Favorite Photos of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I am thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2013, as well as the amazing places I was able to visit and photograph.  I am very excited about what 2014 will bring, and look forward to many travel and photography opportunities in the next year.  In no particular order, here are my favorite images from the 2013 year.  Happy New Year, and see you all in 2014.

 

Blue Lake, Colorado

Blue Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hidden Falls, Oregon

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Big Island, Hawaii

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South Island, New Zealand

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Alberta, Canada

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Slot Canyon, Arizona

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South Island, New Zealand

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Emerald Falls, Oregon

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Sky Pond, Colorado

Sky Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Island, New Zealand

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Big Island, Hawaii

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South Island, New Zealand

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Alberta, Canada

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Extreme Exposure

Capturing this image was quite an incredible life experience for me. Standing on the edge of the newest land on the planet, overlooking a dried and rolling volcanic landscape that looked very much like a scene from another planet. The angry hiss of steam and smoke in the air, as molten lava pours into the ocean, constantly battled by relentless waves. Hot air rising from the ground around me, as the night breeze blew past my face, all under a beautiful starry sky.

_DSC0990-Edit d&bSeeing the flowing lava on the Big Island has to be one of the more amazing things I have seen in my life, and it should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you are going to go photograph and see the lava in person, then I would definitely recommend you get a hold of Bruce and Tom over at www.extremeexposure.com . They are not only two of the nicest guys I have met, but great guides that will go out of their way to ensure you have a fantastic and safe tour, as well as get the shots you want. Having had the opportunity to photograph the lava with Bruce and Tom, I want to voice a couple quick opinions about the experience.

First, photographing on the edge of the ocean entry and lava in general is dangerous. Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply not well informed. I do a lot of dangerous things to capture photographs, but they always come with understanding those dangers and making the best decisions I can. What was surprising to me is how off I was on what is and is not dangerous when it came down to lava. You want to be out there with these guys because they have literally been out there thousands of times and seen it all. Their job is to make sure you are safe while you focus your time on capturing photos.

Second, photographing the lava, like a lot of other subjects has its own unique challenges. Bruce and Tom are not just taking you out to the lava, but they are there to help with the photography to ensure you get the best shot possible. Knowing when and how to shoot the lava is a huge part of ensuring you come back with an image you like, rather than a bunch of bad ones that leave you feeling frustrated. These guys know what they are doing, so let them help you out!

Get out there and contact these guys and get setup for the experience of your life. I promise you will not leave unsatisfied.

The New Age of RAW Processing

Digital photography, like all other technology based industries, continues to improve in leaps and bounds.  Not only are the newer digital SLR cameras getting better and better at managing noise and capturing better dynamic range, but the post processing tools are also constantly improving.

Like most photographers out there, I shoot everything in RAW format and prefer to do 100% of my own post processing out of camera.  My image categorization and RAW processing happens in Adobe Lightroom.  The latest version of this software incorporates Adobe’s latest Camera RAW plugin, and the changes are truly a photographers dream when it comes to RAW processing.  The primary changes are around the shadow and highlight recovery capabilities.  Traditionally photographers have to either use filters in the field or take multiple exposures to manage the wide dynamic range of light, in order to overcome the limitations of the digital SLR camera sensor.  Although there are still plenty of instances where capturing dynamic range is required, the amazing RAW recovery capabilities are making this less and less the case.

I know of many photographers that capture 4-5 or even dozens of exposures in the field for dynamic range blending.  Unless you are doing focus stacking, this is no longer required.  At most I capture 1-2 additional exposures in the field now days, and often end up using a single RAW file for processing or in more extreme cases blend 2 exposures.  Don’t make things in post processing harder than they have to be, as is always the case when dealing with complicated blends.  A lot of times you can get away with a single exposure by utilizing these powerful tools in Lightroom 4.  Take a look at the image below, which I recently photographed on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  This was shot in the direction of the setting sun shortly before the sun set on the horizon.  You can imagine how bright the scene must be when photographing in the direction of a sunset, and the shadows on the back sides of the sea stacks.  And yet, as complicated of a scene as this must seem, I was able to process this final image from a single exposure RAW file, without any blend required.  Filters could not have achieved the same result either, due to them darkening the stacks beyond recovery.

 

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This is not always the case, and you should always assess the scene in the field and generally go ahead and capture your multiple exposures in the field.  However, you should be aware of the power of these tools and whenever possible try to save yourself time and complications by first attempting to process your image from a single file.  As things continue to progress, I would not be surprised if in a few years we photographers no longer need to bother with blending at all.

New Website

koveh website

I am very pleased to finally have a new website up and running.  After what seems like a couple of years of not maintaining or updating my previous site, I decided it was time to get back on the bandwagon.  The new site is freshly designed from the ground up, and features my latest work from my travels.  I will also be posting in the new integrated blog area.  I hope you enjoy the new look and feel of the site.

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