The Jewish Burqa Women

I've lived in - and around - Jerusalem for over 30 years; it's a great city for photographers; a plethora of ethnic groups and cultures.
The Old City - Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters, modern city life, Ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim...lots of options.
However, I really felt that I was getting "bored" walking around all these different areas.
I decided to focus on one, very small, group of people.
Mea Shearim is a very old neighbourhood, close to the bustling city centre - but, culturally, very very separate.
The ultra-orthodox Jewish Hasidic sects are all different - each maintaining their own customs, style of dress and lifestyles.
I can respect them all - they are certainly welcome to their beliefs, as I, to mine.
However, even amongst these Hasidic groups, there is a small sect that is on the very (cultural) fringes of the area.
They have an extreme view of Jewish Law and especially the laws of "modesty" for women's dress code. So, in fact, the women are completely covered in black burqas.
In general, Mea Shearim is a difficult area to photograph - there is no way to "blend in" and (generally) the ultra-orthodox don't like being photographed - reactions can range from simply turning away, to demanding to trash all the photographs. It's a combination of being respectful and being discrete.
The Burqa women are a far bigger challenge - they certainly don't 'hang around' outside their houses, they are a small number and certainly not happy to be photographed.
This is one photo from hours of being in the area.
I hope that this is going to be a work in progress.

Haredi burqa sect - Wikipedia

Tony Phillips - photographer, author and educator - would like to visit Israel

Tony Phillips - photographer, author and educator - would like to visit Israel.
Tony is the author of many photography books - both specialised guides to specific cameras and also general photography education.
He is generally concerned the best independent instructor on Fujifilm cameras.
More details about Tony

Tony would like to visit Israel and conduct two separate seminars and I am trying to assess the interest in participating.

1. Fujifilm Cameras (1-day)
everything for the Fuji owner (and also for the potential owner) - learn how to make maximum use of your Fuji camera 

2. Advanced Photography Seminar (2-days)

Both seminars will be taught in English
Participation will be limited to about 30 participants
(Absolutely no commitment at this stage)
Would you be interested in a seminar during the week? 
Day? Evening?
Location - Jerusalem? Tel Aviv? 


Apps for photographers

So I would like to talk about apps for photographers - not those apps for sharing photos on Social Media (Tumblr, EyeEm, 500px etc etc) nor those apps for using the in-phone camera (either for taking or for processing photos) but, rather, apps to be used alongside an external camera.
And in our case, we’re obviously talking about a Fujifilm-something.
My experience is with iPhone and the Apple Store but I'd welcome feedback from Android and Google Play users too.

It seems that, for me at least, my iPhone is an integral part of my every day carry - it's use has obviously gone beyond “just a phone” and carries a lot of critical information and apps (not just for photography) but, it seems, for my everyday existence....It's clearly an essential tool for many people.

I think there are a lot of very good photo apps out there; but sometimes it's hard to sort out the good from the bad....
Please don't just recommended the name of the app - but, rather,give us some idea of it's use.

I will start with the apps I currently have on my iPhone.
I'll also add whether the app is ’free’, ’in-app payment’ (download is free but afterwards certain features are  unavailable or there is advertising prior to payment) or, ’paid’. 
Also, I don’t see any point in listing the prices since every Apple store uses the local currency and so listing the prices in Israeli Shekels won't help too much.

Currently on my iPhone are the following apps:

Fuji Cam Remote (free) - for connecting my new XPro-2 to my phone via wifi. Once I figure out how to use the camera then I’ll connect to the app.

TPE The Photographer’s Ephemeris (paid) - a highly sophisticated and very well designed app for landscape photographer.
If you want a photo of a full solar eclipse rising over the peak of your local mountain, this app will give you exact location, time and date.
Definite learning curve to this app

Photo Transit (paid) companion app to TPE - digital field of view and shot planning app for landscape photos.

Portal/Fuji (free) a shortcut portal to get into our favourite forum. Occasionally gets “stuck”

F-Stop (in-app payment) by Jefro Studios. A simple calculator for working out DOP and Hyperlocal Distance. Can set profile for camera (XPro-1 is the best option)

Pocket Light Meter (in-app payment) by Nuwaste Studios. Uses the phone camera to measure light with adjustable Time, Aperture and ISO settings. Can also connect to an external Luxi light meter. 
No idea of it’s accuracy.

So that’s my collection; please comment and add your own recommendations.


A review of "Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X100S

On Instruction Manuals
- a review of "Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X100S" By
Alexander S.White**
from White Knight Press

I love Instruction Manuals - doesn't matter what kind, I love understanding how things work and how I can make them work for me..I'm not talking about the type of manual that's full of warnings about radiation, or 'don't use while operating heavy machinery' type of guide. But, rather, something that instructs and teaches.

And so it was when I was considering buying a Fujifilm X100S;
before I even ordered the camera, I downloaded the manual in order to get some idea what this camera was capable of doing - a much better assessment that an advertising brochure.
After the camera was ordered (there where back orders in those early days) - I took the downloaded manual and had it properly printed and spiral-bound - I figured I was going to be using it a lot.
I read this guide a couple of times, even before the camera arrived - and, once again,  even after it was delivered. I often refer to this manual. 

I should add, that I really love this camera - not 'quite like' or ’enjoy’, it's more than that...This camera has reawakened everything that I love about photography - it's my companion wherever I go, it's recording my life and my world. And it’s important that I know how to fully maximize it’s use.

And this is where the official Fuji manual fails; sure it covers all the basics, in touches (sometimes a mere one-liner) on some of the more advanced stuff - and it ignores a whole lot more...and that's not so good.

This is where Alexander S. White’s Guide starts to becoming really good.

The book is big - around 400 hundred pages, well illustrated (mainly, it seems, using ornaments from around his living room) and a wee bit quirky.
This is not great literature, it’s sometimes even written a bit sloppy - but it should be considered (and this is how I imagine it) - as a teacher, teaching his class of students. 
A bit of jumping around, a bit of “hold that question till later” but, essentially, we are listening to a very erudite professor.

If there is one (slightly) annoying flaw, is that White is not exactly sure who his students are: are we a classroom of advanced photographic students, or are we 101 Photography?
On page 67 he writes
“the camera’s sensor is controlled by the combination of aperture (how wide open the lens is) and shutter speed (how long the shutter remains open to let in the light)” 
- and that’s a wee bit frustrating for the advanced students.
On the other hand, the book is packed with information not found in the official manual;
How to take multi self-timed photos
What are all the different colours for the exposure values in the EVF.
etc etc.
Really a lot of great stuff in this book.

Who should buy this guide?
- not people ’considering’ buying the X100S
- not people who has just bought the camera; the basic operating use makes the camera sound too difficult.
But everybody else should buy this book!
We've spent over $1000 on a fantastic camera, we’ve spent some time learning the basics - now’s the time to real maximize our knowledge and really master the X100S

Highly recommended, ignore the quirky bits.


Dan Winters - The Grey Ghost

Dan Winters - The Grey Ghost
Published by Rocky Nook. July 2016
ISBN 978-1-68198-083-6

We are literally drowning in a swamp of forgettable images; our phones, tablets and computers feed us an unstoppable quantity of photographs - via our friends, our friends, friends and through the general mucous of social media.

And how do the images of Capa and Cartier-Bresson and other great photographers compare? 
Maybe the wonderful curators at MoMA or somewhere similar, can explain what makes a great photograph great - for the rest of us, it’s a question of visual memory;
Photographs from the Normandy Beach Landing are engraved deeply - remembered over time…in contrast, your friend’s Instagram from a few minutes ago, is already forgotten.
(incidentally, Winters has an Instagram account…but that’s a wee bit different, you know what i mean)

And so it is with Dan Winters;
This is his fifth book - the first three books were basically albums of his work - however, his previous book
“Road to Seeing” New Riders, 2014. ISBN 0321886399 - was a massive autobiographical reflection on his life and his work - text interspersed with photographs.
In contrast, his latest book “The Grey Ghost” - is all photographs (the photos don’t even include title, location or anything).

For full disclosure, I received a complementary copy of this book for review - but, having bought two copies of his previous book - one as the Hardback version (for the photos) and also the eBook (for the text) - I would have certainly ordered this latest book.

So what are we to make of this book?
Since there is not much text to read, all we can do is look at the photographs - and that's maybe how it should be.
At the end of the book, there is a listing of photo-titles and dates plus a short article by Winters.

We have 97 full-page black and white images of New York photographed from 1987 until today.
The book is superbly produced - elegant design and thick glossy pages (I’d be reluctant to put this book on my coffee table - scared that someone might actually spill coffee…)

The images are memorable and timeless.

my book actually arrived on 9/11; now I’ve only been to New York once , but I never saw the World Trade Center - the first photograph that I looked at it the book (actually on page 4) is from the Empire State Building with the Twin Towers in the background - the sheer enormity of the towers dwarfs lower Manhattan. A truly remarkable photograph.

Similarly with the Statue of Liberty - a monument photographed from every possible angle and viewpoint - but it’s up to Dan Winters to find the one position that creates such a wonderful image.

People and Monuments, street photography and landscapes - a fitting tribute to New York and to Dan Winters - all become engraved within our visual memory.