Our Winners
January 2010

Mriganka Bhattacharjee

Congratulations to Mriganka Bhattacharjee of India for winning the Sekonic Histogram Challenge for the month of January, 2010. The prize for identifying all histograms correctly is a Sekonic L-758 and an Exposure Target II, which have been shipped to him/her by the Sekonic Corporation of Tokyo, Japan.

“Photography has intrigued me from childhood,” says Mriganka. “When I was small, I always would devise an opportunity to handle my uncle’s Rolleiflex. During middle school my father gave me an AGFA point and shoot camera. Overjoyed with it, I kept shooting at random, and I shot only black and white. My results were scarcely good, but that was enough to keep me going.”

Mriganka’s passion was unstoppable, and he soon began trying to acquire better equipment. “Belonging to a middle class family, we could not afford to buy the higher manual models available those days. Later, I upgraded to another point and shoot camera, a Kodak KB 10 35mm. I kept experimenting with this camera, but this time in color! It was only 2007 I got a respectable camera, a brand new SONY DSC H50 prosumer camera. It felt like a camera! Dials, buttons, modes, zoom, macro and the list goes on. A friend suggested joining photo.net. My experiments were more regular and shootings were more often. Critiques and ratings on photo.net kept my zeal burning. I started saving because I needed and wanted a DSLR badly. While visiting the U.S., I bought a Canon Rebel T1i with a 18-55mm lens and Tamron 75-300mm lens. Experimenting and shooting has become more vigorous, since.”

Mriganka reports he shoots many kinds of subject matter, including landscapes, portraits, products, animals, and “everything under the sun.” He credits the Sony DSC H50 with teaching him/her how to read histograms. “Aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more needed to be controlled. Since there was an opportunity to see the histogram during shooting the Sony, I made use of it. I browsed the Internet, looked up ‘histogram,’ and tried to understand them.”

Living in picturesque Shillong, Meghalaya, Mriganka’s home is also called “the Scotland of the East” for it’s hilly terrain. He currently works for the Indian Postal Department and dreams of becoming a professional photographer.

Winners 2009

October 2009

BJ Kirkendoll
Moore, Oklahoma

Recently retired from the U.S. Air Force, B.J. Kirkendoll of Moore, Oklahoma won the October Sekonic Histogram Challenge. As B.J. spent his professional life traveling the globe for his job, he always carried a camera to record his work in new and sometimes exotic locations.

Now that he’s retired from Air Force Emergency Operations, B.J. and his wife are traveling the country and building up his photography skills. Recently, he’s been shooting in Las Vegas, Monument Valley and Navajo reservations in Arizona and Nevada.

Originally from Tennessee, in the early 1980’s, B.J. shot a Minolta X-700, which he still uses today. In 2002, B.J. began shooting digitally with a Minolta Dimage 7. Two years ago he began using a Sony Alpha 350, shooting Adobe Camera RAW. Completely self-taught, B.J. read books and magazine articles, and made intense use of resources available on the Internet.

B.J. learned to read histograms by studying them on the back of his Alpha 350 and by using Photoshop. For correctly matching up the example photos and corresponding histograms, B.J. will receive a Sekonic L-758 and Exposure Target II. Congrats, B.J. on a job well done!

B.J. Kirkendoll on photo.net

September 2009

Mauro Alex Franic
Atlanta, Georgia

The art and science of traditional photography has not been lost on September’s winner of the Sekonic Histogram Challenge. Interested in photography his entire life, Franic taught courses in black and white photography for fifteen years. Although he does some studio work and a small amount of commissions, Franic is most at home shooting landscapes.

Shooting a Mamiya RZ67 and occasionally a 35mm SLR, Franic is dedicated to film photography. Currently located in Atlanta, Georgia, he earned his first Master’s degree in Engineering in Argentina, followed by a Master’s in Finance at the University of Rochester. Although largely self-taught in photography, his father was a photographer and Franic “grew up with negatives and prints everywhere,” he says.

“For me, medium format film has vastly superior resolution and tonality. It seems film captures more information with wider lenses,” than the digital counterpart. He also reports many of his photographer friends are shooting more film in the professional landscape area than digital photography. Franic isn’t adverse to digital workflow, however. He develops film, then scans it and performs corrections in Photoshop®. It is there he learned how to read a histogram.

“Sekonic meters are more indispensable for shooting medium and large format film because there’s typically no meter in the cameras. You only have a few shots to get it right, and it pays to know what you’re doing with a light meter. This is where the art and science come together. Your light readings need to be perfect, and you need to know what to do with them.”

A faithful practitioner of the the Zone System, Franic uses a Sekonic L-358 which he’s owned more years than he can remember. Although it isn’t a spot meter, he has trained himself to work with the Zone System using the L-358 which supports spot metering. Congratulations, Mauro!

Mauro Alex Franic on Smugmug.com
Mauro Franic blog on Photo.net

August 2009

Steven Ratnofsky
Needham, Massachusetts

“Many radiologists enjoy photography because it’s imaging,” says our winner of the Sekonic’s Histogram Challenge for the month of August, Steven Ratnofsky. A radiologist himself for 34 years, Steven is from Needham, Massachusetts.

A photography enthusiast since childhood when he shot a Kodak 127-based film camera, Steven later outfitted his own dark room and processed his own photos up until seven years ago when he made the transition to a digital workflow. Previously, he shot and developed black and white film, but digital photography has opened up the world of color for him. Steven’s exclusive subjects are landscapes and architecture. Recently returned from a trip to Chicago, Steven shot many photos from the observatory of the John Hancock Center, along with street scenes.

While reading Photo.net, Steven came across a video of Steve Sint demonstrating Seknonic meter use in his wedding photography business. From there, he found the Sekonic Histogram Contest.

Regarding his process for decoding August’s histograms, Steven explains his methodology as mixed. “It was science with a little bit of guessing added in. I studied the histograms and the tonality of the photos and tried to analyze how much of each tone was present in each photo. I enjoy photography because it’s imaging, and that’s also why I enjoy my job. Radiology is imaging. There’s definitely a connection there.”

As the use of digital photography equipment expands, so does Steven’s use of digital technology at his day job. “Radiology is becoming all-digital,” he reports. “We will no longer need the use of silver. Images are captured digitally and sent to a monitor. Everything will be stored digitally.” With film-based X-rays clipped to lightboxes mounted on walls becoming a thing of the past, Steven embraces digital changes in both his photography hobby and his profession.

For correctly matching up 4 histograms with corresponding photos, Steven wins a Sekonic L-758DR meter and Exposure Target II. Congratulations, Steven!

July 2009

Mike Kennamer
Henagar, AL


Sekonic congratulates Mike Kennamer of Henagar, Alabama for being our second winner of Sekonic’s Histogram Challenge. Mike Kennamer is like most ardent photographers. He’s hungry for knowledge yet at the same time loves to play with techy tools which help make his photographs so successful. It wouldn’t surprise you then, to learn that he frequents a place called “Unclaimed Baggage Center” where, of course, unclaimed baggage is finally sold when its owners don’t claim them.

It was here Mike first spied a shiny, nearly new, Sekonic L358. Alas, he didn’t purchase it right away and when he came a few days later to buy it, the meter had been sold.

“My thirst for knowledge, however, was piqued,” explains Mike, “so I went straight to the Sekonic web site to learn as much as I could. That’s where I saw the contest asking photographers to match histograms with photos.”

It’s tempting to say it was a no-brainer for Mike, but since he just finished his PhD dissertation in education we obviously won’t touch that subject with the proverbial ten foot pole. He’s not only a smart educator but a darned brilliant photographer.

Anyway, long story short Mike entered the contest and was one of the two percent of folks who got it right. Two percent? Who says you don’t need a meter.
Mike won’t, because he’s now the proud owner of not only the flagship Sekonic L-758DR but also the new Sekonic Exposure Profile Target II.
Way to go, Mike, and congratulations!

June 2009

Gary Leonard
Portland, OR

Portland, OR-based Gary Leonard is retired. Don’t we all wish we could do the same? He’s also a pilot. And he does street photography, children, parties, wedding and funerals. Huh? What was that???  Funerals? More about that later.

Well, Gary decided to put his smarts and creativity to work. He learned Photoshop™ and Lightroom ™and kept shooting more and more and more, well, you get the idea.

So when he starting doing flash photography, what’s a guy gonna do? Buy a Sekonic L358, of course, to measure the light.  By now, Gary had graduated to a Canon 40D and started to use a histogram. He used it, of course, to adjust the weight of the tones. He used it to finesse the contrast.  But most of all, he used his knowledge of the histogram to win the Sekonic contest!

Now Gary is proud owner of a new Sekonic L-758DR which is programmable.  Wow! Can he ever put his knowledge of the histogram to work! Congratulations, Gary, and thanks for entering our contest.

P.S. In case you’re wondering about his photography of funerals, Gary’s married to a wonderful Pilipino woman named Miriam. And the custom in the Philippines is for folks to photograph their dearly departed friends and family.

May 2009

Janis Fugel

Unfortunately we have not had a chance to interview Janis but we would like to congratulate Janis for being yet another winner of Sekonic’s Histogram Challenge.

April 2009

Chris Wilkinson
Northport, AL

Sekonic congratulates Chris Wilkinson of Northport, Alabama for being the first winner of Sekonic’s Histogram Challenge. For this achievement, Chris will be receiving a Sekonic L-758DR and Sekonic Exposure Profile Target II.

To win, Chris’s name was randomly selected from a group of entrants who correctly matched four histograms to four photos. The total of submitted correct answers was surprisingly smaller than we expected. Judging a photo based solely the information of its histogram is like trying to understand what someone looks like based solely upon their fingerprint. That is why, in photography, understanding and controlling light is critical to achieving full tonality and proper color saturation, as well as exposure.

A photography enthusiast since the age of 12 when she won First Place in a photo contest at the Sandy Hook Folk Festival in New Jersey with a Brownie Box camera, Chris now uses a Fuji S-5000. She also keeps a Canon AE-1 handy “for emergencies.”

Interestingly, Chris learned to read histograms as a means to analyze patients’ breathing techniques in 1992while a respiratory therapy student in Lynchburg, VA.  The data gained from testing provided a basis to design artificial respiration for people who were unable to breathe for themselves. Though not having used this knowledge in many years, Chris rose to Sekonic’s  challenge, and applied what she learned to correctly analyze and match the images with the histograms.

Sekonic congratulates Chris on her winning answers, and on her knowledge of image science and art.

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