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My portrait

James F. Kernicky Photography

Freelance Outdoor Photography

Personal bio:

My name is Jim Kenicky and I was born and grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. As a child, I was exposed to the outdoors in many different ways. Besides becoming a Cub Scout and then Boy Scout, my aunt (father's side) owned a house at the New Jersey shore, while my mother’s aunt owned land in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Each summer my family would have a one weeklong trip to both places where the wonder of the beach and ocean, and the amazing diversity of the trails, streams, lakes and wildlife of the mountains grew in me a passion for the outdoors. At the shore we would rent bikes to ride on the boardwalk or along Ocean Drive, or fish and crab on the bay from the docks or a rented boat. While camping in the mountains, the activities were too many to describe: biking the many trails, swimming in a beaver-made lake, gathering wild berries for the morning pancakes, and much more. As an adult, I still hike, camp, mountain bike and canoe throughout the Mid-Atlantic States. In 2008 I created jfk-photo.com, my first web site. I also have started a web design company geared towards photographers and other artists.

Education & Photography bio:

I started swimming at a very early age at the shore, up the mountains and at the local summer swim club, which I took to naturally. Eventually I entered competitive swimming, first at the summer swim club level, then later swimming at Monsignor Bonner High School and the Lansdowne YMCA, and finally culminating with a swimming scholarship to Drexel University. At Drexel I received a BS in Operations Management in 1992, along with a minor in Music, and many additional courses in Industrial Engineering.

It was a few years after graduating that I was hired and trained by a local studio to become a portrait photographer; and consequently began my interest in photography when I caught the proverbial photo “bug”. I then started to borrow my father’s AE-1 Canon SLR and took to the outdoors. Besides my training in lighting and compositions that I learned doing portraits, I also took various classes in photography; however, I would call myself a self-taught photographer. One of my first “successful” images was when I pointed my lens at the Hale-Bopp comet. A few years after starting photography, I landed a job in a photo supply and print store, where I printed photos using a Noritzu mini-lab color printer. It was then I learned about correcting for contrast and color channel aberrations.

My career started in the mid 1990’s. Since then, my talent has developed, even while working in the corporate world as an Inventory Management specialist, and am now a professional outdoor photographer. My passion lies in nature photography, landscape photography, urban photography and abstract photography.

Philosophy, Personal Vision, & Technique:

There is beauty everywhere - you just have to look. I strive to capture the diversity of the natural and urban environment. I attempt to photograph images that evoke a response, a subject viewed in a unique way or that has not seen before. And of course I use light, subject, composition and color to accomplish this. To enjoy the views offered while hiking through a tall grass field or through a pine forest, or the sounds of the wind and ocean on a beach, is what motivates me as a person and a photographer. As an ardent outdoorsman, I tend to hike to isolated areas, and for my efforts I often come upon a worthy scene: something that is thoroughly inspiring or that most people haven’t seen.

In my mind, the three main aspects of photography are light, subject, and composition, of which color can be an element of all three:

~ LIGHT: Like most nature photographers, I prefer the warm like just before and after sunrise and sunset when colors are more vibrant and contrast subdued. Although, shooting during the day under cloudy conditions, or in a forest where the harsh direct sunlight is softened by the leaves of the trees, is another time, which has provided me with photographic opportunities.

~ SUBJECT: As for subjects, place 10 photographers in the same scene, and you’ll get 10 different images. The choice of what to focus on is an individual one, and is what differentiate photographers from one another. Subject and composition are linked in that, once the subject is chosen, so is the basic composition.

~ COMPOSITION: Composition, composition, composition. I consider composition the most important aspect of all, and is what cause photographers to shoot scenes differently. The classic definition: What to include and exclude from the image. In essence, it requires you to decide on how to frame the subject, from what angle to shoot the subject, as well as focus, shutter & aperture decisions. Exceptional composition requires a graphics eye.

~ COLOR: Not one of the “big three”, but my eye is often drawn towards intense saturated colors, and has as a result been an element in my images. Color is primarily a part of the subject and composition (and a result of the light quality), but can also be a main part of the composition, and at times the subject itself.


Ever since I first used my dad’s Canon camera, I have remained loyal to the Canon brand. My equipment includes 4 camera bodies (2 film, 2 digital), and seven fixed length and zoom lenses ranging from 20mm-400mm. When shooting film, I use Fuji Velvia 50, Velvia 100F and Provia 100F. My one and true filter is a circular polarizer, which I use quite often. I have used neutral density and warming filters in the past, but not anymore. My polarizer filter tends to act as a neutral density filter when I need to limit the amount of light, and I prefer to capture the natural color of the scene without enhancing filters. I also use a Bogen tripod with two different Gitzo pan-tilt heads, and my filters are Tiffen & Quantaray products.

Prints & Digital notes:

Images are available in a limited edition, numbered, signed, and printed on archival paper. When I shoot digital, I shoot in the RAW format and then process the images in Adobe Photoshop. I personally prefer shooting slide film, but given the expense of film developing, processing and final digital conversion, I find digital more practical. Being a film enthusiast, I have contempt for unethical digital manipulation. If I fail in getting the shot in the camera, I will return to the scene later, if possible, to re-shoot the composition. As when I printed photos in a photo lab, or when scanning my negatives and slides, I make the same adjustments to my digital images: I only correct for contrast, color and brightness. I do not perform major edits or alterations of my images.
Other Services:
Pet Portraits
Photo Restoration
Pet Portraits
Photo Restore