May 14th, 2014 … The Ricoh GRD4 is Keeping Me Alive

05-14-0242-EditNo doubt I love the Fuji XP1’s.  I named them didn’t I? They are my partners in many fine photos and will continue to do so for a long time to come. There’s a funny thing that happens when you put the XP1 and 23mm on a neck strap and walk 6 miles making photos with it hanging around your neck. The human body, especially when it’s older has a way of getting us to cooperate and follow instructions. On the way home about 10 days ago my neck was in a position that if I moved it any direction, I could hear a pop sound and a sharp pain……

So….I have been doing things slowly and methodically as to not aggravate the situation. Yeah, yeah…I know…go to a Chiropractor. Why the hell would I do that. I get lots of joy in the pain in my neck and also I love not being able to use the XP1….sure, right!

Well, Penelope sat on the shelf looking so sweetly at me…I blushed. I mean come on, I’m only a human…how could I not resist her gaze upon me and the whispers in my dreams….shooter…oh shooter….it’s me, your darling Penelope…I love and miss you darling….The smell of sea air, the moisture and shimmers of light beams on her body….

WAKE up Dreamer….you’re taking me out for a while, because I am the only one in the existence in Shooterland that you can trust not to hurt you….So the romance continues as it has for well over 2 years, maybe it’s 3 at this point. Who’s counting? Love is timeless….I must admit…the Penelope in my dreams is probably not the one you think it is….hmmmm

05-14-0252-EditI have always noticed a freedom with Penelope that is unmatched by any other camera. Maybe the X20 names Daido gets close but not the same. I get it with all my cameras but Penelope just has a way of working that is undeniably the best interface of any camera. I loved the GR but the dust broke my heart. gone! So for the next, dunno…I guess I just have to see how long before I want to change things. Till then, the Ricoh GRD4 is the Queen.

05-14-0276-EditThere are times in my life that when I’m working I get into a groove that just has me flowing thru time, space, feeling etc and that’s where I find my photos. It’s a ZONE and I have written about it and I teach it in my workshops. This zone happens and when it does, we must be prepared to see the photos in front of us. Then, of course the camera must be present and not create an intrusion. It’s really like a Ninja Warrior. The awareness of ourselves in the world without intrusion….oh yeah….!

05-14-0278-EditWhen I get to the’s like I am moving thru time and space at a different rate than those around me. No, this is not delusional or some mental sickness. It’s just becoming aware of myself in the here and now. I will tell you this…at the end of the day, I feel really connected and at peace with my self and my work because when I see the photo on the screen…I am immediately transferred back to the moment of exposure..and that creates the ZEN like awareness of  BEING.

05-14-0280-EditI will try to post again tomorrow. I thank all those with the concerns for my well being.  Peace to all…………

42 thoughts on “May 14th, 2014 … The Ricoh GRD4 is Keeping Me Alive”

  1. feel better. I’ve had my neck and lower back brutalized by surgeons out of necessity. Resist if you can. In the meantime I am sure Penelope loves the gentle strokes of photographic expertise you apply in creating great images.

  2. No one will ever accuse you of not having an imagination, Don. Hope your neck gets to feeling better. I do recommend a chiropractor, but not just any type. If you can find one who practices Advanced Biostructural Correction, you’ll thank me later. They are not that common, but I swear by mine…after swearing at the guys I saw before that. Should be a few in Philly, I imagine.

    Nice shots, as usual…the skirt/handbag is especially nice.

    1. Thanks Geoff……I have a Chiropractor I use and will see hi Friday. He promises me that I’ll feel better and that Penelope will not leave me….the camera also….

    1. Thanks Keith. It’s just been a pain in the neck but it did rekindle the passion for Penelope….

  3. Good to see a post again Don. So…photography can be a literal pain-in-the-neck. Also like the shot of the skirt. Between her rear and the handbag it looks like a cross between a leopard and a jaguar. Well, I have the day off so will try to get out and into the “zone”…sounds like a good place to be. Will take Daido (GRD4) and Fuji X-S1. Will be the first time trying the X-S1. Don, take care of your neck and feel better. Regards to Penelope.

    1. Thanks Dave. Daido is such a great name for the GRD4 as Daido used the camera for a while and may still be doing so. My own camera was named Daido until Penelope made a ruckus and we changed her name.
      Good shooting…..

  4. I´ve been using one of those sniper straps on my XP1 for a while now, at first it felt a bit awkward but after some days I can´t think of a better solution to carry that brick all day long. My neck just loves that thing; it basically saved my relationship with the Fuji.

    All the best !
    (I owe you a reply Don (Tri-X etc…) … it´ll follow 🙂

    1. Ken, thanks. Ray Sachs got me on that Acam 25 and I love it. You can shift the weight to any point you desire. Well, let it be known in the photographic universe that I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box. With the adjustments provided by the Acam25, I chose to put the camera dead weight on my neck,…….thus…..a PAIN IN THE NECK………..
      You owe me nothing friend…..

  5. Hi Don, Sorry to hear about your neck. Spinal degeneration is almost unavoidable to one degree or another as we age (you and I are fairly close in age). Why it can be problematic, both acute and chronic, for some people more than others, has a lot to do with posture and the structural integrity of each individual. A chiro may set you right in the short term, but for long-term freedom from pain you need to take some steps to reclaim the structural integrity that was once yours. I recommend highly something called Foundation Training. It takes just minutes a day to do, is suitable for people of any age and physical ability, and how good it can make you feel will blow your mind. I am a certified Foundation Training teacher here in Taiwan, which won’t help you very much, but you can learn the basic moves just by going to the Foundation Training website and looking at some of the free videos. I have seen it help a lot of people. Why am I bothering to tell you all this? Happened to chance across this post on a link from the Inspired Eye Weekly. As the owner of two “Penelopes,” I think anyone with an appreciation for the GRD4 such as yourself deserves to move through life happy and pain-free! Will not only fix your neck, but avoid much misery moving forward. Let me know if you try it and if it works for you. =D

    1. Jeffrey, thanks. I will do as you suggest, for sure. When I was born, last century around 1949….I had a curved spine. My mother talked with her mother and mother in law, my grandmothers, and it was agreed upon by all that I should be strapped to a board. At the last minute my mom thought that was just archaic and didn’t do as told. Now, all have passed and I am blessed with backaches, and neck aches.

      Now something very important….please tell about your GRD4’s, gender, names etc….
      Thanks for stopping by…please make it a habit and I am now off to investigate your suggestions.

      1. Hi Don, Most of us are either born imperfect or acquire imperfections throughout the course of life. Foundation Training won’t uncurve your spine. What it will do is put your musculature into a good place so that the problem you have there will give you a minimum of misery. Back pain is almost always a function of a weak posterior chain, namely weak glutes and hamstrings and lack of movement from the hip caused by our modern lifestyle (namely too much sitting), which forces us to use the lower back for movement rather than stability, something it was never meant to do. Foundation Training builds up that posterior chain and allows the back to return to doing what a back should do. What’s amazing is you can go through life with rather nasty spinal issues with a relative lack of symptoms if you build up the posterior chain and core muscles. Takes just a few minutes a day.

        I’ve had an on-again, off-again love affair with photography for many years. When it goes into the off-again phase it is not because of lack of love, but rather a lack of time to get out and take photographs. I bought both GRD4s used in mint condition about 8 months ago (weren’t any more new ones to be had). Was on the verge of springing for an Olympus EM1, but the simplicity and lack of pretentiousness of the GRD4 appealed to me. Sold my Fuji x100s at the time (nice camera, but things about it bugged me), and looked forward to really putting the GRD4 to the test. Did take a few nice shots, but unfortunately am now in the off-again phase. Retired from a 2 1/2 decade job in the media last year, and have been crazy busy creating a new career as a health and exercise teacher/counselor. I bought two because I was so enamored with the GRD4 I wanted to keep one in dry box storage in case one gave out on me. The irony is that in the past few months the only thing I’ve had time to take out is the Sony rx100 for the occasional snapshot of the kids. Also have a Canon G5 with a couple of top prime lenses sitting idle next to the GRD4s. Such is life!

        1. Thanks Jeffrey. I have already begun the process for the Foundation Training. My VA Doc is vrey excited to read about it and have some Vets try it out.
          I will update soon….

          1. Jeffrey..I have an appointment for a long massage tomorrow and then a meeting at the same place to get an evaluation and take lessons. Hopefully this is the right course…
            thanks and I’ll be in touch….don

          2. Hi Don, Massage is good, because it helps break up some of the connective tissue adhesions you probably have. If you’ve been walking around with heavy cameras around your neck for years you probably have some forward head posture, which puts a lot of strain on the front part of the chest and upper back, and creates myofascial adhesions. Before you can set your posture straight it helps to break up some of those adhesions. The massage is good for that. You could also work on some of those areas yourself with a hardball up against a wall. Would save you some time and speed up the process.

            Would be curious whom you found to teach you Foundation Training. I can check for you to be sure they are certified.

            I assume you can see my email even though it isn’t made public. Rather than continuing this dialogue on your blog feel free to email me if you have any questions or whatever. I would be more than glad to help in anyway I can – it’s the least I can do for one of our Vets! Best, Jeffrey

          3. Jeffrey, I am trying a few things and just observing how my body responds.I have an appointment with a Doctor at the VA. She is from Japan and a specialist in stupid shooterology. Some of the Vets tell me she’s from another world. Apparently she has the knowledge and the touch.

            Now Tanya my darling Russian wife sees things different. She goes behind me and pulls my arms back…with increasing force and then turns my head on axis until things loosen up. It’s ok..the body cast comes off today and the Japanese Doctor will evaluate the situation. I will update later…thanks for your kindness concern and advice…don

  6. I was gonna mention using that strap over your SHOULDER rather than around your neck, but I see you’ve already considered the possibilities. Sometimes old habits die hard or don’t die at all. I know what you mean about shooting with a little hand-held “flow” camera and the GRD4 really works for you. I feel the same with the Nikon – I sometimes shoot on the street with the Fuji but the little pocket Nikon just puts me in a different space.

    Then again, I don’t think you should discount the difference between a 35 and 28mm field of view. I know you say you feel more comfortable with the 35, but I think your images have more room to breathe with the 28 and, more often than not, I prefer them. This is some of your best recent stuff IMHO Don. Sometimes a pain in the neck can be useful….

    1. Thanks Ray. I am considering the Nikon as the GR will never be with me again. I am selling the entire XP1 family and will do something soon. I was considering the X100s but your thoughts about the 28mm hit me on the head. Thanks my friend….don

    1. Thanks Greg. Fortunately, here in Philly..the VA is doing a fine job and the entire staff is dedicated to keeping the Hospital on the top of the list. As it turns out, my neck and spine problems come from the weight of the XP1 cameras. My Doctor was freaked when she put the XP1 & 23mm around her neck. She told e to go to my shrink immediately because I must be crazy to wear that around my neck. An hour with Doc…G and now the entire kit is on eBay. I will move to the X100s.
      Thanks Greg, have a good weekend…..don

  7. Wow! don…sorry to hear that. I know you had quite a love affair with the kit. If & when I make the digital switch an X100s is on my list. I for one will be looking forward to reading how you get along with it.

    1. Thanks Dave..glad ya found some photos. I’ll update the blog maybe tomorrow. Everything is on eBay and hopefully will sell.

  8. Don….try and see the positive in all of this !…..the x100s is a classic . I know the benefits of having dslr type cameras but I always feel more comfortable with the smaller cameras. I don’t need zooms , I need ( well need is a strong word ..” Like ” is perhaps a better word ) a good fast prime or fixed lens, no fuss , no worry about this or that …just see the picture and shoot!….the GRD4 liberates , so does the X20 …they allow a different feeling from inside ….. Feel free Don it can only be a good thing.
    Cheers Ian

    1. Ian, thanks for the support and words of Wisdom. You will here shortly from my Russian Wife about buying anything….just kidding…
      seeya soon….don

  9. Sorry to hear about your pain, Don and wishing you feel better soon. Was rather surprised to hear about your decision on parting with Andre, but I totally understand. However, the x100s will give you the same Fuji iq with some improvements in a lighter package so I am sure you’ll love it. (it also has an excellent 18/28 lens adapter if you miss that fov) As for the GR, I decided to get the limited edition that came out about half a year later. Although I would have preferred the original black version but I too was worried about the dust issue many people had problems with and so far it’s been all good.
    Good luck with finding a new partner for Andre and with getting the right replacement that Penelope too would be happy to go out with…

    1. There is no replacing Penelope. Well, when I bought her on release…I bought another just to have in case. So far, not needed. My entire XP1 familt is now gone. The X100 will be welcomed because I had the X100 on release but after 8 months was forced to sell it off.
      Thanks and seeya shortly….don

  10. When you say the GR will never be with you again…are you talkin’ about the GRD5 or GRD4? Sorry you are having to sell your XPRO-1 kit. Anyway…I find the GRD4 and the x-20 are really great for street work. And they are so light and stealthy. I always have the GRD4 with me now. And the x-20 gives you some zoom flexibility. Well, hope you are feeling better and are able to get out there again soon and post some of your fantastic images and musings.

    1. Dave, yes the GRD4 (Penelope is always with me) and I will never sell her. The Ricoh GR I will never own again due to the dust issues that most accept and don’t care about. The X20 is a great mate for the GRD4 and I have an X100s arriving today.
      Be sfae and I’ll post tomorrow….Don

  11. Hello Don, sorry to hear about neck strain. I hope you get better soon.

    Annoying that you had to sell the X-Pro1, but I don’t understand your choice for the X100s as a solution to prevent neck strain, because the difference in weight between the X-pro1 + the 18mm and the X100(s) is very small.

    X-Pro1 + 18 mm weight together: 566 gram (19.96 oz)
    X-100s: weight 455 gram (16.05 oz)

    1. Well, numbers show your correct but…the 23mm has a sense of humor that I don’t find funny. There is a substantial difference in size and weight. I’m doing a post so read it and feel free to comment.
      Thanks my friend….don

  12. Hi Don, best of luck with your treatment for your neck/back. Suffered a bit with my back in the past so I know how it feels. That’s partly why I force myself outdoors sometimes because I know too much sitting about is likely to aggravate it. I look fwd to seeing you put the X100S through its paces. I know you’ve taken to OVF’s recently and with your dreamcatcher work I can imagine that OVF will prove invaluable.

    1. Thanks Norman. I also have started to get off the couch,,not because I want to but because Tanya throws me off….eh…. Yes the X100s is a little gem and I grow more fond of it every passing minute…I ‘ll post tomorrow after the Doc visit…Thanks my friend…..

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