Saturday, August 18, 2007
Kendra and Brian got married at the Lake Temescal Boat House. To make a long story short, we had a good time, Brian and Kendra are very, very nice and sweet, and we got some great pictures.
If I hadn't been fighting with CS3 and Adobe Camera Raw for the past week I would have had the images online sooner. They went up last night (Friday) onto one of my online galleries.
But, there is no slow/fast switch on hard drives. Instead these potentially really fast drives have a jumper (see picture)
It's not that I have a huge penny - don't I wish - but that the jumper is small.
Here is the jumper in place on a hard drive (I know it's not a SATA drive, but it was the only drive that wasn't in an enclosure).
When the jumper is in position, the data moves at half speed. But, if you pull the jumper off (it ain't easy once the drive is in the computer) the data moves at full speed.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I got a new computer. It has three SATA drives. I decided to put in a fourth. During this process I discovered that all three drives had been installed with the jumper in the SLOW position!
After I removed the jumpers the computer ran much faster. Actually, it sat on/under the desk at the same speed, sort of in one place all the time, but it functioned more quickly.
Imagine if services or products we purchased arrived only half functional, and we never even knew it?"You mean, if I COOK this artichoke it will taste better?"Yep, like artichokes and hamburger meat, some hard drives are not fully ready to use the moment you put it in your shopping cart.
It's more like you buy an ipod, and a year later you find out you are supposed to have TWO earbuds. Or, on your fortieth birthday you find out that all this time you could have been eating hot dogs IN A BUN, instead of holding the dog, mustard and catsup in your hands!
It's like you meet a really nice, totally in-style guy who makes photography really fun at your wedding, but after you have been married for six years you discover that the guy didn't know how to light, compose, or even get people to look good and natural.
The moral is, do your research, even down to the tiniest little piece: get me to photograph your wedding.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
One of the greatest gifts you can give your children, grandchildren, and your grandchildren's pets, is photos taken today that they can explore decades from now.
My dad's family, in Vienna, often went to portrait studios, and my father saved the pictures. He would have been 101 this week, and we still have this photo taken when he was seven:
The part of the job that you may never know about, or never think about, is that we are creating presents, a treasure chest of captured emotions and relationships, for ourselves and our descendends to view year after year.
A grand child whom you will never meet will be looking at the pictures you and I created.
That's one of the reasons that I am so careful with the quality of my work. These images will be treasures for your family, they are going to store them carefully, display them lovingly. They will be the window through which they will look into who you were, how you felt, today. What a shame if that picture is a snapshot, a poorly lit portrait, an image without feeling.
Allow me, help me, give a gift to your grand children and great grandchildren.
I know, you don't like the way you look in photos, but we love you, and we like seeing in the photos aspects of you that touch us so much.
I know what you are going to ask, "Couldn't you find a nice one to put up?"
I am present to realate to the people I am photographing. I can totally work on the relationship aspect of the photos. I can move quickly from close-up to full-length to detail to groups.
With lighting and exposure perfect, my concerns are
- Relaxing the subject
- Keeping contact with the people I am photographing
- Establishing contact with other people I will be photographing during the day
- Moving quickly and effortlessly through all the images that need to be done
- Being ready to capture the unexpected moment
- Creating the unexpected moment!
Every picture is perfectly exposed and perfectly lit because all the technical thinking was done with a hand from my hand.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Even before I knew of their Schubertian bent, I had fallen in love with that Schubert quartet.
I have several recordings of Death and the Maiden - none by my father's quartet, as they recorded mainly Schoenberg and Mozart.
In our "studio" as we called the dance/music studio in our Berkeley home, my father's second quartet, which he founded in the 1950s, performed the Schubert C Major quintet, which Mr. Nielson, my brother's 5th grade teacher, recorded, giving us the reel-to-reel tape. Years later, when I was a teenager, I found the tape, and listened to it over and over and over.
Then I bought the LP - recorded by another quartet - and listened to that over and over.
To sum it up, in my teenage years, along with crushes on dozens of girls, I had a total love-affair with Schubert chamber music.
And, I even cohabited with Schubert music: string quartets in some form, either played by the family, played by students of my father, played by quartets my father was coaching, and even at our famous Khuner Musical New Years Party, which was full to overflowing year after year during the 1970s, even with no invitations ever being sent out.
I reflect on all the musical education that I couldn't help but learn as a youngster in the Khuner house: I knew from before I could talk that Mozart was a child prodidgy, Beethoven rebelled against the musical forms of his day, Wagner used Leitmotifs, and so on. In fact, I had always thought that the Shakespeare play was pronounced "Oh Tell Oh," [the Italian, operatic pronunciation] and that my friends who talked of "Othello" were dolts who didn't even know how to pronounce the play's title!
Our everyday vocabulary included scherzo, fortissimo, overture, aria, glissando, cadenza, recapitulation, nocturne, bagatelle, woodwinds, octet, sforzando, da capo, octave, bagpipe, and washboard.
It went without saying that Bach never composed a string quartet, that Debussy and Ravel wrote one each.
My family didn't say "Beethoven String Quartet." They said, "Opus 131." When my brothers heard a snippet of music on the radio, they competed to be the first to correctly guess year, composer, title.
But there was one fact that they - not my dad, not my mom, not brothers (and I am including my foster brother Gil, hence the plural) - never, ever told me.
For decades, as much as my family knew of my love of Schubert (and Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn...) they kept a huge secret from me.
And when did I finally learn this secret, this family secret, this piece of information that was so awful, so gross, so icky, so humiliating that they never told me? I just learned it yesterday , and NOT even from my family, but from Robert Greenberg, the professor whose musical lectures are playing whenever I am in my car.
What secret did I finally learn last night, on my way to the church
(Corpus Christi in Piedmont, California) to photograph Heather and Bill's wedding?
Schubert (1797 - 1828) died of syphilis!!!
My god! When I heard Bob say it, the horror, the fact that I never even suspected it, hit me like a sizable load of building material, say, a ton of bricks, or maybe several sheets of drywall and a bucket of joint compound.
Schubert! Syphilis! Quartettsatz! The pain, the humiliation - my parents never told me! Now, at this age, to be told by a non-family member! I am humiliated!
I had to use my cell to call the couple that I would be taking the afternoon off - they could find another photographer - so that I could recuperate from the shock! (Schock?)
To think, in my family, the most horrible fate, the one we had to work hardest to avoid, was growing up without knowing how to play an instrument. Dying of VD at the age of 31? Either it was not as bad as being musically illiterate, or it was so much worse that it couldn't even be mentioned.
I have, as of yesterday, lost my innocence, and I am deeply and permanently scarred - at least for the next few days.
As for Heather and Bill? Actually, I had to swallow my emotions, and continue photographing the weddings as if the world had not just shifted a few degrees, as if nothing had changed, as if life were perfect, as if I were the innocent that I had been when the day started.