Tag Archives: Garden

January 11th, 2014 ….. Fuji XE1 40mm ….. The Ricoh Shooters Dream ….. Part 1

01-14-0249Tanya and I went to Atlantic City to visit Joe and Mary. Well, par for the course….Joe and I went to the beach to get in touch with uh…uh..shhhhhh…a camera store because Joe wants to get the camera all Ricoh shooters ever born or ever will be….the XE1. No, not just the XE1 but the XE1 with the 27mm lens. See, here e go again…that mathematical head game that we all play because some execs and some engineers wanted to see what would happen. Ahhhh, heck…that was years ago anyway.

See, Ricoh makes about the best 28mm lens on their cameras, better than most. Now the issue……many if not all Ricoh shooters wanted a 40mm lens or even camera to go along with their 28mm GRD4 or GRD3 or GR thing, dust magnet that it is. Yeah, that’s right…I said it! Well Fujifilm found out about this from some FBICIASECRETSERVICEXCAMERAMAKERSORGANIZATIONTHAT’SNOLONGERSECRET and they made the 27mm lens that mathematically and optically and every other thingy equals 40.5mm. The ideal combination of course is 28mm & 40mm.

Anyway, back to the beach. Joe had some Russian Vodka under his blanket and insisted that we kinda do more than sip on it but not get to the point that the ladies…nah…the wifeys would suspect that we were drinking at the beach. Well, being the friend and standup guy that I am, I quickly acknowledged Joe and his good idea. I mean after all….with all due respect to da wifeys, bringing back 1/2 a bottle would prove disrespectful. Bringing back an empty bottle would do likewise but..AHHAAAA…finishing the bottle the way 2 Nam Vets would do and send the empty to the ocean but with a shot or two still in it is a show of deep respect to da wifeys and whoever finds this magic bottle.

Now to the important part……

01-14-0257Joe has found making photos a very interesting and positive way to spend time. I have introduced to him that it’s also a way to spend money, not just time. So while we were on the beach, I handed Joe my Fuji XE1 with the 27mm on it. It’s dark man, I mean real dark. Joe made the above photo with my camera. He fell in love very quickly when he saw this shot on the screen. Of course I am in the process of putting together a deal for him on the XE2 and 4 or so lenses. Mary, his wife called me this morning and was very happy. She said that Joe seemed to have found a new love. I told her not to worry because she would always be #1 and this ain’t about a new love, it’s about Joe finding a reason for himself to stay alive and not for her or anyone else.  She thanked me for helping Joe finish the Russian Vodka.

01-14-0258The temp was 61F here in Philly today. As I walked up Market street, I could see many homeless out in the warm rain. Some were taking cover under facades and other things to stop the rain. This lady is about 45 and has no one or no place to go and won’t go to a shelter.

01-14-0260This is all this kid has for a home. He’s maybe 25-30 but is well worn from family etc. I asked if he wanted to go to a shelter and he said no. He was in a few and was attacked and his stuff taken and he was almost raped.

01-14-0263Sometimes I feel like I’m on the other side of life. I see things in my head as I release the shutter and when I get into LightRoom, I find my way.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll do the best to keep my end going.

January 8th, 2014 ….. 20F The Fuji XE1 Makes Me Warm

01-14-0166Don’t get things wrong now, 20f is cold. I know, I know…my wife Tanya laughs at the Americans and spoiled way of living. So as she walked outside to the garden, it was obvious that America has worked it’s way into her mind and heart. She comes back in and says….”You better dress warm because you can’t take the cold like me”. Well, of course she ran into the living room and got under a blanket to warm up. I smiled and just let her think she’s still a Russian Comrade that doesn’t flinch in the cold.

But she did set the course for the day. See, I am told that I am not the sharpest pencil in the box…(yeah right)….but I know when it’s cold. I also know that film will reticulated in cold but sensors aren’t as sensitive to weather conditions. So I headed out with the XE1 and 21mm Skopar to just take a nice walk in the more than brisk cold.

01-14-0169I was on Market Street and I have to admit…it was cold and then…this young woman walked by me and for some strange reason, the sun came out and I felt warm…well warm all over. Funny how things like that can stir your day. Obviously beings the elder gentleman that I am I wouldn’t even look at her…..my camera, well….that’s another story.

01-14-0173I gotta be frank now. The Fuji’s are excellent to work with but using a good lens like the Skopar or Heliar or Summicron etc, brings the camera to life. Using a DOF scale is the joy that can’t be matched by Auto Focus lenses, no matter how good that may be. Tomorrow I’ll be on the streets with the XP1 and 35mm 1.4 because I promised to get that 50mm FOV under control.

Till then…stay warm and if your in OZ where it’s like 66F…sheeeesh……

December 31st, 2013 ….. Happy New Years To One and All

Don’t look for photos on this post….ain’t time for that. It’s 27F outside and Tanya & I walked to the ShopRite to get the things she needs to make a lavish, well lavish Philly, well…lavish NE Philly on Montour Street dinner. She’s downstairs cooking what no doubt will be another dinner to never forget….A big crowd tonight, her and I and of course Barsik the camera bag inspector.

I’m upstairs cleaning the Fuji’s and lenses to get ready for tomorrow’s Mummers Parade. I set the clocks so that capture time is recorded and everything is in order. Ya know many years ago the parade route was wide open. What I mean is that there was no fences to constrain anyone from making contact or going into the crowds or streets. I loved that. I just mingled around and made the photos I wanted without any freedoms being fenced in and or out. Then the City felt it needed to put fences all around the parade route and I was really upset and so were the Mummers. For a few years I went to the parade and felt restricted in movement and in the right of passage.

Then in 2011 as I was leaving the parade, I bumped into an old friend that was a great shooter for many news agencies etc. His name was Bob C……He passed away this year around March and was 83 at that time. So Bob asked me how I was doing and we talked and I felt really happy and at one with myself talking to Bob. He was the kinda shooter that loved to get in the middle of things and I’m just the opposite, he knew that.

Bob said to me….”Don, isn’t it great how they put those fences all around?” I said no Bob…why would you think that? He then said something to me that I will never forget as long as I exist, the other side included.

He said…“Don, those fences are for you. They keep everyone contained so that you can work easily and move thru the parade watchers like you always do. You never shoot the parade like other people. You alway shot it like watching from the inside, just like your street work, how life effects people…from the inside, you have to see those fences as being put there for you to work and not as a barrier from your work.”

I should add that I met Bob thru Ding McNulty. So obviously the life lessons I gathered came from a source that I try to pass on. So now as the year passes on and we move to another set of numbers, I think I’ll try to understand something I may have just taken for granted for many years. See, I always understood the lessons of life and photography etc that Ding, Bob and others passed on to me. I learned these lessons well and applied all to my work and more importantly…LIFE. What I didn’t get for many years was the actual source of the lesson. I don’t mean the passeron person or mentor, whatever. I mean the actual crux of the spark that created the material to make the lesson.

So, it’s up to me to try to decipher it all and at the end of the year, going into New Years I do have a lesson learned to tell to all…….Ding, Peter, Bob won’t like this but here’s 1…..

If you want to bring New Years in, in a special romantic way…..heed my warning!                Don’t drink beer and eat hard boiled eggs……..

Happy New Years to all and to all a Good Night…….

December 30st, 2013 ….. Fuji X-Pro1 & 35mm 1.4 ….. Some Thoughts

12-13-0554Yeah, yeah…just a dry practice run till tomorrow.

So since about 1985 I have been struggling with the idea of using the 50mm FOV as a main focal length. I mean of course I’ve used it in many occasions but I never felt that it was a real part of my vision. Well, the Leica’s are retired and no other camera has ever offered me the excitement of another focal length. I am or shall I say, I was always a 35mm FOV guy and never switched hit in anything. Hey, hey…married and anyway, there ain’t nuttin wrong with it anyways….

so I’m using the Fuji X PRO 1 and the X E1 and I have to say….I have the 35mm 1.4 for a good spell already and thought I’d sell it cause once again….50mm ain’t my thing. Well one day, don’t remember when I looked at my photos and my camera and low and behold…it was all working with 28mm. Oh, that’s just great….I mean let’s add fuel to the mental fire in me poor head…. So I use 28mm for many years, so much so that it went from an acquired FOV to a Natural FOV. Horrors, I thought!

I was just about to unload the Fuji 35mm and the 27mm and maybe the 18mm. I really like the Voigtlander lenses. I mean they have a focus scale, a DOF scale….a real lens! I was ready to make a few eBay listings and then the Fuji Engineers got word of me getting ready to move their stuff out of my coat pocket and then, all the sudden, without fair warning to all good Fuji users of any level of commitment, released a firmware update that rocked my uh…uh…nah, not world but got me to thinking again…..


The X-PPRO 1 now does things it tried to do before the update but couldn’t get it right.


They got the frame lines very accurate at all but the closest distances and even then, it ain’t bad. The framing box is so accurate that I decided to take the 35mm out for a spin. Well, for the 1st time since 1985, I am really excited with this focal length. I am seeing the frame box a little more accurate then the Leica M cameras. That doesn’t matter but to me it really does. I do not now nor ever like cropping my images. I know, I know…but it’s my process to crop before release…..not after…unless it’s a Million $$$ shot then crop the heck out of it…..sheeeeesh! I tested the frame box with all my lenses that I like to use and accuracy is incredible, even the Voigtlander 15mm and 21mm are right on.


12-13-0552Antwayz….I’ll be around tomorrow and hopefully make a few photos but if not…..Mummers Day is just a few shots away……NO NO….not photo shots…..Single Malt Shots…….

Till we meet again……..shooter out…………………….


December 20th, 2013 ….. The Dreamcatcher is Back in My Head

12-13-0327It seems that this series has been going on in my head and in photos for as long as I can remember. It’s not just about the visual but about the thoughts that go with the visual.

When I get into this Dreamcatcher Mode of operation, I start to think my photos. Sometimes I think my photos are thinking me. The connection I get of course is the camera in my hand. The device, the machine, the friend that takes me to and fro from image to image is the Dreamcatcher.



12-13-0291I get this groove going and just flow along and try to find the light in the subject that interest me enough to try to make another….?  I had a different upbringing then the Zen Masters or even disciples. Of course, I am assuming this and it is not a fact because everyone lives their own destiny.

I am really into the here and now, especially in photography. Well, I’m no mystic, no Zen Master, no professor of anything I know about or don’t know about. The here and now came to me at a very early age. There was a kid in my neighborhood and I was crazy for his sister. I mean she was all that I could dream of at this young age. So I tried to talk to her at one point and her brother didn’t feel the same way about things as I did. One day on the way home from school, he stopped me and said he was going to beat the crap out of me HERE and right NOW! He did. I learned that brothers protect their sisters at all cost and that one can learn about the here and now in many different ways.

Years later after we both got past the protect sister episode, I saw him as I was making photos on the street. I made a quick snap of him and when I processed the film, I had an idea for the print. I made an 11 x 14 and when it dried, I took it to the bathroom and lit it on fire….then I peed on it and felt that I was now able to talk to a guys sister again.

12-13-0315Shooter, what the heck does that story have to do with making photos? Well, it has to do with energy and feelings. See, when your out there seeking the image, seeking the light, seeking the magic, seeking the elusive dream, all that you are, all that you ever will be is in the release of the shutter. When the time comes for each of us to lay on the marble slab…..when it’s the time for all realization of your life is on the line, your laying naked in front of what you believe to be the creator  of the world you live in……

In life, I may have gotten my butt kicked but I learned about the Here and Now…..

Oh, LORD….sorry about burning and peeing on Whitey’s photo….I never claimed to be close to perfect…..



Listen, I write what I feel and I feel what I write. For that I make no excuses and neither should you. Make your photos the way you  feel and see and don’t worry about the outcome. Your intent, like it or not will come thru in your photos and that will reflect your  eye, heart and mind.

This or any post I make is not to be an excuse to your partner, girlfriend, boyfriend and certainly not husbands and wives to get a new camera, lens, light meter, software etc…..do that in your own here and now….I have my own problems……..




December 14th, 2013 ….. The Inspired Eye Issue 5 is Published

Inspired Eyehttp://www.theinspiredeye.net/pdf-photography-magazine/


It is always crunch time for Olivier and I the last week before publishing an issue. We don’t have any personal time, ask Tanya. Anyway, it’s out and ready for all youse good people to have an interesting read.

Thanks for your continued support……Olivier and Don

November 26th, 2013 ….. Lessons From the Archive

GF GAMB'E GAME-EditIt’s cold and rainy out. I’m stuck in the house. My iPhone crashed while I was talking to Olivier. I reinstalled the backup 4 times and it finally worked. So I decided to Re-Photograph my images. Don’t ask and I won’t explain what that means…..what, oh…sure…but….nah…let’s just do it. I go thru my catalog not to find missing images, well how could they be missing if I know where they are? Yeah, this applies to you…and you over there…yeah, you. Just cause you use Aperture, that ain’t no escape.

I know this sounds crazy and, well it just may be but truth is….we need to do this sometimes. No, not sit here and write like an idiot, re-shoot our photos. So, in LR5 or whatever…open your catalog and just look for photos that turn you on. It’s best not to start with an agenda but it’s almost unavoidable. I usually go back 2-3 years and just check out stuff that turns me on. It doesn’t have to be your best work but it will lead to that in the future.

In LR5 I put the chosen ones into a collection and label it “Picks.”  This does not do anything to the original location, it just copies the photos to the new collection. At this point your not doing anything brilliant…or are you? What your doing is grouping photos that you respond to after capture and putting them together in a collection for study.

After you are satisfied, the work begins. It is easy to see what lens is working and how you use it. Do you get in close or medium or far distances?



What camera was really working during this period? Was color or black & white the majority of images? What was the subject matter? Hmmmm, I got an idea….let’s group things by these different common denominators. What about time of day and position of the Sun? Light conditions are all important. How about recurring themes. How about collections like series?

This seems like a very anal process and boring. I mean, who wants to sit and really organize? What if the desired results are not met?

What this does is creates a collection of memories and facts that put together by a shooter with an open mind, makes a roadmap for the present and future. How would you like to go out and work and feel like you might be getting somewhere?  No, this doesn’t appeal to you….ok…B&H is having a sale….go buy a camera ya don’t need….

06-11-0240-EditI’m working the Homeless Advocacy Group tomorrow, rain or shine….. Seeya’s soon…..

November 15th, 2013 ….. The Ups and Downs of it All

11-13-0353I gotta tell ya, I’m completely fried. Maybe it’s the time of the year. Holidays often get people into a frenzy of some kind or another. I had the XE1 and the 15 Heliar on. I love this combo. The FOV is around 22.5mm. The camera is fast, comfortable and very efficient. I use the screen most times but every now and then, I use the EVF.

11-13-0339The thing with a camera is that it must make you want to work. Oh’ believe you me, I don’t need much encouragement to make photos, just the opposite. I’m probably a camera totin’ picture hunting making processing presenting philly style fool. I donotcanknow any other way. So Andre’ and I kept walking. What? Oh…sorry, my XE1 is named Andre’. Now here’s the thing…well, it’s a streetshooter thang. If the 15mm is on Andre’ and the 15mm thinks it’s 22.5mm then it stands to reason that the lens should be named Garry. See that Winogrand fella liked the 21mm sometimes. Well, I made an executive decision to name the XE1 Andre’ cause since 1970, I always had one of my cameras named Andre’. Youse all know that already. The XP1 is named Garry because I can name the camera any damned thing I want cause it’s my friend.

We was walking around Market Street looking for some photos that were hiding from us.

11-13-0348Sometimes out there on the street, I’m not the only strange character. Take the guy above….please take him, he needs a friend and I’m not the guy. This is at the Broad & Chestnut Street subway entrance. I walked by and saw this guy standing there. I stood for a minute, 2 minutes then more and this guy didn’t budge. I thought he might be one of those statue people that come to life just when you have no toilet paper with you. They stay perfectly still and then the element of surprise catches you off guard. Well that ain’t this guy.

Ok, so I’m thinking this is one of those guys. Nah, he’s just standing there doing what in his mind seems like a good way to spend time. Click…then I realized that he was put there by the Dept of Photographic Subject Matter. I walked away but he never budged. I’ll be there again just to see if he’s still there.

11-13-0347So the walk continued and I realized I needed to find a …a…male relieving station. So I headed to the Reading Terminal Market. I exit stage left and saw this man sitting there. Now, he lives in Philly and I live in Philly and we have crossed paths many times. He always calls me sir cause I have a POW/MIA hat on, always and I always give him a few bucks cause it’s respect both ways. After I handed him a few bucks, he asked if I could make his photo like I saw him just this minute. Of course I agreed and made the photo. He then gave me his email address and asked me to send it to him. Hmmmmm, email address, he checked out my Flickr from his iPod….dunno, I’m so up and down with things…..


November 3rd, 2013 ….. Eye, Heart and Mind … What About The Soul?

11-13-0056It was 1970 and I had been in Nam for just a few weeks. I hadn’t been in the bush yet but I knew it was coming. I was 11B, what the Gov’t calls Collateral. I made photos of everything, of everyone I saw, everyone I talked to and everyone that needed someone to talk to. My M4 got a real workout but nothing that was ahead of it, or me. I was sitting against a bunker in DaNang cleaning my lenses. All the sudden a very tall guy was standing over me blocking the sun. He introduced himself as Jock. He had a OD camera bag and a Nikon F around his neck with what looked like the 200mm f/4. He asked me who I worked for and I said I was a grunt and was just making photos to record the experience.

The next day I was sent to Chu Lai. Before I left DaNang, Jock told me to look at the shy every sunrise when I wake and if I survive the day, look at the sky at sundown. He told me that if I every get lost or ever feel my humanity slipping away, that sky would should me the way home.

It was Saturday evening November 2nd, 2013. I was in Atlantic City with Tanya visiting my Nam Vet buddy Joe. Joe lost his legs 7 months ago and has been on a watch list that many vets and I keep tabs on. Tanya was a gem cleaning Joes kitchen and helping his wife Mary cope with the new reality.

I took Joe out for a stroll and when we got near the beach, Joe asked me to carry him to the waves of the ocean. So I asked a chair person to watch Joe’s wheelchair. No sweat. Luckily enough 2 of the chair people assisted me getting Joe to the beach. They sat down and smoked a hmmmmm natural smoke. We did not indulge and I did not inhale.

Joe was telling me how he wanted to end the pain he was causing Mary and his friends and family. I told him to stop being an A-Hole and he argued that life isn’t worth living the way it is. I looked Joe in the face and all the sudden, as we both gazed upon the sky the sound of the waves gently moisturizing the sand, the people on the beach, the gulls landing on the sand and every one peering at the most wondrous spectacle that could only force one to realize that no matter where you are, no matter who you are with we are not in power, we are not alone.

Joe had tears in his eyes as I told him the story about how a photographer from Australia who saved my life, NO…saved my soul in DaNang in 1970. I hope in time Joe can find his way home and the inner peace he so well deserves.

I only truly know one thing. In Nam when I gazed upon the sunrise and the sunsets and now in Atlantic City I became acutely aware that I may very well be a troubled soul wandering the earth making photos but in my very ESSENCE and the depths of my SOUL, I know I am not and never will be alone!

This photo is Dedicated to Jock.

October 20th, 2013 ….. How Not to Make Photos of Idiots

DSCF0825My neighbors are idiots. Oh yeah…I’m being nice not calling them anything else but idiots they are and it seems, proud to be idiots. See, we live on a tree lined street. Trees have leaves and leaves give us air to breathe and a place for the cute little birds to sit and crap on our cars, motorcycles, baby carriages and sometimes, our heads. Trees even get to drop leaves all over so all the trees on the street can watch the idiots sweep all the nice leaves in piles and watch as the wind blows them all over the street. Of course, being in Philadelphia Pa, we can’t burn leaves like when I was a kid.

We used to pile the leaves up real high and let the girls run in the piles. Then we would go in an rescue the cute girls from the monsters that lived in the leave piles that only guys could see. I used to like to rescue Susan cause she was built like….uh …uh…she was mu friend and far be it from me to leave her in that pile of leaves where the leaf monster could grab her. I loved grabbing Sue and saving her from the leaves and monsters. I like to think she like it too.

So today there was little or no wind. I watched as my neighbors started sweeping leaves. The 2 of them briskly sweeping and organizing little piles so that they could push the piles together and make the mother lode of leaves in 1 pile. There were no boys near the piles and no girls crying for rescue and protection. I guess they found better ways to grab each other.

So my neighbors had about 4 piles about 1 1/2 meters high and wide. That’s a lot of leaves. As I looked out the window with the curtain drawn ever so slightly so that I couldn’t be seen from the outside, I saw a slight very gentle breeze blow some leaves from the top of the pile. They didn’t seem bothered by that and kept sweeping and a piling all the pretty little colorful leaves from the trees all around that were watching every move they made. I heard one tree whisper to the other…..Yo…(Philly Talk)….call the wind and have her start up the fun. The other tree nodded and used her iTree phone to call mother wind.

Well, I’m not one to make photos of idiots that are my neighbors that might see them or maybe find out that I posted photos of the idiots standing there as the trees are laffing at them and mother wind is having fun blowing all the leaves in the world all to their lawn. he he he……..

See, when the wind started, all the leaves on our lawn blew over to their lawn. I decided it best to go upstairs and do a Diopter adjustment on the XE-1.  (See photo above.) Sometimes it’s best to just keep away from idiots. That’s why on the street, sometimes I act like an idiot and it gets me out of a tense situation.

Seeya’s shortly…….