Tag Archives: Ricoh GRII

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 57 … Ricoh GR II… “Faces & Spaces”


I was watching TV. Yeah, yeah… I like CNN because everything they say is truth. Yup, truth to some but not all and certainly not me either. I do like the crew and that’s why I watch it. So I’m watching as they show how the world is melting from global warming and how many countries are killing their civilians and how soldiers go and fight and die for Presidents that don’t give a fuck about them. All good stuff.

The phone rings. I recognize the voice on the other end as ***** the collector and gallery owner in NYC. She tells me that she has a group of collectors that are interested in doing a project. Anyway, to cut to the chase, I was awarded a commission to produce 50 prints that I feel represent me in the subject defined.

The subject is titled, “Faces & Spaces”. I’m told there are 2 other shooters doing the same project. At the end, we will meet to discuss the exhibition. So, I’m excited but nervous as all heck.


What would you do? I mean I’m walking down Market Street and then I hear, “Yo Don”…..I turn and there in the window is Roz. I know she is Roz cause we talk some times. I’m a gentleman and when I see a lady I like to smile and/or say hello. Roz heard about the project and wanted in on the action.

Then she asked me if I would take her to the opeing reception. I would be proud to take her, I mean she’s sweet and beautiful. I think if I walk in the opening with her on my arms, people will look and hmmmm. That might be ok even but if I hand her a glass of champaign, definately will have a problem. Well, ya know, maybe not. Afterall, it would be in NYC so, …….?


There is a new intent for me. I mean, INTENT is the sourse of energy and focus for all a photographer does. I don’t mean subscribing to a preconceived idea of the photos. I mean there is an INTENT behind everything we do as shooters. Paying attention to this, allows creative freedom that on the outside, seems as rigid guidelines. Not true. The real truth is, we are not butterflys with a camera going from photo to photo. When we go out to work, we have ideas that we want to persue. These ideas are born from INTENT.


Why am I writing about this? Well, my intent on writing this, is to hopefully let someone reading grasp the ideas and try to discover the intent inside them. This is what I been doing about 50 years and maybe I’m wrong on some stuff. Well, shit happens but I teell you all this. My intent on my death is to go and lay on that slab and see THE LORD and just say, I lived a good life and made a lot of photos. I would like more time but if nit, I am ready to let it all go. I followed my heart every hour of my life. That is what I mean about having the balls to do what we do and not get discouraged by others attention or lack of.

In the end, we all go naked and take with us our worth as a human being.



Enjoy my friends and be kind to each other. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 46 … Ricoh GRII … Walk-a-bout with Ray Sachs


So I’m working in LR and I get a text message from Ray. He says he’s gonna be in town and I replied, cool we can meet. Now in case you don’t know this about Ray, bear this in mind when ya meet up with him. Ray has a tolerance for Caffeine that I can’t think about. For instance, it’s known far and wide that I do a cup of fresh Kona with cream every morning. No sugar, theKona is enough to jump start my mind and I’m not  talking about me poor heart. Ray says we should meet at La Columb coffee shop on Frankford Ave, Well, I know what this means already. We meet and Ray and I order coffee. I don’t speak coffee lingo so I said to the attendant, regular coffee, cream, no pictures on it. She smiles and then we get the coffee. Ray has this beautiful cup with a great picture on it and I can feel the caffeine oozing into the air. Mine is an undercover coffee ninja. It looks like a regular coffee. Smells like a regular coffee. Taste great but that’e where the problems start.

I raise the cup to my lips and get ready to engage the caffiene heart-o-meter. I take a sip and it’s lovely but then, then out of no where, I get a rush thru my entire body that says, we have been invaded buy the caffeine demons. So Ray and I are talking about cameras and that’s a great subject for us cause we both love cameras. I’m looking at him as we chat and I am wondering how his jet fuel double expresso, latte, upside down forward cream sugar coffee is not affecting him. I’m slowly sipping the coffee and it’s like I want to sell for this place right now, make coffee for all, clean up, do the dishes, clean the windows and floors, buy everyone new cars and clothes all in 37.5 seconds.

If Tanya knew how this stuff affected me, there’s be an entirely new shooter in town.


So we left the coffee place and started walking. Between the 2 of us we had solved every issue for every camera and that is always something we do. We don’t agree on some things, most importantly on Exposure Modes. He likes A Mode with Auto ISO and I like M Mode with Auto ISO. The differences are subtle but it always makes good conversation. It’s stimulating to say the least.

Ray is a long time biker. No, not like my biker brother’s and sister’s, but a pedal bike. So what does that have to do with anything? Well, what’s a biker do when he’s not on the bike? Walk. I’m a walker for sure and Ray is a walker and my camera is Walker but the difference is stamina. So we were walking and a talking and a gawking all over and made photos too.


I had Mom the Ricoh GR II and Ray had his Nikon Coolpix A. Actually to tell the truth. I sold both my Olympus Pen EP-5 cameras and some lenses. Why, well I ordered the new Olympus Pen F. It is due to arrive tomorrow so I’ll be in the house waiting for USPS and watching CNN and working in LR. That’s a fine camera by any means. So, a new era starts for me tomorrow and I’ll be writing about the adventures with yet (un-named Pen F) for a while.

Anyway, thanks for being here and paying attention to my rants and raves.

Peace to all……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 45 … Ricoh GRII … Lost in the Familiar (6 pack)


Being lost is probably a shooters dream. Not knowing where you are, what your feeling being in an undiscovered region. Very romantic and actually stimulating, especially visually. Being lost in the familiar surrounding that is familiar to you, well, not so easy and rather unsettling. I’ve heard it taught that photographers are supposed to see as if seeing the subject for the fist time. I always felt that we should see as if it’s the last time. I now question both methods and kinda feel that the shooters truth is someplace in the middle.


We walk the paths of photographers before us and try to find a new way to see the subject matter. We look for the souls of lost photos and hope to be able to breathe new life into ourselves and our work.

If we wander around the familiar and feel as if we are at home base, is that being complacent? If we wander around and feel as if we are lost in the familiar, is that wishful thinking? A famous photographer said to me decades ago, “Life is but a Dream”. Well, I lived by that statement in part and in whole my entire life. So, when do I get to wake up? What do I find when and if I do? Do I get to have a camera handy so I can make photos of the awakening?


Why do I see things and most times they aren’t like seeing the first time or last time, just odd in the here and now. In my case it’s not odd it’s natural for me. Does that make me odd? Do I care? NO! Yes! Of course, I do. I won’t admit that I care but I do even if I don’t.


I wonder if others get thoughts like this. I wonder when I am making a photo and someone is in it and looking directly at me, what is the experience like for them? I know it depends on the person just like it depends on the shooter and I feel there is no common answer to this question. So maybe as I make each photo as an individual, just maybe, as crazy as it seems, each person in the photo is having a unique experience. So let’s assume I’m on to something here. Let’s assume that for once in my life but not the first for once but just this for once, I have it right, not totally in full right because there’s no such thing in the world but right as right can be for me and also for my readers and friends. (My Shrink at the VA too.)



So I am lost in familiar places. Maybe it’s not the streets where I’m lost but in me poor mind. Maybe it’s both and I am having an awakening of sorts. Maybe not and maybe I don’t care enough to figure it out. Maybe I think too much and try to justify what I’m doing. Dunno and don’t really care.

I’ve been on the streets of Philadelphia since the late 60’s making photos. I’m never bored. I am always loving making photos in the familiar places that others get complacent in. I don’t and am happy for that.


For me it’s about the here and now and not beeing lost at all. Maybe the familiar place I’m lost in isn’t the streets abut my mind. Maybe I lost my mind or better yet, maybe I’m lost in my mind. Maybe Garry was right. “It’s all a Dream” and maybe when I have my camera with me, I wake up.

How about you?

……………………………………….end transnission…………………………..


Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 44 … Ricoh GRII … TwO ShoT pEr ShOOt … TuNneL


They say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Ok, I heard that a zillion times. Who’s shining the light anyway and what damn tunnel is it shining in? For the life of me, I never get an answer to this. That’s why I make a photo when I see the light at the end of a tunnel. I am trying to find who the Bearer of the Light is. Actually,I been trying all mylife to find this person and something tells me at the end, we will finally meet. I’m really not in a hurry and maybe I’ll stop pushing the issue.

So if I stop pushing the issue, it must mean I am staying in the Here and Now. Imagine that. Dunno.

Something happens to me as I’m walking around on the streets.I kinda respond to the noise and the smells and sometimes odors. The light now is harsh with those deep shadows and bright highs. Not much mid tones now but exciting anyway. The air seems cleaner in a way but it does’t weigh enuff. What does all this have to do with photography? Well, the environment is where I work and changes to that environment change my work. Imagine that.


So I guess there’s no real solution cause actually, there’s no real problem. I mean I can find something but why fix something that’s not broken? As a photographer, we have to pay attention to everything around us. How the things effect us and how just a second can change the light. We should learn to see that when people are walking around and they are in the sun, their demeanor seems different then when they are in the shadows. That change is in us also. Being observent is key to being a shooter. Why am I writing this anyway? Dunno, why shouldn’t I?

Ya know, I’m going out again tomorrow on MarketStreet and look for photos. I can’t count how many time I’ve worked Market Street. I don’t care anyway and I never get bored and I never fail to find some photos.

Does this mean anything? It does to me and I hopeyouse have your own Marke Street.


Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 42 … Ricoh GRII … One ShoT pEr ShOOt

01-16-0197-EditThe winter has arrived in Philly. I don’t know about the rest of the country but here in Philly, it’s winter. How do I know. I had mom (Ricoh GRII) out and we were walking around. One of the last things Mom said to me before she died was….”I just don’t want to be cold”. I told her, …”You won’t be cold Mom, I promise”. Well, Mom, my Ricoh GRII is cold in my hand. Real cold. I was walking and thinking how much I hate the cold.

Tanya dresses me like Mom would do in the winter when I was a kid.  I had Long Johns on and a sweatshirt and a down coat that is made for Artic temperatures. It was like 22F outside and I was sweating like it was Summer. The Ricoh GRII named Mom was in my hand in the pocket. Ohhh, yes, yes, yes, lest I forget. I had the Rich GV-2 Finder mounted on top. It’s very small and i used it on my GR and also the GRD4. Best way to describe it is, Pocket Catcher Oner Thingy. Oh yeah, catches on the pocket everytime I pull it put.

That’s not a bad thing and it actually has firmware that Ricoh puts in the finder. See, The camera belongs in your hand and ready to work, not in the pocket. Ricoh knows this and installed an intuitive pocket catch procedure so that you learn not to pocket the camera when your supposed to be shooting.

It works, I pulled the camera out even knowing how much mom detested the cold and then I saw this photo waiting to be caught and….

….  Click!

Have a blessed day all youse….. shooter out……………………………………………………………………………….

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 41 … Ricoh GRII … One ShoT pEr ShOOt


So Mom and I are out trying to find some photos. That’s right. Trying to find. See, there are photos all over out there. Oh, sorry. Please forgive my rudeness. Mom is the name of my Ricoh GRII. Anyway, we went for a walk and was waiting for some photos to greet us. See, if you aren’t open minded and open hearted, then you’ll spend your life seeking photos. That’s ok but then you miss all the photos that are trying to find you. Yes, that’s right. They want to be found by you so you may bring them to life.

Here’s an example. Your walking around looking at everything in existence near you. That’s a chore in itself. Then you see something and click. I know everyone here is tuned into things enough to realize that this is not a one-way relationship. Sure, we all know that Photography is a 2 way and reciricol relationship. That’s common knowledge. So why amI writing this? Good question and I can’t really answer it either. I think each of you can answer for yourself. All except that guy in the blue shirt. He’s a sculptor not a shooter.

So as I was walking I felt that brisk cold air on me cheeks. The face cheeks, ok. Ya know, the light in Winter here in Philly has a very special feel to it. It’s crisp and clear. Lighting things harshly but also gently. The shadows are never so alive as in the winter. I was watching the shadow play all over the place and then out of nowhere. This wall was put up on Market to block the entrance to theGallery. Ed Bacon would have a knipshun. So I saw the shadows dance against the wall and it was beautiful. The shapes and intensity varied by the second as the light changed. I was watching and then all the sudden….CLICK!

Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 40 … Ricoh GRII … One ShoT pEr ShOOt



Twas the night of the day and all thru the streets, I was out with my camera some photos to meets, huh? Yeah shooter, yourstarting to loses it. Hmmm who you anyway?

So it goes in the mind I’m wrestling with. I never have complete peace of mind even in just a piece of mind. Maybe that’s too much to ask for, dunno and dunno about caring anyway. I know this or, at least, I think I know this but maybe not really know this but I try to live with know-ing this.

See photography for shooters is based on the concept of discovery and self-discovery. We make photos that we uncove things out there and discover or  try to discover the meaning of and also we try to discover what we are about in the photo. These are things that don’t go away. I mean I have a seat in my brain for unresolved issues. It’s always a full seat.

As it turns out, if we don’t address the clutter of knowledge and anti-knowledge in our brains, we can’t focus on the subject at hand. Pun Intended,  Maybe this sounds kinda boring and useless but think about this. How many have an understanding of what’s going on in thier work. I know, I know… that’s what discovery is about. Granted, truth but!!! If you don’ t have an idea what your looking for how do you expect to find it. How do you think you’ll recognize it?


I remember Ding explaining to me about the consistancy of vision and how the masters learned that and stuck to it. He showed me many prints that spanned decades in the work of many photographers. Even the grand Master Kertesz had a very consistant vision. Vision is not so much what you see but how you see. I studied the prints of countless masters and after a while, I could look at a photo and pretty much tell who made it. I can still do that today.

The work doesn’t live in the shooter, the shooter lives in the work. Good work has the signature of the shooter but the work stands on it’s own. I guess this is really about SIGNATURE. This is not about a watermark or copyright on the image. It’s not a technical thing that can be recognized like that. Signature is the definable presence of the shooter in the image that is embedded for all time. It is recognizable as as the thoughts and emotions of the maker. Recognizing your own signature allows the freedom to be selective in your work and also to know what your doing.




So I look at what I’m doing and see what I’ve done and maybe, just maybe I can see myself. That’s a major statement to make and even more to observe. Some times when I’m feeling kinda lost, I just look at my history and seek a new direction. To be honest, it don’t usually work for me.

I see what I see and the way I see most times. What changes for me is why I see what I see.

….more ramblings after my visit at my Shrink. He no doubt will attempt to loosen up some brain pixels in me…….






Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 39 … Happy New Years


Well, it happened. I so wanted to be a regular normal photographer. I wanted to make those real picturesque photos splashed in color and so pleasing to the eye. I wanted people to get google-eyed looking at them and ooh’s and ahh’s in abundance. How nice would it be to have people like the photos because they were a real reality of what I saw?


I  planned for a long time how I would make photos at the parade.Oh yeah, don’t think that I didn’t really have a game plan. I damn sure did. I changed my name to John Doe Tourist and was into the swing of things. I would look at everything without a jaded mind and just snap  away and make those photos that everyone would love and I’d be content at last.

I’d have a scrapbook with many nice pretty photos of the mummers and maybe some of the looker-oners.


How nice it would be to just take pictures and be one of the guys. I mean I’d fit into groups and clubs and all kinds of things. I’d be a real photographer. I love real photographers and I love to look at the pictures they make. I love seeing how they selected their subject matter and how they made the frame.

I love to know what camera they used and what lens, don’t forget the all-important ISO. It’s so interesting to discuss all these things. The right camera bag, soooo important. I learn so much from these photographers. I’m not being cynical. I really do love the real photographers.


I was almost awake on the New Year. I had a dream that I was becoming a real photographer and I could make color pictures on the street and be happy as a real photographer. I failed miserably. The friggin guy is out of focus. WTF. I ain’t no real photographer.

I lowered my camera, looked to the street, took a deep breath of the fumes from the buses and cars and homeless people. I coughed, and looked all around me and saw the beauty of life and the beauty of the struggle to maintain it.


ahhhhhh…… it’s friggin 2016  and I’m still standing…….I’m a streetshooter, ain’t that the best thing to be…….

How ’bout you?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..






Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 36 … Ricoh GRII … One ShoT pEr ShOOt


Well, I’m off and running with this 1 shot per shoot thingy. I agreed with myself that the only criteria for the photo used for the shoot is that I like it. No matter about what others think or by any preconceptions I may have about my work. I just have to like it.

It’s the act of realizing my intent and seeing it come to life as the image. Yo, you don’t get off the hook that easy. It’s the same for you or for all. We all need to hold ourselves accountable in life. Yes, damn sure does mean in photography too. So I actually hold myself accountable for my work BUTT!

I have a shrink and he knows all of us, umm, all of me. So I can be accountable and at the same time blame myself for not doing that. USA Shrink approved.

The world seems to be becoming introverted, well from what I can see. People seem to be withdrawing into themselves and smaller groups. It’s like no one wants any outside interference. As an observer, it’s very awkward. As an observer with a camera, it’s downright unsettling. The difference is that for most people, they may see this withdrawn state and not pay much attention to it or the causes. For observers with a camera, we pay close scrutiny to the because we observe with a clear intent of seeing and feeling and capturing the scene.

That’s what I felt with this photo. I felt this guy withdrawing unto himself and just shutting out the world. I was right in front of him, camera ready and he didn’t see me or worse he did see me and didnt give a shit. So I moved around to the bach and felt that this was a better stance. It shows him and it shows me. Both in a shared here and now but, hedidn’t know that.

Seeya’s soon…………… shooter out………………………………………………….




Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 35 … Ricoh GRII … One ShoT pEr ShOOt


Ruth and I, ummm hold on. I better explain. My GRII is named Ruth. I named her Ruth after my mother. She died a while ago and I wanted to name this camera after her. I didn’t name the GRII to give new life to Mom. I did it because Mom gave me life at birth and several times during our time together. I am hoping naming the GRII after her will give me life once again.

Well, I never called my mom by her name, Ruth. Maybe once or twice for a reaction but never because I felt it disrespectful.

So, being the fool that I am, I named the GRII Ruth and I should have called it Mom. So maybe this post is the official Ricoh GRII renaming procedure post. From now on I will call the camera, Mom.

So Mom and I, the Ricoh GRII formally known as Ruth went to the streets to look for a photo. I know, I know. The photos are looking for me too. Well, it’s been slim pickings in the shooter heart and mind. I  mean, there’s stuff out there, but I like to detach from others and myself mostly and find out there what’s in my head. Sometimes what’s out there isn’t in my head and I accept those photos graciously. Then there are those photos that seem to be a collaboration of what’s out there and what’s in my head.

So I am off on a tangent again. Well, that’s what I do. I am working with a few people here in Philly and we are now at the shoot but use just one photo part of the course. Having in your mind that you need just one photo that does it for you is a very difficult way to work. Imean it’s easy to burn many shots on an SD card. Then go to LightRoom and edit. It’s important to know how to edit in your processor, but it’s more important to know how to edit before release. So by doing the one shot per shoot method, it helps to focus me on what I’m working on. It will help you too.

There was a protest at City Hall about the Mayor and his Immigration Ideas. When I was younger I’d be all over the place shooting from the ground, the sky, laying down. flying by, on top of people and anything else I wanted to do. The paper loved it. So when I was walking and just feeling the vibe of the day, I came upon the scene. I listened carefully to the lady with the megaphone. She had a powerful but lovely voice. Smart. You kinda listened to her talking and the info got into your heart where she wanted it to be. Awesome. Well, I didn’t understand jack shit what she was saying cause she was speaking a language other than English. Oh, she was speaking American but not English.

Lucky for me I have a very clear understanding visually about communication. Isn’t that what shooters do, no? Well, I felt the vibe of solidarity and peace. The press shooters were all over singling out the most interesting faces for the spread in their paper whatever.

For me, it’s about the solidarity of the nothing. The nothing people that want to be heard and counted for. The people that become masses and even collateral. That’s why they are protesting. The want and deserve to be heard. Well, the words had less meaning for me then their presence. Not because I didn’t understand their version of the American Language but because I understand the universal version of the visual language.

I looked around and the I saw the shadows that hadn’t been there 30 seconds prior. If I shot the people and that would be the normal way to do this, then it would be about individuals instead of the reason they are there. So I was framing and it just wasn’t perfect. I could feel it going to either happen or quickly fall apart. hen for no reason at all except to make me happy in the here and now, then all the sudden….the to shadows in the center held hands and I knew that it was the shot. CLICK!

Have a blessed day my friends, seeya on my next outing. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….