Parties are where they invite you to take pictures but don’t make it easy. Cluttered locations, poor light, too many folks in tight spaces. I hate battling crowds under any circumstances, but especially when I’m shooting.

So, there I am. At a party. I know one or two people (maybe), and I have to take some pictures. Who are these people? Unless it’s my party … and we don’t give parties anymore … I hope someone will come by to tell me who should be in the pictures.


Looking around. People are talking in groups. Eating. A few laughing. Some loners. People talking in pairs, in groups.

M's 60th-058

72-Garry and Charlie

Mostly of the other cameras are big ones, Canon and Nikon. I’ve got the funny little camera, my Pentax Q S1 with its lenses, plus extra batteries and accessories. It weighs less than a standard point-and-shoot. They sneer, but I don’t care.

Kaitlin 15th birthday


Parties are stressful. Garry can’t hear in crowds and I can’t remember names. You can tell me your name and within a breath, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” If it happens more than twice, I’m too embarrassed to ask again. I shoot and hope Garry can identify the people in the shot. Later.

72-Garry and Jorge_02

There’s always a picture somewhere. Somehow. You have to look for it, sometimes very hard, but it’s there. And it’s better than sitting in a corner demolishing the brownies.


In the early 1990s, Garry did a feature about Alfred Eisenstadt and Lois Maillou Jones, both of whom lived on the Vineyard and had been given Presidential Medals of Honor for their work. We became friends with both artists. Eisenstadt was in his early 90s, Lois Maillou Jones in her mid 80s.

We own a signed print of this portrait of Robert Frost. It hangs downstairs in the den.

We own a signed print of this portrait of Robert Frost. It hangs downstairs in the den.

I had been an admirer of Eisenstadt’s work as long as I’d been taking pictures. I shot my first roll of film on Martha’s Vineyard in 1966. I had stayed at the Menemsha Inn where (serendipity!!) Eisenstadt lived from late spring till Labor Day. Books of Eisie’s work were all over the inn. In bookcases, on tables. Most of the books featured his landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard.

I was using my first camera, a Praktica with a great Zeiss 50mm lens. Great lens, but no electronic light meter. No electronic or automatic anything. It had a crank film advance.  A bare bones camera. I had brought half a dozen rolls of black and white film with me and I used them all.

me martha's vineyard stairs

It was ideal for a beginner. I had to take a light reading with a handheld meter. I had to focus the lens, set the shutter speed and f-stop. Choose the film speed — though you only had to set film speed once when you loaded the camera.

It wasn’t a lot of settings to learn, but they were and are the essentials of photography. My 50 mm lens was a prime. No zoom. It was a good piece of glass and moderately fast at f2.8. No flash.

If I wanted a close up, I could move in. Wide shot? Run the other way. I learned photography in a way those who’ve only used digital cameras with zoom lenses can’t learn. Most of today’s photographers have never held a camera that doesn’t include auto-focus, much less taken a light reading.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it does.

The camera was a gift from a friend who had bought a new camera. Armed with the camera and determination, I followed Eisenstadt’s path. I discovered where he’d taken each picture, figured out how he’d gotten the perspective.

I duplicated his shots down to the clump of grass behind which he’d crouched to create a foreground.

Photo by Alfred Eisenstadt

My first roll of film was brilliant — except the photographs were copies of Alfred Eisenstadt’s. He taught me photography by giving me foot prints to follow. By the time I was done with those first rolls of film, I had learned the fundamentals. I’m still learning the rest and I’ll probably never be finished.

When I actually met Alfred Eisenstadt, it was the most exciting moment of my life.

As we got to know Eisie better, I asked him to autograph his books for me. He didn’t merely autograph them. He went through each book, picture by picture.

He was in his early 90s and had forgotten many things, but remembered every picture he’d taken, including the film and camera, lens, F-stop, and most important, what he was thinking as he shot. He could remember exactly what it was about the image that grabbed his attention.

For example, the picture of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on VJ Day, he said he was walking around Times Square with his Nikon. When he spotted the dark of the sailor’s uniform against the white of the nurse’s dress, he knew it was what he wanted and shot. Light, contrast, composition.

We spent time with him every summer for 5 years until he passed. We were honored to be among those invited to the funeral.

Although we were sad Eisie was gone, we found things to laugh about. Knowing him was special and some memories are worth a chuckle. I don’t think Eisie would have minded.


This is great challenge for me and I want to thank Cee for giving me the opportunity to join it.

I overshoot. Which means I take too many pictures of the same things. I shoot  from many angles, using different lenses (mostly primes, these days), and in changing light. I figure if it’s worth shooting at all, it’s worth shooting a lot.




Sometimes the differences are sufficiently subtle that I doubt anyone else would notice, but I can always tell not only what I was going, but what I was thinking when I took the picture.

Alfred Eisenstadt could still remember every picture he took, which camera and lens he used, the kind of film he had in the camera and what he was thinking when he pressed the shutter. And that was when he was in his 90s. Read about it here.





On the last day of July, the heat finally broke. The humidity, too. A few months ago, I got a Panasonic Lumix f4, 40 to 150mm telephoto for my Olympus cameras … and then, the Olympus f1.8 25 mm went on sale.


I bought it, thus completing my lens collection for the Olympus cameras. There are others I wish I had, but they are all out of my price range — or they duplicate (or overlap) lenses I already own.


It was a very bright day. The big problem on very bright days is always exposure. The contrast is so sharp, it is hard to find an exposure where you can see the highlight and not lose the detail in the shadow.


I learned a lot about my two lenses. That the Lumix telephoto is not as good as I might wish, but it’s okay. It gets me closer than I thought it would with acceptable quality. The exceptional lens in that range is out of my price range. I can work with this.


The Olympus f1.8 25 mm is a terrific piece of glass. Sharp from edge to edge with lovely bokeh.


My collection is complete. I know I’ll want something else. That someone will make a camera I lust for because a passion for camera gear never really ends. But for the foreseeable future, I’ve got what I need, more than I ever expected.




It was the first day in a couple of weeks that wasn’t too hot and humid to breathe, so we went with out our cameras. I have a not-quite-new, but not-much-used-yet camera, a bright yellow Pentax Q7 which Marilyn got for me before they disappeared from the market.


We went down the road to where the river flows under a bridge and around a long curve and the wildflowers bloom on the banks.


Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we find a heron or a gaggle of geese.


It was a very bright day, making it a challenge to get the right exposure. I did some experimenting. It was the first time shooting without contact lenses and without a viewfinder.


No wildlife today, but the bright sunshine turned the river into a mirror reflecting everything. The dominant deep green of the leaves. The deep blue sky and white fluffy clouds scudding across.



Macro fuchsia on the rail

A more perfect challenge could not have been arranged for today. Especially in view of my working for the past few weeks almost exclusively with my dearly beloved macro lens.


I could not select a single picture, so I’m including a bit of everything from the past few weeks of macro shooting. It is mostly flowers, but also, a few other little things are included, just for variety.

late afternoon bouquet

All these pictures were taken using the Olympus f2.8 60mm macro lens on the Olympus PEN PL-6.


A word about the Olympus PEN PL-6. Olympus dropped it into the market with no warning at a hard-to-resist price of $299. It is the Japanese version of the PL-7. I have made every comparison I can.

green bug on fuchsia macro

I can’t find any difference between the two cameras. The PL-6 was available for about a week. I bought one and it has become the home of the macro lens. You can’t get a PL-6 at any price now, not on any site, including Olympus or Amazon.


I have no idea why Olympus dropped them into the market like that, then made them disappear. I’m grateful I was on the ball and able to snag one while it was hot!


I can’t begin to say how much I’m enjoying this lens and camera. It is so satisfying, I find it hard to remember how I took closeup pictures before I owned it.