Red Head in front of Gallleries Lafayette in Berlin.

 click on the image to see it bigger. The reflections are really pretty...

When I visit a new city the first thing I do, after checking into my hotel, is to get a good street map and memorize (in a very general way) where everything is. I won't know exact street names and such but I will understand just where the cool stuff is located. Once I've spent an hour or so with a real map I grab one camera, and the lens I think will make me happiest, shove an extra battery in my pocket and head for the front door.

I think the best way to see almost any city is to invest some shoe leather and walk the streets. The city will reveal itself to you, if you are open to it.

The image above was shot with a Samsung Galaxy NX camera. It was an infuriating camera and yet, an endearing camera. Infuriating in that it operated like an overgrown phone and was prone to, well, freezing up or shutting itself off at the least advantageous times. Endearing because when it did work the files could be quite beautiful in a way that was visually different from the usual Canon and Nikon files.

I was always a little surprised that the folks at Samsung dropped that camera so

A photo from a mystery camera comes out of the old Aperture files to confound me.

Does this happen to you? You come across a photo that you like for some group of technical reasons and you immediately cogitate that it must have come from one of your expensive super cameras festooned with some high priced, German lens. You play with the image and sniff around the edges and, after a while you remember that you can click that little "info" button and find the real provenance of the photograph. Then, sometimes, you have to come to grips with the reality that the image was made with a camera that you dismissed. That your own elitism deprived you of.

And it's usually a case of the camera being so inexpensive and unremarkable that you were comfortable bringing it along everywhere and even taking the chance that someone might spill beer on it. You might drop it but you knew a crack in the polycarbonate wouldn't make you cry.

And, all that is probably the same set of reasons you don't take that D810 or A7R2 with you when you pop out for a cold one with friends. And so, that camera; the precious one, is hardly ever present with you when you are out dipping your toes in the rippling streams of daily life. So it's rarely there to capture the fun stuff either.

The image above was taken with a long discontinued Sony A57 or A58 and the $200 35mm f1.8 lens. An APS-C camera with an electronic viewfinder and a careful price tag. When I saw the info box identifying the gear I had almost forgotten owning that little family of cameras. We concentrate on the big stars in the camera families like the A99 or A900. But it's the cameras that follow us around that get pointed more often at the good stuff.

Here's another one from a camera I traded away last year (below). Recently I bought a new copy and when I saw this frame in the mix, and the one of the soup just below it, I remembered why I liked that camera so much in the first place.

They are both from the original version of the Sony RX10. A cold day out walking. A quick lunch at the Royal Blue Grocery, across from Lance Armstrong's bike shop. I can't imagine that any "better" camera and lens would have produced anything "more" than what I ended up with. Effortlessly. 

I love the amateur cameras. Psychologically, they rarely get in the way.

Hot color day. Various cameras.

Sometimes it's fun to shoot color for color's sake. When the skies are clean and blue and the sun is direct the saturation and color purity makes me want to grab a camera and get outside. Science tells us that the act of taking long walks is a booster for our cognitive processes and creates a sense of optimism and well being. Doing these walks with a camera over one shoulder is an amplifier of these effects. I recommend a daily dose. The happiest photographers I know are the ones who are always engaged in some aspect of their process, from the walk to the edit, it's all good.