My family and I spent the past week in the Philadelphia area visiting my wife’s family for Father’s Day. While there one of my goals was to get into the city to photograph and to meetup with Don “The Streetshooter“. I had never met Don before in person but have become acquainted with him through a couple of the online photography forums, especially Serious Compacts and the Ricoh Forum.
I began shooting with the Ricoh GRDIII two years ago and learned about the camera before purchasing it at the Serious Compacts forum and Steve Huff Photo. I also became a supporting member of the Ricoh Forum at the time. Don was a moderator at Serious Compacts and I feel he took me under his wing as I was doing my best to improve my photography. I took his initial criticism of my work a little too personal at first but soon learned that Don was doing what he did and became a very good teacher in a way for me.
Through these forums I’ve also had a chance to meet other photographers while on the road and was hoping I’d get a chance to meet Don. So here I was in his neighborhood and gave him a call to see if we could coordinate our schedules. He had to do a little rearranging to make it work and a date and time was set.
I took the train from Warminster straight into the city and jumped off at the Suburban Station where Don was waiting. We “officially” introduced ourselves and immediately proceeded out of the station to do what photographers like to do and that’s to find some photo opportunities.
Don led the way and we began our “photo” walk around the immediate area of the Suburban Station before heading on to Market Street. From there we walked to the Liberty Bell area and found a bench to sit and talk. There was no pressure to see anything specific but a chance to finally tell a little more about each other.
Since Don has always been a Philadelphian he had already known of me from an incident I had while serving in the military while stationed at NAS Willow Grove, a reserve air base north of the city. While there over 20 years ago I had one of the those bad days in the airplane where it quit running and had to “punch out” as they say. Fortunately I’m still here and no one on the ground was injured. If you have a few minutes you can still read an archived copy of the report the New York Times wrote about it here: Pilot Survives Crash of Jet In a Suburb of Philadelphia
As I’m not really a “street photographer” I at least wanted to learn about it from Don who’s been shooting the streets of Philadelphia for a long time. Plus he was using the new Ricoh GR, Ricoh’s updated version of the GRD series now with an APS-C sensor. Since I still have my GRDIII I was quick to notice that it didn’t appear to be all that much larger and still a pocketable camera.
We soon found ourselves back around the Suburban Station and Don had a scheduled appointment he had to make. After saying our goodbyes I made my way to the track that would take me back to Warminster.
Thanks Don for a quick tour of the city and I look forward to the next time we can shoot again on the streets of Philly!