Inspired Eye

July 17th, 2019 … The Mind of a Streetshooter … Some Tips For Working

When I was doing my workshops, there were certain things that were asked and these things carried on for many years. There are things to know and there are things to just Breathe. It’s great to adopt a system to work and breathe in but it’s crucial to understand the mechanics of the language of the street.

First off, do not let anyone rattle your cage. There are many methods to work but they should just be a part of what you do.  watch out for the purist. I do believe here in Philly, they have given up the quest to take over people minds and have them do things right according to their standards.

I remember decades ago I dreamt of auto ISO before it was employed in cameras. I didn’t think about Auto ISA but I knew that shooting a film rated at 400 like Tri’ was limiting in very low light. I thought about if a film could change ASA, then it would simplify changing film. In a way, I did just that but in my darkroom. I got Tri-X to be at ASA 640 as my base ASA.  I used it for 250-800. The results were ok but not ideal. My Leica’s didn’t have a meter in them back then. I didn’t use a light meter unless it was a money shoot or something. Decades passes and cameras had M Mode and well… jump forward some, Auto ISO was installed. Of course, I fell in love with this technology. Many told me I was not true Manual because I let the camera set the ISO.

The argument is, to be true Manual mode, you set the ISO, the Aperture and the Shutter Speed.  This is the Triad of Exposure. So, on the street, we need to be more reactive and pay attention to the subject matter and or scene more than the camera. Wouldn’t be easy to do that when you lock yourself into using a single ISO. Any change in light value requires a change in one of the three parts of the triad. So why go out and spend time walking around, seeking your next photo and being plagued by the traditional Manual Exposure Thought train. There’s the shot, set f5.6. 125/sec and the now the ISO, no… not 250, hmm maybe 400.. sets 400, looks up and the world has changed. It’s ok, even tho NG would have paid $5000.00 for that shot, no matter.

There’s a reason for tradition and a reason to break tradition. Ok, looks around. I’m going to tell you about a feature that is extremely effective. Takes a deep breath. Ok, this is a feature that most people haven’t discovered. Yes, it’s a secret and I will tell you about it now. It’s called the Exposure Value or EV. Don’t let this rattle your cage. EV is a feature on all my cameras and I never use it. For real, all it does on some cameras is change accidentally and upset me. I know many shooters that use this all the time.

The argument for M Mode continues but I gave up the battle to defend using Auto ISA.  The jury is in for me. I have my way of working and that’s that. There’s another feature that gets a lot of chatter. That is Focus.

This is a more touchy subject than M Mode. Basically, we have,  Auto Focus and Manual Focus. My way to work kinda varies with the camera I use. Let’s face it, we all want the fastest AF we can get. What can be faster working than AF? Nothing right? I beg to differ. I will explain about the M Leica and not trying to sell anything, just explaining how it works for me. The M has Auto Focus but by a different concept. What happens is this. I go out and then focus the camera with the rangefinder. Whoa, I see something different and I Automatically Focus on the new subject. So, that’s Auto Focus in a New Concept.

It’s called humor and I know youse get it. At this point, I urge you to use The DOF Master. It’s been a lifesaver for me since it was released many years ago.

Hyperfocal Distance VS Zone Focus. 

The thing is, to understand your photos and how and why you make them. Then to understand your camera and to be friends with it. What focus distances do you really need to have in the photo? Hyperfocal Distance is the most widely accepted way to work on the street. I’ll give an example in a wee bit. You’ll see it down there. The other way is Zone Focus. They are different and we need to understand the difference.

On my M9 with a 35mm lens, @ f8 the Hyperfocal Distance is 16.9′ That means from about 8 1/2′ to Infinity is in acceptable focus. When you change f/stops, the HD changes also. If you use f5.6 then the HD is 23.8′. That gives you about 12′ to Infinity. The key to this is, Infinity is always on the far end of the Hyper Focal Distance. What changes is not Infinity but the near distance? So, you set the f/stop accordingly to the near distance you desire. You need to remember that when you change f/stop the shutter speed or ISO needs to be changed also… Nah…, anyone that knows me, of course, uses Auto ISO so change f/stops, keep your shutter speed and your camera will work with you to change ISO to meet the exposure you use.  I used 1/125 f/11 on my cameras for a very long time and many times I still do.

Well me starting thinking, I’m not always wanting infinity in focus. I mean if I’m like 8′ to infinity, man that’s a long way. That means I can have someone about 8′ from me in focus and then Giovanni in focus in Italy. Oh yeah, that’s theoretically Infinity. Maybe I don’t want that much in focus. Hmmm, must be another way. Lemme think, I mean it’s on my tung I just need a min to find it… YES. By Jove I got it mate.

Maybe, just maybe, Zone Focus can solve the dilemma. If we think about compression in a different light, we can grasp Zone Focus. Years ago the kit for high-end fashion shooters was a Nikon F,2,3 and the 200mm f4.  Moving in kinda close made a very compressed photo. It was more than DOF it was the way the lens compressed the image. I remember thinking back then, I like the way the subject and foreground and background were compressed. this is like 1981 and forward. I thought I wanted that compression but in the background and foreground. I mean, the foreground and background were soft or out of focus. The subject and a set amount of front and back were in focus. Not Hyper Focus because that moves out to infinity. I wanted infinity soft. So one day I had a revelation about zone focus.

 

The most important element for a camera is to be fast in operations. Next probably is how easy and how fast we can change our way of thinking and how the camera supports that. As far as focusing, the element that will change most is the foreground distance. With Hyperfocal Distance the foreground changes distance and the Infinity is a constant. So, you set the f/stop so that your subject falls in the range you desire.  Now you need to be aware of the close end of Depth of Field to make sure you have acceptable focus.

Here’s where Zone Focus is similar to Hyperfocal Distance. It’s about feeling the distances you are working with

What I do a lot is, Leica M, 35mm lens, at f/5.6 the HD is 28.8′. Everything from about 12′ to Infinity is in acceptable focus.  I set the lens to 10′ and then my zone of acceptable focus is 7.06′ – 17.2′. If I want a fatter zone, I would use f/f8.0 The range now is 6.29′ – 24.4′. That’s a very handsome range. If I went to f/11 I would use HD and that is 12′.

The important thing to remember is that the sharpest point is always where the lens is actually focused. So, the foreground distance and the background distance have a falloff. It’s not like the acceptable distance is sharp and then in front of that completely out of focus. It is a gradual falloff.  The smart shooter realizes that and uses that to create contrast or a focus juxtaposition.

This can all be performed on any camera that has manual focus and or manual exposure. It’s just not as easy or intuitive as a Leiva M. If you understand the process then maybe you can find a way to implement in your work. I know most of you know this stuff but my dear woman advisor Suzanne, wants me to spread the knowledge around.

Have a blessed week and I’ll be back soon with more stuff.   ….. 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’

 

 

 

 

 

October 17h, 2017 … Flashback … Hue Vietnam … Losing My Religion

….. “Jingles, get your ass out of there and fall in.” See, I been here long enough to know I ain’t got much humanity left in me but dang it, I’m a photographer. We are humping thru what’s supposed to be friendly area and not have to sweat too much about ambush or fire fight or mortars. So they say. We get near these statues of Buddha and other spiritual beings. I am like in awe of this. My eyes wander all over and I pull the Leica and start making photos. Yes, your right. I was making photos back then and not taking them.  I could feel the energy from Buddha and it’s like he was crying. I lowered my head and my heart took over. Not supposed to do that, supposed to be a grunt. Well, I found that Grunts have more heart than any living being. I looked up at Buddha and I felt a weight being lifted. No, it was Hentz taking 60 rounds from my sack. Well, that’s a poor excuse but at this precise moment in life and my time, I felt a kind of spiritual awakening.

I was born Jewish and did the Bar Mitzva and went to Hebrew school. I wanted to be a good guy with a strong religious belief.

Anyway, back to Hue. As I stood in front of Buddha I knew that I had lost my religion. I felt like in order for me to regain my humanity, I would need to abandon many things I learned. I would need to stand in front of THE LORD and and be accountable for my life and actions. (what’s this got to do with photography Shooter?…relax)

I could feel the cold steel of my M-16 on my shoulder. Then all the sudden, these rays of light passed by Buddha and fell upon me. I looked at my Leica and felt my rifle and as the light shinned upon me, I felt like I wasn’t lost anymore. I wasn’t just lost in Nam, I was lost in life. The light that shinned on me was from Mother Light. I could feel the warmth of my Leica. I felt like I was being born again and that a religion was being born from within me and I understood. I knew standing in front of Buddha that he had blessed me with the love that photography would provide all my life. I had abandoned what I thought was Holy and let myself be born to a belief that was in me since I was born.

I wish I could say that I made all this stuff up and that I was a good writer. Bill tells me I am but the thing is, I write what’s coming from my heart. It is something I can never get used to. I turned 21 in Nam and turned 68 on the 8th of Oct. All this time these things have lived inside me. They never went to sleep permanently. Some say that life is but a dream. For me and countless other vets, Nam is life and we live it every moment of our existence. Reality that I am a part of  in the here and now, that’s not life to me. That’s the Dream.

Photography still allows me to make photos of the Dream I am in. My camera’s name is Andre’, together we are the Dream Catcher.

April 19th 2017 … Thoughts and Findings … X100F & GRII

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ya know that it’s not easy to work the same region all the time and find your photos in there and to do so consistently. This is something we all do everyday and not pay attention to it. What, you don’t think so, ok. Look we have the central processor in our head called the brain. That brain person stores the data from our past experiences and put’s it into some part called memories etc. The etc is called etc because the brain sorts things out and files things in different categories. When you pickup your camera, the signal goes to the brain and it starts to tell the heart and eyes to go to work. The heart pumps caffeine thru the system, it’s a network of many different parts of the body to complicated for mortal shooters to understand. So shooters don’t care how things work, just that they do.

I was about 10yo and my mom was in her bedroom. I went in to see her and she was kinda upset. See, she had great legs. No, not me that felt that but she told me that my dad loved great legs and he loved hers. He dies when i was about 6yo. Anyway mom showed me her veins on the back of her legs and she was upset. She had varicose veins and was really sad. Mom always told me things about my dad, I guess because I was the oldest and understood more.  Years later I was showing photos to Jeff K and he said I had a thing for legs, all legs. I never paid much attention to the road map of my work but he did and made me aware of it also. Jeff showed me some of his photos and I was really like in awe of some of them. He had one he made at the Museum of Michael Hoffman taking care of the elderly Paul Strand. It looked like Michael was caring for his father. I was touched and Jeff told me he felt the same way and then he spurted out …”Gambe’ Game”. He looked at me and smiled. He said, that’s the thing you do with legs. So the title of my leg photos was borne and I still use it today and will never change it. I have a trigger for legs, any ind shape, color whatever.

Thanks Jeff for recognizing my work and me. Mom, I miss you forever with a less then perfect heart that’s broken. Thank You.

Life passes us by quickly and we need to appreciate each and every breath. No, not ours but the ones we love and care for, we want and need them to continue breathing procedures.

Paul C was looking at my work back in the mid 70’s. We were very close then. Paul M was there also but he was not a close friend at all. He was my brother. Anyway, I had some prints of windows and mirrors etc and Paul C said, Don, you seek your self with your camera and these reflections are perfect. Hmm I thought, as Paul C looked at the photos I was too like I was looking at someone else’s work. I could detach back then but can’t now. I’m too old and too much in love both photography and life.

Paul M said , Don, your always reflecting yourself upon what your seeing. Hmm I thought. So a title for that part of my interest and work was born. “Reflecting Reflections.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know why I make photos like this. I think but not sure that it’s a reminder that not everyone comes from a golden castle or lives on Capital hill. There people in our lives that move us and then there are people in our lives that make us move.

….don’t take this personal Don but….WAIT A MINUTE! What does that mean? How do I take it if not personal? We are talking about my life and my work. (this is one of the few times I have placed life before my work). If I don’t work personally for me, then whom should I work for? Who are you working for and why? It’s not my business but if you look at my stuff, I’ll look at yours.

We all have taste buds that are sensitive to different things. The buds trigger what we like and respond to and what we don’t. What’s important is to recognize what your buds are tasting and to decide if you respond favorably or unfavorably. The important thing is to be faithful to your own buds and always let your internal systems, named…Eye, Heart and Mind do the work, then pick up your camera and work, or go process what you did. If you feel the photos is a reflection of you, good, if it feels that your reflecting you upon the photo, good just recognize the difference.

I have a set of taste buds that crave breakfast and my eye, heart and mind is projecting these thoughts and feelings upon my wife, Tanya to see what she conjures up.

Be blessed all and pray that we can find peace with each other……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

March 28th, 2017 Raw? … Color? … The Fuji X100F Made Me Do It! … Part 2

JPEG treated as a DNG and pushed the parameters.

Let me start off by saying that I have a few shooters that wrote me and were not thrilled about me writing this stuff. I am being accused of not being a PRO. It’s true, bows my head in shame, I’m not a pro, I’m not a pro. I am a LIFER. I do photography because I will cease to exist without it. I don’t do it for money. No one pays me to do a job or gig. I do what I do because I HAVE TO. I am a photographer because it’s my life’s work and I want to share as much as I can. I do and I do all that without being a PRO. I am a LIFER and maybe coulda shoulda been called an amateur. What an honor that is. You don’t get the, go paint your bathroom. I’ve been called a tourist like it’s an insult. Ya know something, we are all tourist thru life. No one gets a permanent visa, even the pros.

So let it be known that I have a few people in my head. I chat with them about things because I don’t trust anyone else. There’s a discussion going on about film vs digital. This is all tied in and it became obvious to me that I couldn’t do it in 2 parts. So I will do this until I have my day and others also. The reason the film vs digital thing is relevant is because, the negative and print vs the digital image. There are some very important things in this discussion that hardly ever gets mentioned. Perhaps, these few things I bring up are some of the most important to recognize.

sooc Cc ISO 6400

I have a air conditioned, filtered air, water darkroom. It’s as dust proof as I could get it. I haven’t used it in many years and still, not any dust on anything. I loved printing and did many different things. Traditional silver, platinum/palladium, gum, color, just about anything I wanted to do, I could. Many friends and others have used my darkroom and everyone loved the experience and results. So I am kinda anal about things like quality. Then back in the early 90’s it seems that my prints were selling well and many exhibitions all over the world. Well, the point to this part is, does anyone know where the gremlins are in wet printing?  I do, it’s in the DUST SPOTS. There was/is no way to eliminate dust spots. So that would mean, make a run of prints and then start going over them very carefully and spotting them. I did a run or 100 35mm negs and 5 prints of each in 1995. It was for my archive. Now it’s 22 years later and I have to spot the prints. Unreal.  Paper prints spotting is a chore. I have/had an assistant and she could spot prints all day and never miss a single spot. Now she’s a famous photographer and I can’t afford to have her do it.

Another thing that is way different between digital and analog printing is….repeat ability. With digital, you press a button and make as many copies as you want. Not so with analog. What does this have to do with color and raw and jpeg? ok…it means that the camera has presets in it. I am using the Classic Chrome for the time being. For the life of me I can’t get a matching image from raw vs jpeg. If I shoot in Raw & Fine, I get both

The raw will show the preset quickly and then just be the usual flat raw image. The jpeg will come in as a finished image that you can tweak almost as much as raw.

So back in the cave shooter daze of early raw stufts, it was said that you can’t do things with a jpeg that you can with raw. Back then it was true. Now we are in the enlightened ages and well, it’s maybe not the exact same  but then again, raw, can’t do what a jpeg can. It’s not really 6 of one, half dozen of another either.

So the argument that stands about digital vs analog brings forth another issue. That issue is ISO.  The shot above in the Tropicana was at 6400. We all know what that means and it’s not only acceptable but assumed that it is a dependable speed. I know that Ektacrome had goos latitude but no wheres near 6400. The scary thing is, that it could go higher. So where is the advantage of analog when it comes to ISO?

The thing with the Fuji X100f and it’s jpegs is, they perform so well that I am not missing raw. I am not afraid of doing color again and in time, finding my palate.

The first frame is a jpeg out of camera. It’s Chrome. The I decided to work it a little and I did and it was easy and acceptable. The second has some work done and it’s easy to see. The third is a B&W conversion from the OOC jpeg. I’m not going to stand and say that it’s better or worse than anything. I’m just saying that the reason for using raw is dwindling. It’s not just me, but many are finding this to be true. It’s also really about digital vs analog and that issues has many nutshells to turn over but really….the main issue is the camera. Using a Leica M series that’s analog or film has a magical experience that everyone should know and feel. As far as quality, ability of the files or film to do other things, not as big as an issue as it was.

I spent about 40 years or so using an M camera. I used an M4 in Viet Nam and on the streets ever since, awesome camera, named Andre’ back then also. The Fuji X100F gives a similar experience, so similar that many die hard M shooters both film and digital, have an X100 something. So the point is I suppose, that we all need to find our way with things. We need to be able to rely on others and their experiences to help shed light on things.

I probably won’t be making the argument about film vs digital, or b&w vs color or a host of other things that may help others and may feed others but for me, I have clarity and I see the light. Andre’ the Fuji X100f has showed me the way of the new photography.

be blessed my friends. Once again….I am not a PRO, I am a lifer. The photos above and in the other post and most on Flickr are made for technical aspects that I am looking at. I tried to keep the esthetics out till I am at one again with mother light.

 

 

 

 

February 27th, 2017 … Mojo and Andre’ the Fujifilm X100F

Let me start off with saying this is not my best work. It’s not Andre’ the Fuji X100F’s fault. Most decide to blame the camera when they aren’t hitting well. I don’t I am accountable to myself first and foremost.

Restless sleep last night as always and with most Vets. But this was different. Instead of seeing bad dreams and visions, I was seeing Andre’ in my hand and around my neck and we were walking and just relaxing . We need to get to know each other. Now, I live in Philadelphia, USA, the home of Freedom and Liberty and even soft pretzels. So, walking down the streets talking to my camera may seem odd but it’s acceptable.

Anyone can buy and use a Fuji X100F or any of the Fuji cameras. It’s that simple…..but there exist a small esoteric group of believers in Magic, Love and MOJO. I am a proud member. I would rather be out looking for the photos that are looking for me. That means I need as little of intrusions as possible. Just like magic, intrusions will break the spell  of love.

Photography is about love. Love of being a human with a camera, seeing, the lovely sense of vision, the feeling of being an observer and trying to understand what lay in front of our lens. It’s about passion and the way that passion drives our heart to want to make photos. It’s about looking at our photos and just being so satisfied and not worrying about others think or feel.

Photography is about communication and the dialog we get with ourselves and with others. It’s about gear and if you don’t love your gear, it’s not right, get rid of it. If your not attached to your camera, poof! It’s about love, the love of seeing, the love of feeling, the love of living and the realization that we are merely visitors on the planet for an undefined  period of time. We as photographers have the gift and responsibility to show what life and the planet looked like while we lived.

I write about this because I have a passion for life and photography that never ceases to burn. So what does this have t do with the Fuji X100F? Ok, here’s the way it is for me. I am totally in love with photography. That means that I must be totally in love with my camera. It must love me in return. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but trust me, at my age, I have seen a thing or two. Rumor has it that there are many shooters that think and feel of their camera as a tool. Shhhhhhh!

I can’t fathom that. I mean really. A camera is a tool. We all have our rights to think and do as we please. Even if that’s like some kind of detachment to things, it’s sad to me.

Andre’ the Fuji X100F is a fine camera and will be a close friend in a short period of time. For the time being, We need to shoot JPEGs because Adobe is taking their time. Affinity does the X100F raw files and works well. I hear Silkypix does also. The thing is, when I get into this situation and am forced to use JPEGs, I start to rethink things. Look at the photo above. This is bright sunlight. The dark tones in the windows holds detail easily.

The highs like the statue’s feet, there is detail. Maybe you can’t see it so well on the screen but I dang sure can on the original. This is SOOC. Amazing. I’m using Acros for these and will try Acros+r soon. Maybe I don’t need raw as much as I thought. I mean, this is better then fine. That’s really what I’m doing right now, testing the camera. I have to tell you, Andre’ is a champ.

It’s fitting Andre’ would make a photo like this. I uses M Focus mostly and at f11. I’m focused at 7.7′ and that gives me 3.8′ to infinity. Same as if I was using my M camera and a 35mm lens. The other thing is I use M Mode with auto ISO. The meter in the X100F is really tuned. It doesn’t get fooled but contrast range. Ya get 3 auto ids settings, plus L & H.

So, say you wanted to work in your own way. well normal people would kinda set the high limit to maybe 6400. Perhaps they would set the low limit to 200.

Well, what if you wanted to over expose you frame? I mean I do that all the time well not all the time but a lot of the time and it works. In Manual mode proper, you set 3 points of exposure. Aperture, shutter and ISO. Fuji put the Exp Comp on a dedicated dial and I never use it. I’d like that to be programmable. So, that’s like the purist way to use M Mode. Changing any one of the points will either make an under exposure or over exposure.

I like Auto ISO and the X100F does it very well. So, if I set the limits on Auto ISO in a way that would intentionally over or under expose, for me it’s more fulfilling. It allows me to think about exposure in a way that allows me to design the tonal range.

Above is also SOOC. Kinda scary to me because it’s all there. Her face is visible and that’s an achievement in itself. The shadow detail is utterly amazing. JPEG, out of camera, hmmmmm? Adobe better get their act together quickly. Look at the mid tones and even the highs. The detail is super. The X100F does exactly what I need a camera to do and then some.

I’m not selling these cameras, recommending this camera, just using it.

I am not a X Shooter or whatever they are labelled. I certainly have interviewed many X Shooters. It’s not about that, it’s about a camera for me that does what I need it to do, that creates a symbiotic love affair with me and that provides an internal satisfaction to live as a shooter.

There is a feeling of creative freedom that I must have or I don’t work. I watch CNN and get ranty. No good at all. I’m only a few days with Andre’ the Fuji X100F but I see the path ahead and it’s gonna be a pretty picture, I tellya. I did do some very low light stuff with AF and this camera is not the fastest and none are but it’s extremely accurate. Hey, look… if your in low light, what the heck is the big hurry?

I did some work on theis because I wanted to see if the tones would block up. Ya know how when ya lower the highs a lot they get that funky gray tones, This doesn’t. The shadows are all there and it seems that Fuji did a bang up jog on the X100F

What it comes down to is….. for me a camera is more then a tool. (The Horror!) My cameras are my friends, my companions, my collaborators in my creative life. I name my camera’s because they are a part of me and I am a part of them.

The Fujifilm X100F is a great friend. If you see it as a tool, be blessed and I hope someday you see fit to name your camera. If you don’t and it’s just a tool, good, it’s a great tool. For me, there are windmills out there and Andre’ the Fuji X100F and I are out to find them and conquer our fears of being a human Being.

I’ll do more in a day or so.

 

September 22, 2016 … The Things in Me Head, I find on the Street … Ricoh GRII

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….it’s true, it’s true I tellya. I have all these’s thoughts and feelin’s in me head and then I go out with my camera and the start to manifest out there on dem streets. That’s what I’m doing ya know, out there trying to find what’s locked up inside and find it outside. That’s my story and I’m sticking wit it, what’s yer excuse? See, it ain’t so crazy, this photo hunting process. I mean if your the kinda person that thinks, or maybe feels things, well maybe it’s a good thing to be a photographer. Ya don’t want to keep all that stuff inside ya and not share it right?

Here in Philly today, they made it the first day of fall. I much prefer to call it Autumn. The light just comes in at an angle that excites me. Of course that means the shadows do the same thing but opposite. I start to see all these things in the light and in the shadow and it’s not easy for me to just walk on by. I am compelled to find a photo. Well, maybe more then that, I am compelled to find my photo. I mean I need to be amazed or surprised by the new reality. The shot above does that for me. It shows me something different from the reality that gave it birth. Now it’s true that this happens with every single photo that was ever born once we realize the complexity of the very existence of photos. That in itself doesn’t bother me at all as I understand things photographically.

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What gets me is that I see or feel these things in reality before I make the photo. So, what is going on out there, no, what is going on in me, no, what is going on in me that makes a photo from out there, that becomes the reality of what I felt or saw? I was walking on Market going East and as I approached the Marriott, I was just passing Star-bucks, well, I see this woman holding a coffe and I turn into the alcove to see what’t there. As I approach her, she doesn’t even look at me. First thought is, I’m nothing in all existence for her. Eh, dunno and don’t care. I see the light from the street and it has that over exposed glow I crave, Then she moves to the exact spot and …. CLICK!

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There’s something about Public Transportation that I absolutely love. All forms and all places. People react in many different ways as they travel form point to point. I, as a shooter like to tune into these reactions and make and record my own. Usually we are in a confined space and that in itself sets up some conditions that effect everyone and me as the shooter. It’s like I’m at a stage show and all the people are actors doing their role in the play. There’s really no need for a director but as the cameraman, I get to choose lens and camera and how to work it all with the lighting. That guy a few years ago named Shakespeare, he invented the world as a stage and we are merely players. He kinda set the scene for all of us to see the world that way.

So I was looking out my window and my camera was in it’s belt case. It was Mom the Ricoh GRII. I saw a train approaching on the other track and had  feeling tho bring her our to do her thing. Now, my train is stopped and the other is actually going backwards of mine. I know, I know, I don’t get it either. So, I hold Mom and all the sudden, I see this woman and the light……CLICK!

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The same thing happened here, same act, different player…….

Be blessed all… seey’s soon

August 6th, 2016 … Fuji X100T … READ THIS … INTENT

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The streets are different now and I don’t really have an answer why. It’s almost like everyone is walking around and feeling the difference between Dems & Reps. It’s like I get looked at and maybe the person thinks I’m a member of that other party, you know the one that is backing that person for the election. The there’s the smug person on the corner waiting for the traffic light and we all know that person is an Indy. They couldn’t care about the him or her running cause they got their own Hymn to deal with.

What does this have to do with photography? Well, life shapes the street. We want to capture the essence of the street as we see it. So when things are in an unstable way, so is our images.

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I had a chat with a few shooters, of different ages and skill levels. They wanted to direct the conversation to Bresson, Winogrand, Kertesz and all the famous shooters from back in the day. Well, that raises a flag for me about the size of Philly. I was asked who my Favorite shooters were. I replied, anyone contemporary turns me on. Then I said, let me explain.

I feel it’s best to divorce from the past and use your own work as a guide to what you should be doing. Going after Kertesz for example, and expecting to get it as your own, is insanity. Lithium will not help. If you need a reference point, maybe pick someone you like alive and working in a similar genre’ as you are.  You will be cleaner, more relaxed and certainly much more inspired.

One of the dangerous things is, when someone or you, comment on someone’s photos and say something like, reminds me of Bresson, very dangerous. What will happen is that the shooter at first is delighted to hear that. Now they are stimulated cause you say they made a photo that was like Bresson’s and everyone read the comment and that shooter gets a shot in the ego.

The, the shooter realizes that they aren’t like Bresson and there is a Gold Ring they have been chasing and it’s all stored away and done with mirrors. They simply can’t continue to keep up with the illusion and or pressure that they have had planted on them.

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If that shooter gets comments like, really like this dude or dudess….I check your stuff a lot and I relate to it.

Let me tellya, that will do more for both, than any Kertesz or Bresson or any, dare I say…yes yes…. I dare any master before us. The reason is, we are programmable. We can’t stop that procedure. All we can do is to Give Peace a Chance….opppps sorry John…..

We need to filter as much garbage entering our minds and brains as possible. Then we need to determine what garbage we allow to influence us while we are here on the planet.

If you wanna make photos and rest assured that what you are doing, regardless of what the asses of the masses are doing, heed my warning and advice, if you wanna run around with a camera and pretend to be some Master, then be alone at the end because you lived as someone else and not true to you…..well, that’s cool but…well you’ll find out…

next post Monday…. well, hopefully……

 

 

Old Dog … New Tricks

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Well, after weeks of aggravation and grief, I called the plumber to fix the blog.  There’s a knock at the cyber door and when I open it, this Olivier guy says whats the problem dude? I explain to him what is going on and he brings out a cyber toolkit and says, dude, go make photos, ya bother me and your old and ask too many questions.

So the he says, dude, I am supposed to be doing the Pokemon hunt and now I gotta fix pipes and unclog the blogs cyber drain from all the uh….uh…stuff you put in it. So, I went out and made some photos.

When I get back, this Olivier fella says, “it’s all good now, so get to work, there are millions and millions of shooters need your daily bread.

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So there’s a new look and a new way of working the blog. It ain’t gonna be easy for me but if all youse come to read, I’ll do my part. Maybe, just maybe we can figure this out together.

seeya’s soon… peace and sure nuff, we all need that.

A Lesson I Really Learned From Minor White

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Sometimes I wonder what on The Lords Green Earth am I thinking about. Maybe that’s a problem we all share.. yeah, damn right …you too. See, I kinda get on auto pilot and let my feelings and eyes do the work. Of course they are not independent of my whole, but I let them have guidance on the creative end. Also, nothing get’s the camera to work unless the mind is in it too. See, that’s the Eye, heart and mind I learned from Minor White.

From what I could take in, it was….don’t work looking for answers, but just be content with the questions your work presents to you. If you do this and don’t expect anything but more questions, you will live with your work as one and have peace thru it. If you force the issue of discovery and fight the battle for answers, you will live in turmoil and never be content with your work because you don’t know what it means to have peace.

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Now I ain’t saying Minor was always right but I don’t think he was ever wrong. He further explained that there is contrast in everything we do. (later expressed as the inverse square law by me) He went on to explain that every single photo has the right to life. Every single photo is unique and it’s existence is justified by the fact that you created it. So, of course we all want and seek that special photo that we consider a Self Masterpiece. The point is, like children, not all are that special above the others. We strive for the special i,age but many are just a fragment of our life as it was when we made the photo.

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I remember Seeing Paul Strand’s work countless time at the Museum. I think I mentioned this before, Ding showed me a box of Strand’s unseen works. Stuff he made but didn’t push or feel was worthy of exhibiting. Ding vowed to respect Strand’s request to never show the work to anyone. Luckily, I am no one so I saw the photos a few times. I realized back then that photography was not a labor of love as is taught. It is a way of life.

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What echoed in my soul was that Paul made photos just like everyone and his well known masterpieces were what was always see. The fact that he made regular snaps, made me feel the connection to him stronger then I ever could have hoped for.

It’s like this, you go to a restaurant in Paris. Nice place, good wine excellent food. The you have to use the toilet, (I think that’s what it’s called, fee free to correct me)…you walk in and you see feet sticking out of a stall where someone is sitting doing his business.

You are taking a leak and you hear the familiar sound of gas escaping…(NE Philly it’s called a fart)… the stall door opens and out comes, in front of you a hero beyond all heroes the enigma that we call Henri’ Cartier Bresson.

You are in panic mode, I mean it’s true Bresson is a man, a man amongst shooters but a man. You think, wow, I can sit on the toilet like Bresson did…. your right.

Let me tell you something, all the world and all the planet recycles energy and love and hate. Don’t let anyone every tell you that you can’t do what Bresson did.

Do you see the hunger people have for heroes?  Vivian, Bresson, Strand, Winogrand. It’s up to you what you do with you work and your life. If in fact energy recycles over and over, maybe you are the next Hero. Maybe just maybe, you might know the next hero. Maybe just maybe you will buy a book by that hero or maybe name your camera after that hero…..

see you all tomorrow…….oh… if in fact some of youse become the next here, I want a discount on your stuff….

shooter out………end transmission……………………….