Panning the Purple Rain

Posted: October 7, 2016 in Cameras, NYC, Photography

rain bike
The joy of waiting for a bus in the rain. Time to make pictures. Showing motion in a still photograph can be tough. I chose to pan and use the built-in flash of the Nikon D610 to make it happen. I photographed about 15 cyclists before the bus arrived and this was the best (and last) of the lot. Of course the rain makes the picture, but I like the iconic NYC cab and the purple too. Panning is an art — you try different settings and adjust — this was 1/15 second at f4 using a 50mm lens. The digital advantage: make adjustments on the fly, review, and keep refining the image.

Abstract Four

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Art photography, UK

Some towns in England boast Banksy murals,  but Dover has outclassed them with these four Mark Rothko abstracts…

Three’s a Crowd

Posted: August 20, 2016 in composition, creativity, Travel, wildlife

One of our blog followers submitted this street scene travel snap made with iPhone for a critique. On the plus side we have nice color –  the yellow and blue speak to me.  The rule of three goats (err, rule of thirds) is also a plus. Easy fix would be a tight horizontal crop, but would eliminating the foreground reduce the information content (i.e. crumbling infrastructure), I don’t think so. Additionally, is it more effective to have the goats “randomized” or have them perfectly placed for a eye-grabbing compostiton? Unfortunately, that was not a consideration as the photographer made only one quick snap. Getting the goats (get your goat, get it?) to cooperate — well, only luck and patience can make that happen. Final grade, a B for effort, a C- for the image.

Show’s Up

Posted: August 16, 2016 in Art photography, Events, Photography, UK

Opening night
The event in Dover this summer.  Don’t miss the premier of this exciting show. See some of the featured images @


Republican Convention 1976
Politics is all the rage at the moment and while looking at the archive (a box of mounted prints) I yanked this one as an example of looking at an event from a different perspective. I guess when I took this (while photographing the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City for the Garden City Telegram) I was thinking about looking out and not being being in, or maybe I just like the simplicity of the moment…


UK flags - Photo by Paul Dagys

“Brexit, or NO Brexit; that WAS the big question,

Whether ‘tis be nobler to leave this ‘Club of Europe’ or remain & suffer.

These bureaucratic & doctrinall of outrageous EU budgetary fortune,

Or take arms to a sea of immigrants,

And by rejecting end it, to fiscally wither, to weep;

No more Johnny Foreigner; that I say is the End!”

~Ray Russell
“More the Tragedy of Cameron, the Prince of a muddled Parliament”

Summer arrived a week early in Missouri –  already 90+ and high humidity. My solution was to bike to the local coffee shop and slurp.  Advice to the “instagram” generation, put down your mobile phones and connect with folks. A meet and greet resulted in two hours of stimulating conversation with a graphic novelist and a screenwriter. Make the effort, skip the virtual world and go analog.

One hand
New York, New York.  No matter how often I visit the city I am always dumbstruck and overwhelmed by the visual cacophony. Paul too embraces (and is similarly overwhelmed) NYC and approaches it from a slightly different style. When he saw this picture his reaction was, “someday we will do a show on the sound of one hand.” Perhaps that is the way to experience New York — with a Zen frame of mind. This sliver of light was captured at Columbus Park at Bayard and Mulberry streets. This part of New York was once known as “five points” and the park is now a gathering place for game players, a quiet respite from bustling Chinatown.

I was at Tate Modern last week,  as you can see, the art scene in London is a real pisser.
They had a sculpture by Duchamp, and three more in another room.

Serendipity Circus

Posted: April 24, 2016 in Travel
Tags: ,

Clown show
On a spur of the moment trip to Costa Rica I stumbled on the Central American clown troupe performing in San Jose in front of the Teatro Nacional. Of course planning and a fixer are a professional’s best friend, but never underestimate the joy of the unexpected.

Cherry tree

Kearsney Abbey in Dover

Here is  a little creative poetry editing,  when A E Housman wrote this he was about 20, since I’m a bit older…

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my fourscore years and ten,
Sixty will not come again,
And take from ninety springs three score,
It only leaves me thirty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Thirty springs are little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Gateway Arch
Had a lot of fun recently with a group of aspiring photo enthusiasts as we photo-walked the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – aka Gateway Arch. An eclectic group of snappers, we took to the streets, engaging visitors and capturing a sense of the city.  Part of our assignment was to approach and photograph a stranger — my métier. These tourists from Colorado were as friendly as only Westerners can be. I also chatted up a NYC couple who were equally jovial. But more interesting for me was meeting strange new photographers.

Journalism school pressed Paul and me into the maw of about 20 of the most aggressive and motivated would-be photojournalists (I guess I am not exaggerating) in the world. We would constantly critique each other’s work — and what the professors said about our pictures/stories — ouch — I still have scars.  Later when I taught photojournalism, I was brutally honest with my students, occasionally at the cost of tears and always with a reward of better future pictures. I like to think I have mellowed over the years and more importantly, I have slowly come to realize that photojournalism-style photography is not all there is. Shocking. The photo-walk provided me an opportunity to share my expertise and learn from others. Advantage for me, interacting with new photogs requires the same skills as street photography, an honest approach and openness to rejection (ha ha). Just like the wonder of connecting with folks you have never seen before and making their picture, chatting with photographers who have a different visual Weltanschauung can be daunting. If you are going to walk the photo walk, prepare to talk the photo talk.  For snap samples search Instagram using #isrphotoswalk

1 Dogs of th week w Micaela _0762-1400
Not sure the feline pattern is exactly right for the canines or for the Fräulein…

Blue Collar Sage

Posted: March 23, 2016 in Art photography, Poetry

some who appear brilliant make foolish moves

( Alexander McQueen, 40 years old forever )

my hero L.T. *   once said of sages,

“they run beyond convention…

They listen to the soundless

And look at the formless,

They are not constrained by society

And not bound by its customs.”

Not every beatnik is a sage,

but there are sages among them,

someday you may be there too.


* Lao-Tzu

Mind Strumming

Posted: March 20, 2016 in ideas, Photography, Travel, UK

guitar strum
It has been a busy three months. Paul made a pilgrimage to Amerika and returned to the UK with a boodle of images. I have been to South Carolina, Mexico, and four trips to rural Missouri. Fitting, I think, that on my last little excursion I was checking on sunrise/sunset times and they were both 7:09. Yes, Winter is behind us and this post represents a bit of mental Spring cleaning. So much for the rambling preamble; here are a selection of observations/activities from the last few months.

  • No car – sold my vehicle, bought a replacement and sold it – for now I am done owning a car
  • Moved from Apple’s abandoned Aperture to Adobe’s addictive drug Lightroom for photo processing and cataloging
  • Playing with Photomatix HDR and realize I know next-to-nothing about colour theory (my earlier photojournalism career was 90% B&W) and learning about colour is the “teach the old dog new tricks” conjure for this year
  • Read a lot, and between sub-par thrillers and mysteries, I have hit on a few reads I think are worth sharing…

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