alas my love, I have to leave you. Hilda looks at me and says, I am stuck with a Yashica till you return, Hilda says, Mr. Shooter, did you happen to see a strange guy looking for breakfast? He was here but said he couldn’t find me cause the streets have no name.  Andre’ and I walked out I said to Hilda, take care Hilda the waitress and turned… then, then she said.. U2. As I was kinda stunned and Andre’ said, lets get the heck out of this movie. I said yeah, it’s Twilight Zone

I had a small group of my WS members for lunch the other day. All 7 of us went to Pearl’s in the Market and had seafood. Was nice because we haven’t met in person for over a year. I have had chats with most over skype but it’s not the same but not toooo different. As we were eating and enjoying, Sari said, Don, your love and dedication for what you do drives me. It keeps me from unraveling. Others also joined in and I said, it’s ok, I’ll pay for lunch anyway. Truthfully, she reaffirmed my intention of inspiring and keeping the creative flame alive in others. That in fact feeds and nourishes me also.

So, do I do things literal like, set your aperture on your lens to 5.6. Set your shutter speed to 1/250. Take your brand camera in your clean hand and walk on your fancy dancy shoes and look for something to take a picture of. OMG! The horror!  There are many out there that work this way and are fine. I’m not one. I believe in the romance of life. I believe in the romance of photography and my cameras and process.

So, I am more like….. Andre’ the Leica M9, how about you and I go for a walk a bout? I tell all his sister and brother cameras on the shelf,, we will return and Andre’ will tell you all the tales of the day. As we go to the streets, I look to the sky and smile to Mother Light. Then the rays of light descend upon me and emanate to and from me. I know Mother Light is with us and approves. As we walk, Andre’s starts to shake some in my hand and I very quickly look abd set the exposure. Andre’ likes this part cause no matter what aperture or shutter speed I set, he get’s to choose ISO. So, we are interactive…..

There is a romance to life and there is a romance to photography and the creative process. There is the literal also. The choice is yours how you live. No wrong and no right, just breathing. The romance of breathing is perhaps the most over looked in all the world.

We take that for granted till the end. Then we struggle and do all we can so that the last breath is not the end. We are presented with a choice of living with romance or literal. The choice is yours because I don’t have a choice, I am a romantic and besides, Andre’ the Leica M9 is calling me…..

Have a peaceful Memorial Weekend and please remember all those that defend us without a second thought and all those that made the ultimate sacrifice and even those that will and don’t know it.

Be Blessed Everyone

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 … Homework … The Vibe of Life … Truth of My Reality

I

I’m not paranoid in any way, well except for what my shrink tells me I am. I just don’t fathom what the leaders of the country are doing or thinking.  See, we been in lock down about 44 daze and it’s grueling at times.  I miss walking about with a camera. I miss the smell of the streets, the feel of others around me dodging others as they walk to their destination, the vibe of life. I guess that the VIBE of life is essential to making photos and it’s what I long for the most.

About 2 weeks in isolation, I started to go thru my Light Room catalogs. I felt then that it was a good time to re-discover some photos and I was pleasantly excited. I noticed that the photos I selected back then are the same ones I wold select now.  The thing is, as I toured my photos, I started to have a longing again. It became over whelming and made me very uneasy.

Roland Barthes  in his writing of Camera Lucida,  talks about the studium and the punctum. I believe i am allowed to have my own take-away.  Basically I agree with Barthes about this but i feel different and here’s how I think about it.

As a photographer, I am concerned with 2 essential elements in a photographic experience. I see the Studium as the scene in the image. I see the photographer and what he/she adds to the image as the Punctum. Of course, the strength of each set of elements makes or breaks the photo. Of course this is a very basic approach but I want to keep it light so it gets digested easier.

Well, back to the history of my efforts. As I’m looking at photos of sessions past, one thing keeps resonating in my mind. I see the scene as a place of visual energy. I see the punctum as the element in the photo that makes the magic of seeing work within the scene. . The scene is more of a constant in the process and the punctum is more of a pronounced variable. It’s the punchline to the shot.

I am going thru many photos. The ones that have a star don’t interest me too much as they were born already. I was looking for future stars.  In Light Room, I use a single star to mark a shot that is born. after a few days of this I was emotionally fatigued. I mean, I just was saddened by what I was seeing. No, not the actual images, I love all my work and it brings me great pleasure.

I missed not the punch to the photos but the scene. The scenes kept calling to me, were putting pressure on me to walk again, observe again, hold my camera in my hand again, find the next shot again. The photo that have stars don’t do that because they are not virgin images. I saw the places that I awakened to many times, I could smell life again. I longed for the experience of living again and again and again….

The only way to defeat the Covid-19 is to be in isolation. I agree and accept that as a viable solution. It causes much anguish in my life. I can’t go and shoot. I have poisoned my mind by looking at past experiences. They filter in my mind and heart and stir things that can’t happen just yet.

Tanya and I are doing our part in the world. We are together n this experience and it damn sure ain’t easy. I keep seeing and feeling the photos I want to make.

Then, then it seems many do not agree about isolation. They want to open cities and states. Why, MONEY, that’s why. They want the freedom to do as they please at the cost that is yet undefined. So I question their motives and never question the stance Tanya and I take.

What bugs me is, all this time in isolation, I think 44 days already and others are going around in public most without a mask. I feel kinda betrayed because I know that what they do is wrong.

In the Old Testament, Charlton Heston went to the mt to have a chat with GOD. While he was there, the Jews were making false GODS and worshiping them. When him and GOD finished the chat, GOD told Charlton to go to his people cause the need him.

When he got down the mt to his people, he saw them running around without mask, they were not doing social distancing. He was sooo angry, he threw the 10 COMMANDMENTS at all the TV’s and PC’s.

He stated to the crowd, what are you doing? We need to follow instructions. GOD says President Trump is right about social distancing and mask.

Well, that’s how I feel. I can’t go out at all and because I mat infect someone or they infect me. It’s a duty to mankind and I do it as prescribed. I can’t look at mt catalogs because I am at a loss for the reality of my life.

Hope ya ain’t pissed or bored……

Streetshooter Resurrected

Did ya ever get a mosquito bite on the one place on your body that ya can’t get to and scratch? Well, I’m sitting on the couch and watching Fox and CNN, yes at the same time. Well, I’m there, I’m soooo into this political mess that i’m lost. I am I tellya, lost in me own domain. Tanya moves in quietly and puts a cup of tea on the table. She places it down so gently, a fly landing on me poor head is louder. I feel like the guy in the photo up top, taeh yeah, that one. See them arrows pointing to him? Well, I gotta political arrows coming at me.

I been in this place and state for a long time.  If Tanya feeds me I eat, if not I share with Barsik the cat.  I haven’t answered the phone in months and my kids think I’m in jail. They are right ya know, I’m in the media jail and need to find an escape like Clint did.

I don’t drink or do drugs anymore, for a long time actually. But i look around and Tanya is going to the grocery store. Oh my… is it possible? I hear the back door close and immediately, run upstairs to my sanctuary. I grab my bottle of Blackberry Brandy and take 2 good shots. Ah, heck with it,,, I take another really good shot.  Quickly I run downstairs and start watching the political massacre of the American People. Then ummmm, as I watch the TV, Ding the Leica M9 is floating across the room and he’s talking to me. Where’s my shrink….Help? Ding says, I am here as the senior representative of the shooter convention of cameras and photographic stuff. I never knew my cameras formed a union.

Ding said, the tv goes. The political garbage is for others, not you or us. Do you know how upset Andre’ the Ricoh GRIII is? Well, let me tell you Andre’ said, we are all bored and need to get out on the street, quickly.

So I took Ding’s word and charged batteries, cleaned the bodies, lenses, checked the cards and was feeling kinda sexi. Yeah, 70yo and I’m feeling my oats. Maybe just go make photos.

So my cameras, my beloved friends and my mentors, have resurrected me and the energy that was sleeping. I’m excited about making photos and very excited about getting the blog going again.  Hope all is well and doing much better than me. Be Blessed my friends

….shooter out but not gone…..

July 5th, 2019 … Hot Town, Summer in the City … Whole Darn World is Gritty … Always Was

I was with my squad on the beach at Chu Lai. We had a few days off and we definitely knew how to spend that time.  Many of the guys were swimming or surfing or doing things with the hooch girls. I was laying back on the beach with my camera and making some snaps. My Leica was black Laq and was so hot from the sun. I watched the guys letting it all go and thought, where’s so and so? I was very aware of the missing troops always. I made photos of them and if they weren’s around, I noticed. I could feel a loss inside that I didn’t fully understand. Spud walked over to me and stood there looking at me. He is bare ass naked and s, smiling. He reaches down and hands me a sally joint that he’s been smoking. A sally joint is a joint, pot and it’s soaked in liquid opium and then dried. Don’t take long to dry over there. Kids today that make blunts from cigar wrapper, sheeeesh amateur stuff. Of course, I never smoked anything or even drank the whiskey that Sgt Biggie was offering me.

Biggie came over and told me, Jingles, you’re on tower 1.1 tonight with Spud. Well, I liked Spud cause he was like on his 5th tour and a bad MFer’. I told Spud we were in 1’1 together and he smiled. I asked him if he planned on staying high for the night. He smiles, said, I been here 5 years and been high every day. I learned something real fast. Smoke a joint and do guard duty is the right way. They all knew what my friends back in the world knew about me. I was the most paranoid dude you ever could meet. See, if I was at a party and many people there, we all smoked or other things, I would always be at the window and look out and say….there’s still no cops around. We are ok, and all would laff at me cause I was paranoid like crazy. Well, my friends in Nam knew the same thing about me. They all knew that if they gave me a joint if there was a dink 500 miles away, I’d see him.

So Spud and I are now in the tower. Well, tower 1.1 is the main control tower and all activities from other locations, I have the m60 locked and loaded and aiming in the right direction. Spud has an M79 and we both have 45ACP as a sidearm. It’s getting really dark and quiet. It’s a scary time on guard duty. Spud is crashed out on the sandbags in the tower. I have 7 more hours to go and Spud is wasted and I’m like awake as ever. As the night progresses, I reach into Spud’s pocket and find the bottle of obesitol. Obesitol is a 4 oz bottle of this red liquid that the dinks sell to us and it’s really liquid speed. One bottle and a joint and I’m set for the night. So I pulled the shift myself as Spud slept in whatever kind of peace he was in.

Anyway, that’s not what this story is about, oh no… not even. See, in Nam..the temperature could hit 125f thereabouts. I remember thinking that if I made it home I would never complain about the heat in Philly. I was convinced that I could withstand any weather that came my way. Even the raid would never both me in Philly. In Chu Lai when the monsoons came, the rain was of something that came from hell. It felt like all the rain in the world was falling on me.

I was itchy and wanted to get to the street and make photos with Ding the Leica M9. There’s always a transition time switching cameras. Cameras will push their personalities upon you and we need to explore those personalities in detail. I was walking on Market Street around 16th. It’s like 90f already and the humidity is terrible. I’m sweating and it’s running down my face to my eyes. I walk slower than normal cause I got older than normal. Ding is on a neck strap ready to go and I turn left and see this woman inside a bldg. She’s standing there and all these reflections are happening around her. I’m kinda interested and yet no photo but then she raises her arm and hand to her head…..CLICK!  (photo 1)

So I decided to reflect after seeing the reflections. I thought how when I was 20 and in Nam that I would never complain about the heat back home. I felt that back then, I was of a stronger character and could withstand almost anything. I thought I was becoming a strong man and would carve out a future I would be proud of. 50 years ago, 50 years. Now I have a rear vision that I didn’t have back then. I guess I forgot myself from birth to 21. I feel like I was born in Nam and my fellow troops were my siblings. When one of my friends died, I tried to get a Dog Tag from him. I have 17 now at home. They sleep in my darkroom but the names, faces, smiles, laffs all live inside me. I made one vow back then and maybe it’s the only thing I ever did right. I remember everyone I knew who went home in a body bag and swore I would never forget them and I never did.

I wanted to write about the oppressive heat and how it affected my photos. Instead, I wrote about the driving force that lives in me that will carry me to my death and reunite me with my friends. Maybe that is about the oppressive heat, dunno. I’m too damn old to let it bother me.

Be blessed everyone    ……….shooter out……….

 

May 14th, 2019 … Thinking vs Not Thinking … Are They The Same?

Accountability is the course for me. When I’m making photos, I am inspired by the simple fact that I was awake in the here and now making the photo. It gives me satisfaction and proof when I view the photos now and later. I’m not implying that anyone needs to follow in this manner. I can’t promise I will myself, and stay subject to change if needed or not needed. But on the issue of conscious accountability, this is it for me.

Giovanni stated in a chat we had, that he prefers to not think at all. I get that for real but I wonder if, in fact, that nonthinking state of working is any different than a thinking state of working? The old saying of “The proof is in the pudding” and it’s perfectly true. The thing is, there are many flavors and textures and taste of the pudding. So we all have the given right to choose and use the pudding of our choice. Do we taste our pudding as well as look at it and find it appealing? How about the scent? All these things and more come into play but are they conscious things or unconscious things and perhaps, crazy as it seems… a combination of all things.

What I find inspiring and exciting is, viewing my photos and that they in a way, draw me back to the experience of life. The experience of the moment of exposure. I think it’s more than the Decisive Moment, it’s more something of reinforcing the memory of life. Proof that I was there. So on the one hand that is very sweet and loving. On the other hand, it goes against the very essence of photography as I live it.  The photograph should live on its own merit and not have to draw upon the 3-dimensional reality for its value and existence. Perhaps this is not the only truth of photography. I mean, of course, memories are crucial to life and the validation of photography but the fact is, the photograph really is just a catalyst or tool to conjure up the lost memory or is it?

What about when you just want to work for the sake of saving your soul. I mean as art artform, (Stieglitz not so happy now) … Is the process the same for making photos as an extension of your soul as it is as a keeper of the memory. seems to me that making a conscious memory is a very important process. I never thought about just having a lackadaisical approach in making a memory.   I always tried to capture the best version of what or whom I was working with. We need to be awake and aware of the process and all of it’s intent before, during and after the exposure. We should desire to make the photo memory be all that it can be without the intrusion of anything in the way.

 

This has mostly been the Professional approach to making photos. It certainly requires attention and the absolute awareness of the shooter’s presence. There is a nobility in the very act of making photos. The usual situation of working for someone, money or not, requires a 100% concentration and awareness of being in the here and now. You need to satisfy the needs of your client, This is first and foremost. So that approach can and is applied to working for yourself. ultimately, working for ourselves is the step to working for a client. The pro shooter commits his/her vision to the project and makes the photos for the intent of the project.  (I am going to use a suggestive word and it applies to my thoughts even if it’s a stretch. The Personal Shooter.) The personal shooter has him/herself as a client. The photos made are for individual intent.

So in this stance, perhaps it’s ok to adopt a few ways of working. As Giovanni stated, he doesn’t want to think about things, just make his photos. I agree that this is a noble way to work and very fulfilling.  Maybe working that way has defined accountability but I like clarity. I’m not saying Giovanni does not like clarity, I’m merely stating that I like clarity during the process.  For me, there is elegant freedom walking around with my camera friend making photos and being in the here and now, regardless of where it is.

I believe in the principle of the Inverse Square Law. More is less and less is more. I see it like this. The more awareness I have the greater the freedom is born. I have very few intrusions.

The less aware I am of process, the more intrusions present themselves.  I don’t know anything as a landmark for reality. This I do know cause I live it.

When I was young, I was taught that a photograph speaks 1000 words. As I grew older, not so much wiser, I found that a photo spoke less than 1000 words. As time passed, I realize that my photos maybe speak a half dozen words and that’s given a stretch. I guess it’s that Inverse Square Law that has haunted my very essence for all my life. I view my photos and words lose meaning and become cloudy as the photos are borne.

There is a saying by a Doctor Murray Banks, It goes like this. “As you go through your life brother, whatever be your goal. Keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.

Be Blessed one and all.  Namaste’

 

 

 

 

 

April 22nd, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Supporting Vision … in the IUSI

What do I mean by Supporting Vision? Ok, this is it. Walk around and keep your camera in a case or pocket. Don’t use it for 30 minutes. Feel the vision that you have developed and you’ll see photos that you may have made or wanted to. You didn’t or can’t cause it’s not 30 min yet. If you are feeling your vision, you can tune into your photos without a camera. Now the hard part. Breathe the feelings of photos you want to make, but no camera yet. We all do that anyway but now it’s a conscious effort. Feel the feeling of your photos? Sure ya do and if ya don’t pretend ya do, just to humor the ole shooter.

Now, take the camera in hand. Ok, pause for an infomercial. Years ago a friend and fellow Admin, Brian Mosley,  at M43 forum suggested the following hold. Brian suggested to hold the camera in the left hand, (right handed people). Then your right hand is free to use the controls without the burden of the grip. I tried this and low and behold, it works fine. It actually works wonders. It also inspires the brain to rethink the preconceived grip procedure. Remember I talked about being complacent? Well, this is a step for doing so. So, I think you may get a charge out of the “Brian Mosley Left Handed Grip. Ya just need to open your mind. Who knows what treasures you may find there.

The subject matter is a subjective conscious decision. Sometimes we go along in a submissive state and wait to get hit on the head to see a photo. Other times we may be more dominant in the process and we act more directly in subject selection. Both manners work fine and we just need to be tuned into ourselves to know how we are working. Then there is a state that I can’t really define too clearly and authentically. It’s a state some call the Here and Now or maybe Zen.

I kinda feel like inventing a new state. The International United State of Inspiration. (IUSI) This actually describes what I feel like when I’m working. The Ricoh GR III kinda anchors me in this state. Yes, it has a sense of humor and changes EV or position of the AF box, but all in all……it does what I really desire a camera to do. Andre’ the Ricoh GR III keeps me happy in IUSI.

Why is this even mentioned or deemed important? Well, did you ever change a starter in a car? The manufacturers place the starter in a position that when you work on it, you will bang your knuckles. Oh, yeas, pain, aggravation, and words that the devil would shy away from. This task is not exciting or sensual or exciting. Even a paid mechanic doesn’t fall in love with auto parts. So, as shooters, we have the gift of love and sensuality with our work and our camera. We choose to find and support the IUSI in our work. If we are focused, no pun intended, then we can be there.

So, supporting the IUSI of our work is a shared responsibility. We are the human element. The camera is the translator of the language of the photograph. Processing is the alchemy of the sum of all the parts to prepare everything to show in the final image. Each step along the was is prone to gremlins. Our knowledge of each part is what determines what we use in our visual process. Any gremlins in the process will no doubt create negative energy and that could cause things to be not enjoyable.

There’s a guy in my Saturday meetup here in Philly and he always challenges me and my intent. He questions my motivation in photography. He says that I only teach the course so I can make money. Laff’n.

I told him, Brad, you pay for the course, right? Brad says yes. The other 14 people are looking at Brad. I say, Brad, your the only one that pays for this course. The others just come and we exchange ideas and things. He looks at the others, you guys don’t pay? No everyone says, never did. The Brad says, Don, why didn’t you tell me this before? Brad I said, you tease people, you incite negative energ=y and you specifically don’t respect me even tho I respect you. I respect you enough that if your gonna be this way than everyone else and me, will have breakfast and lunch on your expense. If I have to deal with you, I want to be paid.

So, your out making photos and all this stuff is going thru your head. Why am I so insistent about this IUSI situation?

I love and LIVE photography. I hope you all do also. I wish that the inspiration developed triggers your Eye, Heart, and Mind. If you don’t love photography and life with it, well, you can always paint the bathroom.

So, for the track shot…. I was waiting for the train to go home. I looked up the tracks and saw the lights of the approaching train

As I turned back, I spot the doll on the near the tracks, looks like it was hit. I reach in my pocket, grab Andre’ the Ricoh GR III and as I hold him, switch to AF mode… The train is closer, really close

I set the aperture at 2.8, look at the photo and CLICK! The train was here in 10 seconds. ! shot, even with slower AF in low light… I’ll keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

March 24th, 2019 … Ricoh GR III … Gaining an Understanding

ISO 250   1/125  f2.8

While I may not be the most scientific person around, what I am is a Lifer in Photography.  When  I get a new camera, before it is accepted into my workflow or camera family, I need to understand it. The GR III is of course grandfathered in because of its heritage with me.

There are a few things I’ll write about in this post. First off, the EV is adjusted by the rear 4-way wheel. I have tremors and even if I didn’t, the thumb will sometimes hit the wheel. When that happens, the EV changes. I don’t like or need or want EV on my cameras. The only person that needs EV adjustment is Ray Sachs. Ray showed me how he used it and I also did for a day. Then I wanted to be rid of it. The GR III seems to have some silly fixes that I can’t find. There must be a way to lock EV where you desire it to be locked. If this is on the camera, I can’s find it. If it’s not, a firmware is absolutely essential to address this issue.

The second thing and it’s directly related to the rear wheel is, the wheel controls the movement of the AF Target Box. If you are in the shooting window, If you press the OK button you are able to move the box. Press again and it locks the position. The issue is, that if you accidentally press the OK button, then the AF Target Box can move unexpectedly. So there must be a Lock like in other cameras, I will not name them but you all know about them.

These are not major issues and certainly no reason to not get the camera. My intention is to just show things that bug me and it’s only these 2, so… order it now. I gotta tell ya, the stabilization system is the finest I’ve ever used in any camera. When I was younger I used Leica’s and could hand hold at 1/15 sec and have a very useable image. I’m not that young anymore and I have essential tremors. That means even at 1/125 sec I could have camera movement. To the GR III. I have SR = Shake Reduction on always. I now can get photos at almost any speed and be satisfied.

1/10  f4.0 ISO 2000

Much to my delighted surprise, Andre’ the Ricoh GR III did an excellent job at a 1/10 and ISO 2000. I could feel the camera stabilizing in my hand. I couldn’s hear it but sure can feel it working.

1/4  f4.0 ISO 600

Here’s where GR III blew me away. I was holding him and can feel my tremor kinda stabilize and even when I pressed the shutter, there was minimal camera shake. This is handheld at a 1/4 sec. Unreal Ricoh, by Jove you’ve done it!  I can only write about what I believe is the truth as I live and believe it. So Andre the Ricoh GR III said, let’s get outside for a few shots. I may work differently than most others. I try to find photos out there and get my interpretation of them to where I can live them. Ok, here’s some more….

1/30  f5.0 ISO 6400

I don’t think I need to say too much here. I remember years ago, maybe many years ago a dream was to have ISO 1600. When I was a Super Moderator at the Ricoh forum, we had a vision of ISO 3200. We felt that in time that would get working. Well, it’s around on other cameras but ISO 6400, is more than we even thought about. Now Ricoh has surpassed themselves and made ISO 6400 not possible but standard for High ISO.  Photography is about a personal journey to find photos that are waiting for you. The camera and everything in your process become very personal. So, this shot for me exceeds anything I want from high ISO. Maybe for you, it doesn’t but you have to accept the fact that it’s pretty dang good.

1/30  f8.0 ISO 6400

This is probably a standard night setting for me. I will say that in B&W it’s outstanding. That’s where I’m at anyway. Plenty of details, no breakup or real pixelation, no falloff at the edges. Just a pleasure….. Oh wait, wait…..

1/30  f16  ISO 65535

Ok, well, I don’t even recognize the ISO number. I think it comes from Planet Ricoh and I am seeing it for the first time, but not the last. Notice the noise. Of course, ya have to have it but they seemed to get is very much acceptable. very small cute dots. Well, I’ll write more in a day or so but…. looks around… Doc says I am not allowed to get to ISO 512000 or something. She says for me, it would keep me in my shrink’s office a long time. My old brain can’t accept that. So I depend on you youngin’s to work the real high ISO but don’t tell me.

A few personal using thoughts. I need to get the EV and AF box set. I know it’s in the camera but I haven’t found it. The GR III is sweet, kinda smaller than the gR II but not enough to bother anyone. We waited a long time for this upgrade from Ricoh. It’s well worth the wait as there are many features that just get right to the heart of things. Tomorrow I’m on the streets and will post something.

 

Be blessed all,. oh and… if you get the camera, get an extra battery.

PS… Giovanni, these are right from the camera

March 23rd, 2019 … Observations and Finding … Ricoh GR III

First off, I am not reviewing the Ricoh GR III. What I am doing is posting my observations and findings.  There are many others around that will post thoughts and photos and dissections of the camera. I can’t be bothered and so, will just post about how the camera works in the field. The first thing for me is…., no not the Unboxing Procedure, but naming the camera. The camera inherits the name, Andre’.

So now the camera is Andre’ the Ricoh GR III.  Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain how I do things. I like to have an intuitive synergism with all my cameras. That means Andre’ the Ricoh GR III at the moment.  This brings to the table the manual and setup. Ricoh provides a battery charger that is a USB to camera type. Of course with me, that won’t be a long lasting procedure. I did use it and it had Andre’ at full charge in less than an hour. I have some aftermarket chargers that are multi and I used that also. The charge rate and strength of charge were identical. So what is the difference? Well, figure you are in your place and the camera is on the USB charger. Then Penelope Cruia comes to see you for a few seconds and she’s in a nice bikini. Penelope says… make a photo of me master photographer. Well, of course, that may happen to you all the time but for most of us, not so. It’s a once in a lifetime happening. OMG! You can’t make the photo because your camera is tethered to the USB Charger. When Penelope comes to visit me, I will have access to Andre’ because I use an independent charger.

OOC

The camera is very intuitive, What exactly does that mean? Well, if you’re a Ricohphile, you have an understanding of how Ricoh’s work. I) like to lear6n the camera from the camera. To make a camera intuitive means that things are working out of habit. I mean, you learn the camera by using it and discovering the menus and features. It becomes intuitive because you went thru the menus and discovered and implemented the findings. That’s an intuitive way to work. When your out in the field and something happens, generally speaking, you can figure it out because you learned from the camera.

OOC

Now, the other way to work. I think of the manual as a spare tire.  Your cruising along making photos and something happens, you open the manual and figure out the solution. You probably don’t have the solution memorized because you don’t have to. You rely on the spare tire to get you back on the road. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong depending on the manual, just saying what becomes intuitive, is opening the manual and not the solution. Ricoh has and always had a very fast learning curve with their cameras, GR III is no exception.

OOC

I wrote that because I charged the battery and sat for about 15 minutes doing the menu and was ready to make my photos. There are more settings than I need. It’s nice to have them but I want the camera to work together with me and not for me or me for it. I made an initial setup and felt comfy. The GR II is a good way to move up although not the only way. If you have an idea about how you need the camera to perform, the GR III will offer you any personalization you could desire. While I was on the first walkabout with Andre’ the Ricoh GR III, I noticed that he was set on +.07 EV. Something like that. Truthfully, I don’t give a hoot about EV on any camera. Once I got home, I pulled out the spare tire and found EV settings and that ended that once it was set to 0EV.

OOC

There’s a lot more to explore on the camera but a basic setup is easy to achieve in a few minutes. The switch from AF to Snap is nice. Same as I have on the II. I have the Snap Distance opposite the Snap switch. See, the left button ISO is set to Snap. The right button Drive is set to Snap Distance. How sweet it is.

The raw files and the JPEGs are excellent. Color is outstanding. The B&W setting I use is Mono Hard. The lens is no doubt an act of love by its makers and is extremely addictive. I mean all of my Ricoh’s are called camera killers. I say that because when you start to work with a Ricoh, it kills the need and desire to use another camera. I switch off only our of guilt. The Ricoh GR III is considerably smaller than it’s parent. What’s nice is, it can stay on your palm and never be seen until you are ready to make a photo. Many want to know if it’s worth upgrading. I must admit, I absolutely say it is. The 24 MP files are nothing short of outstanding. For me, the finest camera making 24MP photos is hands down, the Leica M series. The Ricoh GR III equals if not surpass them easily. I’m not putting down the Leica, just stating that the Ricoh compares to the Leica. That’s a bold statement but truth.

I’ll have more soon but I’m still in the Ricoh GR III dream.