Monday, April 28, 2008

Physics Explains Underexposure

One of the most ubiquitous problems in photography has been the mystery of underexposure, or, in layman's terms, "The picture, she is so dark."

Causing lost shadow details and muddy highlights, underexposure is the number two enemy of photographers, second only to abysmal wages and poor math skills.

During the twentieth century (that means the 1900s) several hypotheses had been advanced and shot down. Joerg Hilti, the Austrian jurist, had proposed in 1919 that photons slowed down whilst passing through the lens, and thus struck the film with too little force to make an impression. Einstein eventually put the kibosh on that theory, but it remained part of formal photographic education well past 1940.

In 2005 astronomers reported that dark matter, which was first synthesized by Fritz Zwicky in 1933, is far more prevalent than ever. The ever increasing and menacing dark matter has been proven (extremely proven, in fact) to be the cause of underexposure in the photographic fields. To put it simply, dark matter gets trapped between the lens and the film (or sensor) and then lodges in the receptor sites during exposure. This blocks some of the lighter and friendlier photons. The cause of dark photos had been found

These effects of dark matter have been overcome with digital sensors. In mass production since early 2007, dark-matter-protected sensors eliminate the dark matter underexposure conundrum.

The new CMOS and CCD sensors feature receptor sites that are too narrow and foreboding for dark matter to enter, leaving room for even the weakest photons, thus boosting the effective exposure to what it should have been all along. Film, still made by hobbyists in the hinterlands, cannot be adjusted to compensate for dark matter. This may may relegate film to the ash bin of history.

With digital capture in ascendancy, the dark problem is essentially solved. As one bride in Ohio or Illinois said, "My wedding pictures aren't as dark as I feared." And she was right!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Look Who I Found When I Came Home!

It was Ben and Charlene, hanging out in in the front yard.

Just kidding. This is actually my vacation home in Norway.

Nope, this is an engagement session we did in San Francisco in March.

Here are a few more images.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jewelry Photographs

I recently photographed the amazing jewelry of Keren Barukh of Oakland, California.

The similarity to portrait photography is that the subject (in this case jewelry) must be lit to bring up its distinctive features. And, distracting elements (in this case clothing, face and hair) must be lit so that they add to the photo, rather than distract or detract from the jewelry.

In this case, Jillian is not just the model, but also a client of mine.

Another model was Courtney

Hiking With Dad - Retrospective

My father, Felix Khuner(1906-1991)

I took this photo in, I am guessing, 1968. I took this with my first real camera, a Canonet QL-17, that my father had brought back from Japan in 1968.

We were hiking in a National Park - I think it was Mt. Lassen - and my father stepped in a creek with his right foot. He stopped to dry his shoe, and I got this shot.

I was a photojournalist forty years ago!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What Will You Be Doing on Your 95th Birthday?

Will you be teaching a dance class?

My mom was teaching her regular Thursday class as the Senior Center (not at the Senior Edge, I guess?). Because her class was celebrating her 95th birthday, she asked me to come by and take a group photo.

They had a cake for her

Happy 95, Mom! - Like she'll ever read my blog.

My Mom at Eighteen

My Mom's High School Graduation Photo

I did not take this photo. I am guessing that the person who took this photo isn't around anymore. But look at the gift the photographer gave us.

Photographs are our gift - the photographer's and the subject's - to people in the future.

You may think you are just hiring a wedding photographer or some photographer to do your family portrait. In the best of all worlds, you choose a person who will create images that will tell your children and grandchildren who you were way back then. How did you feel? Who was close to you?

"Thankyou Mr./Miss photographer of 1931 who took this photo."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I want to be Nadia Boulanger

I don't even know who Nadia Boulanger is, but I LOVE the name.


My mom is a name dropper. She used to tell this story about my older brother's footwear, and how we were so ahead of the times:

"Remember when Jonathan wore sandals, and that was before everyone else was wearing sandals. He was the first. He did it before everyone else wore sandals."

An impressionable youth, six years younger than Jonathan, hearing my mom tell that story many times, I really believed what she was saying. And I felt pride. I would see a guy wearing sandals and I would think, "Oh, but my brother, my family, was the first." [I am not sure if I really think with commas, but using commas makes me feel important.]

This year my wife and I are working on this problem. I want to have conversations without my mentioning that I was the first to do something or that I or my family has a connection to a famous person.

We have come up with a technique: Whenever I mention some connection I have with a famous person, she or I say, "Sandals."

Don't we all know that Pride is a sin? Don't we all know that murder and Pride are not good? It ain't the latest self-help fad, buddy.

It's not that it's a sin, but that it is alienating, it breaks the connection that conversations are, ideally, supposed to create and strengthen. And, it alienates me from myself. When I mention my connection that elevates me, I am not as present. I am less my authentic self, and just a jerk compensating (failing to compensate) for my inadequacies.

Connecting with others feels good. It's the opposite of alienation. When I don't feel connected, name dropping makes it worse, not better.

Help me Stop NameDropping

Just to make sure we are all on the same page: name dropping is mentioning a well-known name in conversation. For example, "I remember when Barack, back when we called him Barry, and I were teenagers and used to get together on Sundays and look for typos in the NY Times."

Or, "Ah, the Prius. You know, back in '62, we were the first ones on the west coast to have a car that didn't use gasoline - it ran on orange peels and shredded clothing. We were the first."

In a word: Pride. The sin of pride. Trying to alleviate anxiety and alienation by self-aggrandizement. I am guilty, extremely guilty.

I don't like myself when I do it, yet it has been a staple of my life. I even namedrop in my own inner monologue (dialog?).

My wife Anne is the opposite. She is humble, self-effacing, a goddamn saint, if you ask me, and her modesty makes it easier to hang out with her - she's not trying to prove how special she is all the time.

In the past few months, we have been working together to stop my namedropping.

Will you help me too?

Much thanks.

ps: note to - Please update spellcheck. Barack is the correct spelling of our next president - ONE R.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Phone Guy

My wife and I, being dissatisfied Comcast customers, were forced to switch from Good Old Analog Phone Service to Comcast Digital Voice. I want to apologize to Pac Bell (it doesn't exist anymore, right?) for switching to Comcast Phone a few years ago. However, they made it too expensive to switch back, but that's another story.

So, a few weeks ago Comcast came out, in the form of The Phone Guy.

While he was installing the modem, I snapped a few portraits. I sent him some free 8x10 prints - after all, he wasn't really Comcast, just an employee.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Days of Chocolate

Thanks to Rene Bien of Plan B Home Design Company and Renaissance Gift Baskets, I photographed Charles of Charles Chocolate.

Yes, I did eat lots of chocolate over the months Rene and I worked together photographing gift basket items in my studio/office.

My Gulch in Gourmet Ghetto

This is where I shop for cheese and tea, where I have the occasional Chinese lunch. Not shown, the famous Monterey Market.

I encourage couples interested in using my services to visit during the day so they can include a visit to the Hopkins & Monterey shopping area in their Berkeley stay.

I am just two or three blocks from Solano Avenue. I'll either go out and shoot it today, or go through my archives.

Actually, it would be easier to drive two hours, shoot for two hours, and return, rather than search through my files of personal photos.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 2008 Update

I've been away at an extended dinner, so I have not been blogging.

Actually, I got busy with album production, and just forgot to blog.

Yesterday, April 13, I photographed the Berkeley Opera fundraisers at the Town and Gown club in Berkeley. Helping me out was Casey Cheung" It's fun to hang out with another photographer and and work together.

Wagnerian Soprano Christine Brewer performed, accompanied by my brother, Jonathan.

Work is piling up, so I will try to blog more so that I don't spend too much time working.