Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 28 … Street … Deciphering and Realizing Intent


Sometimes when I’m out making photos, I start to get a feeling of some sort. I mean I don’t try to define it emotionally or with words but I try to see it and make a photo of it. That must be my intent turning on and guiding me thru the world I am in and helping me to find visually what inside I am feeling. It is not an easy process but one I would never want to be without. So at what point do I determine if my efforts have realized what my intent was after. Well, it’s a process. I guess there are steps to realize intent and not always the same steps and not always the same order of steps. Not that is so ambiguous, but it tries to clarify the ambiguity of the image and even before it is captured at times, in fact, many times.

The above photo: I saw this steam coming from the ground. it was blowing out the highlights, perfect for me. I saw the light overhead and it made the steam into something more surreal, more of a piece of a dream. I’m under a tunnel so it’s dark all around, but the light shines into the darkness and makes it not so fearful. I love what I’m seeing, but I’m not seeing enough. I looked up and saw the light at the end of the tunnel, the glow was growing and I could feel the photo being formed and wanted it to be born. I looked down again and moved slightly left to create tension with the lines and then quickly looked up. I couldn’t believe my eyes. All the sudden out of nowhere the Photo Angel sent me a the Angel of darkness and I saw my photo…..Click.

The thing is, to have all three elements of the self-find and realize your intent. The Eye, Heart and Mind work together to find the subject and realize the intent. The entire process from start to finish is ambiguous and should be allowed to remain that way.


Some say that I am obsessed with death. Maybe that’s true but who isn’t. It’s the one question we never live to get an answer too. I was at the Frankford Transportation Center, my favorite place to work, and I saw this guy with a face on his belly. It looked like the face was coming out of him. I knew before release that this photo would require post processing but I knew what it would need. Click……..

When I imported the photos into LightRoom, I saw this one and it was ok but not finished. So I opened the Develop Module and started to relax. I remembered what I was feeling at release and open my presets. ( I got these Presets from a guy named Shooter. My shrink says he’s the same as me but I don’t believe it.)…. I clicked thru a few and hit this one. It’s Afterlife. A little tweaking here and there and I saw what I felt and wanted to feel. I realized my intent.

Have a blessed day…….. end transmission …………..

14 thoughts on “Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 28 … Street … Deciphering and Realizing Intent”

    1. Huh, say what… Keith….ummmmm now I’m confused…ohhh I get it. You’re in New York and I’m in Philly…. sorry, was confused….
      thanks my friend……

    1. Pavel, I will be glad to if I can find him. He’s got a shrink appt next week and I think he’ll show up then.

  1. “The entire process from start to finish is ambiguous and should be allowed to remain that way.” I love that….. it is for *others* to figure out… and they are usually obsessed with it and usually wrong.. LOL 😉

  2. Hi Don. My name is Leon, from the UK. Me and ‘Tee’ my X-100 T make street photos together. I am new to the camera and just finding my feet with her . I have my in camera presets how I like them at the moment (HL tone -2, shadow tone 0, Colour +2, sharpness +1, NR off, DR Auto.) I am interested in presets and would love it if you could share a link where I could check some of them out, to experiment with, not to copy but to see what can be done and use as an initial guide to branch off from for myself. For colour I already am there but for B&W I am a novice and currently keep it relatively ‘safe’ not too bright HL’s, decent mid tones and tonal spread and slightly hard shadows still with some detail in. I use Tee’s Mono + G filter mostly. I searched your site using the search term ‘presets’ but still yet to find any. Cheers. Love your work and cannot comment on your approach more than but to say I understand your flow and shoot pretty much that way myself, thinking but also zen, though with less experience than you to guide me (only 4 years in.) Cheers

    1. Leon, thanks….nice post my friend. Where are you wanting to use the presets? In camera, Lightroom etc. Please advise

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