Faces While Traveling (#950) 08-17-18

First a bit of housekeeping; while reviewing past posts I realize that I have repeated 10 numbers. I cheated myself out of 10 posts! So now I skip to #950, where I belong.

Below are several people that I met at Pike's market, in Seattle. Lots of interesting people in mixed light kept me on my toes. But did I mention interesting looking people?


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These were taken over a year ago when I was in one of my color periods. The black and white vs color question will probably plague me until the day I die.



Faces of Parkinson's (#939) 08-12-18

Over the past several months, I have been involved with a project including patients with Parkinson's disease. I used the Olympus OM-D EM5 II to capture these portraits.


PD 007 Rosalie O'Hara.jpg
PD 011 Greg Erwin.jpg
PD 016 John Moore.jpg
PD 020 Fran Leone.jpg
PD 028 Lawrence Ryden.jpg

Parkinson's is usually slowly progressive and has many manifestations: tremor, slow movement, stiffness, balance problems, and many others. Few patients have all symptoms and there is tremendous variation. But as the disease progresses, most patients develop the "Parkinson's mask." The muscles of the face become affected so that facial expression and the smile is diminished.


Another Painful Change - Leica :-) (#939) 08-10-18

Characterizing my posting schedule as "sporadic" is a bit of an understatement. After a personal tragedy and a period of mild depression, I am getting back into the saddle. Along with the close-up portraits, I look forward to making portraits with some environment included.

Sort of like Van Gogh, I have gone through my "Nikon Period" and have been in an "Olympus Period." Now the "Leica Period" begins. In later posts I'll explain why the transition. Unlike Nikon, the Olympus gear will remain in my possession. My two Leica cameras are the Leica Q and M10, two entirely different systems. The M10, a rangefinder, has a definite learning curve.

Several months ago, I shot this image with the Olympus OM-D EM 5. The humor is obvious, and the face is an ad for a skin care product, sorely needed by the subject.

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A few months later at the same location I met Angela, the owner of OBVITA, a natural health and skin care company. This time I carried the Leica Q, with it's fixed 28mm lens.

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At 28mm there is some blurring of the background because I was so close to the subject. In fact, at first she seemed shocked that I was so close, but was satisfied with the resulting image.


Bonaire (#938) 01-17-18

In Bonaire, the locals don't mind being photographed.

As I was traveling, I used the Zuiko 12-40 lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M5. It is f2.8 throughout the range. I prefer a wider aperture and I have a few 1.8 primes, but I like to travel with one lens and a zoom with a 2.8 aperture is the necessary compromise.


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PB210010 Anna.jpg
PB210016 Leo.jpg

Hopefully, a Restart (#937) 01-16-18

Well, my last post was in July, 2017. Not a very good record. But after a very trying year with personal issues, I think that I am ready to get back in the saddle.

In my last post, I said that I would work in color for a while. It turned out to be a short while. After trying several portraits both ways, my friends all feel that the black and white images are more powerful.I do too. What do you think?



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Color Replacing B&W (for a while) #936

I have been true to my style for several years, square crop, black and white portraits of strangers. One reason that I have posted infrequently is that I have become a bit bored with my work. I still like meeting people on the streets and attempting to capture a bit of personality with a camera, but I have become stale.

So, for a while at least I am switching to color, and not necessarily square crop. This presents some new challenges, one of which that out of focus backgrounds become more important. Color introduces a confounding factor that can compete with the subject, facial expression. I have been using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera which has a 2:1 crop factor compared to a full frame sensor. The ability to create background bokeh is compromised. So I have borrowed an old Canon 5D from a friend and armed it with a Canon 85mm f1.8 lens. In two days I'll take it for a spin.

In the meantime, all color images are from the Olympus.


Maturity (#935) 05-29-17

Youth can be beautiful, but I admire maturity. Perhaps because I am a senior citizen. Mature ladies who have taken care of themselves always attract me. Not 60 year olds who try to look like 30, but senior ladies who know,and accept, who they are and make the best of their maturity. Here are a few.


Some seniors look like life has beaten them down. I am intrigued by those who have accepted and conquered the decades. You?


Playfulness (#934) 05-20-17

One of the joys of street portraiture is playfulness. Meeting people does not have to be a solemn affair. The world can be full of joy and photography can bring out some of the child in all of us. I was photographing three policemen when Marjon jumped in and photobombed a shot. She ran off into the market crowd. 

A few minutes later I spotted her and asked for a portrait. Of course she obliged.


Is this not an impish look? Meeting strangers is usually fun.


Keep it With You (#933) 05-16-17

I recently had to head to the city of Lakewood Ranch, FL, near Sarasota. An appointment with a title insurance officer (real exciting!) left me a few minutes for lunch at a nearby eatery. I hesitated, but then brought the camera to the restaurant.

The waiter, Jeff, took an immediate interest in my camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M5. The retro look often raises questions by passersby who conjecture that it is a film camera. It is a great ice-breaker, and often leads to a portrait. And so it was with Jeff. When indoors, I sneak the ISO to 800 and accept that light quantity should be OK, although quality is so-so.


The next stop was the title insurance office and the camera stayed with me. After business, Cathy rather reluctantly allowed a photo. Again, indoor light is what it is, not beautiful.


I was glad that I kept the camera with me.


No Guts, No Glory (#932)

I began street portraiture as a hobby because of my lack of guts. I am an introvert, and the last thing that I am prone to do is introduce myself to a stranger. The camera becomes a prop, a tool that helps me "break the ice". It is relatively easy to approach a stranger and ask for a favor, for help in pursuing my hobby of taking photos of strangers. For me, it has been trans-formative. After several years of this unusual hobby, I have "loosened up" considerably. The surrounding world looks more friendly.

Carl was sitting on a curb adjacent to a subway entrance in New York City. At first I walked by, but took a deep breath and turned around to meet him. Carl is a soft spoken Muslim from New Jersey. Fortunately he has experienced little anti-Muslim sentiment and is totally comfortable in the U.S.A.

I could have kept on walking by. No guts, no glory.


World Travellers (#941)

While visiting New Your City, a friend suggested that I visit High Line park. It's an elevated 1.43 mile walk that used to be a railway. you can read about it HERE. I saw lots of interesting characters, but the light was harsh. a covered entryway provided the perfect light and Sam and Corrine approached.


Their Australian accent was lovely. Sam and Corrine were on an extensive trip from their native Perth. New Your was the final destination, with the penultimate destination being Cuba. What a life!


Perry (#940) 05-02-17

Perry is an icon at the Sarasota Farmer's Market. Sitting in front of his huge barbecue/smoker, he chews on his stogie and waves to passersby. When I asked for a portrait, he was more than eager to comply. I suspect that he does this a few times every Saturday morning.


This capture exploits the beauty of a digital viewfinder, in my opinion. While looking through the viewfinder of my Olympus OM-D E-M5, I did not see the direct optical view of Perry, but the digital representation that the sensor sees. It was obvious that Perry's face was underexposed due to the bright background, I did not have to wait to chimp a captured image. Seeing the underexposed face I simply used my right index finger to adjust the exposure compensation wheel to 1+ compensation. Immediately the exposure looked correct in the viewfinder and I captured the image.


Sam (#939) 04-28-17

Well, almost a year and a half since I have posted. After a prolonged personal tragedy I was not sure that I would blog again. Slowly I am getting back to photographing strangers, always with permission, but with less personal interaction. my goal is to post entries 2 to 3 times per week. Thanks for being here.


I saw Sam walking into a cut rate liquor store. I could not resist, so I waited outside for about 5 minutes to meet him. He was happy to be photographed and proud to be born and raised in Sarasota.  Bob   

I saw Sam walking into a cut rate liquor store. I could not resist, so I waited outside for about 5 minutes to meet him. He was happy to be photographed and proud to be born and raised in Sarasota.



Diego (#938) 11-28-15

When I saw the dreadlocks and the body language, I thought, “This must be an artist.” The light was way too contrasty, so I followed at a distance. Finally I crossed the street, circled around, and 'happened' to meet him in the spot of my choice. Diego seemed curious, and was happy to be photographed.

Diego is from Spain and is in his senior year at the Ringling School of Art and Design. I was right!

“What kind of art do you make?”

“Painting, video, photography.., art is art.”

When I wanted to move him a bit, he said, “You are the artist, do what you want.” He really liked my photostream. After graduation, Diego will return to Spain.

“What will you do?”

'Live life. Who knows what will come.”

Nice to be able to have that attitude. Attending a school costing north of $50,000\year, he probably has the resources to take life as it comes.

Thank you, Diego, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.


Iris (#937) 11-08-15

Iris was reading on an outdoor bench in Winter Park, FL. As I was asking my usual favor, it was obvious from body language that she was willing to be a part of my portrait project.

“Are you from Winter park?”

“Oh no. I live in Castleberry (2 miles away).”

Originally from Reading, PA, Iris maintains a slight Spanish accent; her father was from Puerto Rico. She is a realtor, but primarily a buyer's broker. Iris obtains few listings. She spends a lot of time with prospective buyers, showing other people's listings all over the Orlando area. The market has improved, but certain frustrations continue. She has clients who make an offer on a $200,000 house, but the deal falls through over $3,000. such a tiny percentage!

Of all the pics on the LCD, she preferred the slightly sultry look.

Thank you, Iris, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.


John (#936) 11-06-15

A candy and ice cream store sat on a street corner in Winter Park, FL. John was seated immediately outside, enjoying a smoke. “They let me stay here because the owner smokes too.”

About a year ago he allowed an artist to paint his portrait at this very spot. Several months later, a man said that he had bought the painting at the Winter Park Art Festival. It had won first place in some category.

John said, “I hope you didn't pay too much for it.”


He said that he could not see his picture on the camera's LCD because of severe cataracts. His eyes looked clear to me, no cataracts. But I saw him walking a few minutes later and John was clearly sight impaired. Maybe macular degeneration.

Thank you, John, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.


Bianca (#935) 10-27-15

As I paid for an image to be framed, Bianca looked for a bag large enough. I said, "Gee, Michael's has lots of large bags." (for those out of the U.S., Michael's is chain store offering cut-rate framing and matting). Bianca put her hands on the counter and gave me a withering look.

"Michael's: where art goes to die."

That was definitely my best quote of the week.


Joe (#933) 10-20-15

When walking past Starbuck's (no coffee this time!), Joe was enjoying his cup of, well, Joe. When I explained the project, he had no reservations.

Joe is an engineer working for the army – as a civilian. He has degrees in industrial and mechanical engineering, but now writes software. That seems to be the common pinnacle for so many careers. Well educated, he has degrees from the University of Central Florida, and Texas A & M. Plus he has studied at FSU, the arch enemy of Florida Gators like me.

“What is the best thing that has happened to you today?”

Sitting here with this cup of coffee.” (It was about 3PM.)

“Gee, you've had a pretty dull day.”

“I spent all morning mowing the grass and cleaning the house. A few minutes alone with a good cup of coffee is definitely the high point.”

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

Thank you, Joe, for allowing me to photograph you for my ongoing portrait project.


Oksana (#932) 10-20-15

She was working in a clothing store in Winter Park, FL. Looking so photogenic, I immediately made contact, and she was game, although a little shy.

"Are you from Winter park?"

"Oh no. I am from Longwood."  (6 miles away)

When I heard her name, she assured me that she was not Russian. I mentioned Olympic figure skating champion Oksana Baiul. "Yep, that's who I'm named after."