Streaming radio…Megaton Café…a blast from the past!


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When I’m printing artist’s books I get kinda bored. I like to listen to radio as I’m printing. Sadly FM radio is pretty much crap nowadays. I tried watching TV, but I make too many mistakes trying to keep 3 inkjet printers running. While I can print a book with 1 printer, it is too time intensive for printing books in bulk.

Eventually I gave up on FM radio and switched to internet streaming radio. I like streaming radio much better, there is a huge diversity available and very little commercials and BS.

Megaton Café is one of my fav streaming radio stations. They cover 1920’s to 1950’s…swing, jazz, big band and oldies. They are ‘nuclear bomb age’ themed…crazy!


The commercials are wild, they are all vintage.  The ‘duck and cover’ commercials bring me back to when I was a kid growing up in L.A. in the 1960’s. Every month they would test the bomb raid siren on the last Friday of the month.


Duck and Cover 1951 Bronx, NY

When we heard the siren we would get under our desks and put our hands and arms around our head as we crouched into a little ball. We never gave it any thought, just something we would do. Thought it was as natural as apple pie. Well it was a different world back then…


We would go in the record store and sample the 45’s on a row of turntables.


Blister gunner M.E. Padilla 1953 – 98th Bombwing, Korea

The US had finished up WWII and was still battling communism in Korea in the 1950’s. My dad used to take me to the Army Surplus store on the weekends.


UFO’s and flying saucers were the pre-sputnik craze. This was shot July 16, 1952 in Salem, MA by S.R. Alpert of the U.S. Coastguard.


Schoolboys 1951 NY.

The world didn’t have 2 billion cell phone cams at large back then. Even so, photography was still a popular pastime for many.

…well enuf reminiscing…back to printing!

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Do you really want to use tap water for mixing darkroom chemicals?


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Article Dedication

In honor of

Paul Himmel & Hanns Hubmann


I’ve tested a fair amount of tap water in the US and found it to be a poor choice for mixing up darkroom chemicals. Sure, you can use it, but if your after the most consistent and best results in your processing efforts, then distilled water should be your choice of water. When you see what is in a gallon of tap water you can see tap water can be pretty filthy stuff.


In the early 1970’s we used to pay a couple bucks or less for a premixed gallon of D-76, Dektol or fixer at Mel Pierce or Pan Pacific Camera. Freestyle was another source for cheap chemicals. As a kid I used tap water in L.A. for any chemicals I mixed up in my darkroom, I didn’t have any extra $ for distilled water. Back then I used the kitchen or bathroom for my darkroom. Still I produced some decent work in my makeshift darkrooms.

'Left Silver Gelatin Print - Right Hahnemuehle Ink Jet Print' Copyright 2013 Daniel Teoli Jr. mr

Vintage 1974 Agfa Brovira print left ~ Modern 2012 Hahnemühle Ultra Smooth Matte Inkjet print right

4 img001-Tiff v2 Print MR

A camera fondler on one of the photo forums wanted to use a coffee filter to filter tap water for his darkroom chemical mixing. Most of the film devotees of the current era are of the anal type. They love the chemistry process more so than producing iconic images. (At least that is what I see from the majority of them and the crap they produce on film.)

Even so, you would think their anal nature would be all over distilled water to obtain the purest and best form of liquid gold for their wet processing instead of trying to use a coffee filter. So, let me set the anal wet darkroom processors straight as to what is actually in their water, or at least what could be, as water varies greatly by region and municipality.


Above: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV unfiltered tap water. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Ohio River

Radioactive Test: Normal




Above: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of the same Wheeling, WV tap water above that was filtered through a double layer of paper coffee filters. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Ohio River

Radioactive Test: Normal


Well, so much for the coffee filter idea…



As I have been traveling around the US shooting for my project The Americans…60 years after Frank I have picked up samples of tap water from various locals.

Here are the residue results of distilling tap water, well water, spring water, melted snow water, rain water and purified water (processed and filtered tap water.)  At the end of this post are tests for water filters, filtering water pitchers, a self-fill water vending machine and a water distiller.

If you filtering your water for darkroom use the ZeroWater filter tested the best. The vending machines also did an excellent job at cleaning up the water.

Scope of Testing


Municipal Tap Water:

Wheeling, WV (tap)

Pittsburgh, PA (tap)

Martin’s Ferry, OH (tap)

St. Clairesville, OH (tap)

Steubenville, OH (tap)

Cadiz, OH (tap)

Woodsfield, OH (tap)

Moundsville, WV (tap)

Bridgeport, OH (tap)

New Martinsville, WV (tap)

Beech Bottom, WV (tap)

Detroit, MI (tap)

Morgantown, WV (tap)

Dallas, TX (tap)

Knoxville, TN (tap)

Richardson, TX (tap)

Cambridge, OH (tap)

Thornville, OH (tap)

Chillicothe, OH (tap)

Charlotte, NC (tap)

Cleveland, OH (tap)

New York City, NY (tap)

Jersey City, NJ (tap)

Harrisburg, PA (tap)

Bethlehem, PA (tap)

Philadelphia, PA (tap)

Myrtle Beach, SC (tap)

Walton, KY (tap)

Troy, IL (tap)

Oak Grove, MO (tap)

Topeka, KS (tap)

Oklahoma City, OK (tap)

Wright City, MO (tap)

Brazil, IN (tap)


Well, Spring, Rain, Snow and River Water Tests:

Melted fresh snow water (Ohio Valley)

Rain water (Ohio Valley)

Smithfield, Ohio (well water unfiltered)

Ohio River (raw river water)

Woodsfield, Ohio (spring water unfiltered )


Bottled Water:

Tyler Mountain (spring)

Kroger (purified)

Niagara (purified)

Crystal Geyser (spring)

Absopure (purified)

Crystal Geyser (spring)

Polar (spring)

Valley Pure / United Dairy (drinking)

Ice mountain (spring)

Fiji (spring)

Evian (spring)

Deja Blue (purified)

Aquafina (purified)

Great Value / Wal-Mart (purified)

Great Value / Wal-Mart (spring)

Icelandic Glacial (spring)

Giant Eagle / Creekside Springs Water Company (spring)

Deer Park (spring)

Disani (purified)

Kroger (spring)

Kroger (drinking)

Kroger (distilled)


Water Filters:





Glacier / Water Island / Kroger self-fill water vending machine

Primo / Culligan / Wal-Mart self-fill water vending machine

Water Distiller

Water pollution as well as water scarcity is in the news a lot nowadays. Distilling water is a quick acid test you can do to find out what residue is in your water. It is amazing what is in your water that you can’t see.

Distillng does not give you the results for bacteria content, chemicals, radioactive or volatile components that will boil off as gases. But it gives you a glimpse as to what is in your water after you boil off the water as steam and condense the steam back into water leaving behind the heavier waste components that won’t boil off.

I had heard that fracking is causing water to become radioactive in some areas, so I have tested some of the water samples for radioactivity.

1 gal tap water distilled mr

 Above: Wheeling, WV tap water test #1

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV city tap water. The water left a brown residue that has a foul smell. The resulting distilled water has to be distilled a second time to make it taste like spring water that has been distilled once.  I don’t know what the brown residue is, but the toilets and many factories dump waste into the Ohio River and that is where most of the tap water comes from.

Water Source: Ohio River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 2015


1 gal Wheeling - Ohio River tap water distilled 1.28.16

 Above: Wheeling, WV tap water test #2 *

Distillation residue (test #2) from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV city tap water. I retested the Wheeling tap water in the winter to see if there was any seasonal difference between test #1. The water left a brown residue. Not too much of a smell this time around, but the residue was loaded with grit and debris. The area circled in red had free-flowing grit in it that can be readily scooped up. Bottom line for Wheeling, WV tap water test #2…the water is dirtier, but smells better.

* See test results at end for running this water through a PUR, Brita and Zero water filter pitchers.

Water Source: Ohio River

Tested: January 2016


1 gal Pittsburgh tap water distilled

 Above: Pittsburgh, PA – (Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority) tap water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority city tap water. The water left a brown residue that has ‘cooked’, but not disagreeable odor.

Water Source: Allegheny River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 11, 2016


1 gal Martins Ferry OH distilled

Above: Martins Ferry, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Martins Ferry, OH city tap water. The water left a very light brown residue with no odor.

Water Source: Various Aquifer Wells – Route 7 Ohio

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: March 2, 2016


1 gal St. Clairsville, Ohio tap water distilled 3.7.16

1 gal St. Clairsville, Ohio tap water distilled cu 3.7.16

Above: St. Clairsville, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of St. Clairsville, OH city tap water. The water left a heavy, claylike residue that became hardened and could not be removed without a 6 hour acid bath. Very light brown residue in the residual liquid with no odor.

Water Source: Reservoirs located on Vineyard Hills Rd. and Reservoir Rd. St. Clairsville, Ohio with 6.45% well water purchased from Belmont County Safety Sewer District  (Data from 2013 water quality report.)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: March 7, 2016


1 gal Steubenville, Ohio tap water distilled

Above: Steubenville, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Steubenville, OH city tap water. The water left a brown liquid residue with some odor.

Water Source: Intakes at mile marker 65.3 of the Ohio River. (Per city water report 2012)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: March 26, 2016


1 gal Cadiz OH tap water distilled 1 gal Cadiz OH tap water distilled CU

Above: Cadiz, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Cadiz, OH city tap water. The water left a brownish liquid residue with some odor. Heavy buildup requiring a long acid bath to remove.

Water Source: The Village of Cadiz public water system uses surface water from Tappan Lake, which was created by impounding Little Stillwater Creek. Two secondary sources, Sparrow Reservoir and two public water supply wells at the Cadiz well field, are maintained as back-ups but currently are not in use. (Per water report 2014)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: March 29, 2016


1 gal Woodsfield, Ohio tap water distilled

Above: Woodsfield, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Woodsfield, OH city tap water. The water left an almost clear liquid residue with no odor. Cleanest sample of tap water tested to date.

Water Source: Two reservoirs on Whittenbrook Run supplemented by pump on Sunfish Creek.  (Per village of Woodsfield water report)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 6, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Moundsville tap water 5.6.16

Above: Moundsville, WV tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Moundsville, WV city tap water. The water left a clear liquid residue with no odor. One of the cleanest sample of tap water tested to date. Did not require an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Deep wells

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 6, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Bridgeport tap water 5.8.16

Above: Village of Bridgeport, OH tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Bridgeport, OH tap water. The water left a clear liquid residue with no odor. Heavy mineral content with some white flecks. Residue went up the side of the entire boiling pot and lid. Required a heavy acid cleanup.

Water Source: 5 Ground wells

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 8, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of New Martinsville, WV tap water 5.15.16 mr

Above: New Martinsville, WV tap water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of New Martinsville, WV tap water. The water left a clear liquid residue with no odor. Heavy mineral content went up the side of the entire boiling pot Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: 5 wells drawing its water from the Alluvial Aquifer.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 15, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Beech Bottom, WV tap water 6.29 (1)

Above: Beech Bottom, WV

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Beech Bottom, WV tap water.  Residue went up 3/4 the way of the boiling pot. Heavy, calcified residue on bottom. Required 3 acid baths over a 10 hour period to clean up.

Water Source: Various wells

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: June 29, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Detroit, Michigan tap water 7.16 m

Above: Detroit, MI

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Detroit, MI tap water.  The water left a dark brown liquid residue with no odor and moderate solid residue. Required a 30 minute acid cleanup.

Water Source: The sources of supply to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department System (DWSD) are the Detroit River and Lake Huron. Water from the Detroit River is taken through the Belle Isle intakes and is treated at the Northeast and the Springwells Plants. The water taken from Lake Huron near the City of Port Huron is treated at the Lake Huron Treatment Plant. (per city water report)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 2, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Morgantown WV tap water 7.16.16

Above: Morgantown, WV (Clinton Water District)

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Morgantown, WV (Clinton Water District) tap water.  Liquid and solid residue was pretty minimal. Required a light acid cleanup.

Water Source: ?

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 16, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Dallas, TX tap water 7.25.16 (2)

Above: Dallas, TX

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Dallas, TX tap water.  Dark brown liquid residue, strong unpleasant cooked odor. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Dallas currently obtains water from area reservoirs: Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Lewisville, Lake Grapevine, Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Tawakoni. We also have plans to use Lake Fork and Lake Palestine in the future when water demands increase. All of Dallas’ water supply comes from surface water (water from reservoirs or rivers). We do not use any ground water (water from wells), although Dallas does sit atop an aquifer. (per City of Dallas website.)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 25, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Knoxville TN tap water 7.26.16 m

Above: Knoxville, TN

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of  Knoxville, TN tap water. Distillation left a medium brown liquid residue with a small amount of solid waste that required a light acid bath to clean up.

Water Source: Tennessee River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 26, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Richardson, TX tap water 7.27.16 m

Above: Richardson, TX

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Richardson, TX tap water. Distillation left a dark brown liquid residue with a small amount of solid waste that required a light acid clean up. There was a good deal of rainbow discoloring which may mean a high amount of chemicals in the water.

Water Source: Since 1965, Richardson has obtained its water supply through a contract with the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), a quasi-state agency created by the State legislature in 1954.The NTMWD treats and distributes water from Lake Lavon impoundment reservoir, Lake Chapman, Lake Texoma and New Bonham Reservoir. (per City of Richardson website)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 27, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Cambridge OH tap water 7.28.16 m

Above: Cambridge, OH

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Cambridge, OH tap water. Distillation left a brown liquid residue. Required an acid clean up.

Water Source: Cambridge Reservoir (per phone call to Cambridge water dept.)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 28, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Thornville OH tap water 7.28.16 m

Above: Thornville, OH

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Thornville, OH tap water. Distillation left a cloudy brown liquid residue. Required a light acid clean up.

Water Source: The Village of Thornville maintains two drilled wells for their water supply. The wells are considered ground water. They are located at 112 W. Columbus Street, Thornville, Ohio. The Village of Thornville treats the water minimally by adding a form of chlorine to ensure its safety while it is delivered to your home. (per Village of Thornville  website)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 29, 2016



Above: Chillicothe, OH

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Chillicothe, OH tap water. Distillation left a muddy brown liquid residue. Required a light acid clean up.

Water Source: Eight wells part of the Teays Valley Aquifer, OH

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: September 9, 2016



Above: Charlotte, NC

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Charlotte, NC tap water. Very clean tap water, little residue, water residue almost clear. The cleanest tap water I have tested to date.

Water Source: Catawba River /Mt. Island Lake /Lake Norman

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: September 22, 2016



Above: Cleveland, OH

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Cleveland, OH tap water. Not much solid residue, water left a brown liquid residue.

Water Source: Lake Erie

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: September 27, 2016



Above: New York City, NY

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of New York City, NY tap water. Not much solid residue, water left a brown liquid residue. Water was collected from new construction at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. Required a light acid clean up.

Water Source: 19 reservoirs and 3 lakes which extends 125 miles north and west of New York City.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 10.20.16



Above: Jersey City, NJ

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Jersey City, NJ tap water. Some gritty residue, water left a dark brown liquid residue. Some deposits up the side of the boiling pot as seen on left and right of photo. Did not require an acid clean up.

Water Source: Boonton Reservoir, NJ

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 10.21.16



Above: Harrisburg, PA

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Harrisburg, PA  tap water. The water left a light brown residue.

Water Source: Main: DeHart Reservoir. Susquehanna River secondary emergency source.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 10.22.16



Above: Bethlehem, PA

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Bethlehem, PA tap water. Residue went up most of the side of boiling pot. Water residue looked cleanish, but it was hard to tell as mineral deposits absorbed most of the leftover water.

Water Source: City of Bethlehem’s water comes entirely from surface sources, namely the Wild Creek Reservoir, Towamensing Township, Carbon County, in a watershed that covers 22 square miles and the Penn Forest Reservoir, Penn Forest Township, Carbon County and Polk Township, Monroe County, in a watershed that covers 17 square miles. This primary water supply is located 22 miles north of the City. The Tunkhannock Creek, Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County provides a supplemental supply to the Penn Forest Reservoir. Dual transmission mains can carry up to 47 million gallons of water per day to the City’s water filtration plant in Lehigh Township and from there to the distribution system. (per City of  Bethlehem website)

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 10.25.16



Above: Philadelphia, PA

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Philadelphia, PA tap water. The water left a brown liquid residue.

Water Source: Philadelphia’s water intakes are on the Schuylkill River, which is fed by streams whose sources include treated effluent from sewage plants. See:

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.6.16



Above: Myrtle Beach, SC

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Myrtle Beach, SC tap water. The water left a dark brown liquid residue with lots of granular solid waste.

Water Source: Waccamaw and Pee Dee River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.14.16



Above:Walton, KY

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Walton, KY tap water.

Water Source: Unknown

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.15.16



Above: Troy, IL

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Troy, IL tap water. Granular residue covered the entire boiling pot and lid. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: 4 wells in Collinsville, IL

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.16.16



Above: Oak Grove, MO

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Oak Grove, MO tap water. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Various ground water wells, no specifics listed at website.

Radioactive Test: Normal




Above: Topeka, KS

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Topeka, KS tap water. Required a light acid cleanup.

Water Source: Kansas River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.18.16



Above: Oklahoma City, OK

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Oklahoma City, OK tap water. Distillation residue contained a high amount of minerals. Granular residue covered the entire boiling pot. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source:

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.19.16



Above: Wright City, MO

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wright City, MO tap water. Distillation residue contained a high amount of minerals. Granular residue covered most of the boiling pot.

Water Source: 3 ground water wells.

         Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.21.16



Above: Brazil, IN

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Brazil, IN tap water. Water left a brown liquid residue.

Water Source: Ground water wells located along the westerly edge of the Walnut Creek in Putnam County.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: 11.21.16


<><><><>  Well, Spring, Rain, Snow and River Water Tests  <><><><>

1 gal snow water distilled Tri-state area PA-OH-WV

Above: Snow Water Tri-state area of Ohio – Pennsylvania – West Virginia

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of water derived from melted fresh snow. It has a slightly disagreeable odor and brown residue with lots of dirt in it. (circled in red.)

Water Source:  Melted fresh snow from Tri-state area of Ohio – Pennsylvania – West Virginia. Collected approximately 1/2 hour after snowfall in 1-1/2 foot deep snow pile.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: January 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of rain water 7.16.16 m

Above: Rain Water Tri-state area of Ohio – Pennsylvania – West Virginia

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of collected rain water. Water residue was clear, slightly off color brown with lots of dirt.

Water Source:  Rain water collected off asphalt shingled roof and through gutter system during a torrential rain storm. Water was collected at 10:30 PM after allowing rain to wash roof and gutters for 15 minutes.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: July 16, 2016


1 gal Smithfield Ohio well water distilled

Smithfield Ohio well water Smithfield Ohio well water residue

Above: Smithfield, Ohio well water – unfiltered

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Smithfield Ohio unfiltered well water. The water left a large amount of granular and pasty residue with a cooked odor. Close-up photo of finger shows the paste like character of this residue. There was heavy residue throughout the distillation chamber. There was even residue on the lid of the distiller – that was a first. The residue shown on my finger was from a small 1 inch area of the bottom. There was enough residue in the bottom of the pot for a dozen or more fingers. There was no residual water was left after distillation as the residue absorbed it all.

Water Source: Smithfield, Ohio well water – unfiltered

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: March 15, 2016

Below are the before and after photos showing one cities municipal filtering efficiency by taking their source Ohio River water in its raw state and processing it through their water treatment plant.

Raw unfiltered Ohio river water Raw unfiltered Ohio river water c;loseup The river water has a high degree of visible solids in it. I took the sample during a weeklong dry spell so the muddy runoff would be minimal.

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Ohio River raw, unfiltered water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of unfiltered Ohio River water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of unfiltered Ohio River water closeup

Below: Distillation residue of the above Ohio River water after it has been run through the water treatment plant.

1 gal Wheeling - Ohio River tap water distilled 1.28.16

Even after water has been processed through a water treatment plant it can pick up chemicals and debris from the holding tanks, pumps and delivery pipes. The treated water showed more sandy residue in the distillation sample than the raw river water.

Water Source: Ohio River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 17, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Woodsfield, OH unfiltered spring water 5.12.16

Above: Woodsfield, OH Unfiltered Spring Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Woodsfield, OH unfiltered spring water. The water left a very light brown liquid residue with no odor. Heavy mineral content at bottom of boiling pot. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Aquifer Spring

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 12, 2016



<><><><>  Bottled Water Tests  <><><><>

1 gal spirng water distilled mr

  Above: Tyler Mountain Spring Water.

Water Source: Various fresh water springs in PA and MD.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 2015 above / Retested April 11, 2016 below.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Tyler Mountain spring water. It has no odor or brown residue. Looks like it has a lot more minerals in the white residue. Water is processed with charcoal filtration and U.V. light sterilization.

Below is a re-test of Tyler Mountain Spring Water done on 4.11.2016. The sample spring water had a strong chemical taste. When I distilled a 1 gallon sample, the water produced a very different picture than the Tyler Mountain spring water sample above.

The re-tested sample showed very little minerals and some staining. While the distillation residue looked clean, this water sample was the worst tasting water encountered to date. This underscores the fact that distillation does not show up everything that is in the water.

You would think drinking spring water would be pretty safe. Surprisingly there are many recalls with bottled water from various water producers.  You can Google ‘bottled water recall’ to stay up to date.

1 gal Tyler Mountain spirng water distilled retest

Above: Tyler Mountain Spring Water / Re-test

Water Source: Various fresh water springs in PA and MD.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 11, 2016


1 gal Kroger Purified water distilled mr

 Above: Kroger purified water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger purified water. It has no odor or mineral residue. The bottle says the water was processed by advanced filtration, ozone and reverse osmosis.  I was really surprised how clean purified water can be.

Kroger Purified Drinking Water sm

Water Source: Irving, Texas – Lake Chapman or Lewisville Lake is main source.

Tested: April 2015


Borough of Hamburg PA - Niagara

  Above: Kroger / Niagara Bottling purified water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger (Niagara Bottling LLC) purified water. It has no odor or mineral residue. The bottle says the water was processed by reverse osmosis.

Kroger Purified Drinking Water

Water Source: Borough of Hamburg, PA.

Tested: January 2016


1 gal Absopure Plymouth Michigan distilled

Above: Absopure purified water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Absopure purified water. It has no odor or mineral residue. Water is processed with reverse osmosis, multi barrier micron filtration, U.V. light sterilization and ozone.

Water Source: Plymouth, Michigan municipal water supply.

Tested: January 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring water Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring water 2

Above: Crystal Geyser Alpine spring water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Crystal Geyser Alpine spring water. It had a cooked odor. For bottled spring water this sample had a tremendous amount of distillation residue and left the residual water brown. It greatly surpassed any other bottled spring water tested for dissolved solids. Residue was up the side of the entire boiling pot and covered the distiller lid. Distillation pot required a 2 hour acid bath to clean it up. Bottled water was processed with advanced filtration and ozone according to website.


As can be seen in the photo of the bottle the sample was taken from – perfectly clear water can hide lots of things in it.

Water Source: Canajoharie Springs – NY

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 13, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Polar Spring Water Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Polar Spring Water 2 Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Polar Spring Water 3

Above: Polar Spring Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Polar Spring water. It had a cooked odor. This sample had a tremendous amount of distillation residue. Residue was up the side of the entire boiling pot but stopped short of the distiller lid. Finger shows one swipe on the bottom of the distiller.

Water Source: Roaring Run Springs – Roaring Run, PA

Radioactive Test: N.A.

Tested: April 18, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Valley Pure Drinking Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Valley Pure Drinking Water closeup

Above: Valley Pure Drinking Water (United Dairy)

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Valley Pure Drinking Water.  This sample had a tremendous amount of distillation residue for bottled water. The boiling pot required an acid cleanup. Water was processed with charcoal filtration and ozone per bottle label.

Below is the municipal water distillation sample before it is filtered and bottled as Valley Pure water. It seems the Valley Pure sample of bottled water has more residue in it than the actual city tap water that it was taken from. Although, it is not the exact water that was processed by Valley Pure as this sample below was distilled March 2, 2016.

1 gal Martins Ferry OH distilled

Water Source: Martin’s Ferry, Ohio municipal water.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 19, 2016 (Valley Pure) & March 2, 2016 (Municipal Water / source)


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Ice Mountain Spring Water Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Ice Mountain Spring Water 2

Above:  Ice Mountain Spring Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of  Ice Mountain Spring water. This sample had a large amount of distillation residue. Residue was up the side of the entire boiling pot but stopped short of the distiller lid. The water residue had a slight brown color.

Water Source: Various springs in Michigan: Sanctuary Spring – Rodney MI, Evart Spring – Evart MI, White Pine Spring – Evart MI.

Radioactive Test: Normal.

Tested: April 22, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Fiji Spring water

Above: Fiji Spring Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Fiji Spring water. Light residue was 2/3 up the side of of the boiling chamber. The average spring water can be cleaned up with a 45 minute acid bath and a quick wipe out with a bottle brush. The Fiji sample had very heavy residue on bottom that 2 separate acid baths over 6 hours would not clean up. It took a 3rd acid bath and heavy scouring to finally clean it up. Without acid baths the residue is hardly touched by scouring pads alone. As the hardened deposits are dissolved little by little in the acid it starts to neutralize the power of the acid to dissolve more of the residue.

Water Source:Fiji

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 23, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Evian Spring water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Evian Spring water 2

Above: Evian Spring Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Evian Spring water. Residue completely covered the boiling pot and lid. This distillation produced a tremendous amount of small explosions throughout the entire distilling process. The explosions were so severe that they blew out the electric cord from the boiling pot. If you are familiar with cooking meat in the microwave, then you know about the explosions I am talking about. The explosions lasted about 5 hours. The residue cleaned up with scouring only and did not require an acid cleanup. If your after mineral water Evian seems to be the champ.

Water Source: Cachat Spring – Evian, France.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 25, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of DejaBlue purified water

Above: Deja Blue Purified Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Deja Blue purified water. It has no odor or mineral residue. Water is processed with reverse osmosis, charcoal filtration, U.V. light sterilization and ozone.

Water Source: No disclosure

Tested: April 26, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Aquafina purified water

Above: Aquafina Purified Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Aquafina purified water. It had a very small amount of gritty residue.

Water Source:  No disclosure

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 26, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Great Value (Walmart) Drinking Water

Above: Great Value / Wal-Mart / Magnetic Springs Water Company Purified Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Great Value / Wal-Mart / Magnetic Springs Water Company purified water. Processed with reverse osmosis.

Water Source: Municipal water Columbus, OH

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 27, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Great Value (Walmart) Spring Water

Above: Great Value / Wal-Mart / Magnetic Springs Water Company Spring  Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Great Value / Wal-Mart / Magnetic Springs Water Company spring water. Processed with ozonation. Clean water, no minerals.

Water Source: Pine Grove Springs – Lancaster, OH

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 27, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Icelandic Glacial Spring water

Above: Icelandic Glacial Spring Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Icelandic Glacial spring water. Results showed a small amount of mineral residue. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Ölfus Spring – Iceland

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 28, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Giant Eagle - Creekside Springs spring water 5.1.16

Above: Giant  Eagle / Creekside Springs Water Company Spring  Water.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Giant  Eagle / Creekside Springs Water Company spring  water. Left a good balance of minerals. Required an acid cleanup.

Water Source: Columbia County, OH

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 1, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon ofDeer Park Spring Water 5.2.2016

Above: Deer Park Spring Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Deer Park spring water. Good mineral mix. Residue went up 40% of the side. Required some acid cleanup.

Water Source: Frontier Springs – New Tripoli, PA and various springs in PA and MD.

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 29, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Disani purified water with minerals 5.3.16

Above: Disani Purified Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Disani purified water with added minerals for taste.

Water Source: No disclosure

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: May 3, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger Spring Water 8.29.16 m

Above:  Kroger Spring Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger Spring Water. Great amount of minerals up 90% of the side of the boiling pot. Reminded me of Evian as it had small explosions while distilling (although much less than Evian) and the residue cleaned up easily with no acid cleanup required.

Kroger Spring Water 8.29.16 m

Water Source: No disclosure

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: August 29, 2016


Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger Drinking Water 8.30 (2)

Above:  Kroger Drinking Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger Drinking Water. Was pretty dirty compared to purified water. Brown liquid residue, required a light acid cleanup.

Kroger Drinking Water

Big difference in Kroger Drinking Water as opposed to Kroger’s Purified Drinking Water as shown below.

1 gal Kroger Purified water distilled mr

Water Source: No disclosure

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: August 30, 2016



Above: Kroger Distilled Water

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Kroger Distilled Water. No residue to speak of. A small speck of dirt, otherwise clean.

Water Source: No disclosure

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: September 3, 2016



<><><><>   Test Results for Water Filters   <><><><>

 PUR, Brita, ZeroWater, Berkey Black Filtering Water Pitchers and Glacier / Water Island self-fill water vending machine.

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV test #2 tap water that was used for testing all of the following water filters.

1 gal Wheeling - Ohio River tap water distilled 1.28.16

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV test #2 tap water after it has been run through the PUR Ultimate 7 cup filtering pitcher.

PUR 7 cup water filter results using whg wv tap water

The next photo is a close up of the leftover grit in water after PUR water filter processing.

PUR 7 cup water filter reults whg tap water 1.28 cu

The tap water treated by the PUR filter still ended up tell-tale brown. Although it is a lighter brown than distilling 1 gallon of the same water without the use of the PUR filter.

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV test #2 tap water after it has been run through the  Brita 10 cup filtering water pitcher.

Brita 10 cup water filter results Whg WV tap water 1.28.16 (2)

The Brita 10 cup filter water pitcher left a lot more residue than the PUR filtering pitcher. There is loose sandy residue shown circled in red that the PUR filter removed.

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV test #2 tap water after it has been run through the  ZeroWater 12 cup filtering water pitcher.

ZEROWATER 12 cup water filter results Whg WV tap water 1.28.16

The ZeroWater 12 cup filtering water pitcher did the best job. The ZeroWater 12 cup filtering water pitcher produced highly cleaned water with no resemblance to the original Ohio River tap water that was filtered through it. Really amazing. The filtering process is very slow, but the results speak for themselves. While not perfect filtering…it is close to it.

Between the 4 filtering pitchers tested, ZeroWater was the only one that did not require an acid cleaner used on the distiller due to mineral and residue deposit buildup. The ZeroWater left virtually no residue in the distiller.

Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV test #2 tap water after it has been run through the Berkey Black filtering water dispenser. Two Berkey Black water filters were used in the test.

Big Berkey water filter

The next photo is a close up of the leftover grit in water after Berkey water filter processing.

1 gal Big Berkey water filter close up

Brita, Pur and ZeroWater filtering water pitchers were tested: January 2016. Berkey Black water filter dispenser was tested March 2016.


Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Wheeling, WV  tap water filtered through a Glacier / Water Island / Kroger self-fill water vending machine. Very impressive results. With your own bottle it is .39 cents per gallon.

1 gal Wheeling WV tap water processed with Glacier self service vending machine Glacier self-serve water vending machine

While I don’t have a sample of the raw tap water run through the vending machine, on average, this is how the Ohio River sourced tap water tests.

Below: Before and after photo of efficiency of Glacier Water vending machine filtering.

1 gal Wheeling - Ohio River tap water distilled 1.28.16

1 gal Wheeling WV tap water processed with Glacier self service vending machine

Water Source: Ohio River

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 12, 2016


Below: Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Triadelphia, WV tap water filtered through a Primo / Culligan / Wal-Mart self-fill water vending machine .

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of Primo - Culligan- Walmart vending machine purified water

Water Source: Triadelphia, WV municipal water

Radioactive Test: Normal

Tested: April 28, 2016


An H2O Labs water distiller was used for all tests. An Inspector Alert Radiation Monitor was used for radioactive testing.

Here is an efficiency test of the H2O Labs water distiller. I used the well water from Smithfield Ohio for the test shown below:

1 gal Smithfield Ohio well water distilled

The resulting 1 gallon of distilled water was distilled a second time. Here are the results below:

Distiller Test 2

I took the water from the second distillation and distilled it a third time. Here are the results below:

Distiller Test 3

My conclusion is that the H2O water distiller is about 99.9% effective. The second distillation left a clean boiling pot with only the faintest brown coloring stain in it. The third distillation left virtually nothing but the slightest of rainbow discoloration.

As an added feature on some water distillers you are able to further filter the distilled water with charcoal filtration. All tests done here have been distilled only with no further filtering done on the water samples.


I do not have a financial interest nor am I promoting any of the products mentioned in the tests.  I personally drink spring water, distilled spring water and commercially produced purified water.


Staten Island Ferry (candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artists’ book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.



Sex machine with vacuum nipple stimulator c 1930’s / 40’s

Selection from Iconoclastic Reporter artist’s  book

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection


De Wallen Graffiti copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Wanna shoot in NYC but don’t have the $$. No problem…you can do it on a broke bohemian’s budget.


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Article Dedication

in honor of

Paul Theroux

“A society without jaywalkers might indicate a society without artists.”


  I have always been self-funded with my photography. Since I’m not rich, being on a perpetual budget and cutting expenses to the bone is nothing new for me.

adjective: bare-bones; adjective: barebones
reduced to or comprising only the basic or essential elements of something.
“a bare-bones version of the story”


My keyboard

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

As such, I am sensitive to the plight of the poor, struggling artist that wants to take on a project but can’t afford doing it. So, let me propose a bare-bones shooting marathon for broke photogs that want to shoot in NYC but can’t afford it.

NYC is a stupendous place to shoot, every aspiring as well as serious street photog should have the experience of working in the capitol of street photography. Doing it bare-bones may not be pretty, but it will still allow you to get some NYC action in on a very meager budget. And for the non photog bohemians that want to see NYC…sure, come along for the ride!

Being a born bohemian, I have always concentrated on doing my art rather than trying to make a living. Consequently I’ve never earned / had much $ to blow on projects.  If I can get by with some food, a roof, some SD cards and batteries I’m good. But that is how it usually is with most artists. Money is one of those irritating needs that can sidetrack an artist from concentrating on doing their art.

noun: Bohemian; plural noun: Bohemians; noun: bohemian; plural noun: bohemians
1. a native or inhabitant of Bohemia.
2.a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer.
“the young bohemians with their art galleries and sushi bars”

(…well, you probably wont be eating at sushi bars if your a broke bohemian. )

Most artists don’t do art to make lots of money, they just care about producing their art. No one is saying it would not be nice to make some money. But for me it would have to come as a ‘no effort’ offshoot from my own work and not as the prime goal. The only time money comes into the discussion with me is when I ask the question…do I have enough money to do the project?

W. Eugene Smith was a textbook example of the dedicated bohemian sacrificing life and family in order to do their art…

W. Eugene Smith mr (2)

This was Smith’s famed ‘jazz loft.’ I think the rent was $40 a month.

W. Eugene Smith pawn ticket

When Smith needed some cash he would pawn cameras and lenses. I had read when Smith died he had $18 in the bank.

W. Eugene Smith mr (3)

Smith made use of a broken window as matte box.

W. Eugene Smith mr (1)

W. Eugene Smith’s photo through the broken window pane.

When I first started in the late 60’s I got by on very little. I just needed a 100 feet of expired film from Freestyle, a few 10 cent film cassettes and a gallon of D-76, Dektol and fixer. (See footnote a).

A roll of 100 feet in-date Tri-X from Pan Pacific Camera on La Brea was about $7. If you were broke, Freestyle used to sell repackaged movie film for about $2.75 to $3.50 per 100 foot roll. For the real cheapskate, Freestyle had 100 foot rolls of oddball film for about $1.50. Your BW chemicals were about a buck a gallon for Microdol-X, D-76 and fixer.


Popular Photography July 1962 Freestyle Sales Co. Advertisement

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (If image is fuzzy click on it for high res version)

Those were the days…everything was a lot cheaper back then, so panhandling a quarter or a buck went along way.  You could even get a meal for a buck or under in the 1970’s. Nowadays photography is a real money sucking activity.

72 img206-Print V5 +5 - 5 0 MR

Los Angeles Diner 1971

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Even if you’re not into people photography, the NYC’s architecture is jaw dropping. Once your shoot there your spoiled for shooting anyplace else when it comes to street work.


Bohemians View NYC

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Personally I’m more into people than buildings, still I’d like to get some shots of NYC from the top of the Empire State Building. It cost $54 to take the elevator to the top. If you want to skip the long lines then expect to pay $80 for faster VIP service. I never have gone up since the cost is outside of my limited budget. I make due with the bohemians view!

Actually, when it came to NYC I could never afford to shoot there until I started to camp out in Jersey City. And while it still was not affordable, it was ‘doable’ budget wise for a few days. ($55 a day for parking your tent or $65 a day to sleep in your vehicle + taxes.)


Jersey City Campsite

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Now, if your truly broke, then the ‘cushy’ Jersey City campout is going to be too expensive for you to swing. Beside the daily rent, you have to factor in gas and tolls roads if you drive and PATH cards from NJ to NYC.

There is also a big drawback to staying in Jersey City, it takes me 12 minutes to walk to PATH and sometimes another 30 to 50 minutes one-way to get onsite before I start shooting. If your already in Manhattan, as I will propose below, you will be way ahead of me. You won’t have to waste travel time back and forth to NJ.


Here is the formula for the broke bohemian on a bare-bones budget that wants to shoot in NYC…


Sad Buskers Times Square  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

You will have to decide if what I am about to tell you is right for you. This post is not about where to buy your latest boho chic fashions. This was written by a bohemian for bohemians. What works for me may be wrong for you – you may get killed or hurt if you do this. Take responsibility for your own actions and don’t blame me for a bad outcome.

The first thing you need is a one-way Greyhound ticket to NYC. If your in Philly, Boston or Baltimore, your in luck, you can get a one-way ticket for $10 to $12. And Pittsburgh isn’t far behind at $28. What a deal! You can get to Manhattan cheaper than it would cost you to drive – the Holland Tunnel toll is $15 alone.


Why get a one-way ticket? Well your broke. To come home you panhandle and get the fare while your shooting in NYC. If you got enough money upfront for a round trip then I highly suggest buy it. If you do buy a round trip you will save lots of money by buying ahead.

Megabus is also an option, but their travel options are a lot more limited than Greyhound.

Sometimes you can get last minute fares for next to nothing.

Back up link:

You may also want to consider the safety record of Megabus…

Back up link:

greyhound bus interior

Above is a typical Greyhound bus interior.


Above is the interior of Megabus

megabus toilet

Above is the Megabus toilet door

Sometimes with Greyhound you can’t always get the cheaper ticket price unless you travel a week or more in advance, so you may have to plan ahead. You can check out the rates at the library’s internet if you have no smartphone. I have no smartphone, all I have is a $75 a year Tracfone from Wal-Mart, so I use the library’s internet.

… I guess I am a dinosaur…nowadays even the homeless got their smartphone!

Homeless man with cell phone - infrared flash Hollywood, CA 2015 Daniel D. Teoli jr.

Infrared flash photograph  Hollywood, CA

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

All in all, having a R/T ticket in-hand is the best policy. You can relax and know you can get back home. But as I said before, I’m writing this post for the brokest of broke bohemian, so that is who it is tailored to. No matter how meager the budget, I believe in making a project a reality for any artist.

If you’re looking to do your NYC shoot the traditional ‘camera fondler’ way, then look elsewhere for advice. I’ve never done much traditionally in my life, so I can’t be of much help. Go to Fodors, Airbnb, Hostels.Com and Priceline and see what you can put together…but for the rest of us bohemians…this is how we roll!

If you’re in Cleveland or L.A., then you had better come up with the money for a round trip upfront. As the $ you will need for a return ticket is a lot higher than a ticket back to Philly. (One way Cleveland = $48, one way L.A. = $129) You may have problems trying to panhandle that amount of $ in a short time.

…and I should warn you, NYC can be a pretty cold place for beggars.


Times Square Food Vendor  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

As long as you can get to the internet / smartphone you can get the cheapest Greyhound fare. Sign up for Greyhound Road Rewards and get lots of perks, including 10% of your first ticket. You can also save $ with student and veteran’s discounts.

You don’t need a credit card to buy a ticket online, you can reserve your ticket online and pay for the ticket at an agent with cash. Just reserve your ticket online and they will email you a ticket confirmation like this:

Here’s your pay with cash order with Greyhound.
Your reference number is: 30968895
Your Pay Near Me number: 82719461443


May 09 2016
Leaving From: Philadelphia, PA @ 10:00AM
Schedule Number: GLI2121

May 09 2016
Going To: New York, NY @ 12:10PM
Schedule Number: GLI2121

Philadelphia, PA 19107

625 8TH AVE
New York, NY 10018

* This is your boarding station for the outgoing trip.

Within the email they have a link to click on for a ‘Pay With Cash’ option. That link brings you to ‘Pay Near Me’ option to locate an agent by plugging in your zipcode. Go to the agent and pay for the ticket. The agent will give you a printed receipt you will use along with your ticket confirmation and photo I.D. to board the bus.

You can also buy  ticket over the phone from Greyhound. You can call 1-800-231-2222 to buy and pick your ticket up at the Greyhound station or get your ticket by email to print. If you like to board early and be able to pick your seat, then you should buy an ‘extra economy’ ticket. The cheapest ‘economy’ ticket will have you boarding last. That is the main benefit for the extra economy ticket, but you can see the specs on all the tickets here.

If you have a smartphone you will get a itinerary confirmation sent to your phone. Bring your confirmation code to the ticketing agent, they will scan it and issue you a ticket.

You only have a two days to pay for the ticket.  Usually the Greyhound agents are 7-11’s, but not all 7-11’s are agents. To find an agent plug in the zip code of Manhattan where you’re staying at in the Greyhound website and they will give you a list of local ticket agents…there are tons of them in NYC.

Here is a map of the zip codes of Manhattan…

The 7-11’s don’t sell tickets offline without a reservation confirmation, they just are agents. There is a $5 ticketing fee for R/T and $2.50 for one way tickets on top of the ticket price. And don’t forget, you will need a valid photo I.D. for boarding the bus.

To buy a Greyhound ticket offline check with:

Port Authority-Greyhound
625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018
(212) 971-6325

If you want to travel in comfort you can take the train instead of the bus, but you will be paying a ton more money. The cheapest red eye Amtrak starts at $55 from Philly and they go up from there into the hundreds of $ for a one-way ticket.

Although I shoot a lot in NYC, I’ve never flown into NYC and stayed at a hotel. I can’t afford it. Actually, I seldom stay in a hotel wherever I go…I boondock. I sleep in my vehicle at Wal-Mart’s, rest stops, casinos, hospital parking lots, truck stops, gas stations, restaurants, a secluded side street…wherever I can get safe sleep. The closest I may get to a hotel is to sleep in their parking lot. I just can’t afford $75 to $100 a day for a hotel, I can barley afford the gas.

Back in the 1950’s you could get a cold water flat with the toilet ‘down the hall’ in the Village for $20 a month. Big artists’ lofts were not much more expensive than a flat. But those days are long gone. Nowadays, the artist must be very sharp to survive and do their art.

Women of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection m

Cold Water Flat 

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

When I need a shower every few days I shower at a truck stop for $10 – $13 or use the rest stop or supermarket bathrooms to wash up in. (When you sponge off in the bathroom stalls carry 2 small, wire ‘S’ hooks you make to hang up your clothes on the toilet door. Some doors don’t have clothes hangers any more.)

If your located near California you may want to fly into NYC as the R/T ticket on the bus is approaching what you pay for airfare. (About $375 R/T from L.A. via air)

From what they tell me, JFK is preferable to fly into if your using public transportation to get into town and LaGuardia is somewhat cheaper and faster to fly into, but a little harder to get public transport. But this information varies with who I talk to.

JFK seems pretty easy to get to the subway. You take the JFK Express/Air Train to Queens and change to an E train to Manhattan. For LaGuardia you take the M60 bus to the subway.  Someone else told me taking the Q bus makes it is easier to get to the subway via LaGuardia than JFK. I dunno, you check out all the details for yourself.

Here are a few links for JFK and LaGuardia airports that will help you get into Manhattan. Even if flying in, you still use the rest of the broke bohemian plan I lay out here.

If going by bus, use this Greyhound bus station as your final destination in Manhattan.

Port Authority / Greyhound
625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018

If you have a friend in NYC see if you can stay with them. If not, then your home away from home will be at:

Grand Central Station
89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

If you have a friend in Hoboken, Newark or Jersey City stay with them and you can take the PATH into NYC. It is very easy, just more expenses and time consuming…but at least you got a house to sleep in and a warm shower.

If you are the friendly, Facebook type of person you can check out   (Facebook banned me after a few weeks.) Couchsurfers is supposed to be free. I’ve never used it, I am a loner and need to be able to go at will day and night. I don’t like being confined, but it may be up your alley.

Here is some feedback from users…you figure it out:

If your friendless in NJ and NYC, don’t want to couchsurf, then when your finished shooting for the day, you curl up on the floor in a corner of Grand Central, homeless style. (If you don’t like to think of yourself as homeless, then think of yourself as hobo’in. If none of these options appeal to you, stop reading now…your not bohemian enuf! There is a big difference between a born bohemian and a boho chic bohemian…one is naturally occurring, the other one is a phony. You figure out what camp you’re in.

In an intro to his review on Amazon of  Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 by Virginia Nicholson, Lleu Christopher distills what fuels the bohemian life.

“Nicholson has a genuine appreciation for the bohemian spirit, and acknowledges the sacrifices made by many obscure artists, poets and others existing (often marginally) at society’s fringes. For some, the idealistic decision to forsake conventional society for a life dedicated to art, romance, poetry or perhaps a vaguer idea such as beauty or authenticity was never rewarded with any kind of material success. Was there any compensation for those living such marginal lives? Nicholson makes the case that for many, a life dedicated to art, romance and freedom is its own reward. For those who embody the bohemian spirit, material comforts and security are not worth the price of suppressing one’s creativity and individuality.”

You can also bed down at Penn Station for a change of scenery, as well as the subway. If you don’t like sleeping on the floor, go to a busy main transport hub for safety and sleep on the bench.


Subway NYC

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

‘Poverty denotes the lack of necessities, whereas simplicity denotes the lack of needs.’ ~ Dervla Murphy  

You goal, while on the street, is to travel as light as possible while taking all the basics you need to get the job done. Work on simplifying your street kit to the bare essentials.

At least you wont have all your life’s possessions to haul around…


Subway NYC

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If you do sleep on the floor and don’t have a pad, bring a trash bag to sleep on or find some cardboard. The floor can be kinda grimy. Sniff out your spot to make sure it wont ‘stink you out’ when your trying to sleep. In a pinch you can also use 2 subway maps folded out to sleep on. They are a little under 2 x 3 feet each.


Subway NYC

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If you have a few extra bucks pick up a Z Pad. They fold up and weigh next to nothing. Strap it to your pack and you got a cushy and warm pad for sleeping on. If your not sleeping well you wont do your best work shooting. Being young sleeping on concrete may not phase you, but as you get older you may need something cushy to get some sleep.


In the daytime, Central Park is also a sleep option for getting in some winks. If you’er something of a vampire by nature, shoot most of the day and night and sleep daytime in Central Park. Find an area that is kinda quiet, put in some earplugs or use toilet paper to plug your ears. It also helps if you can get some eye shades. Wal-Mart had some shades for a buck last time I looked.

Some parts of Central Park are OK to sleep in day or night, other parts are not. Study it up before you bed down at night there. But generally speaking, near the richer areas are safer. The city has gotten tougher and may ticket you or arrest you if your caught sleeping in the park at night. You check it out…

Although it is probably too expensive for the broke bohemian, the Pacsafe is a good tool to prevent theft when your on the street / subway sleeping. I bought mine used on eBay. Don’t attach it to a pole and leave it, security may think it is a bomb. Stay with your gear.

If you can’t afford a Pacsafe, them sleep with your arms woven through the pack or rig a bike lock you can attach to the pack and your belt and use the pack for a pillow. If you using a pack as a pillow with no lock or security someone could rip it out from under your head and take off with it.


Another security option is to use long nylon ties to secure the pack to your belt or someplace on your body while you sleep. Just make sure you have a knife or a pair of dykes to cut the strap.


While your on the bus and at rest stops you shoot. Same thing in the subways or on the trains. Every step of your journey going and coming…shoot. Make the most of your trip.


Subway NYC (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Grand Central has nice clean bathrooms and a big, beautiful interior that you can bed down in for some sleep at night. It is a good place to start panhandling some of the money you will need to get back home, but be low key about it.


Grand Central Station NYC (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I mean, you are homeless right? So while your sleeping put out a cup or sign saying ‘anything helps to get a meal’ or ‘stranded and trying to get a bus ticket back home’ and maybe you will wake up with some loose change. Just write it big and clear so it is easy to read.

LAS Busker Daniel D. teoli Jr. thin border mr

Busker Las Vegas

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Here is a rundown on sleeping pads. I recommend the 3/4 Thermorest, that is what I use myself. It rolls up into hardly nothing. (But I think it may be extinct now.) I bought an old, beat up one at a thrift store for $5.  It has a slow leak and only holds air for 6 or 7 hours, but it gets me by. I also use the aforementioned ‘Z pad’ which I bought used on eBay.

Backup link:

A Metro card is about $31 a week for unlimited use.

Sometimes you can find a discarded subway card that is empty and you can refill it with a 7 day pass without having to buy a new card. You can save $1 if you do this. Just scan it in the reader to see what the balance and stats are with the card. (If you are 65 or older or have disabilities you can save 50% on the weekly unlimited Reduced Fare Metro Card.)

If $31 is beyond your budget, then you can always panhandle swipes from arriving passengers. (You wont have much luck from outgoing passengers as the unlimited card can’t be used for 18 minutes after the last swipe for the same route.) You can also use the Metro card for bus rides. (That was what I was told. I never use the bus.)

If someone asks you for a swipe, ask them for .50 or a buck. When your packing up to go home, see if you can sell your card with the remaining balance to someone for a deal. If you bought a weekly pass it will expire worthless when you leave, so try to get something out of it while it is alive.

Whether you’re boondocking in your vehicle or sleeping on a city street, it is always good to have a plan B, C, D and Z if things don’t work out with plan A. Another option for sleep is on the subway trains…


Subway NYC (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Late at night the subway is not as busy. You can stretch out on one of the seats.

When it comes to subway sleepers, the city wavers between trying to clean up the subway or letting it go.  I’ve slept on the train and never had a problem or had a cop bother me. Whatever you decide, be careful if you sleeping on an empty train.


The lower Manhattan area I work is about 13 square miles, (Manhattan total is 22.82 square miles, 13 miles long and 2.3 miles wide at its widest point.) So if you got good shoes and feet you can just walk around without a Metro card and shoot while your walking. If you want to go to Brooklyn to expand your territory, walk across the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge. You will have photo ops for the entire bridge walk.


I’m old, got bad feet, ankles and legs. So I am limited on my walking. That is why I don’t cover much of Manhattan. Even taking the Metro everywhere and cutting walking to a minimum, my feet and legs act up bad. Some days I just stand on the corner and take photos of people walking by as my feet are so sore. Not a good way to do street work, but that is how it can be when you get old. So make the most of your photography while your young and have the health and energy to do it right.

Being young, you can cover all 5 Boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island. The 5 Boroughs encompass over 300 square miles, so don’t expect to cover it all on one trip. The point is, one can never see it all when it comes to NYC. Everyplace you wander has outstanding photo ops, so you will be shooting day and night.

Free NYC and vicinity maps can be had at any 24 hour subway booth. The map does not have all the streets in it but you can get to the area and ask directions for fine tuning things. Subway maps are also on the wall in every train and subway station.

If you want a more detailed street map, you can get a freeWhere® IN New York Map’ at most hotels  You can ride the ferry to Staten Island for free. Take the Metro to Whitehall St. and your there. Great photo ops on the Ferry as well as Staten Island.


Staten Island Ferry – NYC (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

For the ferry I think you take the downtown 1,4,5 R or W trains. You check it out, I’m no expert, I still get lost all the time. But that is the beauty of NYC, you can’t get ‘too lost’ in Manhattan. You can pretty much see the WTC from anywhere in lower Manhattan.


For food you can live very well on Subway sandwiches. Tons of locations in Manhattan. Even one at your home base.

Grand Central Station
52 Vanderbilt Ave
Manhattan, NY

You can get ‘the sub of the day’ for $3.50. If you want to pick and choose, order subs with a good mix of protein and vegetables. Always ask if they can pack it with some extra meat and veggies when they build them custom. Try for low sodium meals so you wont have to drink too much and wont have to pee so often. While public bathrooms can be found in NYC, they are not always easy to find when your bladder is bursting.

If $3.50 is beyond your means check out Gray’s Papaya at 2090 Broadway. It is a cheap eats institution in NYC. You used to be able to get a hot dog for $1.25 in 2005 at Gray’s. Well, time marches on and an all beef dog is now $1.95. Lots of other cheap food in the .75 to $3 range.

You can also find some greens in Central Park during the growing season. Forage for dandelions greens, purslane, etc. Get a book on foraging before you leave from the library and study it up. Don’t eat wild mushrooms unless you want to die. Now, I’m not up to date with all the laws in NYC, so do your foraging stealthy. I had heard a guy was arrested (albeit decades ago) for criminal mischief for removing vegetation from the park.

I always try to pack a few envelopes of powder milk on my trips. I can mix some in a bottle of water and get extra nutrition or make some reconstituted milk for cereal. If you do mix milk in your one and only water bottle, make sure you rinse the bottle well when your done.

Diane Di Prima (the photo below is probably one of her from her art model days.) used to buy a nickel cup of coffee in the 1950’s, dump some of the coffee out and load it up with milk for nutrition and sugar and energy. That is how you must be with you if your a broke bohemian. You always have to be looking out for that ‘little extra’ to make it.

Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (2)

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

If your panhandling efforts do not pay off after a day or two after arrival I suggest you cut back on your food allowance to save that $ for a ticket home. You also need to get more aggressive at your begging. You can try going from train car to train car on the subway and asking for spare change to get back home. Tell people your stranded and are trying to raise a few dollars for a bus ticket home. Your not lying, your not doing it for a day job to buy heroin, your telling the truth. Here are some tips:

If you have a talent for entertainment also consider busking. Just keep in mind whatever props you bring should be small so they don’t interfere with your main goal of shooting photos. A harmonica or flute would be good…a guitar, violin or typewriter would not.


Free Poetry  Busker Subway NYC (Candid)

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If your too broke for a daily Subway sandwich, get a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of cheap bread. Maybe you can scrounge some jam packs and plastic spoons at the local Mac D’s. You will be too broke to buy jam, so the cheap bread and peanut butter is about it for you. You need something to spread the butter, so get some plastic cutlery. And don’t forget to check out Central Park to supplement your diet with foraged greens.

While your at Mac D’s, if someone leaves an edible portion of food and takes off, clean off the table for them. Put the tray on the dirty rack and pocket the leftovers. If they are going to trash some of their meal ask if you can have it. May not be pretty, but it beats eating out of the trash.

Here is the deal, you can’t make a career at it, in other words, don’t overstay your welcome. Get a tray or two and take off before you call attention to yourself and they ask you to leave. You can always go to another shop, tons of them n NYC. Once your done eating…start shooting! (See footnote b)

Also check with small food shops, markets, green grocers, fast food, cheese shop, bakeries, etc. Ask them if they have any produce or food they are trashing. A lot of time the food just has a small defect or mold spot on it. If you’re too shy to ask for food, you can pick up lots of disposed food at night once the shops close down.

Carry a small penknife for cleaning up food you find. Just don’t carry a monster knife the police will hassle you over. Every city has their own laws, so check it out. If you get an orange you can peel the orange skin very gingerly and leave most of the white pulp on the orange to eat. It is nutritious and helps fill you up.

If your too broke for a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of cheap bread and don’t want to clean off the leftovers, or dumpster dive, check out…

The Bowery Mission:


They may also help you with a place to sleep for as few days. There are lots of other places you can get some charity food if your broke, research it before your trip. I’m giving you a lot here, but I can’t breastfeed it all to you

Bikers' Mardi Gras Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Newlywed Couple on their Honeymoon

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If the food pantry feeds you, offer to do an hours work in exchange for the food. Bohemians can fall into the trap of ‘the world revolves around me’ syndrome. Give back a little once in a while.

Here is the bottom line with the foodif your healthy and normal weight, you wont starve to death for 4 weeks if you don’t eat anything. So don’t be so frantic if you miss some meals. Just drink some water, as you can die of dehydration in a week if you don’t drink anything.


If your going the broke bohemian route I recommend you go to NYC in the Spring or Fall. When the weather is cool, or maybe I should say comfortable, you wont sweat as much. There are also less bugs, less need for showers and you wont need to carry heavy clothes, gloves, boots and hats for the cold.

Another benefit of cool weather trips is you wont need a lot of water to drink. Bring a water bottle when you head out for your trip and keep refilling it on the road. Just be sure to rinse it out one in a while so the water does not get too funky.

…keeping de-funked can be a challenge when you living on the street.

Man Eating Trash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Barefoot homeless man with soiled pants eating from the trash – Los Angeles

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

For showering or clean up you got a few options. The best one is to get a day pass for free from the YMCA


Just email any of the NYC Y’s ahead of your trip and they will send you a day pass. Or you could print out this one. (Although the design may change and mine may not be up to date.) And don’t forget to bring a padlock for your locker. Bring a small disposable face towel to dry off with after your shower and a mini bar of hotel soap.

You can also wash up in the bathrooms at Grand Central. It used to be you could bed down at a Y for $5 in the old days. Now it is more like $150 a day in NYC. Well, time moves on and that is why you freeze time, isn’t it…you can stop time!

Remember I told you about the ‘S’ hooks to hang your clothes on in the restroom? The hooks are very handy for keeping the water flowing when you are bathing in a public bathroom or rest stop. Carry a few hooks and a small length of chain to defeat spring loaded auto shut off faucets.

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Nowadays many of the public toilets have gone over to electronic faucets. You can defeat many of them by using small post-it notes to cover the electronic sensor.

Even though they will still shut off in 45 seconds – 90 seconds, you can get more time out of it for bathing. Just remove the paper from the sensor, wait a few seconds and reapply for more water. (Some of the faucets have gone over to IR sensors that don’t work with paper covers. If you figure out how to keep them running let me know!)

All rest stops don’t have public showers, buy a few do. Use your chain and hooks to keep the water flowing.

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I also carried various faucet handles and keys with me while on the road, as rest stops many time remove them so people can’t use the water faucet. Carry a 6 foot hose with you and you got a shower!

If your too busy to shower at the Y, bring along a mini pack of wet wipes to clean your ass up so you wont end up in one of my photos.


In the old days you could rent a locker for .25 to .50 at the bus / train station. When terrorists got to work the lockers were all taken out. Too easy to store a bomb in the lockers. Nowadays, if you need to park your gear you can do it for about $8 – $10 a day per bag at Schwartz.

Take old underwear and trash them when your done to lighten your load. Weigh everything you take and keep the weight to a min. It is no fun carrying around a lot of stuff on your back day and night.

A boondocking trick for getting by with 1 pair of underwear is to turn them front to back and in and out to get 4 uses out of them. You should get 8 days out of them easy, then trash them.  Wearing 1 and taking 1 should yield you 14 to 16 days of wear minimum.

In an emergency you can wash you clothes in a bathroom sink and set them out to dry in the park on a tree or bench…but did you really come to NYC to waste time doing laundry? A less time intensive way to dry your washed socks is to hook them on your backpack to dry. As you go about your biz they will dry in a few hours.

This is what I use for shampoo…it is 3-1/2 inches long and fits in the palm of your hand.


Keep your hair crew-cut and you can prob just get by with a rinse in the sink and blow dry with the bathroom’s hand blower. Better still is to cut your hair all off your head and shave off your body hair too – hair holds grease and bacteria and requires more washing and more soap.

If your only going to take a shower or two on your trip you an use the mini shampoo for your hair and as a body soap. That will save you from carrying extra weight. The weight of things you carry in your pack is a big concern to the hardcore backpacker. Everything gets weighed and judged on the practicality of having to carry that weight.

Well, the soap and toilet paper companies are working overtime to save you some weight when it comes to carrying their products in your pack. Look at how Ivory soap shrunk over the last couple years. You now pay more for 8 smaller bars of ‘original’ Ivory soap than you would have paid for 10 larger original bars…that is 1.58 pounds of soap now versus 2.40 pounds of soap then.

Old and new Ivory soap comparison D.D. Teoli Jr..

Photo by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If you have unlimited water and time a ‘doctor’s shower’ will keep you clean longer between showers. I learned it from a surgeon. He told me he washes his hands and arms for 20 minutes before surgery. I applied that idea to my body and wash it and shampoo my hair 2 or 3 times depending on how much time, soap, shampoo and water I have. It helps keep me clean longer. Taking 3 showers at one time dries the skin and hair out, but I’m not going in a beauty contest, so I don’t care.


Cargo pants or cargo shorts make good travel clothes. Lots of pockets and they hold up under abuse. I like camo color myself, as they don’t show the dirt.

A superlight nylon windbreaker works great for cold and rain. It really makes a difference with keeping the cold wind out.

If it does rain, go shoot inside subways and the museums.  Check out: Good Subway Stops for Bad Weather Days: A List of Stations Near Major NYC Attractions

The Met only asks for a donation for a ticket. Give them what you can spare. If your broke, go panhandle .50 and give that to get in. Lots of photo ops as well as inspiration in art museums.

Another rainy day or anytime activity is to hit some of NYC’s outstanding photo galleries. Make use of the capital of art galleries while on your trip.

Here is a list of photo galleries:

Here is a list of art galleries:

Here is a list of free days for museums:


Girls have to be extra cautious…

Yellow Fever Subway Sticker D.D. Teoli Jr. Collection

Yellow Fever Subway Skateboard Sticker

 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Gals…there is no there is no way to sugar coat it, but (almost) all (hetero) males will be after your vagina and breasts. That is just a fact of life. As such, I don’t rec you go the ‘living on the street route.’ Save up a little extra, take the bus and go to a hostel.

But, if you must sleep on the ground, get some good pepper spray and don’t look too pretty…if you advertise, you may get a customer. I use this in the Rustbelt, but it is illegal in NY /NJ. So you decide what to use.


One important feature of any pepper spray you consider is if it can be fired in any position. Nitrogen usually allows the can to be fired upside down. If you get caught off balance you don’t want to be spitting out useless inert gas instead of delivering the hot pepper.

The safest route for a girl wanting to boondock is to park at Weehawken Ferry public parking lot, preferably in a van for privacy and pay $19 a day to park and take the ferry back and forth to sleep in your van or car. Just do it stealthy, as the Ferry lot frowns on boondocking.

Port Imperial Garage
500 Port Imperial Blvd
Weehawken, NJ 07086

This plan will add the cost of a weekly ferry pass to your budget and they are not cheap. Don’t try to boondock at the parking lot at the Jersey City Marina on Marin Blvd. It is cheaper, ($13 a day) but if 24 hour security catches you boondocking they will boot your vehicle and you will have to pay a huge fee to get it un-booted. If you can’t pay the un-boot fee it may go into storage…then kiss it goodbye unless you have lots of $.



Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Whether male, female, trans, androgynous, gender fluid or bigender, if you’re living in your van or car these items can come in handy…



Luggaloo…put a disposable bag in it before taking a shit!


Urinal bottle…Save $8 and use a water bottle you find in the trash. But not as easy as the wide mouth urinal.


And a ‘Lady J’ for the gals

When sleeping in your vehicle leave the windows cracked about 1/4 inch to allow for air circulation. A sleeping bag, power inverter to change 12v to 110v and a 12v battery charger for your camera and cell phone are also useful. Almost a must for stealthy boondocking is tint or cover the windows for privacy. If you don’t have a sleeping bag find some newspapers to lay out for insulation and get an old blanket at the thrift store.

A boondocking trick I use is to make a  25% alcohol dilution with 75% water in a quart bottle. I use that on a washcloth to clean up. Then I rinse the washcloth out with water and go over my body to wash the alcohol off. This is only good if you have a vehicle to live in as carrying around big bottles of liquid get heavy while on the street.

Vince Lombardi Park & Ride in NJ offers a possibility for (male) boondocking.

Be advised the transit does not run all the time from Vince Lombardi and it can be dangerous to sleep there. I wont boondock there unless it is an emergency.


If you need a camera for your trip check out the early Pentax DSLR’s or an Olympus M4/3. A Pentax K100D Super 6MP DSLR w/18-55 DA zoom lens can be had on eBay for $85 – $100. If you want a prime, the old Pentax manual 50mm f2 lenses go for $15 – $25 each.

If you think 6mp is no good, think again. Beside not being good form under the auspices of ‘beggars can’t be choosers,’ I’ve put many 6mp photos into museums and curated collections round the world.

Here are 3 examples of what you can do with 6mp’s…


…no museum ever asked how many mp’s Faces of Gentrification was.

Uncertain Future copyright 2005 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Steeplechase 2005 Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Photos by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

But, the ‘bargain of bargains’ for the bohemian photog is the 12mp Olympus E-PL1 M4/3. They go for next to nothing on eBay. You can pick one up with the kit zoom for $75 and up. While your at it, pick up an back-up body for $45. When you’re on the street you have to be self-sufficient. The last thing you want is for your only cam to go on the proverbial fritz and your trip is ruined.

I used M4/3’s extensively for almost a year. They can produce outstanding results for such a small package. The downfall of the M4/3 is they are hard (at least for me) to manually adjust on the fly. I’m an old film photog and used to the manual controls we had on our film cams in the 60’s-70’s. I’m just no good at figuring out these new menu driven cams. With the M4/3 I would have to shoot it on the dummy setting.

Here are some examples of what an M4/3 they can do…on the dummy setting.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHomage to Weegee 2012 copyright 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Twenty-Six Roadkills artists' book no.18 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Fallen Soldier Memorial Copyright 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr

Photos by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (Click on image to see hi res version if it looks fuzzy)

If you do tripod shooting and want something super lightweight, check out the Pedco UltraPod II. I have one I keep in my car, but I have seldom ever used it. I just don’t do much tripod shooting, it is not my nature.

Pedco Ultrapod Tripod

Pedco Ultra Pod Velcro

Pedco UltraPod

The nice thing about the UltraPod II is it can be strapped to a pole or tree with the Velcro strap. They can be picked up for next to nothing. I think I paid $7 for mine used.

The Pedco UltraPod Go (below) looks slicker for the hipsters, but it is a lot flimsier design if you are going for a 3 point tripod use.

Pedco UltraPod GO at Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Don’t forget to bring some lens tissue and a small bottle of lens cleaning fluid. If you don’t have any, stop by B&H and ask if they can help you out with a free clean job. They may also let you plug in to charge your battery.  You can also use toilet paper you pick up and some water or fog from your breath to clean your lens. TP from public toilets also works good as a Kleenex substitute if you get a runny nose.


When you get back home, showcase your NYC work. Make a blog called Bohemian on the Street or View from the Street or whatever you like. Photos are meant to be viewed, don’t let them die with you, get them out there.

You can also make a slideshow of your photos on YouTube. I didn’t make this music video, Polichinela Azul made it with music by Suckdog and some of my CC licensed photos.

Photos by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Crazy music! Well, the video creator did a good job as my pix fit the music to the proverbial ‘T.”

Link for backup of video:

When you save up enough $ for another one-way to NYC hit the road again for some more photos. The more you visit NYC, the more comfortable you will get shooting there.

You can also make an artist’s book with your work. While book printing cost $, any broke bohemian can make a website just like this for free using your local libraries internet. Or you can make a pdf book and put it on the net.

Speaking of free internet…here are some options for free internet and USB charging in NYC.

Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT)
625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Apple Store
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10153

Apple Store – World Trade Center
185 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007

Also check out hotel lobbies, fast food shops, libraries, etc. for a charge.

If you don’t want to waste time sitting round for your batteries to charge, check out a Waka Waka on the go solar charger. Strap it to your daypack and charge while you shoot.

waka waka power

Waka Waka Power 2


A good travel guide on NY is DK’s Eyewitness NYC.


Get it from your library for free or buy last years edition for .05 (plus $3.99 shipping) on Amazon. If you buy the book, you can rip the pages out that you want to save weight carrying it. Book comes with a good NYC map as a bonus.

New York based photographer James Maher put out a fantastic, 110 page PDF book on shooting in NYC…The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide. It covers NYC from A to Z from street shooting to architecture and landscapes. Plus it has lots of general info that may be of help. Don’t miss the tips and shooting op calendar at the end.

Here is an example:

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon blow-up: Forget the Thanksgiving Day Parade itself, the balloon blowing up the night before is the best part. Get close to the floats without as large of a crowd, and walk Central Park West at night illuminated by the work lights.”

And the best part of the book is it is priced to match the broke bohemian’s budget…FREE! (Well, he wants your email address to send you offers. But you will also get his well written photo articles.)

Lots of good sites to give you some photo op ideas.

Walking off the Big Apple blog has detailed info on all sort of dedicated walks throughout NYC.

Time Out New York has tons of stuff, but you must battle the ads and B.S.

The Cheapskate Guide to New York has some good info.

Viewing NYC is an excellent, all rounder, photo based blog.

Here is a monster list of NYC blogs for you to sift through…


Spring is round the corner, better start planning your trip. Who knows…if you take eye pleasing photos that don’t offend anyone maybe a camera company will sponsor you for cushy junket trips where you can actually sleep in a cheap hotel with bed bugs for your shoot.

Good luck on your photo journey!


(a)  When I first started to shop at Freestyle’s old location in 1969/70 they were more of a dusty warehouse type of shop with aisles of old metal shelving you could dig through. I remember buying some ex-military 4 x 5 glass plates that had expired in the early 1950’s. They still worked great! Freestyle specialized in expired military surplus film, 35mm repackaged movie stock and various photo closeouts back then.

(b) I told someone about cleaning off the tables to eat the scraps and he could not bring himself to do it. I thought back when I had eaten some scrap apples the animals left behind partially eaten on the ground. I just washed them off and cut away the portion the animals ate…they were delicious!

(c) Unless noted otherwise, photos of Greyhound bus, Megabus, various product shots, maps and YMCA day pass are from the internet and used under the auspices of ‘fair use’.

(d) If any image is fuzzy click on it for high resolution version. Sometimes images do not show up in the proper resolution.



From Girls of the Beat Generation

A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

A complete list of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Change in posting timeline for 2017


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During much of 2016 I had been sending in a minimum of 4 posts a month, scheduled every 7-9 days. In October 2016 I began reducing my posting schedule to a minimum of 3 posts per month or 1 post every 10 days.

Due to a lack of time and being overwhelmed with photo projects I will have to further cut back on my posting timeline. It is very easy to end up in the trap of being a slave to your blog. You can end up writing your life away.


Force Feeding the Sex Slave

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Starting in 2017 I will be sending in a minimum of 2 posts per month. New posts will be scheduled for the 14th and the 28th of the month.

As was the case prior to this change, I may send in quick, off the cuff posts if they fit into my schedule. So, 2  posts a months is a minimum and not maximum.

Weegee Infrared Flash Reenactment Pop Mech April 1956

Weegee reenacting his infrared flash theatre photography technique.

When it comes to color prints, you never, ever display your original irreplaceable color photos for long periods. They are just meant to be taken out and looked at once in a while. You display color copy facsimiles, not the originals.


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Article Dedication

In honor of

Condé Nast & Mathew Brady


Over at the APUG forum a photog mentioned how he was working on a corporate photo collection and much of the color work had faded away over the decades. Well, the APUG bozos banned me, so I will have to answer it here.

When it comes to color prints, you never, ever display your original irreplaceable color photos for long periods. They are just meant to taken out and looked at once in a while. You display color copy facsimiles, not the originals. All these expensive color prints collectors buy will fade badly if they are kept on constant display. And as the expensive color collector photos fade badly they will become more worthless over time.

The finest pigment inkjet prints wont fade in direct sun exposure for a year or more. But, give them 1-1/2 or 2 years of sun and they will start to fade a little. Now, if they are kept in dark storage then the prints should last for centuries.

Eastman Kodak Dye Transfer prints will start to fade in a few months of direct sunlight. They are the worst color imaging media out there other than some Type C color paper Freestyle used to sell in the ’70s…it fades away in dark storage. The best Type C paper I’ve tested is Fuji Crystal Archive. It is almost on par with pigmented inkjet prints, but is not as good as the best inkjet prints for dye stability.

One camera fondler on the APUG forum claimed that dye transfer prints were the best for archival stability. Dye transfer prints are one of the worst color imaging media for archival dye stability. Yet, I’ve seen dye transfer prints going back to the 1950’s (and one much earlier vintage example online) that were still vibrant…but they were in dark storage for most of that time.

What follows is taken in-part from my  book: Dye Stability Testing of Color Imaging Media Edition II by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Homage to Weegee copyright 1974 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Homage to Weegee – Cigarette Caught in Mid Flight ~ Hollywood, CA 1974

The image pictured above is from a scan of an 8 x 10 work print made in 1974 that was supposed to be trashed. The work print escaped the trash can by mistake and somehow survived 38 years hidden from sight as a bookmark.

The original negative to the image as well as any final silver gelatin prints I had made were all lost in a flood. So the work print was all I had to work with to recover the image.

When I found the work print I was able to get a usable digital image from scanning it and some Lightroom adjustments. But the original work print was of poor quality and had mottled shadows and blacks….that was why is was headed for the trash can.

Many digital photographers I talk with tell me they seldom make prints. They just view their work on the monitor or on digital photo frames. This ‘no prints required’ method is one of the benefits digital photography can provide us.

But, this benefit would also work against the digital photographer if they would ever lose their digital masters. The lack of a physical negative / chrome is one of the shortcomings of digital imaging when it comes to preservation. But, we can come close to the benefit of film with a 4 x 6 (or optimally a letter size) master print.

With a high grade scan of our master print we can always recover 90% of the original image if we would ever lose our digital or film master. The master print for the digital photographer is what the physical negative is for the film photographer.

Here are a few of my photos that were lost in a 2001 flood. The only reason I can show you these is that I had some small 2 x 4 to 3.5 x 5 inch snapshot prints of them stored at my mom’s house. I was able to recover something with a scan of the prints.

Santa Monica Copyright 1984 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

House on Fire V12 Copyright 1972 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr

Pigsheads Copyright 1983 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Santa Anita Copyright 1983 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mrmr

When scans are done correctly, they can yield excellent results.

Dye Transfer print versus Inkjet Print scanned copy Daniel D. Teoli jr. mr

The above photos show a scan of an original Eastman Kodak dye transfer print. I then made a second generation inkjet print from the scan of the dye transfer print.

I married the original dye transfer print and the second generation inkjet print and scanned them to show comparison results. I didn’t use a high priced scanner or printer to do the tests. I used a consumer model Canon printer from Wal-Mart costing about $80 and a $200 Epson scanner.

Now, no scan is as good as the original. But, you can see for yourself, it is hard to tell which is the original dye transfer scan and which is the scan of inkjet copy print made from the dye transfer print.

Top Photograph – Dye Transfer original is on the bottom half.

Bottom Photograph – Dye Transfer original print is on the right side.

This test tells us 2 things:

1) Scans can recover about 90% of the image quality from an original.

2) Inkjet printers can equal or surpass Eastman Kodak’s dye transfer process when it comes to image quality. (In addition, dye stability tests I’ve run show pigmented inkjet prints will outlast an Eastman Kodak dye transfer print when it comes to dye stability by leaps and bounds.)

For the dye stability tests photos in this post,  I cut or masked the media in half. One half of the media was put in sunlight for 6 months. The other half was stored in total darkness. After 6 months of sun, the 2 halves were married and scanned. The half exposed to the sun was marked with an ‘S’. The half stored in the dark was marked with a ‘D’.

Below: Eastman Kodak Dye Transfer Print fade test of vintage 1954 prints.Dye Transfer print fade test after 6 months of sun Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Test results show Eastman Kodak’s dye transfer prints to have very poor dye stability when exposed to light. Dye transfer prints will start to show notable fading in just 2 to 3 months of exposure to sunlight. But they do have very good good dark storage dye stability. As best as I could tell, the vintage dye transfer prints used in this test showed no noticeable fading in 65 years of dark storage.

I’ve fade tested vintage dye transfer prints from 1950’s to 1970’s and the test results are the same…very  poor dye stability to light.  I don’t do bullshit estimates either. I do actual fade tests as taught to me by the master dye transfer printer Bob Pace whom I worked with in Hollywood, CA in the 1970’s.

The oldest know dye transfer I’ve come across is a pre-commercial production piece about 80 years old and still looked good. But when it comes to dye stability, the king is the pigmented ink jet and laser print, possibly surpassed only by the old Cibachrome prints. Bob Pace had some old Cibachromes in his lab’s display window. The emulsion was all cracked up from the sun – but the colors were still vibrant.

Dye transfer prints shown are by: Dean Child, US Color Print Portland, OR

Below is a metal print on aluminum, something that is very popular nowadays.  The sky faded a good deal after 6 month of sun.

Bay Photo Aluminum Sheer Matte Fade Test 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. m4

Pole Dancer Ros County 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Below is an Epson inkjet print exposed to 1 year of sun with no noticeable fading. I use a lot of gloss optimizer in my printing and wondered about its archival characteristics. I decided on giving Epson’s gloss optimizer a 1 year sun stress test, not 6 months.

Here is a quick shot of the test results with my P&S Sony.

Epson Gloss Optimizer Test 1 Year Sun Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

After the 1 year test period was over I married the 2 halves for comparison. The black lines show the edges where the gloss optimizer extends. One year of sun produced no change to the gloss optimizer that could be seen with the eye. The results area also a testimony to Epson’s Ultrachrome archival pigment based ink.

Here is the original digital file.

Freemont Street No. 2 copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

The point of fade testing is to show you that different media has different dye stability. So choose a media that is fade resistance for your master prints.

Additional color imaging media fade tests:

De Wallen Graffiti copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I’ve lost all faith in myself


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Article Dedication

in honor of

Horst & Eugene de Salignac


From the Rangefinder Forum

Back Alley writes:

i’ve lost all faith in myself…been in a funk, have not taken a pic in ages and not a good pic in even longer…was heading out the other day and decided to not take a camera with me…as i was leaving i heard my inner voice say to me…’well, it’s ok…you have your phone with you if needed’.
His photos:


Dunno, with street work one should seldom be in a funk. Just step out your door and opportunity is there. If you don’t live in a big city, go to where the people are.

33 De Wallen Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Selection from

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Redlight District artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (Candid)

When I look at Back Alley’s work I just see your typical photo forum bullshit photos with a few OK keepers mixed in. He doesn’t take chances, he just copies what everyone else on the forum does. When I looked at his blog dates, they were so spread out and infrequent, of course he is in a funk and losing interest.

Compare Cartier-Bresson’s attitude to Back Alley’s…

“I prowled the streets all day, feeling very sprung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.”

To do great work one must be excited at the prospect of freezing time. Be purpose driven, don’t do photography as an afterthought…do it as the first, foremost and only thought.

A tool Harry Callahan used to combat boredom was to mix things up.

Callahan had no time to be bored and wallow in self-pity. Callahan would go from shooting architecture to nature to nudes to motion blur and abstracts to shooting his wife to color to 35mm to large format to water and reflections to street photography to shadows. All these areas of interest helped make Callahan a better photog, by giving him a variety of projects to approach from a multitude of directions – instead of just working on a single project day in and day out, one way.

Lets look at Back Alley’s post count… 39,992

He is a computer addict. He likes the idea of being a photog and talking about it, but does not seem to like putting in the footwork hitting the pavement. He spends more time fantasizing and tickling the keyboard than pressing the button.

If Back Alley could pick his balls up off the floor and get his ass in gear, he may have a chance. But nothing can come about if he doesn’t spend more time shooting and less time fondling his keyboard.

Now, sometimes it takes time to bring home iconic photos. Weegee talks about taking 2 years to get a great drunk photo. But, during those 2 years looking, Weegee also brought home lots of great photos in many other areas.

The Rangefinder Forum banned me ages ago after only a short stay there, so I can’t answer him on the forum. The guy that runs the Rangefinder Forum knows a lot about camera fondling, but camera masturbation is it…he is a shitty photog. Most of the Rangefinder Forum members are fondlers, so not much help for Back Alley there. For the most part, you got the blind leading the blind at the Rangefinder Forum…just pitiful.

Two Blind Beggars copyright 1972 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Lets discuss portfolio theory and practice a little before discussing the funk…

Back Alley’s portfolio, it is loaded with crap. He needs to get rid of the crap and focus of great photography.  Your work should not only inspire others, it should inspire and impress you as well! If you have lots of garbage in your portfolio, of course you will be discouraged when you look at it.

When someone Google’s your name, only your best images and projects should show up. When a curator looks up your name, you don’t want them to see your non-professional work that you may be ashamed of. Or worse…junk from other photographers mixed in that could be mistaken for your work.

Don’t make the mistake that many photographers do by diluting a portfolio with lots of garbage and personal photos. They will have 20 versions of a so-so photo on Flickr. Just pick one photo. It looks like the photographer doesn’t know what they are doing. It looks like they are using the ‘shotgun approach’ in away that is hurting them, saying “Here, I don’t know if any of these are any good…you pick.”

Now, if your goal is to get ‘likes’ and ‘thumbs up’ then none of this matters. But if you aspire to be above that, if you’re serious about getting your work in museums and public collections – then what you present professionally matters a great deal.

Generally speaking, it will take more than a ‘thumbs up photo career’ to keep you motivated over a lifetime of freezing time. And going beyond the ‘garden variety thumbs up photog’ is one of the tools you can use to  keep your interest in photography alive and fresh.

Be careful where you leave online comments if you’re using your real name online or an account that is connected with your name. While it is nice to encourage upcoming photogs, the other person’s photos will show up on your image and web search. I don’t want their pix showing up on a search of my name. So, I had to stop that practice.

Here is an example. I left a comment on a blog and now his photo shows up on an image search for my name. (See photo circled in green.)

Image Search 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

                                         Click on photo to enlarge

I like his photo and it is not a hardship on me to have his image show up in my search, still it confuses things. Even worse, I don’t want an image search of my name to show up lots of bad work that is not mine and dilutes my portfolio. It also works the same if you have your images used by others. Their images can show up in an image search for you and your images.

I made the mistake of putting some of my lower end photos on Wiki Commons. Someone used it and did a bad job on exposure and now it shows up in an image search of my name. (See the photo circled in red.) Same with another person that chopped up one of my photos. The butchered photo shows up in my search.

This is what the photo circled in red should look like.

Steeplechase Copyright 2005 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

You want to keep a body of work focused and not all over the place…be consistent. If your work is eclectic, like Harry Callahan’s work, then your focus in your portfolio is to just show outstanding photography.

My work is in 125+ museum and curated collections around the world. When a curator looks up my name I don’t want them to have to sift through lots of junk and be turned off. So keep a clean and focused profile with Google, Bing, AVG and Yahoo.

If you don’t have individually focused portfolios, make them. I have 45+ Tumblrs.  Every project gets a Tumblr of its own. Some photogs on Flickr have thousands of pix and no focused portfolio. You will lose a curator right there. No one is going to spend half a day looking through your jumbled up work – a focused portfolio is a must.

You should be Googleing your name every week and looking at the images and searches connected with your name. If you don’t like what you see…change your M.O. Also have a complete BIO or CV easily available on the net. Don’t make the curators work too hard. A search of my name produces my bio first thing.

A nice touch is to offer an illustrated bio as well as a text version. Not many artists using this technique.

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Infrared flash photo

I see some websites where the photog was trying to be cute by designing an ‘artsy’ website. Some of them are very tough to navigate and are soooo slow. I just give up after a short time before I move on. No shortage of photog websites out there to view. Make it easy for curators to like your work. No one cares about your cute website if it does not work.

Some photographers like to do testing or illustrated tutorials online. In the beginning I used any old photo for the tests. Like clockwork the low end test photos started to show up in my search results. So, if I do any testing that is connected to my name I use decent photos now or I post results anonymously if I don’t want the photos to come up in my search results.

'Left Silver Gelatin Print - Right Hahnemuehle Ink Jet Print' Copyright 2013 Daniel Teoli Jr.

A comparison test of a silver gelatin print versus an inkjet print.

Left vintage silver gelatin print on Agfa Brovira paper 1972. Right inkjet print on Hahnemühle Ultra Smooth Matte paper 2012.

Now for the funk…

Here is the deal. When your in a funk, be open and push yourself by shooting in new venues.

Jay Maisel sums it up…

“If you’re out there shooting, things will happen for you. If your not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Try shooting around the clock. Some photogs only shoot at golden or blue hour. Try something different.

Walking around all day yielded very little, then when it turned night I got The Lost Princess. (above).  I never know when I will get a keeper, but one thing is for sure, if I’m not out there hitting the pavement with camera in-hand, I won’t get a thing.

It is very important to realize the importance of the in-hand aspect of camera carrying. These camera fondlers that carry a cam on a big, bulky shoulder strap are cutting their chances at getting the stealthy shot. Keep your cam on the wrist with a thin, plain wrist strap.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Time and time again Jay’s wisdom holds true. Many of my best photos are based in his credo.

14 img034-2 final-Spotted PRINT V5 MR

As I age it sometimes is hard to keep up the pace of my younger days. My feet, ankles and knees start giving out. But, I still do the best I can to be a witness to life…and document it.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

This was a one shot wonder. In the few blinks of an eye it was gone. You must always be ready…time waits for no one.

Same with the next shot, gone in an instant!

Twenty-Six Roadkills artists' book no.9 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

TV shot

Even if one is not able to get out, photographs can still be made. I shot this from the TV. Some photogs even produce museum pieces from their TV!

I’m still waiting to get a TV shot into a museum collection!

21Whoop-Whoop 21 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The key is to be able to shoot without having to think…it must be second nature.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If you don’t have the basics down…shoot your TV screen. Although there comes a time when we all have to put priciples into practice.

26Whoop-Whoop 123 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (9)

Once you have the basics down and you get out there… things will happen for you!

50 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Once you are at one with your cam…the world is your oyster!


 I went out for 10 minutes to test a used camera at lunchtime…now Faces of Gentrification is in a few museums’ collections.


If I wanted to, I could just shoot infrared flash and have enough material to keep me busy…


Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - - C Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 67 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C  PD infrared flash 2016 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. nyc-infrared-flash-photo-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m times-square-food-stand-2016-infrared-flash-daniel-d-teoli-jr-mm

PD 41 Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr C


Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 41 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C Piercing Darkness Infrared flash 7 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C

As long as you have your camera in-hand, opportunity is possible. And I don’t have to hide behind invisible infrared flash to get the shot either…



Street photography is like fishing – you can put in the time and still not reel anything in. So, I have a number of projects that I shoot ‘off the cuff’ to keep me motivated by pressing the button through dry spells.

A little known book on street photography was made something along these lines…Smokers and Sleepers.

One of my boredom projects is shooting people while yawning…candid. It is good practice for fast shooting…a yawn does not last very long.

PD 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C PD Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - C

Kissing is another area that can produce some nice candid photo ops while on the street.

Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C

PD Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr- Co

BMG selection copyright 2014 Daniel d. Teoli Jr. mr

…I’m not that fussy about what they are kissing either…

Bikers Mardi Gras no. 88 copyright 2014 Daniel d. Teoli Jr. mr

37Whoop-Whoop 111 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr (1) Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

People pointing is another good subject for fast shooting.

Dancing Queen Bride Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

BMG Project Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - Copy

I have lots of pointing pix, but don’t want to put them in here.  I don’t want to sign my name to them online since they will dilute my portfolio of good work. They are something you would find on your average photo forum and nothing special. I only shoot em for fast shooting practice and out of boredom. And if something great comes about then I will keep it.

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In addition to my boredom projects, I have many serious projects to shoot for.

A project gives a photog direction and purpose. A project can showcase the photogs talents. Many great photogs are known for landmark projects they have done.

The great Zig Ziglar talked about this – “Do you want to be a wandering generality or a meaningful specific.”

In my own photo life I seldom shoot anymore unless it IS for a project or to put a shot into a institutional collection or my portfolio. I can’t afford wasting time shooting stuff that will go nowhere, just no time to fool around. Even if I stopped taking photos today I have 4+ years of photos I have not even looked through yet and tons of artists’ books to finish.

If I wanted to shoot the garden variety camera fondler photos on the photo forums I could shoot day and night 7 days a week. So, how is there any time to be bored when it comes to photography?

Here is a list of some of my completed and in-progress artist’s book projects I’m working on.  If the project is a major one it usually ends up as an artists’ book. I’d advise any funked-up photogs out there to find a project and devote themselves fully to it.

A Family Portrait – 1971

Engaging the Enemy Frigate – 2011

Anecdote – 2011

Imitation of Life – 2011

Pocket Art (Series 1 to 3) – 2012

Dye Transfer Printing from the 1950’s – 2012

Dye Stability Testing of Color Imaging Media – 2012

Portfolio 25 – 2013

Pocket Art (Series 4 to 7) – 2013

Peephole: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013

Portfolio: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013

Twenty-Six Roadkills – 2013

Cutters: There is nothing I hate more than myself. – 2014

Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet-
Printing Media – 12 Volume Set – 2014 (f)

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – 2015

Pocket Art IR – 2015

Bikers’ Mardi Gras – 2015

Gender Benders from the 1970’s – 2015

Tonality – 2015

Skinned Alive – 2016

The End of an Era – 2016

Temple of Dreams – 2016

Meet on the Street…Shoot at the Home – 2016

Her Last Day Alive – 2016 (b)

A Day in the Life of a Drag Queen – 2016 (b)

Gone! Up in Smoke – 2017 (b)

Piercing Darkness  – 2017 (a) (d)

The Americans…60 years after Frank – 2017 (a) (d)

Dye Stability Testing of Color Imaging Media: Edition 2 – 2017 (b)

Whoop-Whoop – 2018 (b)

Gay Bar – 2018 (b)

Women are Beautiful: Beyond Snapshot Aesthetics  – 2018 (d)

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large – 2018 (b)

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large II – (e)

Big Mouth – 2018 (d)

Charmed – 2018 (d)

Moo! – Forthcoming (e)

Girls of the Beat Generation: The Mix – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: The Bodies – Forthcoming (c)

Raw: Girls of the Beat Generation – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: Hairstyles from the 1940’s-1960’s – Forthcoming (c)

The Rainbow Girls of the Beat Generation – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: Outtakes – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: 6 Volume Master Set  – Forthcoming (c)

Presenting Photography to Curators and Museums – Forthcoming (c)

Eight Millimeter – Forthcoming (e)

Infrared New York – Forthcoming (c)

Yum! – Forthcoming (e)

A Shadow in Time – Forthcoming (c)

A Hidden World – Forthcoming (c)

Secrets of Candid Photography – Forthcoming (c)

Eiffel Found  – Forthcoming (c)

Freezing Time: Vernacular Snapshot Aesthetics – Forthcoming (c)

Freezing Time: Vernacular Snapshot Aesthetics II – Forthcoming (c)

Manhattan 180 – Forthcoming (e)

In Their Day – Forthcoming (c)

Double Take – Forthcoming (c)

Wide Open – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past I – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past II – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past III – Forthcoming (c)

Pigskin Chronicles – Forthcoming (c)

Frosty – Forthcoming (c)

The Kennedy Files – Forthcoming (c)

All You Need is Love – Forthcoming (c)

Nursing Home Confidential – Forthcoming (c)

Klaus – Forthcoming (c)

Majorette – Forthcoming (c)

The Dinosaur Hunters – Forthcoming (c)

Balling the Jack – Forthcoming (c)

Gimme the Finger – Forthcoming (c)

Painted Ladies  – Forthcoming (c)

The Great Tit – Forthcoming (e)

Artifices of Convention – Forthcoming (c)

All about Dick! – Forthcoming (c)

Shooting Blind  – Forthcoming (c)

Beatnik Lovefest – Forthcoming (c)

Going Postal – Forthcoming (c)

Plain Brown Paper Wrapper Girls: Bohemian Models from 1940’s-1960’s – Forthcoming (c)

The Animal Lovers  – Forthcoming (c)

A Mucky Day in NYC – Forthcoming (c)

Magnifying Lens Photography – Forthcoming (e)

Take it Like a Man – Forthcoming (c)

Iconoclastic Reporter – Forthcoming (c)

Iconoclastic Reporter 2 – Forthcoming (e)

The Flappers: The Mix – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Raw! – Forthcoming (c)

The Rainbow Flappers – Forthcoming (c)

Flappers: Reflections – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Hairstyles from the 1915 – 1935 – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Outtakes – Forthcoming (c)

 The Flappers: 6 Volume Master Set  – Forthcoming (e)

Nightwatch – Forthcoming (e)

The Pre-Beat Bohemians: Girls from the 1930’s & 1940’s – Forthcoming (c)

Bathing Beauties – Forthcoming (c)

So…You Think You Got Troubles? – Forthcoming (e)

Mirror Image  – Forthcoming (c)

The Bohemians – Forthcoming (e)

Hyper-Real HDR Street Photography – Forthcoming (e)

Blow Man Blow! Forthcoming (c)

Whoop-Te-Doo – Forthcoming (c)

Going Native! – Forthcoming (c)

Adorable – Forthcoming (c)

Hungry for Love –  Forthcoming (e)

Before Photoshop (Abridged) – Forthcoming (c)

Before Photoshop (Unabridged)- Forthcoming (c)

Pitch Black Crapshoot – Forthcoming (c)

Trucker Fags in Denial: A Closer Look – Forthcoming (e)

Harem – Forthcoming (c)

Vegas Undercover – Forthcoming (c)

Bikers’ Mardi Gras: Revisited – Forthcoming (e)

Pucker Up! – Forthcoming (e)

Rear View  Forthcoming (e)

The Broken Leg Variations – Forthcoming (c)

The Honeymooners – Forthcoming (c)

A Shot in the Dark – Forthcoming (e)

Blinded by the Light – Forthcoming (e)

Beatnik Lovefest II – Forthcoming (e)

The Lovers – Forthcoming (c)

America…in T shirts – Forthcoming (c)

Snob Repeal – Forthcoming (c)

New York Wide Open  – Forthcoming (e)

Bohemian Nights  – Forthcoming (e)

Nosing Around – Forthcoming (e)

In Motion – Forthcoming (c)

Strangers in Paradise – Forthcoming (c)

50 Photos – Forthcoming (e)

Hijabs of New York – Forthcoming (e)

Day for Night – Forthcoming (e)

You Just Gotta Have Balls! – A Street Photographer’s Manifesto  Forthcoming (e)

New York, New York – Forthcoming (e)

Pointers – Forthcoming (e)

Infrared Street Photography – Forthcoming (e)

ARTZ – Forthcoming (e)

IR in Motion: Greeley Square Park – Forthcoming (e)

IR in Motion: On Broadway – Forthcoming (e)

Piercing New York – Forthcoming (e)

Tough Women – Forthcoming (c)

Guerilla (Warfare) Photography – Forthcoming (c)

Mucking Around Manhattan IR – Forthcoming (c)

Humans of New York…No BULLSHIT! – Forthcoming (e)

Novelette – Forthcoming (e)

Metro IR – Forthcoming (e)

Gone Girls – Forthcoming (e)

Artsy Type…No Principles – In Development

What is Spontaneous Bop Prose… – In Development

Thirty-six views of Bison – In Development

With Due Respect Beloved One – In Development


(a) Under consideration for a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.  Edit 4.7.16 – Notified of Fellowship rejection from Guggenheim Foundation.

(b) Principal photography complete – pro forma book printing schedule.

(c) Principal photography complete – pending book printing, no date scheduled.

(d) Photography in progress – pro forma project completion date.

(e) Photography in progress – ongoing, no completion date set.

(f) World record for largest set of hand-printed artist’s books ever produced.

Fourth of July 2013 CV Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

OK…I’ve given you some tools I use to keep out of the funk zone. If nothing here resonates with you, start selling some of your usless photo gear your not using on eBay, clean up your archives and get caught up on your post processing. Study new photo techniques, do some experimentation or go to some photo shows / art exhibits.

In the end, you may also want to do some soul searching about your photography. As I’ve told you before, the hardcore street photog is going to have a different attitude, personality and ego than an anal landscaper or startrail photog. The street photog may not be as anal as the tripod photog when it comes to technical aspects, but their nature shows a different anal aspect when it comes to their personality.

The street photog may have to work outside of normally accepted societal conventions if they want to get the shot. As such, that special ‘anal aspect’ the street photog must posses can be summed up in the vernacular thusly…success on the street sometimes involves being an asshole.


Holy Water Bowl St Patrick’s Cathedral NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

The photog usually does not set out to be an asshole, but when you concentrate only on ‘getting the shot’ it is a natural offshoot of the process. Now, on the positive side, the better you are at candid work, the less assholeish you need to be.

If you can’t make a go of it, you may be in the wrong art. When I was a young photog growing up in L.A. I wanted to be a studio / fashion photog. Finally it sunk in that I had no talent for those areas – all my talent was in street / doc photography. It was important to my work and inner peace the day I accepted this. Once it sunk in I took to street photography like a fat kid eating pizza, just devouring it…and never looked back!

Good Luck and don’t forget the secret formula…layoff the keyboard, hit the pavement and press the button more!


Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

From Girls of the Beat Generation

A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Do you understand your own pictures?


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Article Dedication

In honor of

Floyd Delafield Crosby & Alfred “Fred” Zinnemann


From the Rangefinder forum…

daveleo write:

Do You Understand Your Own Pictures ?

I don’t understand every still life picture that I make.
In fact, I’ve been trying for a few years now *not* to make another one until I understand why it is I do this.
But it’s hard, because that’s all I want to do, really – make intiguing pictures of things thrown together.
It’s fascinating. It’s boring. It adds up to a package that makes people wonder “What is this? Why is this “?

To be clear, here are two of mine that resonate in me for reasons I don’t know. When I made them, I simply assembled things as they appeared best to me.

So …… (what should be my question here?)….
Should we show pictures that even we don’t understand? When someone asks you “What is this?”, what’s an intelligent answer?


Well, I generally don’t shoot still life / studio / mental masturbation work. Since my specialty is street / doc photography, most of my work is pretty straightforward.

One photog said street photogs are people that can’t do good studio work. From my point of view, studio photogs are people that can’t do good street work. Each genre needs its own talents. Sure some photogs can do both, but the two talents generally don’t mix if your talking top end work.

Studio= anal, meticulous, time intensive, perfection.

Street = instantaneous, imperfect perfection.

If I have a project that requires a studio shot I can do a basic still life photo. The big difference is I hand hold my cam, shoot on the fly in the field or just do a very basic setup. So that is as anal as I like to get with studio work.

82 DSCF3328 v16 5 X 7 mr

 From De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – section on sex tools.

When it comes to understanding my own photos?

Take this photo below…


Sad Buskers  NYC  Infrared flash photo (Candid)

My interpretation of this photo was a sad busker cause no one wanted to pay her for a photo of her bare boobies. Now, it could also be she was feeling sick from a stomachache.

From observing some of my subjects for only a few minutes or seconds, I don’t always know everything about a street photo. I’m not much into interviewing people. I seldom ever talk to my subjects, so I just do the best I can with any description from studying what I see that very moment. But, I could be wrong.

Generally my photos are pretty upfront, I like straight photography. I am just trying to document something, not much to understand. The photo could be naturalistic or freaked out a little in an artistic way, but it still maintains qualities of reality no matter how artistic I may try to get. Once the photo takes leave of reality, it is not good documentary photography. I draw the line when the photo is not an honest representation. (Such as composites.)

Even so, every once in a while I may deviate from my norm with some ‘mental masturbation’ work.  I had written to Araki to make me The Birth of Araki.  Araki didn’t respond, so fuck Araki… I made one for myself.

The Birth of Araki concept and post processing from found photographs by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. m

 The Birth of Araki which was done with found photos as a cutout composite

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Take these  2 photos. I don’t understand them, I didn’t ask what was going on. They are mysteries and reflect that mystery to the viewer. The mystery component is part of what makes them good photos.

35Whoop-Whoop 71 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr 20Whoop-Whoop 81 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

I guess I would have to answer the title question thusly…I understand most of my photos, but not all of them.


Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (3)m

From Girls of the Beat Generation

A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

A complete list of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Weegee talks to us from the grave…you can’t be a nice Nellie and do (street) photography.


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Article Dedication 

In honor of

Berenice Abbott & Margaret Bourke-White


Weegee talks to us from the grave…

A short Weegee ‘How To’ video

Backup audio link:

I was shooting in Hoboken and a wedding photog chewed me out for not asking before I shot him, his assistant and the bride. I gave him the spiel…if you are in public I can shoot as I please. I told him he was a photog and should know that. He said I should still be courteous and ask first.

Well, being courteous and doing street work do not go together. If the camera fondling wedding photog was a street shooter he would have known this. Weegee maybe said it best…you can’t be a nice Nellie and do (street) photography.

Here is the Hierarchy of Documentary Photography, which I developed, that spells it out.

1. Candid events unfolding as they happen.

2. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a candid, then the photo must be posed.

3. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a posed photo, then it must be staged with the proviso it is a recreation of past events, preferably with the actual persons reenacting the events.

4. Figments of the imagination. Varies in documentary value.  Can be based on pure speculation or a recount of events.


Grand Central Station NYC (Candid)

There is a high chance the hardcore street photog is going to have a different attitude, personality and ego than an anal landscaper or startrail photog. The street photog may not be as anal as the tripod photog when it comes to technical aspects, but their nature shows a different anal aspect when it comes to their personality.

The street photog may have to work outside of normally accepted societal conventions if they want to get the shot. As such, that special ‘anal aspect’ the street photog must posses can be summed up in the vernacular thusly…success on the street sometimes involves being an asshole.


Holy Water Bowl St Patrick’s Cathedral NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

The photog usually does not set out to be an asshole, but when you concentrate only on ‘getting the shot’ it is a natural offshoot of the process. And this need to be an asshole only comes about if you insist on in-your-face, candid photography like I do. On the positive side, the better you are at candid work, the less assholeish you need to be.

The legendary Samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi would advise his students to ‘think only of cutting’ when in battle. This same strategy is what I do when shooting on the street….I think only of getting the shot.

If your OK with doing the garden variety street photography you see on photo forums, the asshole issue should not be a problem for anyone. Just shoot from the hip far away or get a long telephoto lens, stand across the street and blast away.

But the majority of this type of photo forum street work I see smacks of…’Hey look at me, I just shot a mishmash of strangers on the street that don’t mean a anything to anyone.’ These photos usually only hold interest to the photog that took them and maybe the people in the photo.

That type of work is what I try to avoid…and I avoid it by getting personal with my subjects. And getting personal with strangers is where the need to be an asshole comes in.

Order Women Like Pizza  Daniel D. Teoli Jr. v29 mrOrder Women Like Pizza Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Order Women Like Pizza – Las Vegas (Candid)

Photogs have always used tricks to get the shot, either from the need to not be an asshole or from having balls the size of freezer burnt green peas. For instance, Walker Evans, was said to hide his camera in his coat and Paul Strand was reported to use a right angle, fake lens attachment so no one could see what he was really aiming at.–and-the-real-reason-we-should-remember-diane-arb/

This type of sneaky candid work goes back to the early days of photography…

Vintage Spy Camera

Now, if you are of the nature of Donna Ferrato, Sebastião Salgado, Mary Ellen Mark, W. Eugene Smith, Michel Chelbin, Gordon Parks, Gail Halaban, Shelby Lee Adams, Nan Goldin, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Helen Levitt or Eugene Richards, then you have the talent and personality to be able to embed yourself into the project and become friends with your subjects. Once you are accepted into the group, you can shoot at will and not have to be an asshole. But every photog does not have this personality.

If you are not of that nature, then it does you little good to waste time trying to be something you’re not. For me, I accept I do not have the personality and disposition to do projects that require the photog to embed themselves and be personable with their subjects. Where I put my effort is in trying to be the least amount of an asshole necessary in order to get the great candid street or doc shot. And that is accomplished through honing my skills to be the best candid photographer that I can be.

De Wallen Postcards copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Postcard display Amsterdam

When Socrates was a young man he surveyed what areas of inquiry he wished to direct his philosophical thought to. He looked at the study of the natural world. He concluded he was not of the nature to study the nature of animals and the natural world. Socrates found what area of study interested him and he settled on the study of human nature.

When I was a young photog growing up in L.A., Irving Penn, Halsman and Horst were my idols and I wanted to be a fashion / studio photog.

Philippe Halsman Jump Series Martin - Lewis

Photo by Philippe Halsman

Only after years of anguish did it finally sink in that I had no talent in those areas. Once I accepted that fact, I took to street and doc photography like a fat kid eating pizza, just devouring it and never looked back. And to further distill this revelation, I had to accept the fact that the best I can do in the realm of street and doc photography was to be the best ‘hit and run’ street and doc photog that I could be.

Cartier-Bresson sums up ‘hit and run’ street photography nicely…

“I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.  Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”

The question I asked myself about having what it takes to be a studio photog is the same question you have to ask…do you have the talent and true desire to be a great street photog? I mean, in a world of 3 billion cell phone cams you have to be great nowadays if you want to stand out above the crowd…the world is just polluted with images.

1936 Temple of Dreams Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection m

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

You may say you have the desire, but you have to put this desire above all else and this is where being an asshole comes in. If you can’t be a good asshole or you can’t develop outstanding candid skills, then you may not have what it takes to do museum quality street work. If that is the case, then do you have the personality and talent to embed yourself into people lives to get the shot in a more relaxed atmosphere?

Whatever direction you do take, it does not matter what I say, they say or what you say. The proof of the pudding will be in your portfolio…either it will be great or it will be shit…that is the acid test.

If perchance you do not have any candid skills and you do not have the personality to embed yourself with your subjects, there is one last hope for you. You need to get a mouthpiece, fixer or talker for your project. The mouthpiece will do all the talking, interviewing, arranging and kibitzing.

It is very common occurrence that photogs and writers work in teams on projects. The writer interviews and writes, the photog freezes time for the project. All you have to do is to press the button successfully. For the majority of the circumstances girls work best as the mouthpiece. Everyone likes to talk to girls…the men, the women, the lesbians and even the homosexuals.

One last note on this subject with concerns to what ‘they’ say when it comes to ‘hit and run’ photography…

You will find critics all around you. Critics and art have a long history in bed together. Well, as the old saying goes…opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one.

Some critics will say ‘hit and run’ photography is bad. To do real street photography you must make eye contact with your subject. Others will say you must ask permission first before shooting and that shooting from the hip does not count.

The critics must be a little confused. They must think they are paying for the shoot. If you’re working for your own account and it is legal to shoot…you do as you goddamn please. There are no photo police or head photo accountants to say what counts and what does not count. There are no rules on how we should do our art…other than…THERE ARE NO RULES!


Sometimes in our photo career we come across people that do a little more than offering criticism. I have had plenty of confrontations with people during the nearly 50 years I’ve been shooting on the street. Here are a few of the self-preservation lessons I have learned over that time.

Fortune favors the prepared.

Champ Joe Lewis summed up the plight of many an aspiring street photog  when he said…”Nothing replaces ring time.” The modern day camera fondlers will do everything they can to ‘buy experience’ with books and seminarseverything short of getting their hands dirty, day in and day out, training on the street and pushing themselves to keep expanding the envelope.

The German’s have a saying…’You grasp by grasping.’

Cartier-Bresson once said “your first 10,000 pix are your worst.” In the digital age, I say it is your first 100,000, not 10,000.

Experience usually precedes insight.

I see this phenomena all the time on the photo forums, they want insight without any experience.  People will ask if I do this…then what? With digital imaging, nothing could be easier than to push the button and find out the what for yourself. Fortune favors the curious…that gets their hands dirty. People want it all breast-fed to them nowadays. Pretty soon they will be sending out robots to do their street photography for them.

3Whoop-Whoop 31 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

I had to laugh at reading some crap written by Eric Kim. (He blocked me from posting to his blog…so I’ll have my say here.) Anyway, he wrote about  a confrontation he had where he stood around arguing on a long term basis with a guy about a dispute over Kim taking his pix without permission.

Well, that is how wannabes do it. You know the ones…”Hey, I read 200 books on photography…now I’m a street photog!” and lets not forget…“I don’t know if my street photo will look better on film or digital – so I shoot it both ways.”

Goddamn…they got the blind leading the blind nowadays!  Listen up…YOU NEVER, EVER STAND THERE AND ARGUE.

When you are in an argument what happens – blood starts to boil…

4Juggalos no. 18 Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr

As soon as you snap the shutter, start walking away. What the hell are you waiting for…things to escalate???? Fortune favors the wise. Don’t stand there like a jackass, being an accommodating stationary target, arguing for 20 minutes with an idiot that could turn dangerous.

If someone is a nut case your not going to reason with them. Once you take the pix. (As you camera fondlers call it ‘captured.’) you move the fudge on. YOU take control of the situation, move out and let the person chase you down if they want to keep the conversation going.

This is an important ‘acid test’ in itself as to which direction this confrontation may take. The person may let it go and shrug it off or maybe they will stand there and yell at you. Well, people can yell and blow off all the steam they want. I’ve heard it all before from the cowards behind the keyboards.

Where the line gets crossed is when words turn into a physical assault. If the person starts to follow you to continue arguing with you that shows intent on their part that should warn you to be prepared for a possible escalation in the situation.

Joel Meyerowitz tells a story about Cartier-Bresson. He said Bresson was accosted by a drunk and flung his Leica in the drunks face to stun him. Bresson retrieved the camera with the shoulder strap and quickly disappeared into the crowd. That is how you do it. Don’t argue, don’t make a big fudging deal over it, give them the spiel on your rights about taking photos in public and move on.

Fortune favors those with street smarts. Never give the person involved in the dispute your name and especially don’t ever hand out a biz card. Many street wannabes think they can persuade someone they are OK by trying to convince them they are legit photo forum camera fondling photog. Well a biz card means nothing nowadays. All you have done is to give the person your contact info so they can track you down and continue the harassment after a conflict erupts.

When Bresson slammed the drunk he didn’t hand out a card and tell him to contact him for a free photo. But that is how things go nowadays with the photo forum street posers.

14 L1002945-6_7_8_fused-4-2-3 mr

If the person is physically prevented you from moving on, then give them what they want to appease them or use force as a last resort to defend yourself. You need to decide which road is best for you. The person could fold up with a little self-defense effort on your part or they could pull a gun or a knife and kill you. There is just no telling what can happen in any given situation. My advice throughout this post is to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Fortune favors those who run away to live another day. If confrontation is not avoidable, then incapacitate the attacker as quickly as possible.

Sometimes you will run into a person whom cannot be satisfied no matter what you do. You can apologize to them and give them whatever they asked for and they still have a hard-on for you and wont give it up. No matter how you try to reason with them it wont cut it. Maybe they have a mental illness or early onset Alzheimer’s…I don’t know, I’m not a mental professional.

The only success I’ve had with these type of people is to do an orderly retreat ASAP. If I stand there and argue and try to reason with them, blood starts to boil – for there is NO reasoning with them.  Don’t get suckered into their sick mind games. Now, in my limited experience with these type of personalities I’ve never known them to be violent, they seem to be all talk. But there are always exceptions to the rule, so keep an eye on them as you move out.

PD 66 Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - C

Infrared flash photo from Piercing Darkness and Gay Bar series.

The other night I was shooting at a group run by lesbian separatists. Lesbian separatists are a militant sect of lesbianism that envision an ideal world composed solely of women with the extinction of men.

One lesbian that did not like me taking pix started pushing me around and was very abusive. As I was leaving, I was surrounded by a group of 5 or 6 lesbians demanding that I delete the photos. First thing I do when confronted is to get my pepper spray or tactical light in hand. For a group like this I forget the light and go straight to the pepper spray.

I knew I had some good material, so I refused to delete a thing. After seeing talking was getting nowhere, I didn’t waste time, I didn’t suck my thumb, I told them the conversation was over and walked away. They followed me verbally harassing me, but it was an all-talk attack with nothing physical. But if things escalated, the hot Tabasco was ready to be served with my other hand fingering my collapsible baton.

Check out the S.C.U.M. manifesto for a taste of lesbian separatism…

I was in my 60’s when I shot all the pix in this post. Sometimes people on the street think they can pick on me just cause I’m old…they are in for a big surprise. These current crop of camera fondlers would shit their pants if they shot where I do. I routinely get threats, gear broken and attacked as normal business.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

But, before the need for self-defense comes to fruition, you have to ask yourself…what caused the conflict in the first place? Was it your lack of skill as a candid photog? Over the years I have refined my skill level for candid photography to a very high degree.

Here are just a few candid shots…


 Staten Island Ferry NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

27 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

 Amsterdam (Candid)

Selection from De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The Lost Princess Wheeling, WV (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Sad Buskers Times Square NYC Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from Biker’s Mardi Gras artist’s book (Candid)

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Beside the lack of skills queation ask yourself is your photo worth that much to have to fight over it? Fortune favors those who are flexible. Sure, you can quote principles and being in the right. But it is like the rules of the road when driving…you may have the right of way, but you don’t demand it if your up against a knucklehead driver.

OK, I’ve done many landmark photo projects. My work is in over 125 museums and curated collections around the world. (See partial listing)

If I have a special pix, I will fight to keep it. Now, if it is a crapper, I’d just delete it to keep the peace. I’m not one to fight for principal, but I will fight for more museum prospects.  But, why should I fight and risk my life over a nothing pix I will just delete anyway?

In your case, ask yourself what are you producing?  Maybe a pix for Flickr of a person walking by a funny sign or someone walking in or out of a shadow with the hope you can get a thumbs up from 2 people on the photo forums? Is it worth dying over?

My advice is…fortune favors those who are realistic. If your photo is not going to win any contests and you see you are dealing with a potential threat or crazy person, just apologize and delete the photos…then walk away as fast as possible. There are plenty of other funny signs and shadows with people walking in them for you to shoot another day. If you don’t like to delete photos to keep the peace, then you had better be ready for a confrontation.

GOTJ project 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Now, if you are a legitimate street photog, altercations should NOT be a big problem for you. You should have developed candid skills by now that allow you to work unseen for the most part.

Candid skills or not, you must prepare for problems, as a threat can arise at any moment out of nowhere. As your walking away from the person that is a potential threat, you keep aware of what is happening behind and all around you. As you walk away, you stay in a public place and you are also getting your self-defense weapons in-hand for quick deployment if needed.

If your weapons are in-hand, you don’t have to worry about a fouled draw. You have also practiced what to do with them under duress. The assailant grabs your shoulder and spins you around…boom there they are ready for deployment. This ‘surprise’ attack should not startle you too much if you have kept aware of your surroundings.

No matter what weapons you have or how highly skilled a fighter you are – the best self-defense is ALWAYS avoidance. You try to avoid the fight at ALL cost. If attack is unavoidable, then you have no other choice but to deploy your weapons or physically fight off the attacker.

On the net it is easy for everyone to be an expert. Well, I’m not going to bullshit you, I am not some big marital artist or self-defense expert. But, early on in my social documentary career I realized physical attacks were an ever present danger. As such, I had to put a little effort in learning how to maintain my safety.

GOTJ 57 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I carry self-defense weapons for defending against an attack or to ward off a theft. I’m in my early 60’s. I got a bad neck and bad back, so I am not one for wresting a guy on the street. I am also at a disadvantage in that many times I have a camera strapped to my wrist and a backpack of photo gear on my back. Irrespective of my age and health issues, if need be, I can snap a neck or bust a head open like a cracked egg with a collapsible baton. That is the beauty of weapons…they are the great equalizer, they add power to the powerless.

Sometimes my backpack may have a lot of expensive gear in it. If I am shooting in dangerous areas, I use 12mp to 16 mp ‘disposable’ cameras and get my pack value down to $500 to $1500. My cheap Pentax bodies start at $150 and 50mm manual lenses at $35. That is about as disposable as I get.

Fortune favors those not dependent on attachments. Luckily for me I am not a anal fanboy of any one brand of cam. I can generally get along with most of the cams out there. That is where my nearly 50 years of experience has paid off.

Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell poo-poos the backpack for photogs. He says the shoulder bag is best. Well, Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell is right…if your shooting macro shots of flowers, your kids birthday party at the park or your latest ‘$50 for a DVD’ maternity gig. Now, look at Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell’s work and look at mine. Do you see any GD similarity at all between the two? Who do you think knows more about street work Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell or me?

Isn’t this what you all lust after?

You can take some sandpaper to your Fuji or Leica to age it and then you can look like Indiana Jones ready for his next adventure.

Here is the bottom line…for street work, staying low key and having something secure that wont work against you in a fight…the backpack wins hands down. How would you like an attacker to take your shoulder bag and choke you out with the strap? A thief can pull a shoulder bag off your shoulder in an instant and take off. Getting a backpack off your back is much harder. If they get the pack off your back, maybe then can beat you with it, but at least you wont be choked out with the pack.

I use a Think Tank Street Walker most of the time. For more stealth I use a cheapo Walmart backpack with camera skins for protecting the gear. If you can find a cheap backpack with a waist belt for extra security that is great. No, it is nowhere as convenient as the shoulder bag. But the backpack does allow me to keep my gear and life safe, so that is all that counts.

I also use a large fanny pack for some shoots. In it there is a fast draw knife secreted where it mounts tight against the body. I don’t have to dig for it or open the knife, just reach behind, give it a yank and boom it is there. Same thing with many of my backpacks. Many of them have a fast draw knife secreted in them that can be accessed from the outside. It never hurts to have a backup weapon or two. Never forget…two is one and one is none if you have a malfunction. Fortune always favors the prepared.

Over the years I have had many altercations since I started street photography in 1970.  Just between July 2014 and July 2015  I had 6 or 7 potential fights / threats and attacks that I was able to avoid or quickly fight off. Although this was an unusually high year for trouble. Luckily for me, the worst injury I suffered was a grazing blow from a fist to my tooth. If it had connected squarely, then I would have had a cut lip, loose tooth or worse. But as it was, it only caused a little discomfort for a day or so.

These altercations weren’t  from being caught taking photos of the person attacking me. They were all from walking or standing with a camera in my hand while doing nothing. Some of these attacks came out of nowhere, so you must always be on alert and ready. The other day a drunk wanted to fight me because I didn’t have a beer to give him. The camera can be a magnet for problems in some locals. I try to be as low-key as possible with it, but it is impossible to be perfect at all times with candid work.

But, no matter how big your ego, how swelled up your head is, even the best get caught every so often…

Hen Party Amsterdam Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

One of the problems photogs have with awareness is the tunnel vision many of us experience when doing street or doc work. We are concentrated on a scene or object and oblivious to the rest of our surroundings. Charles Ponzi, the great con-man of last century who gave us the Ponzi Scheme, used to say…”When a man’s mind is concentrated he is blind.” Concentration is a great trait to cultivate for doing candid photography, but it is a detriment to those under attack. I don’t have an answer to the problem except take a break and look around you every so often to keep aware of your world.

Awareness possibly saved my life recently. I was shooting IR flash for my project Piercing Darkness. It was late at night and I saw something happening on the edge of the parking lot. When I went over to see what was happening this is what I recorded…

PD copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - c Homage to Mssrs Weegee & Yoshiyuki copyright 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - c

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

Earlier that night I was almost run over. I don’t know whether the guy was drunk or was just trying to run me over for fun, but the he headed right for me. If I wasn’t paying attention I would have been clipped. Luckily I saw he was coming right at me and I was able to jump out of the way and he barely missed me at the last moment. Fortune favors the alert.

My first line of defense for weaponry is a 200 lumen tactical flashlight. I do a lot of night street photography, so the tactical flashlight is a very important tool for me×1500/knifecenter/surefire/images/SFLX2HAWH.jpg

Surefire make one of the best. The tactical switch is what you want  for self-defense. Surefire’s are very tough and nearly indestructible. Tactical lights can be had for as low as $15 to $30, but when you need it will it be there? Don’t skimp on your self-defense tool if you want to keep fondling your cams for years to come.

Many tactical flashlights incorporate a crenelated bezel also known as a strike bezel that can be used as a weapon itself. The edge of the crenelated bezel is pounded into an attackers temple, eye socket, collarbone, knee or elbow. It can cause a lot of damage. (I know…I’ve had one used on me.) When the edge of the bezel hits skin on bone it splits the skin wide open.

There are some really crazy tactical bezels out there…

These type of bezels may cause a lot of bleeding – blood can carry disease. Extreme bezels could also foul the draw when you wish to deploy your light. They also may pose a legal problem if you ever have to go to court. If you cause a lot of facial disfigurement or blind someone from using such an extreme bezel you may have to answer in court how that is to be considered self-defense? I just stick with Surefire’s minimalistic, classic designed tactical bezels – it gives me the best of both worlds.

Be warned, you strike someone in the eye with your light, you may cause permanent eye damage. If you strike someone in the temple or trachea they may die depending on the force you use. You should only be using deadly force when you are concerned your life is in eminent danger. But, if someone is out to kill or gravely injure you, they must be stopped at once using any means necessary.

For self-defense you want  a minimum of 125 lumens and preferably above. Surefire also makes a 500 lumen model, the E2D Defender Ultra LED. I’m sure the megapizel chasers will be all over it. (Well, until they come out with a 600 lumen model that is.) The ordinary household flashlight is about 10 to 20 lumens. So any way you cut it, tactical lights are way beyond that.

The tactical light is a very useful tool to carry beside self-defense use. If your on a rough road in the dark it lights the path. When going to your car in a dark parking lot it is an outstanding bright light to illuminate the lot. You can see who is lurking in a parking lot or near or in your car before it is too late. It also signals any would-be attacker that you are not going to be easy mark.

One of the ways a tactical light differs from a household flashlight is with beam focus. The tactical light has a highly focused beam, whereas the household light is spread wide. Be careful, some tactical flashlights have a capacitor that needs to be charged up for max output. It is charged by powering up the light then turning it off and repowering it. In a self-defense situation you will not have full power until you go through one ‘on / off / on’ power cycle. You don’t want that, you want on and full power, no games.

The tactical light can also be used as a photo light to shed a little more light on the subject. I lit up this guys butt crack and highlighted the liquid being poured from the bottle.  I could not use the light on high or it would blow out the highlights. But on low power it was just right.

Mike Busey 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The product shot below was done on the fly. I pulled the light out of my pocket, lit it up and boom there it is. As a street photog…that is as anal as I get with studio work!

De Wallen copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Lets get back to self-defense…

If someone is following you and you are threatened, you turn around and light them up. If it is dark outside they will be blinded, startled and cringe away from the light. If they are wearing sunglasses in the dark of night, they may not be as affected. (But anyone wearing dark glasses at night is giving a lot of pre-warning right there that something is wrong with them.) In daylight, the tactical flashlight wont do any good for blinding people unless it is very high lumens.

The big benefit of the tactical flashlight is out of all the weapons discussed in this post, it is the most benign weapon that can be deployed. If you can blind someone and they get the message and they lay off great – you haven’t had to spray pepper in their face or stab them with a sharp object or strike them with your baton. So if it is at all possible, use your flashlight as a first warning shot.

Alertness and Surprise are 2 tools you can benefit from mastering.

After you light them up you yell loudly ‘BACKOFF – GET AWAY’ or ‘WHAT’S THE PROBLEM’ or ‘STOP IT – YOU ARE SCARING ME!’ Keep walking away as you stay aware of what they are doing. Ladies may wish to scream ‘HELP I’M BEING ATTACKED’ and deploy a personal alarm. These loud commands give fair warning to the attacker to lay off and hopefully attract attention from passerby’s to your problem.

If you think a threat is eminent, while the assailant has been blinded by the tactical light, you must be proactive and spray them with pepper spray that is ready to be deployed in your other hand. Blinding light then hot pepper gas…a one two punch.  A second or two after the pepper takes effect, you gas them again so they can’t catch a breath. Then start running and get as far away as you can.

You have a strong hand and a weak hand, you decide which hand gets which weapon. I try to practice weapons use in both hands. My weak hand is not as good as the strong hand. But with practice, my weak hand is much better than it would be without practice.

The reason you need to determine which weapon goes in which hand is; if you plan on following up the one – two punch with number three, four and five, make the most of the weapon by putting it in your strongest striking hand. After you light up and spray the assailant, you follow up with a hit from the crenelated bezel of the tactical flashlight…then a kick to the balls…then a knee to the face or a hammer fist to the back of the skull as they bow over from having their testicles juiced. Work the assailant high and low, high and low.

A good tactic for tactical light and pepper spray use is to always sidestep his line of approach after they are temporarily blinded from the light and gas. This way the attacker is disoriented as to where your current position is. Once the attacker is stopped, get far away from the attacker.

I usually wear cargo pants and sometimes a hoody, so I have many pockets to carry weapons. You can also get snap-out belt holsters for your light, spray or baton. I sometimes pack 2 pepper sprays…large 2 oz or 4 oz sizes. (In NJ you can only have 3/4 oz sprays, so know your local laws.) You don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

The bottom of a pepper spray can will make an improvised weapon – you bang the bottom edge of the can into the assailants temple or eye socket…hard! Another use is as a breakaway aid. If the assailant has grabbed your shirt, you come down hard with the edge of the can on their forearm repeatedly until they let go. Then step back and gas them.

If things escalate and you see them start for their pockets, tell them STOP…TAKE YOUR HANDS OUT OF YOUR POCKET. Don’t warn them again if they don’t comply, you act immediately.  Only you can decide what self-defense measure you will employ next to incapacitate them. But, once the attacker gets whatever they have in their pocket out…it will be too late and too bad for you.

In this situation you just can’t afford to wait and find out. Mistakes can happen, they may be reaching for Kleenex or a asthma inhaler. Do you really want to kill someone over a sheet of Kleenex? Yet that is what proper self-defense dictates in such a scenario. On the other hand they could pull out a knife or gun.

If the attacker proves to be unarmed and you use a weapon against an unarmed person…guess what? Your the criminal in the eyes of the law and good chance your going to jail. Do you see why I tell you to avoid conflict if at all possible?

29Whoop-Whoop 43 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In recent times there have been numerous reports of criminals and attackers using pepper spray on the victims. Awareness is your only defense. If you see someone approaching you with something in their hand it all may revolve around who has the fastest draw.

Here is my experience with pepper sprays…

Cone spray is my first choice of pepper sprays. Stream / Gel / Foam spray can be defeated if the assailant moves out of the line of fire or covers up the area with a hat or cloth. The cone spray is all encompassing and pretty well atomized. No escaping it if you are in the large sphere of influence of the gas.

Cone spray can also be sprayed behind you if someone is following you. Be low key about it, but give them a whiff of gas…maybe they will get the message. Stream /gel  / foam spray requires a direct hit. Cone spray is like a scatter is amazing stuff and just needs to get near them.

Stream / gel / foam spray seem to run out quicker than cone spray. This may be due to the fact that your spraying large amounts of product trying to find the face of your attackers. Whereas cone spray atomizes the product into a large area and make it effective by just being in the general vicinity. Even though stream / gel / foam spray may be near the attackers head, it will still not have any effect unless it is a direct hit. So as the old saying goes – “when it comes to a miss, an inch is as good as a mile…close only counts in horseshoes!”

There is a shortcoming to cone spray. Since it has such a large sphere of influence, whenever I have deployed it I get some blowback. With stream / gel / foam spray, you seldom get any blowback unless you are very close. There is no perfect solution to irritant dispersal systems. I suggest you thoroughly test out the various options before your life depends on their use.

I don’t advise you use the little pink or black mini sprays except as a last resort. Many of them only contain 1/3 to 1/2 oz of product.  2 oz spray is the minimum size for self-defense. What would happen if your in a bar and you need to clear a path to the door that is being blocked by a guy and a few of his friends? You going to do it with a puny 1/2 oz. spray and then run out of product in the middle of the job?

Always read the labels, don’t go by looks. Some larger sized cans that are the exact same size of a 2 oz can only contain 1.25 to 1.5 oz of product.

The compact, little cutsie sprays can be next to useless for multiple deployments or extended range. Don’t bet your life on toys like the little lipstick sprays they market to women. You may have to deploy the spray repeatedly – the mini sprays generally have poor range and have very poor capacity for multiple deployments. When it comes to you life, forget fashion for a moment ladies and use serious equipment. You don’t want to lose your life over not having one more spray of gas that you didn’t have in your pink cutsie toy spray.

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Infrared flash photo – Hollywood, CA

From Women are Beautiful – Beyond Snapshot Aesthetics artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Even after all I have said against the little cutsie / pocket sprays …they can come in handy if you need to spray someone right next to you. Most of these sprays don’t have much power. So they may be the best tool for the job if the attacker is right next to you and you are worried about backsplash. But you will have to test them all out for yourself….fortune favors those that test…test…test!

Fortune favors those with a shield. If you can get to your car, you may be able to put a shield between you and your attacker. Within your car you should always have a 3 to 4 oz can of pepper spray handy.  If someone threatens you coming through the window you can gas them and drive off.  If you can’t get to your car, duck into a business for a shield and yell for Help I’m being attacked! and to call the police.

Reinbeau copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

When you deploy pepper spray in CQC you should be using foam or gel spray. You can see in the photo you will get lots of blowback if you use cone spray. Actually, no matter what you use you will get lots of blowback with someone sticking their head in your car window. try to give them a face smash and spray when they are a few feet out of the window. There is no reason not to have foam and cone sprays in the car so you are covered for CQC or long distance use. The thing is to mark ‘which is which’ if the cans look alike and try to store them in different areas of the car. You don’t want to grab your spray to stop an attacker 10 feet away and have foam dribble out 3 feet away.

There is a big problem when using certain foam sprays. Some brands give you a shaving cream consistency that is not too powerful, which is what you want for CQC. Other brands I’ve tested shoot out foam like buckshot having an explosive range of up to 15 feet. If you try to use these explosive foam sprays in CQC you will have it backsplash all over you. If you fear backsplash, try to guard your eyes and face with an open hand.

Fortune favors the knowledgeable. Test your sprays. I’ve used many, many sprays over the years and can tell you some are excellent and some are garbage. The spray pattern may be poor, range could be poor, and some dribble out and get your hand all full of spray after you use it.

Some foam pepper spray is only good for CQC, I use it if I have to deploy inside a car or house. The right foam to look for is the one that shoots the pepper foam out with a little more force than a shaving cream can with a 3 to 4 foot effective range. If you use the wrong pepper foam it shoots out too powerful for CQC and will get all over you. If you ever deploy cone pepper spray inside your house it can spread 15 to 20 feet into an adjoining room, not to mention the blowback you will receive being near the sphere of influence.

This spray takes some practice to get both buttons working in sequence for deployment.  Why get a complex design that you may have trouble with when under pressure?

Look for high potency sprays. Sometimes pepper spray is made with less heat for general crowd control. You want the maximum available heat for a self-defense spray. Civilian and Law Enforcement Pepper sprays range from 0.18% to 1.33% Major Capsaicinoids. Bear Sprays range from 1.0% to 2.0% Major Capsaicinoids.

Pepper spray can kill someone with asthma or a respiratory illness. Pepper spray is not a toy. Check your local laws. NJ / NY have tough laws, you can’t have a spray bigger than 3/4 oz and it must be a diluted formula. Pepper spray is as about a humane a deterrent as you can get for 95% of the people. (The old East Germans had a tear gas that would eat the enamel off you teeth…that is some potent gas!) In an emergency I’ve read people have used Deep Heat spray, women’s hair spray, DEET bug spray, brake cleaning spray and wasp spray as a deterrent. But most of these sprays are pretty big cans and vary in effectiveness and liability.

If you want a fast cleanup spray and one that the assailant can recover from more quickly, go with water based pepper spray. The most painful and long lasting pepper spray is petroleum based. Even if you wash out the eyes, the oils hold the irritants in place. While it is devastating stuff, you don’t want to use it in your car or house.

Here is the test I use to test the potency of petroleum based pepper spray.


I don’t advise you to do this test.  Don’t blame me, I am not responsible for adverse reactions you may have from this test.

I spray a little pepper out of the can. Usually a dab of pepper liquid is left on the nozzle. I rub my finger on the nozzle getting pepper liquid on it. Then I wash my hands with soap and water. I dry my hands then I rub my finger that touched the liquid around my eye. If I have a potent spray, my eye will start burning like hell in short order. I flush my eye out with water until the burning subsides. This test is meant for petroleum based pepper sprays. With water based sprays the effect will be less.

I’ve tested pepper spray that was almost 10 years past the expire date. It still was plenty potent and had OK range, But it had lost some of the pressure that it originally had. (I save my retired sprays to use as trainers or to see just how long they last.) Don’t fall for the lie to change your pepper spray every year, it is bullshit. Buy a sample spray, test it then buy more of that lot number. Just like we did in the old film days with lots numbers of film.


Another thing to be concerned with sprays is angle of deployment. I’ve had some sprays that wont work in certain positions. All you get is propellant with very little or nil pepper. Spend some money and buy some sprays to test thoroughly. You camera fondlers out there that spend thousands of $$ for your photo toys, can’t you spend $30 or $40 to buy and test various sprays on the market so you can have confidence in your self defense weapons?

With regards to impact weapons, a collapsible baton is a good self-defense weapon…if you know how to use it. If you don’t know what your doing, your assailant may take it from you and beat the shit out of you with it. The collapsible baton can also be deployed as a defense tool without extending it, similar in use to an oversize kubaton.

If your in NJ, NY  or CA, collapsible batons are not legal. Check out your state for the law. But you can substitute this:

The monopod will do lots of damage. Esp the spike…so be careful. I take strap  off of mine and crank it down tight so it wont come loose during deployment. I seldom use it for photos,  I use it for protection in the states where criminals have more rights that law abiding citizens. If you really want to keep it tight, Loctite it. Others may wish to leave the strap on and use it as a keeper or even as a leverage tool to swing the monopod from the wrist similar to a nunchucka.

Laws  vary so much, but in general it is illegal to use a weapon against an unarmed person. So, if a drunk takes a swing at you it is illegal to even hit him in the leg with a baton or similar bludgeon. The laws don’t seem to take into account being attacked by multiple opponents or take age into account. All this would have to be settled in court…again TRY TO AVOID PROBLEMS is the best advice.

Auto lock and friction batons both have their benefits. You study up types and how to use them. Auto lock batons are on average 2 inches longer than friction batons of the same lengths due to the auto lock mechanism. Auto lock batons are generally harder to open  than friction batons.  A 21 inch baton is a great EDC size. In my opinion, 26 inches is too long for plainclothes without a holster. If you find yourself in CBC, 26 inches can get hung up on obstructions.  I don’t advise to go below 16 inches if you can help it.

The super cheap batons may look good when you handle one, but once you hit something hard they bend and wont close. Although even the more expensive models can bend. The push button baton that shoots out the front is crap…a camera fondlers delight. The mini baton, the size of a kubaton, is also not very useful.

Some of the auto lock batons do not lock securely on the first deployment. It reminds me of the tactical flashlight I talked about above that needs the capacitor charged from cycling on and off before it can reach full power. The auto lock batons (ASP & Monadnock) exhibiting this phenomena require a secondary snap to engage the lock fully. In an emergency you may not remember to give it a second snap and it can close during deployment. Always test your gear in real life scenarios before trusting it to save your life.

Friction lock batons also have a problem when it comes to their locking mechanism. A friction lock baton may close unexpectedly if you hit it a few time up against something hard like a stick or metal pipe. I don’t think it will come unlocked just from hitting a person, but be aware of this problem. Once they are truly locked, an auto lock baton will generally stay locked securely, until you press the closure release.

Aluminum ASP Airweight batons are very comfortable to carry, but they tend to bend more than steel batons and can be harder to open do to less inertia from their low weight design. You can adjust the tension spring in the base cap to make it easier to open. But, too much bending for adjustment can cause an early failure and spring breakage. Just as you get a trigger job for your gun to make the pull smooth and lighter, so you do with your batons. With proper adjustment, the deployment of an aluminum baton can be comparable to a steel baton.

Beside being harder to open, aluminum batons also seem harder to close than steel batons. As far as I know, nothing can be done about that. If you hit something hard with an aluminum baton you will feel it in your wrist and hand more so than a heavyweight steel baton. Just like the S&W Airweight snubby gives off more recoil due to its lightweight design.

Even with all their drawbacks, I favor airweight batons for EDC when it is shorts season in the summer. If I deploy one and it bends I will just buy another one. It is the price one pays for insurance to stay alive on the street. If I had a baton that weighed too much I will end up not carrying it as I should. So what good would a heavyweight baton that may not bend do me if I leave it at home? The little ASP 16 inch Airweight weighs 7.5 ounces. That is next to nothing to carry – my keys weigh 4.5 ounces. BTW…the ASP 21 Airweight does a lot better opening than the 16 inch ASP.

For fall / winter use, when I wear hoodies and long cargo pants I go with steel batons. Steel batons are also my first choice for my car. They open easy and have great impact feel as compared to the hollow feeling aluminum batons that can twist your wrist from the top heavy feel when you hit something hard.

Peacekeeper batons are the ‘Rolls Royce’ of collapsible batons. There only drawback, beside being very expensive, is Peacekeepers are also very heavy. Just for comparison, an ASP 21 inch Airweight baton weighs 9 oz. An ASP 21 inch steel baton weighs 16.5 ounces and a 21 inch Peacekeeper weighs 22.5 oz. The Peacekeeper is a great choice for durability and striking power if you have a holster. But for  plainclothes use in your pocket, the Peacekeeper is way to heavy. In any case, if your a true blue camera fondler and pixel peeper, I’m sure you will give the Peacekeeper a go…just so you can say…I have the best!

Be sure you keep your baton in line with your strong hand that will use it. A clean and fast draw is important. It is also good to practice opening and using the baton with your less dominate hand. If something puts your dominate hand out of commission, where is your back up? Again, check your local laws regarding batons. Be careful, if you hit someone hard in the head or neck you can kill them.

1,2,3,4,5…fortune favors the fast. When your life is at stake you must meet a serious attack with enough force for it to be stopped…quickly and permanently.  A good practice drill is to use a heavy bag or dummy to beat on with your sticks or baton. But, you just don’t beat randomly on it. You practice specific hitting pattern drills to develop power and speed. The other benefit is, this training conditions your wrists and hands for using impact weapons.

As fast as you can read 1,2,3,4,5 is how long it should take you to deliver 5 powerful blows with your baton to the attacker. You really need hands-on training, you wont develop skills by reading a book about it, anymore than you can learn to skateboard by reading a book. But what is of foundational importance to all stick and impact fighting methods is to develop power from short, direct hits – not long wind ups.

When you use an impact weapon you don’t want to do a big wind up like your hitting a baseball and telegraph your intent. The assailant may strike first or block you if you give them time to see what you are doing. Let me give you an example. If someone is coming at you with a knife, you have your pepper spray in your weak hand and can gas them. As they take a pause to refresh, you slam you baton into their wrist with the knife in it.

Hopefully they drop the knife. In any case you don’t wait to see, from the wrist hit, you immediately strike your baton into their face, then a fast snap to the other side of their head or neck area. Then it is a blow to the side of their knee with a direct arch from the previous neck blow. As they bend over another strike to their head or back of neck. As I said, 1,2,3,4,5 should be how long it takes to deliver 5 devastating blows to the attacker. Each blow flows from the previous blow. (Don’t forget you can also use the butt of your baton as a strike weapon.)

Some training use 12 preplanned baton blows to practice. I dunno, I got a pea brain and 5 blows is enough or me to remember. Moreover, even if you got a genius brain, do you really think an assailant will stay put for you to complete your circuit of 12+ pre-planned blows in the exact order you have practiced them? The benefit of a 12 blow practice session I that it familiarizes you with delivering blows and blocking attacks from numerous angles. Like all things, there are pros and cons to everything.

A good technique to practice with your baton for CQC is the piston motion strike. It is similar to the old steam locomotive action where the main connecting rod moves up and down as it moved the wheel around. All the action is in a linear motion. So it goes with your piston strikes –  it is an in-out motion that does not involve wide swinging.

With your striking hand you piston whip the attacker with the baton and with the other hand you palm smash him in the face as you advance. Once you are clear of obstacles, you can swing a little wider for working them high and low. Whenever you strike with your baton you want to envision going through the object, not just hitting it. for instance, if you going after a knee you want to do it like your chopping through a piece of wood…look beyond the knee as your target and take it out.

Another good training method for developing dynamic skills is to have a training partner throw a medicine ball at you. You strike it with the baton and also a palm strike. Once the ball hits the ground, follow up with an attack to the ball as if it was your assailants head. Your eventual goal should be to get 2 baton strikes, as well as a palm strike, to the ball while it is still in the air.

Keep in mind the importance of training for consistency and efficiency in movement. The foundation of your movements should be deliberate and to the point. This not only goes for using firearms or your baton but also when it comes to street photography.

A good training tool  for baton, fist or knife fighting is to train by the combat clock system. You practice hits and blocks as a partner yells clock time as the guide…1 o’ clock, 7 o’clock, 11 o’clock. This is a very good way of practicing techniques for various angles of attack and defense. If an attack is happening so fast you don’t feel you have time to deploy the baton and make a  strike. The opening and strike can be in one motion. As the batons snaps open it hits the attacker at the same time.

Inevitably you will get the bleeding hearts that worry about hurting the attacker ‘too much.’

A few words on the subject from Jeff Cooper on consideration. (Quote condensed)

“Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause deserves no consideration. We are fully justified in valuing the life and person of the intended victim more highly than the life of the pernicious assailant. The attacked must be stopped – at once and completely. An armed man is dangerous as long as he is conscious. Take no chances – put him out. When your life is in danger and under lethal attack don’t be kind – Be harsh – Be tough – Be ruthless.’

5Whoop-Whoop 1 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

If the attacker persists in following you after you have lit them up and gassed them, a Class IV weapons laser (with a tactical switch as opposed to a key switch.) has been used as a self-defense weapon, especially for long range defense. You can light up a threat from a hundred yards away and blind them. (Check your local laws.) It fits in the palm of your hand and is smaller than a tactical flashlight.


Class IV lasers can cause permanent eye damage – I don’t advise you to use a Class IV laser or any laser for self-defense. Always remove the batteries before you work on any laser.

Some of you may wish to just carry a gun. If you do decide on carrying, make sure you use self-defense ammunition and are licensed for your state with a CCW. Every state is different pertaining to the CCW laws. For instance, in some states the concealed weapon must be holstered. Other states don’t require a holster, just drop the gun in your pocket. Laws change all the time, so you keep abreast of the current laws in your local.

The hallmark of good stopping power for self-defense needs is expansion. There are many good choices out there. I generally go with Hornady  hollow points.

Hornady also makes Critical Defense ammo. Mushroom tests vary, but they all have good penetration . Some of the Winchester hollow points really mushroom, maybe even a little too much, as penetration is on the low side. You test out all the ammo brands yourself, don’t reply on me or anyone else when it comes to your life. I’m just putting out a few brands I tested. Fortune favors the responsible person.

A new development with defense ammo is the ARX Devastator.

ARX Devastator

It is a composite bullet that corkscrews into the body creating a hydrostatic explosion within the tissue.


If you put a round into someone’s eye socket it will blow the back of their head open. A really destructive round in 9mm+P.

For short barrel wheel guns (snubs) I use 38.Special or possible some +P 38’s. The .357 mag is too uncomfortable for me to shoot in 2 inch barrel, lightweight guns. Just one shot of .357 in a snub and my hand is sore.

The .380 or 9mm Browning short is OK, but lesser so than the more potent 9mm. . The .25 is a toy, .22 Stinger is better than a .25, just  Forget all these puny calibers unless it is a last resort. If you do find your life resting on a .25 or .22, they do the best job when placed in an eye or an ear. But we are talking about life and death here, generally not arguments over a photo. Isn’t it sad we have to worry about all this when all we want to do is press the GD button and freeze time? But that is our world. Fortune favors those that accept reality.

 The tradeoff is if you want great penetration it requires more of an armor piercing nature of a full metal jacket with low expansion of the bullet. This may cause problems with the bullet exiting the body cleaning doing less damage to the assailant, offering less stopping power and hitting innocent bystanders.

No matter what ammo you choose, always shoot a box before trusting your life to it. Some autos are fussy and will jam with a certain brand of ammo. A good torture test for an auto is to load 4 or 5 brands of ammo alternating brands for every shot. If the gun fires the magazine of mixed brands of ammo…it passes.

Although nothing replaces live fire, an excellent training tool for home use is the laser cartridge.


You can get them for autos or wheel guns. When the trigger is pulled, they shoot an intermittent red laser dot where the gun is aimed. Highly recommend them. As a safety precaution always inspect the gun is not loaded with live ammo prior to pulling the trigger at EVERY session. Keep ALL live ammo out of the room you are laser training in. NEVER point the gun at anything you don’t wish to shoot.

When in a life or death situation it usually unfolds a few feet from you. So sight picture does not come into play. If you stick you hand out and try to get a sight picture, like a camera fondler like Kim would do, you assailant will grab your gun. Having skills for shooting from the hip  or ‘point shooting’ with your gun is important. Here is the correct defense for CQC when there is no time nor distance between your life and the attacker.


Some autos may jam if you ram the gun into the assailant. The slide may come out of battery. A revolver can be rammed into the body and let loose without any problem. You will also benefit from the gas that comes out of the barrel. The gas can be very destructive just on its own.

If you using a snubnose, you will have to test it in similar circumstances where it may be used. For instance, if you have to shoot your weapon indoors, in the dark with no ear protection,  you could be night-blind from the muzzle flash and deaf for a long time from  a .357 mag round in your snubby. Not to mention the trouble you may have actually hitting your target with the magnum recoil.

When doing penetration and mushroom tests always shoot through a few layers of clothes, heavy winter jacket if your testing low powered guns. You may think that is kinda anal shooting through clothes, but the gun below, shooting .22 magnums, will only penetrate a few inches of newspaper  with no clothes. So make sure any low power gun you use will still penetrate decently in the real world where you plan to use it. If your unsure, just go with full metal jacket if you want maximum penetration.

Without ear protection, you may be deaf for some time from the massive report of a magnum in a snubby. You may want to compare how many good hits you get from your snubby when you go with .38 Special instead of the .357 mag. Even though the .357 mag is a superior round to the .38 Special. The .357 mag does not do you any good if your night-blind, deaf, disoriented  and your hand is sore and bruised. after the first shot.

If your a lady and having trouble operating the slide on an automatic or you have trouble with the heavy trigger pull on a revolver…check out Ruger’s line of LCR snubs.

They are lightweight and have an easy trigger pull. If the .38 special is a little too much for you to handle, look into the Ruger LCR .327 mag. But, load it with .32 H&R mag loads, as the .327 mag is a very hot round to shoot out of the little gun.

The beauty of the Ruger LCR .32 mag is it takes 6 rounds versus the 5 rounds your average .38 snub holds. But, you try all avenues to see what works best for you. If you like shooting the .327 mag out of the little LCR, then go for it.

But, be advised that some of the LCR’s have reliability problems. If you want the best for reliability it is Smith and Wesson in my opinion. Here is a brand new .327 Ruger LCR right out of the box with a trigger that jams.

Defective guns aren’t limited to wheel guns. I purchased a brand new Glock 42 in .380 caliber. Even when trying 5 types of .380 ammo, the Glock 42 would consistently jam.

Hammerless snubs can be fired right out of the coat pocket. Yes, shoot through your clothes if it is urgent enough. Autos and revolvers with hammers may get jammed up if you try to shoot them while they  are in your pocket. My fav way to carry is with a un-holstered snub in my hoody pocket. I can shoot right through the pocket with no draw delay. My hand is resting on the weapon and the gun can be pointed at the attacker without them even being aware of their fate if things demand deadly force.

Just like we have pixel peepers that only will accept the biggest and most powerful sensor, so we have the same type of person in the gun world. They will tell you .32 H&R mag is underpowered. But the bottom line is; people have been killed by the puny .22 LR and 6 rounds of .32 mag in a person is going to do a good deal of damage. Esp if you get one in the ear or eye…that usually seals the deal.

If your going to compare the .32 H&R mag to a .44 mag, it is way underpowered. If you compare the .32 H&R mag to a .25 auto, .22 L.R or .22 mag…it has much more power. So just depends on what we are comparing it to.

Here is a size comparison of the 38 Special, .32 H&R mag and .22 Long Rifle Stinger cartridges.

If you do settle on a .327 / .32 H&R magnum, you can also use the .32 H&R mag +P for something recoil wise in between the original .32 H&R mag and the .327 mag.

Besides carrying guns concealed, I also have one in my car (shield). I try to have 1 or 2 guns ready for action at all times. But for street photos, I also have other options than just brandishing / shooting the gun or cutting someone up with a knife over a photo dispute.

When it comes to knives, they should be used for defense against deadly force being used against you. For general self-defense, I don’t want to have to get that close to someone to start cutting their arteries and tendons as combat knife fighting training advises. Although if I am going to work in dangerous areas I do carry a knife & gun in addition to the rest of my self-defense weapons.

You should use the least amount of force necessary to put down the attack. You must always keep in mind you may have to answer for your actions. When you go to court what will you say? I took his photo and he didn’t like it so I killed him with my gun. I took his photo and he said something threatening so I slit his throat. You can see where the gun and knife will end up.

Of course, if you beat someone to death with a collapsible baton you wont be looked upon much different. If you have to use force to defeat an attack, it must be measured and proportionate. Don’t go for revenge, just use enough force to stop the attack. If you put the attacker down don’t be tempted to give the assailant a lecture while they are on the ground. Let Kim stand there and suck his thumb…YOU get the hell out of there.

If you ever find yourself in a chokehold with your back to your assailant on the ground with his legs wrapped around you…one of these can save your life.

It is very hard to extricate yourself from this type of situation unless you got something sharp to slice and flay their choke arm wide open or stab them in the leg with. Your tactical pen may be of use. But in such a dangerous predicament, I’d want the best tool for the job and the knife wins over the pen.

If you do decide to carry a tactical folder, Benchmade makes some of the best folders, assisted opening folders and fully automatic knives in their price range. Check you local laws…in some locals they are ALL illegal. Sometimes I will use an automatic knife, but mostly I’ve settled on assisted opening models depending on the local laws of where I am shooting.

An important part of any self defense-weapon deployment is to be familiar with your weapon. This may sound basic, but with the camera fondling personalities that make up today’s photo world it is not. You know, fondling gear for pleasure, versus actually using it, is  not a monopolized by camera devotees. They have flashlight fondlers, knife fondlers, gun fondlers and down the line.

With knives there are all sort of slick opening mechanisms nowadays. They make some very sexy ‘out the front’ knives, but they tend to need lots of cleaning and prove unreliable with spring problems.

Emerson makes a wave opening mechanism knife. I don’t use it, but some people love the design.

Benchmade makes a DUO model that looks like a normal, manual opening knife with a blade stud. When you push very hard on the axis closing button it turns into an automatic (switchblade) knife.

Right away this stealthy, dual opening knife would seem to appeal to the camera fondler. (Hell, it would appeal to me too!) But, the problem with this knife for self-defense is twofold.

1) It does not auto open in ALL positions. Benchmade does not tell you this, you have to learn for yourself by testing. If things are not just right with the geometry it jams 1/3 open. While your life is slipping away before your eyes, your slick switchblade will turn into a useless limp biscuit if things are not just right.

2) This knife is very close in design to Benchmade assisted opening knives.  It is so close in design that you can’t know which one you have in your hand just by feel or even looking at it unless your a knife geek. Therefore you may confuse which knife you do have in an emergency if you change knives like people change shoes or the proverbial camera fondler changes cameras. You could be getting choked out as you keep pushing on what should be the auto-opening switch only to remember too late your knife is not the duo auto model.

This same continuity and familiarity with your self-defense weapons should be carried down the line in with all your gear…sprays, lights, batons, etc. Pepper sprays have all sorts of safety mechanisms. Almost all of my sprays are the same flip lock safeties for continuity and easy of use.

12Whoop-Whoop 38 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Good old basic, dirty street fighting may help you in an emergency. If an attacker would grab you in a bear hug from the front, head butt them in the nose and face with your forehead, get your arms loose, grab their ears for leverage and bite into their nose like a fat kid eats pizza. Then dig your fingernails in their eye sockets while you knee them in the coconuts. Once you are loose, put your self-defense weapons into deployment. A dose of pepper spray and putting the assailant down with the collapsible baton will finish them off. Fortune favors the ruthless.

Hopefully you won’t let them get so close to you to start with, but we all get blindsided once in a while. If you get a bear hug from behind, head butt them with the back of your head, stomp their feet and swivel your hips to the side while you deliver a series of fast, hard blows to their privates with hammer fist strike. Even if your caught firmly on the upper torso in the hug, you can generally still swivel your hips to one side or the other.

If you are being hugged around the waist and can’t swivel your hips then try this. Grab a finger on their hand and pull it back. Generally this breaks the lock. If they don’t let go snap the finger, then start on finger #2 and snap it. Once the lock is broken then turn around and deliver some of your weaponry.

If you have been lax in carrying self-defense weapons, a palm strike to the face, eye gouges, knees to the balls are some good options. Whether you are using a weapon or your hand, you reaction to any attack should be explosive and violent. If you put in a half-ass effort your attacker will know you will be a pushover.

Get some training in the hand-to-hand area. You need real life practice. There are just too many scenarios to train for. What training does is to make your reply to any attack second nature. Practice full contact, full power with someone wearing protection. Don’t just play patty-cakes. The general rule is; you will fight like you train, so put some purpose and effort in the training. Even if you never have a need for it, martial arts training helps keeps you in shape. You should be doing proper training and conditioning in a number of areas.

If you have to resort to hand-to-hand fighting because you don’t have any self -defense weapons, don’t forget you have many options for strikes. You are not limited to just punches. You have your knees, elbows, foot stomps, forearms and a number of hand strikes such as knife hand, hammer fist, open palm and the devastating eye gouging and raking. I don’t care how big someone is…you fudge up their eyesight or windpipe and they are finished. They will forget about you pretty quick and work on trying to see and breath again.

If your not flexible and used to throwing high elbows to the rear or using an overhead hammer fist, you may pinch up from the exertion. Fortune favors the flexible, favors the aerobically fit,  fortune favors the speedy, fortune favors the coordinated, fortune favors agility and fortune favors those dedicated to strength training. These areas of fortune all make up a balanced foundation for any good self-defense program because all things being equal…fortune favors the strong.

Fortune also favors the protected. I’ve experienced lots of bodily abuse while shooting. Depending on the project, many times I will wear protection while shooting. I wear prescription eyeglasses and wear eyeglass keepers or Rec-Specs. There have been a number of times they came in handy and kept my glasses from being knocked off my face.  On some projects a cup may be welcome insurance, so think about protecting your entire body.

Shins can get kicked, toes trampled on, stuff thrown in your face.  I got an eye infection one time from having some paint splashed on my face. Someone threw a beer bottle at me and hit me in the head. Last month one of my toes was injured and shin was cut up from someone stomping on my foot and kicking me. I wished I had my steel toe boots and shin protectors for that shoot, but skipped wearing them. (Who wants to wear that heavy gear in hot July weather….so I paid the price.) I keep my hair about crew-cut length. I don’t want my hair being used against me in a  fight.

21Whoop-Whoop 21 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Since  I brought up training, realize that training in a number of self-defense areas can pay off even if you don’t plan on using that exact method yourself. For instance, even if you don’t plan on using a knife you can learn how to defend against a knife by learning how to attack with a knife. Same thing with a baton / stick.

A tactical pen is another small device that may come in handy in an emergency. It would be weapon of last resort for me, but it will do the job if jammed in an attacker’s eye or ear. The whole point of this post is to give you options. You never want to be in the position of having to depend on one self-defense weapon and not have any other options.

What would happen if all you carried was one small can of pepper spray and it malfunctions due to the fact that someone played a joke on you and emptied the contents? Well, if you have a baton you bring it to bear or your tactical flashlight.

While the pen shown above is slick, it is useless if all you have is one hand free. The pen above would appeal to the camera fondler. They are more concerned with looks that use. You need 2 hands to unscrew the cap to deploy the sharp part, so the design is flawed for serious self-defense use.. In addition, the sharp part is weak as it is the pen’s writing tip. What you want is a double tipped pen like this.

Even when closed the pen is deployable. It also has a dedicated sharp tip that is not as fragile as a pen tip. When you use a tactical pen you want to strike repeatedly, hard and fast like your using an ice pick.

Pain compliant tools such as kubaton, a sharpie pen or electric shock are also an option. I don’t use them. Most of these, (other than the Taser) require you maintain constant contact with the assailant. “I don’t want to do things with the assailant…I want to do things to the assailant.” ~ K.M.

Selection BMG 2 copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Selection BMG copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr Selection BMG 3 copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

As I said above, there are all types of laws around the world, so you study them up. To show you how self-defense laws vary with local, the poor, defenseless U.K. residents have to use sharp pencils, WD-40 and a coin purse that can be used as a ‘sap’ or coin ‘blackjack’ for self-defense. No pepper spray, no lasers, no collapsible batons, no self defense knives. The criminals have more rights in the U.K. than the law abiding citizen it seems.

We may look at the poor U.K.’ers self-defense efforts with amusement with all the freedom we have in the US of A. But, you wont be amused if they jam a pencil deep into your muscle tissue and break it off. The UK’ers are very creative with their improvised self-defense weapons. Even so, if you have to break the law to save your life – it may be better to be ‘judged by 12 than to be carried by 6′ as we say in the US of A. But only YOU can decide what is best for YOU, no one else can.

If you are in a local that outlaws pepper spray this is a decent option for something compact and offers a cone pattern and usable range.,500

No matter what self-defense weapons you are carrying, try to stay consistent with their location. In a stressful emergency you don’t want to be hunting for the weapon…you want it at your fingertips. Fortune favors the organized.




I’m not telling you to disarm an attacker that is holding a gun to your head or a knife to your throat with your flashlight. Yet, that is exactly what the expert can and will do…with their bare hands. But, it takes skill and a degree of luck. Frank Doorhof tells us…sometimes you can force luck. I tell you that you can help force luck by preparedness and training.

Fortune favors the bold…

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

The bold street photog does best – not the timid one that is scared of their shadow. Although if you have great stealth techniques, then it does not matter either way.

From an interview of Clint Eastwood…the Pussy Generation…

We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody’s become used to saying, “Well, how do we handle it psychologically?” In those days, you just punched the bully back and duked it out. Even if the guy was older and could push you around, at least you were respected for fighting back, and you’d be left alone from then on….I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.

….you gotta love Clint!

In any case, you want freezing time to be fun. Use your head when street shooting. Dress plainly and subdued so you don’t stand out.Leave flashy jewelry at home, you don’t need to advertise ”rob me!” (I wear no jewelry, only a cheap watch.)  For street photography, fortune favors a low profile and those who develop a good technique for candid ‘sneak’ photography.

If you are caught shooting a person and they come up to you and ask for a few bucks, just give them something. You took something from them…they helped you out being your model…now you help them out. If they ask for $, don’t offer to email them a pix of themselves. That is not what they want. If you don’t want to pay, apologize and offer to delete out of courtesy to them.

A gal in Hollywood died over this exact same scenario I am telling you here. She took a pix, refused to pay a $1 tip and got stabbed to death. (I read elsewhere she may have mouthed off and the argument escalated. Don’t add fuel to the fire, delete, apologize, be courteous and keep your mouth shut. Beside guns and knives, ‘mouths’ are another big killer of people.)

Eric Kim talks about becoming a fearless street photog. That is stupidity at its highest. Always remember…no one’s head is bullet proof. Only idiots are fearless, for when your fearless you think you are impervious to death. Fortune favors those that are not idiots.

When on the road shooting I seldom stay in a hotels…I can’t afford it. I boondock in my vehicle at rest stops, motel parking lots, casino parking lots, truck stops, hospitals or anywhere I think it is safe ‘enough’ to park overnight. So I am especially aware of self-defense concerns while boondocking.


Jersey City campsite when I shoot in NYC…$55 a day for a parking spot for your tent or $65 a day to sleep in your vehicle.

If all this talk is making you feel squeamish about street photography, then don’t do street photography. Every time I head out on the street I am situationally aware and armed for self-defense. And it does not matter if I have a cam with me or not. In your case, no one is going to force you to shoot street. If your uneasy about street photography, shoot flowers, shoot sunsets, slap a sunglass filter on your lens and shoot smoky water or cutsie dogs and cats, star trails, burning steel wool or whatever you feel comfortable and safe shooting. Or do the watered down ‘Eric Kim brand of street photography’ where you ask permission and shoot 80 photos of the same subject while they strike different poses for you.

PD Project Daniel D. Teoli Jr. G300 mr

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

Always remember…photography is not worth losing your life or anyone else’s life over. Be prepared, be smart and always try your best to walk away from any conflict before things get out of control.


I don’t recommend you deploy any of the weapons or tactics I discuss here. What I present is for informational purposes only. Every state and country has their own laws and regulations regarding self-defense. You check out your OWN laws pertaining to YOU. Take responsibility for yourself – develop real and useful self-defense skills and know the law.

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Photos used herewith are from the following limited edition artists’ books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet-
Printing Media – 12 Volume Set – 2014

Bikers’ Mardi Gras – 2015

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – 2015

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large – 2016

Piercing Darkness – 2016

The Americans…60 years after Frank – 2016

Whoop-Whoop – Forthcoming

Gay Bar – Forthcoming

Secrets of Candid Photography – In Development


De Wallen Graffiti copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.