© Sam Garcia

© Sam Garcia

To all the ships at sea, there’s an old cliche : Honesty is the best policy. My doctor suggested that I get a hobby to try and minimize the stress and pressure in my life. What I’ve done is I have hired Sam Garcia on a six-month trial basis to lighten up my life. He is one of the very few people that can make me laugh. He sends the “snap-o’-the-day” to a very close circle of friends and photographers. Hmm… friends, or photographers? Not sure about that. I read this email this morning at 2:45 AM and at the end all I could think of was the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

“(this edition of snap-o’-the-day includes an overview of the picture setting, the site, some dawn-of-aviation info, and is kind of a walk through the woods. If you’re not interested there’s no reason you have to do anything other than look at this top photo, and then hit ‘Delete’ as usual. The rest is merely exposition… I won’t be offended if you skip it.)

3.L1020297 SOTD

I was a bit surprised myself last night when the light in the street corner of my apt started to look so interesting I had to make a shot or two.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been.

Ever since the hurricane two years ago damaged the outside roof and leaked into my apartment, requiring the entire wall surface to be replaced and repainted, the light over in that corner has really changed. (No, not this corner. Over there…, yeah, that one…)

Except for the fact most folk would be horrified by my dark cell of a ‘home’, I’d love to start bringing people in here to photograph, I so like the way light now affects the wall and that corner much of the day, but often most dramatically as the sunset light slices or slithers into the room, depending on the time of the year.

It’s kind of a North/East-ish exposure. I wish the window were twice as large, but it is what it is in this rattletrap place, carved out of the second floor of an over 130 year old building, which has always been a public bar or restaurant on the ground floor.

1. lower Main St., Port Washington, NY


(on my refrigerator door)


Not a bad snap of a nice Polish crystal vase I bought years ago and use to hold my change.

It’s really more a snapshot than it (I hope) looks.

I did place it there ‘artificially’, in order to make the shot. I was curious to see what the glass shape did with the curtained light.

But other than wiping off fingerprints (rather casually, I’m afraid…I’m not the obsessive compulsive studio control freak I’d like to be, so as to glean some of the big bucks those guys can make in one of the last genuinely lucrative aspects of the business) I really just took the picture.

So it really looked like that.

But, of course it didn’t at the same time.

I know what the meter ‘sees’ vs what I want to gather in the frame, so I adjusted accordingly. In this case, dialing in about two stops of underexposure. And the vase disappears into a design of light.

Although I made a couple of various snaps with three different cameras (the object originally sitting on the top of this box, which rests on the nightstand besides my mattress-on-a-metal-frame [I’d hardly call it a ‘bed’] which caught my attention was my glasses) this photograph of the vase was made on a Leica SL, with their 24-90mm zoom probably nearer the long end.

I was jammed into the wall, scrunching up pillows between my poor head and the wall surface. (That, unfortunately, being the angle where the light was nice.)

Photography rule: the light is virtually NEVER nice from an angle which allows shooting from a comfortable, seated position.

Let’s see…, what else? Oh, yeah…sorry…, obviously decided to shoot it in black and white. 

Starting with the Nikon Coolpix P7000, up to the D600, the D4, then the D800E, followed by the Leica Q, and now their professional mirrorless body, the wildly frustrating and excellent SL, I’ve shot more black and white in the last few years than in the first thirty years in photography, because NOW shooting black and white is a delight when you can PREVIEW it in the finder and then see the results on the screen. Nirvana for b&w folk. Many cameras shoot b&w, the ones I just listed seem to do a much better than average job for the way I like it to look. (I should add, I’m not as fond of Fuji’s black and white file as others seem to be. It’s EXCELLENT, but it’s just not for me. This is all REALLY personal preference stuff, not science. I like a sharper, more contrasting black to white, whereas some photogs like a longer tonal range. For me, the Nikon’s P7000 and D800E, and the Leica Q just nail it brilliantly.)

I don’t convert to b&w from a color file. Seeing it all later on a computer is useless to what I want to do.

Oh, I mentioned it’s real, but not real. Well, like Life, it’s just in how you interpret I suppose.

Since I decided to ramble on about the apartment light I made one additional snap, just for you. Here’s the way most cameras on full automatic or program would have seen the same subject in the light as it existed. And I widened the shot to show you can pull clean design out of visual clutter.




that pretty much covers it.


But of course, because of the stress, at 2:30 I meant to send this reply to Sam but accidentally sent it to Samy of Samy’s Cameras. I MAY have to cancel my subscription  to GarciaJokes.com!

Hi Joe,

I hope all is well with you.

Did you mean to send this to me or did you want to send it to Samy?

Samy’s email is samy@samys.com.

many thanks,


My reply:

Hi Sam,

I guess I missed the class on multiples at Nikon School.  I was out generating National Ads and award winning editorial photography.

There was no reason to send that particular photo to you other than Getty selected it.  One thing I will share with you that many fine photographers have forgotten.  One of the reasons most photographers get involved in photography is because they love it and want to have fun.  I’ve spent the last 4 decades breaking teeth, breaking my back trying desperately to make my clients happy and make a reasonable livelihood.  I’ve chosen to spend the balance of my days left on the planet having fun and learning how to become an amateur photographer.  Let’s call it full circle.

Have a fabulous, great, happy day.

Joe D”

©Joe DiMaggio - Please find Sam!

©Joe DiMaggio – Please find Sam Garcia!

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