our new blogsite is born!

we've moved HERE !!!

after 235 posts, 400 comments, and 2.5 years of love, we're sad to say goodbye to this blog :( 

we're totally stoked about our fresh v2.0 blogsite by purr design.  head over and sleuth it out:


while we won't be updating this "older-school" blog, we're keeping around for those want to see our roots.

ps - don't forget to change your bookmarks :)


so it's been like forever since i've touched this blog (3 weeks is a record), and i wanted to let you know my creative efforts have still been rolling 110%, but not at the cost of a quality of life and balance.

for the last several years, nicole has been working super hard on her PA school work and clinical and I am super proud of her efforts. i wanted to share this image of nicole, which is a new recent favorite:


good things come to those who wait.... and coming soon, here's what's on tap:

5 personal posts about the mesh between buisness, technology, life, and macguyver skillz
4 engagement sessions
3 portrait sessions
2 creative projects (completed)
1 unconventional bridal photographer workshop

and the best part of it... it will be all showcased on our brand spankin' new custom blogsite by purr design.

can't wait to share!

r. j.


deck the halls

tonight after some take home sushi, we'll fire up "home alone 2" and begin decking the halls, decorating the tree, and giving dash his rudolf rain deer ears and a bright red nose.

our christmas card this year was nicole's idea. we got great evening light on green mountain (walking distance from our home), set up a single off-camera flash triggered by radiopoppers, and fired off about a dozen shots using a timer. (most have us wrangling dash to have him "look at the camera." okay, okay, not the normal thing to do, but it was we knew would make our parents smile so we made it happen :)

we designed the card ourselves and they were printed by our favoritemost lab folks at whcc on uber cool linen paper... if you would like a something uniquely different this holiday season for your family holiday card, contact us and we'll help you out!

kern-photo holiday card with r. j. nicole and dash using radiopoppers with a nikon d-300

flip open the card and here's what is inside:
kern-photo holiday card with r. j. nicole and dash

and the back:
kern-photo holiday card

best airport of the year: palm springs

after walking to my gate last night thinking of my next portrait cactus client, i stumbled upon this little guy... making for the cherry on top of my palm springs triparoo. i've never been to an airport where just outside my gate i can appreciate native cactus species with a sunset and distant mountain views and palm trees in the background.

that, in itself, makes the palm springs airport the best airport of the year (and i've been to about 15 different airports this year).

i couldn't decide which i liked best, so i am posting all three and would like YOU to decide (in the comments section below:)




shortly after take-off, i snapped this shot of the mountains near joshua tree national park with all the recent snow they got this week. i could have paid hundreds of dollars for a scenic flight of the area, and got this view for free with my $300 round-trip airfare ticket from denver. the key: 1). sit in the back of the plane in a window seat so you don't see the wing. 2) shoot with an-ultra wide angle lens smear against the window 3) shoot through the least disorted portion of the window, which on my window was the top 4) also, i like to shoot at least 1/1000 sec to reduce possible blurring from the airplane. also, telphoto shots can be cool and if you are using a vr lens like the nikor 70-200 f/2.8, click on the "active" vr mode made for shooting in airplanes... it is one of the few times we can use the feature to our advantage.


the cactus portraits, part deux

about a month ago i posted a few saguaro portraits from a new personal project i've begun intended to highlight the personality of cactus.

this week i've been in palm springs, ca, a stone's throw from
joshua tree national park to continue a project with the intent towards publication of a fine art book.

joshua tree is a wild place. my interest photographing there started with studying the work of ansel adams. about 6 years ago i visited the natioanl park and took photos with a vintage honeywell pentax slr camera (that my father gave me) with some t-max 400 b&w film. i was disappointed with the results because i was comparing myself to ansel himself... mistake. this time around i came prepared with a wide-angle lens and my creativity and lighting style. i wasn't just going to photograph cactus, i was going to light them as i would light a portrait in a style i could call "me' using a single off-camera flash (a nikon sb-600 speedlight). if additional light was necessary, i was determined to push the limits of what this small flash could do.

here are a few of my favorite images taken over the last 3 days...
some on-axis fill adds the 3d pop:

a 20 second exposure and light painted with a flashlight:

day #2. okay, it is snowing. in a desert. go figure :)

a flash was the only way to capture the snow coming down in a way that makes for a very holiday-esque feeling... me likey :)

i shot this like a groom with the groomsman in the background :)

day #3 (this morning). left at 5:15 and made the drive to joshua tree again. 18 inches on snow in one day happens once in about every 25 years, so there was no excuse NOT to go. while the roads were a bit slick, we made it safe and sound even though the park entrance was closed, so we had to walk into the park, which was totally fine with the rangers who gave us permission.

can you spot the moon?

the early morning rays:

three of my students came along for the adventure (we left a 5:15 am)... so they were treated for some updated facebook portraits:

here's gintautas ("mr. g"), who flew all the way from florida to attend my class. his son is named "juozas," so it was only appropriate that he had his photo taken in joshua tree.

then the cameras were turned and grabbed this shot... he's got a great eye and is wicked good in ping pong....

i lost a bet to him after he
severly beat totally schooled me four games (in a row) of ping pong the night prior. he failed to mention his grandmother was a ping-pong champion and taught him a few tricks. the wager: a topless photo taken in the cold which was then to be used as a profile shot on facebook for 30 days. the shot was taken, but he conceded that it did not need to be posted on facebook.

lisa got the long-distance award since she traveled all the way from kodiak island, alaska to attend my week-long
arcgis workshop.

here's the departing shot from this morning with the top down in the mustang convertible rental car (thanks to the fine folks at avis for the free upgrade!!!)

poker tourney / silent auction benefit

saturday we're hosting along with a few others a gala dinner, silent auction, and poker tourney to benefit the costa rican humanitarian foundation. nicole is taking a month off and volunteering during the month of march for a clinical rotation. we're hoping to raise $5,000 to help pay for medical related expenses needed for medical clinics run by a few doctors and the five third-year physician students (most of the communication will be done in spanish..). i'm also going down there for about 10 days to help kids learn how to brush teeth and the such... my medical knowledge never went past basic first aid/ cpr certs along with my emergency prepardness merit badge earned in the boy scouts!

the poker tourney shall be grand.... up for grabs is a weekend condo stay up in frisco among many other awesome prizes. if you are interested in only the poker tourney, there will be a $5 entrance fee along with the $15 buy-in.

we are donating a $550 family portrait session (starting bid at $200) and a $250 pet portrait session (starting bid at $100). there are massage & fine restaurant gift cards donated, a cool skateboard, a signed guitar, a videography package (for those wedding clients who haven't booked a videographer), among many other awesome things... just in time for the holidays, might i add.


we had decided to sweeten the silent auction with one of our very own wedding packages. that's right! here's the deal. you'll be bidding on a $3200 wedding package credit, good for our basic package with bidding starting at $1500. if you decide to upgrade to a higher package with album, you would simply pay the difference. there is no "retainer fee" and the balance (if any) would be due 30 days prior to the big day. happy bidding!!!!

here are the fancy wedding-like invitations nicole did up with all the details:


and in case you are map challenged (like me):

rsvp in the comments section below. hope to see you there!

first published cover... kinda

here’s what you get when you put two guys together on a day off, a license to fly, some strobist on-the-run on-axis fill inspiration, photoshop fun, and justification for higher education:

gino forbes cover on-axis lighting nikon sb-600 with pop-up flash of nikon d-300

okay, okay. before i start getting calls from forbes, the cover is pure fun. no, it wasn’t really published. no, i don’t work for forbes. but yes, those are real airplane keys. and yes, that is my buddy, gino siller holding the keys about ready to pilot. not only is he a good pilot, but he’s got some great photoshop talent as demonstrated above!

on tuesday’s Veterans Day, we paid tribute to America’s military veterans by joining the friendly skies. the day before, i called up gino. 60 seconds later, we had a guy’s day out planned. spousal approval wasn’t easy... but forgiveness was better than permission on this one (thanks, hon :)

we headed for the airstrip around lunchtime. after gino completed the pre-flight checks, i grabbed my nikon d-300 with my favorite nikon 12-24mm f/4 anti-portrait lens, an sb-600 and triggered this shot using my radiopoppers. metering the sky was easy. f/11, 1/320 sec, iso 100. the pop-up camera flash was dialed down minus 2.5 in the i-ttl mode and the off-camera sb-600 was set to i-ttl “0.” this allowed the my sb-600 to blend in with the sun to serve as my main light (sunglasses prevented blindness.... not something to you want to bestow on your pilot prior to take-off).

i chose the 1/320 second which made it easier to bring down the ambient light and over-power the sun just a tad. new concept? check out the wrap-up from the coffee-shop class 8 about metering with a flash, kern-photo style.

the nikon d-300 pop-up flash served as on-axis fill made famous by dan winters and explained by the strobist’s on-axis fill article. on-axis fill might be against instinct for some pros. but it has an un-canny ability to increase shadow detail, creating a spiffy 3D pop i like.

funny enough, i nailed the exposure on the first shot, thanks to nikon’s awesome flash metering! i took a few more, but chimping on the back of the screen made me underestimate and over-expose a few shots. next time, i should trust my equipment better.

i like simple lighting. with no time to set up big strobes, i chose to decrease the distance to my subject and use small flashes instead. by taking a few steps closer, my small flash downed a can of spinach and became that much stronger (call it the “popeye effect”).

post-processing magic assisted by the totally rad actions.  here's the recipe:  to desatuarate, i ran "bullet tooth" with decreasing the opacity of "gain" and "tone tweak" masks in the advance settings down to about 20-30%, then selectively added back a bit of blue using "big blue" and yellow "green with envy" (selectively painting them where i wanted).  next up, lightly used "pro retouch" on the skin before painting with "can-o-woop-ass" to bring out shirt shadow details and compress highlights a bit.  final touches included: sensor spot removal, resizing, and running kevin kubota's magic sharpen. (total processing time: 5 minutes). btw: there is some funky over-sharpening going on on the right image, but it is getting late and my pillow is calling my head.

and now for the rest of the story...

checking the radio frequencies (we’re not lost, we promise):

landing a centennial airport for lunch, one of the smoothest landings of my life :)

hanging out the window with my fish-eye lens to capture the view 1500 feet above mile-high denver. the wind was sooo strong. i have no idea how pilots in those open-cockpit planes ever did it.
just kidding, honey :)


going to the playoffs!

i just found out our wasa floor hockey team (don’t laugh) made it to the playoffs along with all of the other teams (again, don’t laugh). our tuesday night co-ed rec league games have been fun way to meet others. as a kid in second grade, i loved going to the local ymca and playing floor hockey. two dozen years later, not much as changed. violence is minimized to the occasional scuffed chin and there are more laughs than tears. the award for winning? bragging rights with the other team over beer and burgers.

our team name? the one, the only: “one drink minimum.”

wish us luck in post-season.

Tuesday Floor Hockey


a fall getaway has taken over our free time as of late (thank goodness). here are a few favorites from crested butte, taken earlier this week at sunrise.

dash spots the first peek of dawn:

sunrise in crested butte, colorado with the aspens on fire!

dash spots a female red fox...

no, really, a female red fox.

a self-portrait in vail a few days prior.:

on a side note, we’ve been working on the kern-photo blog v 2.0... about to go live any week now.

l.l. bean adventure

after decades of receiving mail-order catalogs from l.l. bean, we finally voyaged to freeport, maine not long ago to see the goods in person. once upon a time, i was a cartographer for national geographic maps and design trail illustrated maps sold in outdoor stores across the world. funny seeing a sample of a map that i worked on for a few hundred hours of the adirondack state park hanging in the entrance of the flagship l.l. bean store.

a goosebump experience:


my dad, moi, my aunt and uncle with the famous boot in the background, fit for a giant:

in lawton, oklahoma, where my folks live a “sporting goods” store generally sells high school sports gear and guns & camo, NOT skis, bikes, kayaks, climbing gear, and freeze dried ice cream. that’s why we love rei. however, at this flagship store, it is a combination of the two :)

the place is more like an rei campus on steriods, complete with fish ponds, archery range, fireplaces, you name it!

what’s wrong with this photo? no door locks. that’s right, l.l. bean is opened 24/7 365. cool factoid.

vote for us!

we’ve been nominated to be on the a-list of denver’s best wedding photographers. click here to cast your vote.

Best of Denver's 7 A-List Nominated: Best Photographer in Denver

once you click on the link, please fill out the simple form with your name and info. takes less than 60 seconds.

cheers to the stellar nominator!

mountain olympics... kinda :)

after a turbo-charging mountain morning power-walk, we fueled up on breakfast burritos and were first in line for the alpine slide at winter park on labor day. yippeeee!


this shot was taken with our nikon 10.5mm fisheye hanging out the cart with the other hand on the gas :)

summer up in the mountains is hands-down better than winter in terms of the relaxation.

and a super cheesie self-portrait. for those who may not know about the alpine slide, basically you get to ride up the same chair lift, grab yer buggie, and then go as fast as you can. super tip: keeping your body perpedicular to the groud through the turns, yields the most bang-for-your-buck g-force factor :)

adults have a better time being kids again than kids being adults :)

here we stood...


... in line for 25 minutes at the alpine lunge slide at winter park this afternoon.... until it started raining on our party. sad face :(

we’ll try again first thing tomorrow morning. summer adventures at winter park include mini-golf (see background), the trampoline, downhill mountain biking, the human maze, among others fun stuff. our thrill: straight up full-throttle down on the alpine slide!

it has been an awesome little break to step out into the mountains for some 25 plus degree cooler weather and watch animal planet on the hotel tv (yes, we still do not have tv at home). after two weddings and a full work week, we’re ready to enjoy the time off during labor day! the good old winter park mountain lodge has great $88 deals for one night, including free doggie room upgrades!

while vacationing, dash gets the leftover sushi which makes him feel like he’s on vacation (or so we think).

we’ve got two weddings to blog and another radtastic fun-booth from last night that had guests lining up out the door :)

nerd alert: i’m wrapping up a little comparison project on the difference of nikon dx versus fx sensors with regard to depth of field & bokeh. and here’s a sampling with the 85 f/1.4. see if you can spot tell which was shot with the newest kid on the block, the nikon d-700, and our trusty d-300:Picture 1

pippen, the sockpuppet

so, r. j. and i were at barnes & noble the other day, and i found this awesome kit of stupid sock creatures that you could make on your own. i am really into those ugly dolls, and when i saw this kit, i figured that i could just make my own ugly dolls. r. j. was pretty resistant to the purchase of this kit, but i wasn't going to leave the store without it. so we can all guess how that ended because of the four photos posted below :)

it all started with a simple pair of socks. ugly socks at that.

there were of course a few more steps in between the first photo and this one, which included cutting up one of r. j.'s old neckties -- with his permission of course. here is our ugly friend with his new set of eyes, but yet to be stuffed.

here is our ugly friend **freestanding** on our kitchen table!!! a great success!

our little friend requested a photojournalistic portrait of himself -- he asked me to touch up some of his imperfections, but i told him that we photojournalists avoid retouching whenever possible. age is beauty, i told him.

a red rocks 'secret'

if you ever find yourself hunting for tickets to a sold-out red rocks concert, don't fret. the secret to getting day-of tickets is this: show up when the box office opens, generally two hours before gates open, and you stand a decent chance at purchasing tickets for seats never issued or were not released, usually because they were unused comp tickets given to the band or vips. you can buy those premium the seats for face value and don't have to grab your ankles pay service charges.

we successfully used this same tactic for monday's sold-out police & elvis costello concert. i arrived 10 minutes before the office opened, was third in line, and had no problem purchasing two tickets behind the sound board in row 16. party on!

it gets better: i asked the gal at the ticket office if photography was allowed. she said they allowed "small cameras," meaning i could bring the nikon d300 minus the vertical grip and the 85 f/1.4.

nicole & i did our usual pt cruiser tailgater, complete with fruit, crackers, cheese, and some hoegaarden belgian white beer, our favorite summer brew . the concert was the loudest red rocks show we'd ever heard. our ears were still ringing the following evening :( nicole had to some explaining to do when listening in the stethoscope at work... instead of listening to heartbeats, all she heard was ringing!!! we know, ear plugs next time.

sting made his first appearance towards the end of elvis costello's opening set.


20 years since their 1986 breakup, the police still sounded awesome and gave out so much energy.

a shot of the megatron composite featuring band members sting, andy summers, and stewart copland.

without fail, the police played all the biggest hits and two encores :)

our 3 years...

3 years ago we tied the knot.... and i dedicate this blog entry to nicole, my wife, lover, pooper picker-upper, church goer, movie buddy, bench press spotter, cuddle bug, pie maker, 'white-trash news flash' laughing companion,  associate shooter, mother of a four-legged child (that would be dash), medical expert, spanish translater, interior decorator, travel-on-a-shoestring mate, comical parallel parker, back tickler, photo critiquer, first-degree black belt instructor, name rememberer, and i can go on and on....   i love you and cherish the thought of knowing you'll always be with me with God at our side. 

all images taken by our stellar wedding photographer, jason hayes.


ahhh.... i can vividly remember this moment.

we danced to robbi williams singing "beyond the sea"

shortly after the ceremony, outside the university of denver chapel, nicole's alma mater... i still love her dress to this day!!!

it was about 95 degrees when this was shot, but it remains of my favorite photos from our wedding day :)

mmmm... hands down the best wedding cake i've ever tasted :)

strobist meet-up

if you are blog reader, you know how much we value the learning resources over at the strobist. however, the photographic learning never is fully complete without putting the theories and techniques into practice.... under a time pressure and in front of people whom you've just met that know much more than you about lighting. it's a kick in the pants.

last night about handful of photographers met on the rooftop of a random parking garage in boulder to test our mettle. we each had 30 minutes to try out an idea and explain our thought process and share the resulting image. we used each other as models. my self-assignment was inspired by john michael cooper's (and soon to be my) favorite technique of painting with light. he demonstrates the whole shebang here. there's a wild surprise at the very end :)

below is my best shot from tonight using a nikon d-80 with a nikon 28-70 f/2.8 lens at 28mm, 30 second exposure at f/4.8, iso 200 on tripod, incandescent white balance, lightpainted with two halogen flashlights, and a manual triggered off-camera nikon sb-800 flash in a small softbox (which revealed subtle asphalt texture and two cigarettes on the pavement, difficult to see on the web version of the image). photographer john heisel was the 'dead' model. running back to the camera near the end of my exposure, i drew a line on the pavement with my flashlight which created the circle and line of light near his left foot.

kern photo light painting strobist

pictage studio spotlight

Picture 1

hey photographers! we'll be featured during the studio spotlight at the next denver pictage user group meeting (PUG) held on march 5, 2008 @ 6pm at the blake street tavern in denver. we're excited to share a little bit about what makes kern-photo, well, kern-photo.

complete details

for those non-pictage users, PUGs are basically a great networking opportunity for fellow wedding & portrait photographers in denver who just happen to use
pictage. best of all they are free to pictage photographers. we come together once a month and share, learn, and network. the PUGS are wonderful and just happen to be listed #7 on our list of 10 reasons why we use pictage.

each month focuses on a different studio (thus the name, studio spotlight), and then something to help out with the business or creative aspect of photography. at the next meeting, there will be some a discussions about digital workflow in photography... the good, the bad, and the ugly.

this should be an interesting, as we'd rather be shooting than driving a desk :)

happy b-day nicole :)

nicole's huge birthday candle on lemon cookies at maggiano's last night drew a smile on nicole and the family. we were treated to a wonderful dinner by nicole's parents and it was great to spend quality time with family. since it is lent, we did ask for a one-day pardon to indulge in birthday treats like a small dessert, (read: two huge indulgent desserts) and a nice glass of vino. here's a sweet low-light shot from our little iphone camera:


our first bridal show

tuesday evening we displayed our work and met engaged couples at superb red carpet bridal event sponsored by the fort collins country club, mountain avenue bridal, and simply elegant wedding and event planning. only 12 vendors were invited to this event, so we were tickled to be considered. we shared a captive audience of about 50 guests with photographer dave russell (fellow pictage user and nikonian). our display was simple: a few metallic prints and albums, our signature square marketing cards (think business cards on steroids), and a slideshow. spray-painted pvc pipe from home depot and cheapo black material from the seconds bin at walmart made our fancy 'pipe & drape' display economical and easy to set-up.... and it also expands to become a large seamless paper backdrop stand inspired by this article (another macgyver trick). we will graduate to bigger and better display in due time... but we like keeping things simple right now :)

now i lay me down to sleep

'imagine a photo shoot where each moment is a last moment, where there will be no second takes, where what you're doing means everything.'

this quote struck a powerful chord with me after reading it the website for 'now i lay me down to sleep,' a non-profit organization supports infant bereavement photography. named after the classic children's prayer from the 18th century, 'now i lay me down to sleep' has created a strong network of denver photographers dedicated to helping parents experiencing the pain and suffering of an early infant loss. click and HERE and HERE to read news stories of photographers and families they touched.i recently volunteered for the first time with 'now i lay me down to sleep.' it opened my eyes, to say the least. this powerful experience reminded me of the fragility of human condidition. the re-alignment of priorities comes easy when witnessing death.

on a personal level, my brother, peter, died when he was 10 days old. my parents have never shown me a photograph of him, and i do not know if one exists. while my parents rarely speak of him, i know it is difficult still for my parents talk about, let alone think about. my father, being an ob-gyn, witnesses such challenges on a regular basis with his patients. i spoke with my father about my recent experience with 'now i lay me down to sleep' and gained instant endorsement :) my father will be giving a presentation at an upcoming medical conference and plans to mention the potential power such a program plays in the infant bereavement process.

the parents, grandparents, and the family were very inviting and open to me being in their lives during this time of loss. as soon as we stepped into the hospital room, it seemed the parents were extremely grateful for that we were there, which was a big relief.

i shadowed photographer rosalyn sample at mountain hi photography since this was my first time photographing in a hospital under such conditions. rosalyn and the nurses were patient and helpful and were a valuable part of my experience. thank you! i felt honored and blessed to be gain access and i ensured i worked hard to ensure upmost respect with my interaction of the family. right off the bat, the father seemed excited for us being there. in conversation, he resonated a sense of warmth in describing how he intended to 'photoshop' the images so that they were a sentimental blend of color and black & white. i smiled and joined him in his enthusiasm. i was glad to offer up images :). fast forward to a few days later, i received a call from the family informing me that they would be using several of my images to print and display at the memorial service. i felt honored that i could be apart of that. i also knew the grace of God was with the child and the family.

i look forward to continued involvement with 'now i lay me down to sleep.' words can not describe the feeling of death, especially of an infant. however, i appreciate how the power of a simple photograph can help grieving parents.

if you are a photographer interested in participating, i encourage you to click here to apply. the approval process is rather simple, and once on-board, emails are sent as services are needed. it is completely voluntary to join. photographers do not charge for services and the clients receive all images on CD. such an assignment is not for the faint of heart, but totally worth it!

if you are not a photographer, but want to help, you may make a charitable-contribute and donate here.

to honor the couple's privacy, images will not be posted.


broncos in denver

no, we're not talking about the nfl team that didn't make it to the super bowl. we're talking about the real mccoy's....a real piece of americana: bucking broncos. featured here are legendary national western stock show & rodeo broncos worthy of attention. this is also our first experiment in texture overlay processing of photographs in photoshop. the textured overlay were snaps taken the week prior in sante fe of adobe walls at sunset. jesh de rox served as the wonderful inspiration for these textured techniques. we'd love to see these blown up to 20" x 30" canvas gallery wraps for an upcoming art show.

rodeo, part deux

we woke up saturday morning with an urge to sleuth out one of the final days of the national western rodeo & stock show. here are a few of our favorite shots from our mini-escape in denver. we love rodeo clowns...

... almost as good as mutton bustin' (no kids or animals were hurt:)

so the kiddo was actual fine, and got to kiss one of the rodeo cowgirls to make him smile :)

buckin' broncos:

one major annoyed bull.... i wonder why?

comic relief:

four generations of buckin' broncos:

kkk sheep:

"thank god almighty, we are free at last!"

... those were the fine words of the late dr. martin luther king, jr. if you haven't seen his 'i have a dream speech,' view it below. it is a mini-history lesson worth reviewing.

happy martin luther king day :)


ps- we are enjoying some "r &r" " in santa fe, new mexico. each time we visit this photographer's mecca, we return creativity invigorated. as part of goals #34 and #84 of my 101 goals in 1,001 days, i chose not to bring any digital slr cameras and brought a holga, a medium format film camer. they are a wonderful, plastic camera which you can purchase here for $24.99. we took 3 rolls of ilford sfx film and a red filter which are capable of obtaining a pseudo-infrared look. we giggled when we heard the little holga shutter go "click," which sounds toyish compared to what we're used to in our digital slr cameras. however, we expect the results to be creatively different. stay tuned to some of the developed printed results from a few of the pearls of the american southwest: bandelier national monument, the taos pueblo, and some southwestern santa fe architecture.

denver pro rodeo

our christmas present this year from my brother was two tickets to the denver pro rodeo held at the denver coliseum on wednesday. nicole has been to the national western stock show & rodeo over two dozen times, but neither of us have witnessed the pro bull riding rodeo event, which is a quintessential piece of americana, right next to apple pie, democracy, and the super bowl. here's the opening show featuring all of the riders:

a comedic hit of the show was this rodeo clown, a cross between brian boitano and an european soccer star :)

these guys are huge. i mean huge. and mean.

about to get tossed:

and another.

the gear and behind the scenes effort that goes into these events is amazing.

about to release the bull...

and the toy version.

our favorite rodeo clown discovered four nuns enjoying the bull riding.

over the hump

last sunday i surprised nicole at her favorite study spot (rei starbucks in denver) cramming for her pharmacology final. two weeks, 5 finals, and three take home exams later, nicole is finally finished and is well-deserving of some time off. nicole completed her third semester of a 3-year physician assistant master's program at the university of colorado health science center. the glass is half full and she is now over the hump, if that makes any sense :) we're off to ski/board at winter park for the next 3 days to celebrate, check out, and veg out with dash.
taken handheld with a 2.0 megapixel apple iphone. not to shabby in available light!

ikea bliss :)

so it just dawned on me where a potential source of inspiration for our logo colors came from: our ikea candlesticks and kitchen table mats. after sifting through some test shots with our new nikon 85 mm f/1.4 lens photographing of our kitchen table, i found this image:
ikea tablemats by kern-photo

ikea has always been a super cool place for us. moments after stepping off the plane in portland, i noticed the big blue and yellow ikea sign right from the airport. i was giddy. we've had several spontaneous purchases their over the years, which has resulted in stellar macgyver tactics in bringing our bounty home. last night was no different. weeks ago i agreed to let my wife transform our psuedo-bachelor pad into something that makes her smile. during her final exam week, it all went down :) it started with purchase #1. i was thinking this would be something fairly easy to check with my luggage on the flight back to denver (note the spiffy packaging tape handle).
whew! inside ikea round 1 by kern photo
(ps- all shots taken with our my 2 megapixel iphone camera)

one thing led to another, and...
thank goodness i got a free upgrade to a convertible, otherwise there'd be no way i get this back to the hotel! it was a chilly ride home, needless to say!

packing the goods with a feat, especially as the hours approached midnight at the local fedex/kinkos:

it will be worth it to have a completely redecorated kitchen and living room for under $600, not to mention a happy wife ("happy wife" = "happy life"). PS- shipping costs were $72 for 5 packages exceeding 140 lbs thanks to fedex express with hundredweight pricing! justification: that was just a tad over typical sales tax in colorado.... thanks to no sales tax in oregon! the end.

ryan walks the catwalk

longtime buddy ryan otto (also a groomsman at our wedding) had his first major fashion gig at the volunteers of america max fashion show, held on saturday at at the exdo event center in denver. you may remember him from our posting back in february here and here. he did such a terrific job for being a first time up on the catwalk. way to go, man!

jury duty

civic lesson 101 commences sharply at 8 am tomorrow for me. for the record, your honor, i've never served jury duty, nor been summoned. i am secretly excited serve an important roll in our democratic justice system. i'm keeping my fingers crossed it isn't another drawn out oj case.

ps - i am one step closer on fulfilling #10 on my list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days. i have successfully blogged for over a month in a row (33 days to be exact), which has been tough but worthwhile. i've also been hard at work at meeting several other goals on the list. stay tuned for details...

(happy b-day) x 2 + turkey feast = a priceless evening

nicole's folks invited the whole family over for turkey feast this year and it was GRAND. i could eat turkey ever day, and this bird was slow cooked to perfection. feast your eyes:

the proud chefs, cheryl and murray.

it was grandpa ron's 70th birthday. i told him 'chicks dig older men' and he laughed.

here's his bride laughing at an AARP-inspired, all-purpose remote control complete with super-sized buttons!

it was also jeremy's 32nd b-day. cheers, man!

tonya viewed her completed wedding album for the very first time. she was so excited!

the sisters.

a normal rockwell thanksgiving mother & daughter portrait.

the whole gang.

dash's thanksgiving meal with large dash of turkey & sweet potatoes which was...

gone in 60 seconds!

happy thanksgiving!

we wish a blessed thanksgiving to all. we have so much to be thankful for.... namely:

1. faith

2. family & friends

3. furry friends (i.e. our 4-legged little boy, dash)

the mcbride's (nicole's parents) are cooking up a feast for the family in a few hours. here is a quick snap documenting one of the most important kitchen tools at thanksgiving.... the serving utensils.RJK_0289

we're excited to ski up in winter park on friday with r. j.'s family and will be posting some of our favorites soon!

jasmine & special guest, 'melo'

one of the perks of shooting for the denver sports guide is the opportunity to be apart of important events about local heroes. jasmine warfield, a 16-year-old gateway high school junior in aurora, co, won the 'in my shoes' back-to-school contest. her award: court time with denver nuggets' carmelo anthony ('melo') on her high school court. family, friends, her team, among many others, turned out to support her sunday. jasmine’s winning contest entry read:

“In my shoes…I will run faster, jump higher, and score more points. I will cross my defender and drive hard to the basket. I will create plays on offense and move the ball to the open man. I will be a team player! In my shoes…I will protect my goal like a lion protects the jungle. I will take a charge, be big in the paint, and I will forever have my hands up on defense! In my shoes…I will practice like a champion, and I will play like a champion. I will leave it all on the court. I will walk in the gym with confidence and walk out with humility. And the next time I step to my opponent, she will not be ready for me…in my shoes!”

witnessing her first 15 minutes of fame was wonderful! in a game of 'horse', jasmine pleased the crowd as the shots got more and more difficult.

denver's BEST mascot, rocky, dropped by for additional encouragment. featured left-to-right: jasmine, rocky, 'melo,' and my assistant, robert fisher.

'melo' offers jasmine tips from his pro basketball experience. i love the detail lighting effect on 'melo,' which reveals his sincere side, despite recent bad press. detailed rim light created by a nikon sb-28 at 1/4 power triggered remotely across the gym. for a top-notch article detailing different lighting strategies specifically in prep basketball, check out the strobist's 'on-assignment' article discussing (1) big gym, little lights and (2) prep basketball. for the techies, this shot was taken with the 70-200mm at f/2.8 iso 800 with the strobe at 1/4 power and 85mm spread.

during the q & a, 'melo' drew intense focus from a large crowd including gateway high school basketball players.

my assistant, robert, provided great assistance with lighting logistics. dimly lit gyms present challenges when photographing action. our strobist-inspired answer: nikon sb-28 and sb-800 flashes triggered remotely by quantum radio slaves mounted near the bleachers.

30 seconds of one-on-one time with 'melo' proved worthwhile in tickling our creative brains. we used our 'light on a stick' to capture this candid. stay tuned for a kern-photo tutorial with specific details.

'melo' being melo.

we had little time to set up a shot with 'melo' and jasmine. i used two of jasmine's friends to serve as lighting models to pre-visualize 'the big shot.' i wanted to get 'melo' dunking in the background with jasmine up close, similar to the shot below. previsualization is great, but when your 'professional' model would rather not dunk (his coach would kill him), plans change. so we had to react.RJK_0117

here's my 'big shot' at my first editorial-style shoot of a professional athlete.
technical recipe: to overpower the harsh overhead lights, i used a single lumedyne strobes at full power (200W) bounced into 40" westcott silver-lined umbrella with direct sb-28 at 1/4 power for rim light. taken with d-200, 28-70 lens at 28mm, 1/250 sec shutter, f/6.7, iso 200, standing on chair. set up and taken down was less than 10 minutes.


u2 tribute band under a blood red sky (uabrs) has been good to us ever since we shot them at a sold-out red rocks concert. they invited us to nissis, an award-winning new restaurant and music venue in lafayette, co, to hear them perform. we sat down in our comfy seats, ordered up some wonderful food, and enjoyed the show :) if you're ever in the area, you gotta stop by for a show AND dinner (which is normally priced at what you would pay for JUST a show in denver!).

housewarming 'partay'

our good friends joey & nicole (newlywed kern-photo models) invited us over to warm up their brand spankin' new house. nicole whipped up a killer turkey, mashed taters... the works. there's nothing like that homey feeling of a good home-cooked meal.... mmmm, a blissful treat. dessert ingredients were on full display even before dinner was ready.... here's the smorgasbord of caramel apple dippin' goodies, precisely labeled.

mark, who played the supporting role in the recent nicole & mark wedding, had a country fair of a good time with his m&m dipped apple.

a new kern-photo record was made in this self-portrait featuring 11.25 human heads.

bill nye the science guy inspired the efforts to create this homemade pumpkin bomb by the three boys (father included).

the pumpkin didn't explode, but *only* caught fire, providing a mild house-warming effect. way to go, joey!

reminscent about the old

stumbling on old pictures is grand. so many memories can be linked to looking at a single photograph. looking beyond the the funky hair or goofy outfits, a photograph can transcend to deeper feelings, like joys, sorrows, giddyness, anxieties, yada yada yada. you can imagine when we stumbled on our websites filled with forgotten images, it was like finding a diamond in the rough. how your 'find' a old website. here's a blast from the past... all taken with my first digital camera, a waterproof pentax 3.1 megapixel point & shoot:

click on the photo to view each gallery:

old friends (all guys in this 2004 photograph will be featured groomsman in my brother sean and molly's wedding on december 29, 2007).

meet the parents.

the kids staying out of trouble

the proposal... the complete story of how it went down.

it's a boy! here's dash saying goodbye to his mom, echo, from dobson kennels in brookings, south dakota. view gallery 1 and gallery 2. and here's the movies: puppy imovie 1 -- puppy imovie 2 -- puppy imovie 3 -- puppy imovie 4

great big OSP brouhaha

i love photographer brouhahas, especially when fellow OSP photographers show & tell, share, and play nice. isn't that what wedding photography 2.0 is all about? that is exactly what went down at the center avenue imaging pad hosted by gracious shannon kaple (a fellow nikonian!). too many to name photographers were there, including a long-time hero, chris humphreys, all the way from cali (pictured below).

rumor has it [b]ecker is capable of doing self-portraits (while holding the camera) with 9 others, kinda like this. we easily beat him this evening with 11 and could have easily fit another 9.

thanks, guys, for a wonderful night (my nicole would have totally been there, but she had a major exam to study for).

gis day 2007

happy GIS day! this day is dedicated to the efforts made by professionals, educators, and students to spread the word about using gis and to create greater geographic awareness needed in the world. r. j.'s day job is teaching geographic information systems (GIS) using ESRI software to the bureau of indian affairs and federally-recognized tribes. so any excuse to tele-evangelize his GIS enthusiasm is great! while making maps isn't all GIS does, but making pretty maps is r. j. loves to do. here's to geography!
all digital cartographic products were creating using ArcGIS Desktop 9.1 software with data provided by ESRI Data & Maps 2005.

get better, sweetie

nicole is home sick with a killer cold that has lasted for almost a week. i am in albuquerque teaching for the week. go figure. i hate that helpless feeling that you want to try and do something to help, but can't be there. so i know my honey bunny will be checking this blog in a few hours ('cause she usually does), so i'm gonna give her a wee surprise.
r. j. & nicole at denver art museum first kiss
this photograph was taken on our first *real* date at the denver art museum a few years ago. it is also the site of our first kiss... which happened about 2 minutes after this photo was snapped. and it was like the BEST KISS, EVER (ps - forgive the hat and red shoes, but a guy has to do what a guy has to do that drives a pt cruiser with purple flames! hindsight is always better than foresight, especially with respect to r.j.'s cool fashion taste).

happy halloween

so, yes, our dash is almost the color of pumpkin. but instead of dressing him up as a horse (which needs little dressing up for other than a doll lashed to his back), we're featuring the *scary* dash this evening. even though r. j. got scared by the movie '1408' and WILL have bad dreams tonight (thanks, nicole!), at least there was some scary creativeness to boot. nicole painstakingly carved out this scary pumpkin in surgical pa-like precision (which stands for Physician Assistant, which her current studies take up all but 10% of her waking hours). dash happened to cast a scary shadow from our porch light. we got 5 trick or treaters, which is an all time high for us, considering our location. the remainder of the candy will go to a good cause....

part 3. chrysler 300 fall meet: the artsy stuff

part of the meet's event provided a mini-tour of old salvage yard... great for vivid colors and cool textures.

i loved the grass growin' out of this old piece of metal...

part 2. chrysler 300 fall meet: the people

father & son bonding at it's best. the people at car meets are the BEST part...
... with president lincoln's home in the background

in vintage style...

concours judging.

these guys look in every nook and cranny to rate how well the car reflects the original production model the day it rolled outta the factory.

part 1. chrysler 300 fall meet: the cars

the Chrysler 300 International Club's 2007 Fall meet held in Springfield, Illinois drew over 20 Chrysler letter cars... wonderful grounds for stellar father and son bonding. 'mopsy', my dad's restored chrysler 300 C won people's choice award last year (click here for gallery link), but this year we flew out to spend more time with the fine club folks. the cars were moving works of art and a delight to behold. car restorers are some of the most patient people i know. some of these guys buy a fix-er up for a few grand, jack-up the headlights, change the car and BAM.... a completely restored classic car (easier said than done). we had clean, clear lighting and sunsets for the entire meet, which made for pleasant weather and great photography opportunities. buckle-up.... here's a few of our favorites.


and a 2006 Chrysler 300 Heritage Edition for contemporaries...

favorite blogs we like

we are starting to pick up the fine art of blogging and enjoy being inspired by perusing other photographer's blogs...otherwise called "blog stalking." we find photo blogs to be a great way to share our current work and let people know that we are real human beings behind this crazy web world. we've compiled a list of a few of our favorites. check 'em out:

the image is found - a fine display of fusion of family, fun, and bleeding-edge photography
Jessica Claire  - crisp, bright, inspiring eye from a little place called SoCal
[b]ecker's blog - a father of the modern day wedding photography blog
mike colon - a fellow nikonian and stellar wedding photographer
david jay - saavy biz, open source photo stud, showit mac daddy, killer marketing ideas, great
the boutwells - authors of our favorite totally rad actions
susan stripling - super polished, uber cool, wedding & fashion fusion to perfection!
sixpeeps - another father of the photographer's biggest marketing tool... the blog
jesh de rox - creative and different, canada's finest
the strobist - one of the best lighting resources on the web, bar none!


kern-photo enjoyed the fancy people & cars this morning to kick off the 2007 fall foliage ferrari tour (ffft07). Check out the entire gallery by clicking here. there were more than two dozen ferrari's strutting their stuff, a sure site to see for ferrari lovers.

present were old school models....

and new school...RJK_2184

discussing the rulz of the road.

bustin' out the whoopee cushion at the right time.

speed limit 45... a mere suggestion.


ferrari fall foliage tour

a special thanks to mike procopio for inviting kern-photo to be apart of the 2007 ferrari fall foliage tour sponsored by the rocky mountain region of the ferrari club of america. For details on our involvement, click here.RJK_8971_1

vote for your favorite photo!

it's not too often that we enter photo contests, but when we do, we know we have a good chance at winning. however, the rules are a bit different for the new york institute of photography contest. since judges will only look at the highest rated images, we need your help to vote. here's how you can help: 1). go to http://contests.fotki.com/nyip/. 2). click on each of the categories (main street, faces in the crowd, pets and wildlife, and local music). 3) to find our image, sort entries by "newest entry." 4) vote on your favorite image.

here are our 4 image submissions (listed in separate categories)
("faces in the crowd" category)

("main street" category)

("pets and wildlife" category) Title: Dash, the swim coach. Description: "Dash," illustrates to "She-bee," a recent adoption from a Hungarian viszla dog rescue, that water can be fun. This was 2-year-old She-bee's first time swimming.

("local music" category) Title: U2 Tribute Band at Red Rocks, Description: U2 Tribute Band, "Under a Blood Red Sky," recreates U2's legendary 1983 "Live at Red Rocks" concert at the outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO. The band creates necessary vibe needed for U2 to return on their 25th anniversary of the legendary concert.

concours de elegance

buddy dan jablonka invited r. j. to the concours de elegance event held at the centennial airport on saturday. the charity event raised money for the morgan adams foundation, which is dedicated to helping children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. it was a memorable evening, filled with the adventure of fast cars and planes juxtaposed with emotion of phenomenal survival stories by awesome kids. check back in a few days for the full gallery!

a personal mig figher jet ala 'Top Gun' in flight.

john pembroke with his spiffy wheels. a special thanks to j.p. thibodeau for the lending us his plane for the shot.

michael procopio and his girlfriend with his ferrari 328 gts.


love the gangsta look.

denver art museum architecture

we love 3 hour vacations at home in denver. sunday morning was time for a mini-break in the great town of denver. we marveled the architecture of the cutting-edge, brand spankin' new DAM, which appears not to have a straight wall in the whole place. the place is awesome and you have to go on the tour to get the full story.

nicole makes like a tree and hides in the corner...

we like the teal green color....

gotta dig the windows.

looking straight up the side of the architectural marvel.

U2 cover band at red rocks

as part of the red rocks film on the rocks, U2 cover band "under a blood red sky" performed the exact set U2 did 24 years ago. the band rocked the sold-out show. after the band played, one lucky couple got the chance to get married on stage. as wedding photographers, we couldn't pass up the chance to witness a wedding in front of an audience of 7,000. shortly following the ceremony, the big screen showed the hilarious 'wedding crashers', which left us in stitches after seeing it a second time. Check out the full gallery here >>
the winning couple wed onstage in front of an audience of 7000 at red rocks amphitheater in denver.

not all cover bands are created equal. U2 was well represented by "under a blood red sky", the name of the legendary U2 album and cover band.


pan seared tilapia w/ cannellini beans & radiccio

so nicole's summer workout at the local gym has hooked her into the food network....90 minute treadmill sessions become a cooking class. r. j. went 'hunting' for the necessary ingredients (who knew that cannellini beans were white kidney beans that speak italian?) at our local target and wild oats. here is nicole's latest creation, inspired by giada's "everyday italian."

shawn colvin & john hiatt

shawn colvin graced the crowd with her acoustic performance at the denver botanic gardens recently. if you haven't seen a concert there, put it on your 'things to do before i die list.' grab your picnic blanket and favorite bottle of vino and relax!

john hiatt's visceral voice and just makes r. j. want to go fishing and get a truck with a gunrack.

you can't go to the denver botanic gardens without smelling the flowers.

while flowers are pretty, creamy backgrounds can be just as interesting and give our eyes a place to wander.

adam smith's black belt testing

Friday night Paragon Martial Arts proudly bestowed the honor of awarding Adam Smith with his first degree black belt. We have had the joy to teach Adam for over 3 years. The evening was filled with tons of nervous moments, cool board breaks, sparring, loud kihaps, and important milestone memories. And here is our special shot of Mr. Adam Smith, 1st degree Black Belt decided.


Proud Instructors, 3rd Degree Black Belt R. J. Kern, 1st degree black belt Nicole Kern, and new 1st degree black belt Adam Smith. What a fun night!

aaron neville & the neville brothers

Murray & Cheryl (Nicole's folks) treated us kids (Tonya & Jeremy) to a wonderful concert the the Denver Botanic Gardens to see Aaron Neville & The Neville Brothers from New Orleans. The show was terrific and Aaron gave his spirited rendition of "Amazing Grace," which sent goose-bumps into the crowd. A special thanks to Murray for the know-how of camping at the gate hours early and then know to run and get the best seats! They were worth it. We got there early and enjoyed some summer picnic treats before the concert started.


Aaron doing his thing. The guy has got soul!

Charles Neville making that brass sing!

Check out those 60 year-old biceps and the cool T-shirt!

I love simplicity. "Brevity is the sole of wit," my father once told me.

The 360 degree stage at the Botanic Gardens makes for an interesting backdrop, not typical for a outdoor music venue.

Aaron Neville singing a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" with soul and passion!

And with the light being great, it was hard not to escape to the gardens to capture some botanics in our style.

I like the cinematic quality in this one.

And, similarly, in this little guy, too.


cherry creek arts festival

Being 7-7-07, we decided to stay away from any slot machines, so we went to Chatfield State Park where they have a great off-leash dog park. We had a blast with Dash swimming and running, yet he decided to disappear for about an hour, and then was found by a kind park ranger (apparently he 'hung out' with another dog family) and they called us. We got our workout in running around calling 'Dash.'

Then we headed down the to Cherry Creek Arts Festival and watched a cool performance by an Australian dance company on 15 foot poles. We've never seen anything like it!

While at the festival, we met up with buddy Alan and brainstormed some new logo designs, shortly after Nicole was caught stealing a second waffle sample!!!


colorado rapids, fireworks, & the works!

The World's Game, bar-ba-que, Independence day, fireworks...all perfect ingredients for a wonderful evening with Nicole.

One of the most recognizable and beloved mascots in the NBA, Supermascot Rocky, caused some trouble during the halftime game...
And again chasing girls...
I love these guys are such true athletes...check out that flexibility!
All the crowds hit the field in anticipation of the fireworks....here we are in true Kern-Photo style with our fish-eye, self-portrait lens.

What a blast!
Gotta dig those colors!

Shooting fireworks is one of those tricky challenges, but our trusty Nikon 50mm f/1.4 does such a great job at f/2.0 with the ISO cranked!

cars at twilight

Ever wonder how that marvelous twilight can make a car really shine....I had some fun shooting this Chrysler 300B at the Fall 2006 Chrysler 300 International Meet in Lawton, OK. The gala event was hosted by my father, who did such an awesome job. See tons more images here.


One evening in Billings, MT I was out landscape photographing and the light wasn't doing what I thought, but I turned around and headed back to my rental car and got a wonderful idea.... let's see if I can make this Suburu Outback look like a car brochure. I think it came pretty close!

My father's Chrysler PT Cruiser at sunset with a really cool asphalt pit in the background and a little puddle of water to catch some reflection, which was a nice surprise. Note the fuzzy dice!

my dad's baby (car)



colorado rapids

export - 02export - 04export - 06export - 08export - 10export - 12export - 14export - 16export - 18export - 20

kinetics 2007

Human-power craft. Check. Music. Check. Lots of beer. Check.

These were ingredients of spectacle at the 2007 KBCO Kinetics festival, where we were asked to serve as the media photographers (twist our arm!!!). IT WAS A BLAST! Pictures do not do justice, but may entice you to participate in next year's gala! See the complete Kinetics 2007 Gallery >>


One of the many human-powered boats during this hilarious race of the spirit, mind, and wits.


kinetics parade

Hundreds of participants strut their stuff during the Kinetics Parade, earning points for awards, winning the crowd over, and just trying not to fall down. See the gallery of fun >>

Broncos mascot, ahoy!

There's some talent!

Lockheed Martin's ASStronaunts.

The fine folks at Croc's strut their stuff!



This boa didn't get the judges too excited for a hug!

nuggets vs lakers








colorado crush

What do you get when you take an NFL playing field, cut it in half, and double the energy? Arena football! Colorado’s only AFL team, the Crush defeated Arizona rattlers Friday night 56-45. Denver Sports Guide offered a wonderful opportunity to participate as a press photographer with special access. Have a look at some highlight photos here >>


nuggets vs. grizzlies

On Monday night, Carmelo Anthony made his return after a 15 game suspension....and his first game with the new Nuggets addition, Alan Iverson. A special thanks to Eric Levine and the Denver Sports Guide for affording Kern Photography such exclusive access! Check out the gallery here >>

avs game highlights from 2006

Avs vs. Red Wings on September 25, 2006

Avs vs Black Hawks on October 10, 2006




Wolski driving to the goal.