Tag Archives: Inspired Eye

February 4th, 2014 ….. Fuji XP1 Works the Streets of Philadelphia

02-14-0121I’ve started a project that will continue. It’s about how and why I make photos and it’s on this blog. Apparently some are getting much out of it as some post were made and I have a fair amount of emails. Anyway, here on this post in the here and now with my eye, heart and mind…I’m digging into the XP1 again.

One of the things bloggers do to generate income and traffic is to do reviews of popular cameras and lenses etc. I read a few but to be honest, I feel that I don’t get the shooters real view as most bloggers have the camera for  a short time and have a responsibility to the supplier to make a review and then, go to the next.

So when I write about the XP1 or XE1 or even the GRD4, it’s because I am using them for way more than a few days. I also think that anyone reading anything I write expects a certain approach in truthfulness that I try to maintain.

I’m not putting anyone down and not building myself up. I’m just explaining that I am a serious photographer and I don’t care what someone tells me about how good a camera etc is, I want to find out first hand….and I do!

I had the 18mm on the XP1. The lens suits my vision and is about perfect for the street.(Enter all the doom-slayers….it’s not that sharp, it’s not as good as the ….) I was watching these young kids talking and hugging and stuff. This old guy is right in front of me and he’s kinda watching but I can feel he’s uneasy. I could feel his anguish in being alone juxtaposed against the young love in front of him. Where does that put me…c’mon…the XP1 got exactly what I was feeling and wanted. sheeeesh…. shooters make photos!

02-14-0116For decades I walked and used a variety of Leica M cameras. I had many but my favorite was always the M4. I loved the way the camera responded with a 35mm lens on it. There was no intrusion at all. No light meter, no ISO, it was ASA and it was not adjustable. Anyway, that experience is etched firmly in my brain. I of course adapted to digital imaging like flies on..uh..uh…you get the idea. The XP1 gives me a similar comfort zone but updated. A camera needs to just be there in the hand or on a strap and just wait for the moment. It sounds like an easy task but it’s not.

I was walking again…I usually do that on the street, other places too…hmmmm. I came across a window and I am always attracted to windows, reflections etc and as I raised the camera, this guy opens the door and as he just realizes that my camera is pointed at him….CLICK. The OVF is great as I love using 2 eyes open. This is one of those times. It doesn’t always feel comfortable but heres a trick….. Look thru the OVF. You can see slightly around the frame…then close that eye and open the other. What should happen is that you now can see more of the area that interest you. If you do this back and forth, in time you’ll get very accurate and will get tighter photos because you see more before exposure.

02-14-0106Ya know, I have some lenses that work well for me. Of course they don’t work well together and that’s why they make zooms so all the lenses can live together in harmony. My lenses told me that they like to be out on the town with me by them self. Yeah, lenses are jealous and even tho’ they all see differently, they all see the same.

Today I used the 28mm (18mm). I said this already but I wanted to say it again. I”m told by many a forum dwellers and professional antagonist that the 18mm ain’t no good. BUNK! No other lens see’s like the 18.  There’s something about using it on the XP1 that has me really clicking…in more ways than 1. See, with my Leica’s, I never liked the 28mm even tho’ I had every version. I never adapted to it. I got 2 M6’s because I wanted to see 28mm but it never really hooked me. I always saw the 35mm.

The XP1 does the opposite for me, it wants me to see the 28mm way. Yeah, yeah, I know…what’s the difference. Well, here it is….the DOF is much better in the 28mm and….the lens is smaller and…..I need to get closer. I love being able to get closer…..That’s why I love some other lenses but not for talking about now.

I walked bu the Post Office Window at 9th and Market. I saw this guy doing what he was doing and quickly went to the side window. I got excited and raised the camera…..I breathed, focused the camera which the XP1 and 18mm does very fast….I held the shutter at 1/2 mast and then….CLICK!

02-14-0098I made this photo because I wanted to and because I could. If you don’t like it…take it up with management…..

02-14-0088As I was on the escalator the light was getting me drunk again and I could feel a Dreamcatcher shot growing. In a matter of a few seconds, I completely reconfigured the camera to get this shot. I love my Dreamcatcher photos. I love all my photos and I love my cameras.

They are an integral part of my vision and are my friends and not tools. I do understand people that think of their cameras as tools and I feel for them and hope some day they can come to terms with this and find a new friend in thier hand and not a tool. The XP1 would of course help in this area….

Peace to all….yeah, yeah,,,,bunk….shooter out…………………………….

February 3rd, 2014 ….. Defining The Self Thru Your Photos ….. Part 2

01-14-0604Minor White impressed upon me the importance of intent. To be perfectly honest, I grasped the words, concepts, thoughts, feelings etc and stored them in my brains memory stick. When I returned to Philly I felt enlightened but still I needed confirmation of all this by my mentor, Ding. I explained everything to Ding and he looked at me and asked me…”Don, the lesson Minor was teaching you was about intent. By questioning the information you gathered, you question his intent”. I didn’t mean anything to be an insult, I just wanted to make sure I understood all of it before I spent the rest of my life living it. After breathing all this, one day it came upon me and jit me like a log on the head. That felt very normal because my wife made me feel that way many times.


The point! I talk about the here and now a lot. What that really is in a simple meaning is….CONCENTRATION! An intrusion is something that breaks your CONCENTRATION. Working with the Eye, Heart and Mind is nothing more than being aware of what you are doing and having total concentration to be focused at the moment of realization and exposure.

Yeah, yeah….Realization is when your working your subject matter and all the sudden, you have an awareness that there is a photo waiting for you to make it borne. When that happens you must be free from distractions of all sorts and be at the ready to release the shutter.

Disclaimer. What I am talking about may not fit everyone that makes photos but I guarantee if you are of the serious nature like me….it means a lot and makes perfect sense. I am totally aware that many do not live photography as serious as I and others. So, if this is too heavy or it seems that you are not at the right place….don’t sweat it.

Here’s another thing to consider. There are at least 2 important regions for intent in photography. The first region of intent is the camera. This area of course is using the camera, finding the subject, capturing the image. There is more involved but I’m sure if you made it this far in the post, you understand what I’m explaining. The second area is the processing formula.

The second area is where many fall short of their expectations. You have to open you mind and let different things enter it to discover the INTENT in this region.

I’m going under the gun here…..I’m on the street. I have the XPRO1 with the 28mm (28mm) on. I’m using a wrist strap and just walking as I do, slowly looking, seeking an image. I can smell the homeless man on my left….front right is a really cute girl with above the knee skirt and hair set in Jersey style. I can hear the traffic, buses, cars, motorcycles, peropl talking, cursing, hustling up and down all over.

All this stuff around me is information, info for me to respond and react when I find the image. All the sudden the light gets really strong, a woman walks out in front of me….I immediately raise the camera and the exposure says, 1/250 f/8. I right away set the camera to 1/250 f/4. This makes an over exposure photo by about 2 stops. WHY!!!!!!?

Well, I knew at a glance that I would want to make this into a Dreamcatcher image. I want the high tones to just go away. I finally get home and load the card into the computer. LightRoom 5 starts and I get the files into the folder. (More about organization later) I look at the image of the woman crossing in front of me and I see the high tones blown.

My initial intent was to capture the image and then the second intent is to process it. This is the act of rephotographing, rediscovery if you like. It is not written in the bible that an image captured must be the best representation of the subject as possible. I want to discover the image for what it brings to me or communicates to me. If very often has not much representation of the reality in which it was recorded. So what!?

01-14-0608Here’s where we challenge the Intent of Intent. I wonder if Picasso got frustrated by painting on canvas and being stuck in 2 Dimensions. There was this Artist named DUCHAMP that saw things differently. He made a very famous piece named, “Fountain”.  A fountain is most often thought as a place where water comes out. Many people saw his fountain as a Urinal, a place where urine goes in. I’ve seen enough urinals in my life to recognize one when I see it but when I see DuChamp’s, I see a fountain.

Picasso may have been influenced by the shooters around him when he discovered and presented Cubism. I would think that Cubism looks something like a flattened perspective of 3 dimensional reality on a 2 dimensional canvas. Lets stretch this somewhat and say that maybe, just maybe…photography does a similar thing….seems crazy huh?

I see many, many shooters tied to the 3 dimensional world in their photos. They are concerned with the finest resolution, the most accurate tonal range duplication, the reproduction of every detail recorded to the best ability of the shooter and camera alike. There is nothing wrong with this.

We as people are bombarded by the rules, preconceptions, guidelines and everything that can stifle us into behaving as normal or set sent back to the factory. As photographers, we have a responsibility to the image. We have a responsibility to photography itself and we have a responsibility to ourselves as shooters and as viewers. What the heck are you getting at shooter? 


At the precise moment of release, all that you are is captured in the frame. We try to be as normal as possible but yet we strive for exceptional work. When we get to the processing part of the image, the same thing happens whether you are aware of it or not. You are now at the point to try to define the image. Sure, it’s easy to just try to make the image as close to what we think of reality as possible but wait!!!!!!

Working your photography is not only about finding great images, but about finding who you really are. So why restrict your vision by trying to work within a box that you see as the frame…..why not see that frame as a window and see many possibilities for the birth of the image and of course yourself. See, it’s like this….if what you do with a camera effects the outcome of your image, it stands to reason that the final image should effect what you do with the camera.

If your out there making photos and your not looking for yourself, who are you looking for?



January 28th, 2014 ….. The Ricoh GRD4 … Perfect Off Street Camera

01-14-0525I know, I started a good thing yesterday about Street Shooting. Ya see, at my age which is now, they tell me 64…that’s the temperature in Fahrenheit that I like to be in. Well, someone thought to play a trick and try to tell me that I’m now 12 Years Old because it’s 12F outside.

See, a smart street shooter knows how to adapt to adversity and overcome and conquer. Beings that I’m kinda Smaart (Fredo from the Godfather)…..I found a way to control the environment. There’s this little box on the wall and it has a wheel thingy on it. If I get cold, I turn this wheel and whalla…I getz warm again.

Well, I turned the wheel and it got to 20F real fast and that’s nice. Why can’t they figure out how to install a wheel on the streets? So, vision is a product of seeing and adapting to your environment. The well tuned shooter can find photos under any circumstance and that should most definitely include Off Street.

01-14-0529I find the Ricoh GRD4 the perfect camera for anything but especially for off street, in da house stuff. It’s a very disarming camera. I need that with Mrs Shooter. See, there are Rules Of Engagement for the Shooter household.

1. Thou shalt not make photos of me in any circumstance unless so prompted by me and the results are subject to inspection and approval by me and me alone. (Obviously this is Mrs Shooters Rules)

2. You will adhere to the above stated rule to maintain harmony and peace in the Shooter household. You will not explain your findings on that 1st Amendment thing about Free Press , Free Speech etc etc as I am Russian and that does not apply to me.

Well, I’m a rebel and so as not to antagonize the powers that be, I us my special skills I learned in the army. I conquer and overcome but in a manner of little risk and chance of getting caught. I leave no trace materials of films, papers etc. I leave no trace of links to postings, Flickr etc.

This may seem very trite to you but I assure you, it’s all about being a healthy, informed Street Shooter. If in fact I am posting tomorrow, I didn’t get busted with this post on the blog etc. If I don’t someone else needs to carry on for the sanity of all street shooters that came before or that are here now or will ever come after.

End transmission……………….shooter out………………………………..

January 27th, 2014 ….. Street Shooting with The Eye, Heart and Mind.

01-14-0498Regardless of how we think or even with what we try, we are polluted with the history of our very being. Don’t get me wrong….yeah you in the green jacket….be cool dude….the idea of personal history is a very cool concept if you know what it is and how to deal with it. When it comes to ex-wives, nah I can’t deal with it. When it comes to missing a camera I used many  years ago, I can kinda deal with it.

These are not the history we need to discover and work with on the streets. Say we are walking down Market Street….go on say it…..ok…..

Maybe I’ll just explain how I do things and then if you want to figure out your own stuff, ya might get an idea from this post. Ya might not but then it’s your issue, not mine.

I’m walking down Market Street and it’s kinda funky light. In one area about 20′ in front of me it’s shade….then 20′ more and we have that harsh winter sun, ya know the kind that doesn’t even add warmth. So the issue of light has to be resolved. Of course light is what makes the exposure reading from the meter in the camera tell us what to adjust to get the photo recorded in proper exposure. Well, technically that’s kinda what happens but not for real street shooters.

See, street shooters are very fast in seeing because every one that has ever been borne or that will be borne is working at a super higher rate of consciousness then the people walking the streets without a camera. See, it’s because they, the camera toting people known as street shooters are in touch with their Eye, Heart & Mind.

A couple of pointers here. I use Auto ISO because I shoot in Manual Mode. This means I set the shutter speed and the aperture that I want and I trust my camera to set the proper ISO. Why do I trust the camera to do this and to do it well. Because I test my camera and the way it thinks. You can change the way a camera works but you can’t change the way it thinks. 01-14-0509So what I am getting at is simply difficult. When we SEE something we want to make a photo of, at that point, there can be absolutely no intrusion from the camera. So we would get the camera at the ready and the exposure WE want is already set and the CAMERA will make the exposure work. If the photo works, it’s because we were in the EHM zone of photo awareness. If the photo doesn’t work, it’s because we were distracted by something and hopefully it’s not the camera.

01-14-0510Maybe for the casual shooter this stuff sounds boring and or to deep for what it is. For the serious shooter, especially on the streets….it’s just the beginning of understanding the journey and finding one’s way on the street.

I’ll do more tomorrow….. Make sure to grab a copy of the Inspired Eye Magazine….it’s a great issue.


January 26th, 2014 ….. Inspired Eye Issue 6 is Published



Well, it’s cold as could be in Philly but Olivier down in Florida sent some heat up and together we did it gain. Issue 6 is published and it’s a very handsome issue at that.


Here’s a link to the Site.  http://www.theinspiredeye.net/pdf-photography-magazine/