Working Toward A Reasonable Level of Confidence


I can recall the moment like it was yesterday. I wanted a rangefinder. I wanted a camera that was tidy, discreet and would shoot like a boss.

My friend, Mike Levitt from LAT USA, let me try two of his… a Leica M8 and an Epson RS. Both very, very cool looking and equally as cool feeling. So off I went to roam the paddock.

Upon my returnto the photo room, you have know idea how disappointed I was. Sixty images… three in focus. I was stunned and totally disheartened. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to focus. After all, I started shooting in the 70’s…. all you had was manual focus. No… the problem was my eyes. Time had caught up with me.

Fast forward a few years, I had found a reasonable source of satisfaction for my rangefinder jones and was shooting with the Leica Digilux 2. I loved the camera. But along the way, I picked up a couple of converted Polaroid Pathfinders… vintage folding Polaroid’s from the 1950’s. Oddly… they used a rangefinder focusing system. Lo and behold, I discovered that if I used my reading glasses I had great success in focusing.

From there I jumped into a Leica M5… it was great. I was shooting with a rangefinder and loving it. But I wasn’t loving the workflow involved with film. The next step was obvious.

I soon swapped the M5 of a digital M8.2 and ultimately the full frame M9. Heaven.

Shooting with a rangefinder, for me, is the most satisfying and enjoyable form of photography I’ve ever done. I love it. I can’t get enough. I love the challenge. I love the process. And I love my time doing it. It’s personal. It’s emotional. It’s incredibly (creatively) satisfying.

I’m telling you this because I’m beginning to finally feel “in control” of this journey. Shooting with a rangefinder isn’t easy. Well… it is, actually. But we tend to make it complicated with our own fears. At least that’s how its been for me.

When I say “in control”… I guess I mean relaxed, confident, comfortable… and, yes… in control.

I’ve been taking my Leica along with all my Canon gear, to every race for the last two plus years. I’ve been trying to work it in to my workflow whenever possible…. though not at the risk of missing opportunities that result in necessary images for my client.

This weekend at the Long Beach Grand Prix I chose to use my Leica exclusively for all of my background and atmosphere shooting. All my personal and spadework was done with the Leica M along with the Leica 35mm Summicron and 90mm Summarit lenses.

I’m thrilled with the results.


Apr 05

Angie’s Beach Bash from John Thawley on Vimeo.

A spectacular day of fun in the sun with the Gomez kids coming together to celebrate Angie’s 18th birthday. Perfect weather for a perfect day in beautiful Naples.


Apr 04

Dan Miller Jazz Quintet


Jazz Trumpeter Dan Miller, formerly with Harry Connick Jr., Maynard Feguson and Wynton Marsalis, performed with a powerfully swinging jazz quintet in Bonita Springs tonight. The group appeared at the new Center for Performing Arts, an addition to the Bonita Springs Center for the Arts.

In response to community need, Center for the Arts launched a $3.3 Million Achieving Our Destiny Campaign to create the beautiful, new Center for Performing Arts, here in Bonita Springs.

The quintet included Tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto. Lew was a saxophonist with the Saturday Night Live band from 1975-2005 and was also an arranger for the show, Dan Heck on Bass, Ron on Drums, and featuring Kenny Drew Jr. on piano. Kenny Jr. has performed worldwide with a comprehensive variety of musicians, including Stanley Jordan, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Masters, the Mingus Big Band, Smokey Robinson and many others.

Thanks to my friend and neighbor, Gil Levine for bring this to my attention and inviting me along. It was a fantastic event and the Dan Miller Jazz Quintet were fantastic.

All images were shot using available light with the Leica M digital rangefinder. Lenses used were the Leica Summicron 50mm f/2 and the Leica Summarit 90mm f/2.5


Mar 30

2014 Davis Cup from John Thawley on Vimeo.

Village Walk of Bonita Springs held their annual Davis Cup event. Lots of fun… lots of tennis.


Feb 28


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10