Tag Archives: Ricoh

4/18’s pick

……….. thank’s doc….seeya in a month. Dr G…. is a good shrink. I guess I like him because he’s not threatening. Then again at the VA Hospital, one shouldn’t be. I finished Blood Draw, went to Primary…Dr J….then off to Pharmacy for Dr L then to Mental Health. That’s a funny thing to me. Mental Health?

Stopped to talk to a few Vets from my AO (Agent Orange) group…..then to see a troop from the sandbox that had  both legs blown off. He’s from someplace out mid west. It took me a month to get his wife to come to see him. It’s not an easy task and older vets like me try to lend support to our brothers. Jeff is feeling somewhat better, his wife will continue to stay married to him and try to work it out.

I leave the hospital and as I’m walking to the trolley, my head is still filled with all this reality and life. I need a draining, I need a fix.

I pull the GRD4 out of the pocket….jeans pocket that are tight on me but the camera fits…. hmmmm imagine that. I’m on the trolley and my brain is saturated with thoughts of all kinds of things. I need to escape this for a little bit.

The trolley is clacking along, (I love the sound of the train wheels on the tracks…ya know when the wheel hits the rail joint) ….that sound is sooo comforting to me. The Ricoh is at the ready, waiting patiently, never letting the screen go to sleep or drain battery power.  The trolley pulls into my stop and I walk down the crowded isle looking and feeling for a photo. I cup the camera in my hand because some of these people want to bang against it and maybe hurt the lens. Walker is protected. Come on now…..you do name your cameras don’t you…..

I’m on Auto ISO, Snap Focus at 1 meter and f/5.6. Other details in the exif file. As I’m walking into the dimly lit tunnel, I see the walls and ceiling separating into different quadrants…… even the light is changing but not the same on each side…..I felt like I was seeing inside my mind and was at the hospital and then this beautiful woman walked in front om me….CLICK!



it ain’t the Camera…it’s the Eye, Heart and Mind.



I was on Market Street again….Yeah, after 45 years I ain’t tired of  it either. Anyway….the light is that early Spring light with a harshness yet a warmth in the shadows. It’s like walking around with Kodachrome in your eyes. I was using my favorite camera, the Ricoh GRD4. I’m on Snap mode at f/5.6….. 1/2 meter to Karen in Scotland is in focus. I made several photos in 45 minutes and that surprised me a lot. I felt energized. I felt at one with the world, well not all of it but the part I could hear and see and that’s enough for any shooter. I can’t hear Tanya yelling so I know I’m at the right distance from home…….

I see this woman standing against a wall. I immediately think about a few things. I think that Pete would like this scene cause she’s a smoker…hey…hey….smoking a ciggie….ok.  I recognized in my brain, not the mind that this had a familiar feel to it. I’m still in this Dream mode and life with or without the camera is wobbling in and out of my mind.

I remember just a day or two ago that I made a very similar shot. Now I’m getting excited. The finger is starting to dance on the release. Ricoh knows that the finger is the important part of photography and cameras. That’s why they make it so big and so sexi.

My feet start to move towards the image. My eye is now totally focused on the woman and framing the image before my feet get me there. I see it forming, I smell the smoke of the Marlboro. I quit 1 1/2 years ago and still love the smell of a good hot smoke…..

As I move in closer my body goes into shooting mode. That means that my body language is totally non aggressive in appearance.

She doesn’t see me. I start to get closer and frame for the shot…..as I approach, she looks at me and I slow my pace so that she just thinks I’m nothing in her reality…….then her head lifts ever so slightly…..Her legs move into a secure position and her head again lowers…..I see the light starting to grow on the upper right and the shapes remind me of smoke…..

Then I get to where my Eye….Heart and Mind say…….CLICK




This is the photo that was made just a short time before the above.

For Wouter Brandsma & Jorge Ledesma also for the Ricoh GRD5

So I’m in the middle of the interviews for Issue 2 of   The Inspired Eye  Magazine. I’m gonna have to drop a few names here because they get me to thinking about stuff. Nah, it’s not like I need inspiration or ideas or even trouble. I certainly dang sure don’t need any GAS.

Anyway, Wouter and I are going back & forth with interview emails about photography, not photography etc. Whoa…..hold yer horses now. I got Pete Tachauer, Christophe Debon and Paul McGuirk all working on the interviews. The reason I mention the 2 culprits above is that….

I’m working the street…hey…hey…making photos ok. Sheeeesh…. I get an email and I figure I could use a break. I sit down on a bench in front of the Liberty Bell. I pull the ole’ antique iPhone 4 out and open the mail program.

Now let’s get something straight right off the bat. I love the EP-3 and the lenses I have for them. Yup, I gotz 2 Pens. So I got the Silver Pen….Walker with me and he’s sportin’ the 17mm 1.8. Now I ain’t one to question things when they start to working just righty fine. There’s enough to do when the stuff hits the fan…….. The email shooter, what’s in the email? ok…ok…sorry..brain fart.

So there on my phone screen is this post from that Jorge Ledesma fella. Now I like Jorge and his blog. I read it because he bust his hump making it entertaining for his readers. Today he made the ultimate post for dreams of the new future. See, he posted a video about the new GRD5. Well, I damn near had a hissey fit when I watched the video. Nah, the first 5 times I just watched but that 6th time…that was it. I was figuring it’s a fake, again. So I forward the email to Wouter and he confirmed that it was a real camera and that the video was in fact true.  Now until we get the camera in our hands…it’s a dream but this dream, if it comes true…dang, I’ll sell my M43 stuff again.

The reason being is that the GRD4 is about as good a camera as any camera could hope to be…..the GRD5 will move to a whole new level.


I ran home to my garden and made this real quick with the GRD4 but…this is exactly what I envisioned the image to be.


Thanks Jorge…..Thanks Wouter, see ya on the emails shortly….Thanks Ricoh….Sorry Olympus….

shooter out…………………………………………………………………..

Dreamcatcher Is On Flickr Explore

Photography has so many special ways of drawing out our inner thoughts and feelings. For me, it’s always been about a dream. No, not photography but life. Making photos has allowed me to explore many inner thoughts and feelings. At times I just work the street or do portraits or the garden or whatever my lens is looking at.





I sometimes feel that I’m seeing visions from a place that is not of this earth only. It doesn’t scare me in the least. It actually excites my creative juices. Maybe I’m just having a LightRoom breakdown. I mean after all, I am influencing the final image with presets and or adjustments. Surely that helps to create the dream like effect that happens on the photo.




I agree with that but why would I make photos like this in the first place?


More questions and photos tomorrow……

Thanksgiving Anti-Parade

My grand daughter wanted to see the photos I made at the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Come on, cut me a break….I live here and I’m not letting an event like this pass me by. So I load the GRD4 attach a strap, put a few batteries in my pocket and hit the street. See, that’s the word that gets me every time…”Street”. I’m a streetshooter. What could be easier then doing a parade? Well, if the parade wasn’t on the street…I’d be ok.

Unfortunately, when I hit the street, I go into work mode. I’m just waiting for an image to pop up and call to me. This may or may not be a good thing. I guess it depends on what part of the parade you want to see.

So I walk around making photos and try to keep from feeling like I don’t belong. I try to find what makes me feel like I fit in.

I never find that tho’ and just keep looking and making photos.

I guess it’s just that I’m a streetshooter…..

Hipshot, Chestshot, The GRD4 It Still Smells of Street **** or **** How The 21mm Adapter Showed Me The Way Home.

Well the GRD4 once again proves to be a very worthy camera. It’s that I feel that any camera provides me the energy or inspiration to work, it’s just that the Ricoh lets me work and thing without intruding on me.

I went out today and used the 21mm adapter. It’s normally to wide for me but I need photos for an upcoming workshop on freeing the self and also editing. The camera is on a neck strap hanging as low as I can get it. I don’t use a finder even tho I have the Leica. I hate putting the camera to my face and covering life in front of me. There’s a magic in working this way without a finder and using your internal eye.

I think the beauty is in the discovery of a shared vision. The camera and I work together to make the images. Yes, it’s always like that but working this way is more of a conscious effort in the collaboration between the two of us.  I can’t make claim to 100 percent of the result. The camera gets it’s say as much as I do. This being the way I think and actually the way it is, is liberating and visually exciting.

With the camera hanging in front of your chest, theres a very cool non intrusive presence to the subject. I let it hang and when getting ready for an exposure, I place my hand on the camera and my thumb gets the duty the finger usually has.

The strange this is, the photos show eye contact but yet the camera is hanging down low. If in fact it was true eye contact, then the eye would not meet the viewer right on. This means that the subject looks at the camera but mostly never sees the thumb release the shutter.

I find it interesting that so many people walk around with their head in a low position. Of course the camera loves this kind of positioning.

So, even for straight street, this is a great setup. In all the photos, I never looked at the screen. I just feel the frame and then move my body slightly to make the frame the way I want.

It should be noted that the GRD4 has a sense of humor and proves itself in some photos that I won’t publish.

More tomorrow as the 21mm adventure continues…….        It’s tomorrow…strange how that works….hmmmm

This is more mainstream for me but it was because I met a shooter downtown from a forum we both belong to. She asked me to show her how to feel the frame. A good question I thought to meself.

I said, self…we need to help this lady out. Her issue was that she didn’t understand how to relate the subject to the background. I explained that, that is the entire thing about photography, painting etc. What lives in the fram must relate to everything in it good or bad.

Taking the elements of the frame and putting them together makes the image. Just as important is the presentation of the image.

All photos processed in http://www.streetpresets.com/  my presets for Light Room 4 & Nik Silver Efex.

Saturday Morning…. I had an appointment at the VA Hosp for more treatments. I’m not excited about that but it gives me a reason to get on the street and work.

I’m still doing the chestshot with the GRD4/21. It’s interesting. I can just about see full frame now and that’s neither good nor bad, not sure. I don’t like being predictable but I love consistency. Beings a Libra, balance is always my goal. The above photo was made on the spur as this new work is. I saw the image come together in my head in a fraction of a second. I knew how to process it to get my result. and new the framing about as good as I could get it.

I get these images sometimes that are more like dreams to me. I mean I am conscious when I make them but when I get them finished….it’s just a dream….. There was this kid named Jasper at the bus stop with his dad and sister. Jasper was about 10 years old. He liked my white camera and asked if I had a white camera because I was white. I asked him if he had a black camera because he was black. He smiled and said his dad did but he was allowed to use it at partys. Then he used my camera to make a portrait of me…..hmmmm

The Ricoh GRD4

This is not a review but an ongoing journey with this camera at my side. I’m not interested in comparing this to the GRD3 or anything else. What I am interested in, is the way the GRD4 works with my vision.

There is a new found sense of freedom for me. I’m not saying that the GXR doesn’t set me free, I’m simply stating that the GRD4 fits in my pocket. Doing that creates a sense of freedom because it’s always there and at the ready. What that means is….the camera remembers the last settings before being powered off or going to sleep. I can’t do that!

We all know that Ricoh has the finest most intelligent User Interface of any camera. So as shooters, we now have a camera that won’t intrude on the process of making images. I have a white camera because I look more like a tourist then with a black one. I find that getting close is easier then before because the white camera has a very innocent look to it. Besides that I just wanted the white version because it was more sexi. Ok, hey….hey….it’s a sexi litte thing dammit!

I’m pretty close to this guy and he didn’t wake as I moved thru his space. Of course that’s not in the Ricoh Firmware, the silent approach, but it is important because I didn’t have to look at my camera at all to make the photo. I can change anything on the GRD4 without looking at the screen. It’s a great interface.

I use snap focus most times. If I’m at f5.6, I’m good for about 1.6′ to infinity. I use M mode because I can set the camera to Auto ISO Hi 1600 and then…. I can do something like this… 1/125 f5.6. The camera will set the ISO to get proper exposure and that lets me choose the f stop and the shutter speed. This is a dream setup. I’ll usually maintain f8 or f5.6 to hold my Hyper Focal distance and I choose a shutter speed so that I won’t get too much blur unless I want it.

The macro mode is very useful and just requires a simple press on the dial. The lens is corrected beautifully and of course is a GR lens.

This is macro mode. The lens was very close to the flower. LIke really close. I handheld the camera and it’s ok.

The point is that, I saw this image in my head. It was of course the flower giving me the energy but it all came together very easy and the camera just did what it was supposed to do. 5 seconds later I made a photo of my cat Barsik about 20′ away. Just a click and that was all that was required.

Some call this camera a P&S. I guess for photography buffs as we called them in the 60’s and 70’s, it is. For shooters, it’s about as serious a camera as one would ever need.

The Non Intruding Camera

The Non Intruding Camera

Let me start by stating that I am not a strolling shooter. I am not a Street Tog, I am a walker. I am not out on the street in a hap-hazard way. I am out there intentionally seeking the images that are seeking me. I do not exist without them and they do not exist without me. That is, unless YOU find them first.
So, here’s the way it works sometimes. I’m out walking with the GRD4 in my hand with a wrist strap. A neck strap also works very well but one must learn how not to struggle with ones gear. Then something calls to me and I start to feel my finger get itchy.
The finger is the main organ in photography. The eye is secondary as it finds the image with the brain and heart but….the finger is the organ that makes the camera expose. It is crucial that the camera provide a nice resting place for the finger. It is also crucial that the camera has a very delicate sexy feel to the finger for exposure.

Anyway, what happens for me is that I start to feel the finger want to work. The other 3 elements, (eye, heart, brain) of the process are analyzing the scene so that the finger can go to work. What I mean is this….
The eye generally responds to the scene first. Then the heart or brain get involved. There is no set order to the finding process. Any stimulis could work with any of the 3 elements to seek the image. The danger is that the finger get started first. That’s why they made that stupid multi drive crap years ago that has flooded into our nice easy laid back digital imaging world. A motor drive is for the finger to work first. You start the machine gun and hope to find something in the holes you made. Mostly you don’t or maybe you do by accident.
Once the image starts to form and the 3 elements start to frame, the finger is ready and hopefully, the camera is just as ready as you are. Many times a setting was made wrong, focus wasn’t close or off, exposure was off etc. These things are intrusions. We must be able to detect and control these intrusions. For me, any of the above and about a gazillion other things are not nice and I don’t want them as a part of my process.

I’ve used Leica M’s for over 40 years and started with the M8 when it first came out. I was one of the lucky ones that got the bad sensor, magenta bullcrap and camera turns into a brick mode. It happened with 4 different bodies and that killed Leica for me.
Now, it’s the Ricoh GXR. Why, ok I’ll explain my thinking.
The GXR is a totally expandable camera. It can morph into different cameras very easy. I prefer the 2 A12 units. The 28mm & 50mm are both excellent lenses. They keep the camera very compact and maintain all the features of a full DSLR. I prefer AF and depend on it all the time. The GXR has a snap focus mode that is ideal for street work.
With the 28mm at f8, focused at 6.6ft….you have 3.3ft to infinity as your DOF. So, it dont get better then that.
I set the camera to A mode, f8 and adjust the ISO to get the shutter speed In the range I want. Now that Ricoh has seen fit to install Auto ISO on the GXR, that’s what I use. I now can set both aperture and shutter speed and the camera sets the ISO. Wonderful!
Well, I used a Fuji X100 because I thought that it would bring back that “M” feel. It did and that was the problem. The main issue I had was the finder. I know, I know…that’s the reason to get the camera. It works great and so does the EVF but not for me.
What happens is this….the camera intrudes on my vision and process because it’s up at my eye. It’s blocking my view and puts most subjects off as they are totally aware that you are making a photo of them. Your hiding your face from the scene/subject.

I have since abandoned the GXR cameras and have settled on the GRD once again. I will not say how many times in the past that I have had the GRD series but lets just say, I learned my lesson well. The GRD4 is home.

The street is about being an observer not being observed.

The Street and The Screen

Recently I was involved in a discussion with a few shooters. We were talking about the differences and merits of the screen and the finders on compact cameras.
Lets establish what photography is to start. The process of  image making is about abstracting from a 3 dimensional reality a new 2 dimensional reality. Regardless of what camera you use or how you process your images, this is what we are all doing as photographers. For me, it makes common sense to use a screen set to B&W. Why? Glad you asked.

I am using the GRD & Sony RX100 for now and probably will be for a long spell. I hold the camera out in front or on some angle, depending on what I’m seeing. At this point, I can see my PRINT floating in reality. I see a B&W image in 2 dimensions in our 3 dimensional reality. It’s exciting. Why do I use B&W on the screen? If in fact, the camera abstracts a new reality, then it stands to reason that seeing the image on the screen in B&W further abstracts the reality. Sounds too heavy or too abstract? What do you think your doing making photos? Your making a new reality in the image. It stands on it’s own. It is it’s own object in 2 dimensions.

The EVF.

These finders essentially do the same thing but they don’t show the image or PRINT in 3 dimensional reality. The reason is that your camera is against your face. So you can’t see the image floating in reality, just an image on a screen. The screen is against your eye. It sees 2 dimensional but does not allow you to see it in time/space of 3 dimensions.

The OVF.

This finder like the one in the X100 is an engineering marvel but it also lacks the power to present your image in reality. Your face is still smashed against the camera. It’s a good way to photograph but the subject may see you as hiding behind the camera.

Working the street with a screen does a few important things. It allows you to look like a tourist or amatuer and blend in with everyone else out there. This simple fact is crucial to getting in closer. You actually go unnoticed most times, not always but most. This method also allows the camera to float in space and get a different angle that a finder can not do. The screen is not a new phenomonom. It dates back to the beginning of photography with view cameras.
The screen is an active way of working. If your doing portraits or snaps of people, it allows eye contact. This can be very important to sensitive subjects in very sensitive times.
You can get eye contact with finders also but your face is hidden behind the camera and this can be a put off to some.
The finders on the other hand, have the advantage of being better in bright light. This is changing with the Sony screens. Set to sunny mode, well it’s the best out there. I have to admit, I’ve never had any luck with any EVF in contrasty light.

So what does all this mean? It means that I prefer the screen for all it’s advantages in composing my frame. I can see all around the frame easily and quickly decide what’s in and what’s out.
The EVF does not offer that important element. The OVF does but in a limited capacity.
I fell in love with the idea of the X100 and it’s finder when it first was mentioned. I knew the camera would give me the feelings of my Leica M cameras. In a way it did but only in a way. After many months and many good images, I realized that I felt more self conscious using the camera.
So I put it on the shelf and started with a few compacts. Luckily I just got my GRD3 back after 2 years. In 1 day of shooting, I confirmed my feelings about the finder on the X100. I never touched the X100 again until I sold it a month later. Great camera just not my cup of tea anymore.
I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m just stating my thoughts on a subject that’s crucial to photography…..SEEING!


I posted this image a few days ago on Flickr and a few forums I visit. No one could figure out what the woman was doing. Some thought she was on a cell phone. Some thought she was doing something with makeup or the like.
Actually, her name is Diane. She is a photographer. She came to me for guidance on street work. She was changing the lens on her M8.2. She was worried about dust from the concourse getting on the sensor so I told her to get close to the wooden wall. I made the photo with every intention of it being ambiguous.

Subway Concourse, Phila. Pa

I planned on documenting the occupation on Dilworth Plaza whenever I could get there. I would go and take my GXR and move in and out of the scene and capture the overall feeling of the group. I work almost invisible and try to only observe and record. I really try to do the documentary thing but sometimes, like always…. I see an image that is a part of everything and yet it is just there by itself. It is just breathing by itself. The energy starts to overcome me and I go into my usual semi-trance mode. I hear nothing, see nothing, smell nothing unless it is related to the new image waiting to be born.

And then when all is right, the finger gets to do it’s magic….Snap!

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