We featured Koveh last week as the RAW 500px profile of the week, this time he’s back with an interview for all the aspiring landscape photographers out there.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I work in the Telecommunications Industry as a Solutions Architect, designing multimillion dollar enterprise solutions, and run my photography business on the side. I love to travel the world and experience new places and cultures, and the beauty of nature all around us. I try to capture a little piece of this through my camera.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
I have always had an interest about photography, and loved seeing the beautiful images people produced. I finally decided to get into photography and give my hand at it. As it turned out, it was quite addictive and it blends nicely with my love to travel. Now days I rarely go anywhere without my camera close by.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
My F-Stop pack to carry my gear, a GPS whenever I am in the backcountry, a good tripod and my camera gear. I am primarily a wide-angle landscape photographer, so the lens I cannot live without is my wide-angle lens. I carry two of them just in case, a Canon 14mm prime and a Canon 16-35.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
Every one of my photos has personal significance because of the memories attached to it. Each one signifies a unique experience of a place I visited, memories of friends I spent time with, or troubles and pain that went along with getting to a location. I treasure each one of these experiences, so when I go back and look at each photo it is a positive reminder. For this reason it is hard for me to pick out a single photo that shines above another.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
The Death Valley Star Trails photo I have attached is a good example of a composite image. This photo began with me finding a solid composition and setting up right after sunset. This allowed me to setup optimum focus on the scene before it got too dark. I then waited until it was nearly dark, but not too dark to capture my foreground exposure while there was still a lot of light to properly expose the scene. Leaving the camera setup, I waited about an hour for the stars to properly show up, and began a series of star trails shots. I always prefer a large number of 4-5 min exposures rather than one 2-3 hour exposure. First, this allows for less noise in the image, and secondly, in situations when fog or clouds ruin some of the frames, you can always use the good exposures. This was the case that evening, as clouds ended up ruining the last 1/3rd of exposures. Finally this was all carefully hand blended and combined in post processing for the final image.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post?
I use Lightroom for my categorization and RAW processing, then do final editing in Photoshop. That said good photography is always a combination of both on the field and off the field. You have to envision the photo and have the foresight to do proper setup and technique on the field with the camera, then have the capability to pull it together in post. This is the case for a lot of advanced techniques like exposure blending, focus stacking etc.
What’s your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
I have a love/hate relationship with my tripods. I can’t live without them so they are my favourite, but I hate them equally for always giving me trouble. I put my tripod through all kinds of hell, from shooting in sand, mud, swamps, salt water etc. It is no wonder they are always seizing up and refusing to function. They really do take a lot of abuse by me, but I am still always frustrated when you try to extend a tripod leg and it is completely seized up, or rusted shut.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
The truth is there is no perfect site out there, so I try to spread things out on different sites and social media to gain coverage. 500px, Flickr, Google+ and Facebook all have their benefits and drawbacks. I also try to not let it consume me too much and prefer to just post work and not spend too much time online. I enjoy being out in the field shooting, rather than spending all my time on social media.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
A huge part of my inspiration comes from my love to travel and explore new places. As long as I am staying true to that, then it is not a problem for me. Each person is different and each needs to find what they truly love about photography to keep them motivated.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
I am very much self taught in photography, so I can’t say if there is anything that would have made things better or worse for me. It honestly comes down to practice. The more time you devote to it, the better you can become. This includes everything from being out in the field shooting, post processing to studying the work of others to improve.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
It’s a tough and saturated market out there. There are a lot of good photographers around the world, but to make money and do it full time is a whole other thing. Learning the business side and finding your niche to distinguish themselves is crucial. Additionally I think you have to diversify yourself and try to make money through different avenues. It’s either that, or like many out there, have a second means of income to survive and use photography to supplement.