When I was touring Montreal, it was my pleasure to meet-up with legendary travel and HDR photographer Ken Kaminesky for dinner. He was a very good humored, down to Earth, and friendly guy who you should all circle on Google+ right now. Also, if you are grateful for your eyesight, visit his portfolio and beautiful travel photography blog. you won’t regret it if you like pretty HDR pictures from around the world. If you’re unfamiliar with HDR photography, it’s quite interesting stuff and I recommend you read the (creatively titled) article “What is HDR Photography?”
Between bites we recorded this short video where Ken talks about situations when he doesn’t shoot HDR (*GASP!*). Since the audio is sometimes hard to decipher and also for your quick reference, I’ve typed a transcript of the interview below.
Thanks again for coming out Ken! Taverne Gaspar was a great recommendation. Let’s not wait too long to get together again.
Begin Transcript >>>
(by the way, it takes a lot longer to type a transcript than I anticipa- *hand cramp!*)
Me: In your own words, tell the people who are unfamiliar with your work what you do.
Ken: I’m a travel photographer. I basically go around the planet trying to take pictures of beautiful historic places and natural scenes. I work with tourism boards and travel magazines and stuff like that. I also write a travel blog. —
(I rudely cut him off) Me: — And where can we find that?
(He modestly replies) Ken: That’s at blog.kenkaminesky.com.
Question 1: When don’t you shoot HDR?
Me: You shoot a lot of HDR. Are there any instances when you don’t go with HDR, or do you exclusively use HDR techniques?
Ken: I’m shooting HDR for about 80-85% of the stuff I do. What I showcase on my blog is mostly that if not exclusively that. I think it really adds a “wow” factor to the images, which is when that effect really works to the best of its abilities. I also always carry a second camera with me though as well, and I’m shooting stuff with it that’s not going to be HDR. I still bracket the images to get the best exposure. If that shot ends up working in HDR, great, but a lot of times I’m not even putting it on the tripod. So that’s not really conducive to HDR either.
So, for more detailed shots or people images, HDR looks like absolute crap. You’re not going to get the nice skin tones that you can get with regular shooting. So, that’s definitely where I would stop using HDR and start using just regular imagery, with mostly people, details, and stuff like that.
Question 2: What camera do you shoot with?
Me: What camera do you shoot with by the way?
Ken: I shoot Canon. My main body, especially for HDR, is the 1Ds Mark III and my second body is the 5D Mark II.
Question 3: Would you rather…?
Me: Would you rather work on an crab fishing boat for 2 years, or never take another photograph?
Ken: I’ve thought about this long and hard. I won’t kid you, I’ve lost sleep over this. And to be honest, the answer would have to be… purple monkey dishwasher.