Every craft has its jargon. The crazy words that photographers use to describe processes and errors range from legendary to nonsensical.

Some of my favorites are:

Circle of confusion or Scheimpflug. This has to do with optical phenomena that exceed my pay grade.

Gobo. This is something that intentionally blocks the light from the source to the subject.

Grip and grin. In the world of photojournalism, this is the description of a photograph of two people shaking hands while smiling for the camera.

Drag the shutter. In the old days of low-speed film, this was a technique to balance the ambient light with a flash.

Curtain Sync. It’s not where draperies get washed. It’s the intentional synchronization of a mechanical shutter with a flash.

Fog: This is when a film stock or a photographic paper is accidentally exposed to pure light or in some cases, radiation from an airport x-ray machine.

I was thinking about the other kind of fog when I made this portrait near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Actually, it was the absence of fog on a remarkably sunny morning.

It’s great to know all of these technical aspects of the craft, but it’s better to be lucky. On a day like this one, good fortune was clear and bright.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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