From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

I sent this photo to Francis already but I thought you may like to take a look. It was taken in Tijuana, Mexico during my freshmen year at Berkeley. Francis wanted to eat authentic Mexican food and bought something from a food cart vendor. He kept enticing us with smacking and yum-yum noises as he ate.

Then that night he was visited by Montezuma’s revenge.


My uncle, my aunt, and my mom.


Us in Korea

From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

Here is family photo sans Aboji. I sent you this photo of us in our Seoul house in 1954. We had a large spacious house with tatami mats, heated floors and a large yard with a garden. Surrounding it was a cement wall for privacy. The back of the photo gives our names and ages. (The ages are Korean ages, meaning it is one year older than it is here in the western world).

Francis Ree Family

Clockwise from the top left: (Hay In) Francis 19, (Shin He) Teresa 17 (my mother), mother (grandma), (Jung He) Jeanne 9, and (Ju He) Bernadette 20.

Continue reading the discussion thread after the jump

Leaving Korea for the USA

From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

The attached photo is of us at Kimpo airport waiting to board a flight to the USA. We all look miserable and sad because we are leaving life as we knew it back then. I remember the propeller plane, so loud. I remember waking up from a nap on the loud plane and heard my siblings talking to each other — hard for me to believe because they hadn’t spoken to each other for more than a year (and used me as a messenger when they needed to communicate).

Leaving Korea for USA

Left to right: ?, Aunt Tamaye, Uncle Francis (in front of Aunt Gia), Grandma, Dr. Tae-Bong Kim, Teresa (my mom)

Continue reading the discussion of the photo after the jump

A little about WaterField

Gary Waterfield:

Subject: Thanks for finding us!

Congratulations on being part of an exclusive group of people who own a San Francisco-made WaterField product. You might see another one— at an airport, a café in Florence, or a business meeting in Austin.  The best cases in the world attract some of the best and most diverse people in the world and we are glad to have you be part of our community. 

All our bags and cases are made by the most skilled sewing team in San Francisco. Please keep in touch and let us know what else we can do for you.

BTW, how did you bump into us? 

Thanks again,
Gary Waterfield

Continue reading about Waterfield bags after the jump


Photo from February 28, 2015

I had just written an article mentioning my old high school, when a classmate of mine messaged me on Twitter when he realized why he friended me. It turned out he was in Mountain View on business, so I drove down to visit him. The last time I saw him was 25 years ago!

We picked him up at his hotel and I suggested Clarke’s because it’s one of the best burger joints around. While waiting for food, I snapped this photo.

Clarkes Charcoal Broiler
Mountain View, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2
1/350sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)

I keep forgetting the razor-thin depth-of-field, so though one eye was in focus, the other one wasn’t. As I mentioned, I prefer monochrome images when I shoot with my Leica, so I used nik Silver Efex Pro. Control points helped me separate his hair from the background and add some sharpening in the blurry eye.

Continue reading another story after the jump

Top Gun

Photo from May 18, 2008

My friend Andrei called me and said that today was Bay to Breakers. A friend of ours, Kara, invited us to Orange Photography which back then was on the race route and would set up a free photo booth. But by the time we got there the race was long gone.

Kara introduced me to Gene Hwang, one of the co-founders, and after helping them clean up, we drove to the panhandle to see if we could catch the tail end of Bay to Breakers.

One of the great things about this event is that every stranger enjoyed their photo taken. Thus, armed with my Leica and Nikon, I started snapping away. At one point, this pilot in a sick costume started to salute me until I snapped her photo.

My only criticism is that it looks like she’s piloting an F4, but the mirrorshade aviators really are a great touch.

At that point her commander, Lt. Thurston, noticed me too and they allowed me to take a portrait of them.

Top Gun
Bay to Breakers
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
1/1250sec @ ƒ2.8, iso 200, 24mm

Now I didn’t realize the Navy flew any F-117s and I’m not sure why a lieutenant is sporting captain’s bars, but from the naked people I saw, I’m sure everything is okay on Bay to Breakers day.

Continue reading about how this photo was processed after the jump

Xmas at SFO

Photo from December 20, 2014

Sometimes there not much to a photo, because it’s just a snapshot:

Xmas at SFO
San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo County, California

iPhone 6
1/17 sec @ f/2.2, iso 250, 4.15mm (35mm)

When dropping my friend off at SFO, I noticed the Christmas lighting and Golden Gate Bridge decorations at the airport and snapped this.

It’s impressive how good the cameras in mobile phones are nowadays. The only issue is JPEG processing means that Lightroom noise reduction + sharpening posterizes the image somewhat (look at the embankment to the right).

I wonder what SFO looks like now that the Super Bowl is in town.

Starry Night at Yosemite

Photo from June 24, 2005

We arrived at Camp 6 late in the evening and without a reservation, but Mark found someone kind enough to allow us to pitch tents at the edge of their campground. I stayed up late, set up my tripod, and took 30 second bulb exposures of the night sky in Yosemite. I had never seen a night sky so bright, even when I drove 40 min from Champaign to see Comet Hyakutake.

I had no trouble picking out the Milky Way and you can even see part of it in this photo.

Starry Night at Yosemite
Camp 4, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Nikon D70, 50mm f/1.8D
30 sec at f/1.8, iso 800, 50mm (75mm)

To get a wide field of view and maximize light coming into the camera, I used my 50mm f/1.8D wide open and the sensor gained to iso 800. IIRC 30 seconds is the longest exposure in the Nikon D70, which, because it is a CCD and heats up isn’t the best astrophotography camera around. An earlier photo of the star field told me that I needed to have something in the foreground for the photo to seem other than noise.

Even just 30 seconds, you can see the earth rotates so fast that the star streak is clearly noticeable.

If you look at this version of the same image, you can see that processing and noise-reduction has improved a lot in the last 10 years. However I did like that the colors of the bark and leaves of the evergreen were visible in the gained up version I made back then, so I masked that part back in, even though I’ve long since lost the photoshop file I had of it.

It’d be nice to take photos with a wider angle lens and a more modern sensor that can be gained even higher. I’d probably also use a flashlight to light the tree a bit in the future as it turns out you can’t do an HDR of the night sky if you have foreground interest.