About

Sarangkot, Nepal

David J Kennedy

I like airports, driving back roads, and a breakfast burrito with coffee at 4am. I not only enjoys making the photograph, but the innumerable steps that lead up to it. The research. The logistics. The early starts and late nights. The long hike by headlamp. Waiting. Shooting. Adjusting. Repeating.

My love for the outdoors, travel, and just being on the go led me to start documenting a few moments via my camera. Soon, it grew into a desire to take photos worthy of these unique experiences.

I first picked up a camera in 2007 and I delved deeper in 2011. Ironically, it was moving away from Colorado – and the mountains I frequently hiked – that I feel led me deeper into photography. No longer did have I have such obvious subjects (i.e. mountain peaks) on the plains of the Palouse, causing me to search further for strong subjects and compositions. I have since moved back to Colorado, and then onto California, and finally back to Colorado where I currently reside.

I keep learning and pushing myself, and I regularly share the results here on the blog as well as on Instagram and via my weekly newsletter. Take a look around. I hope you see something you like, or even better, see something in a different way than you had seen before.


All photographs are available for purchase, both prints and digital. Please contact me for pricing.

Ethics

I believe photos are made, not taken. From the planning, through triggering the shutter, and final editing, each step is an important one. My goal is to capture the feeling of being there, but to also stay true to reality and to respect the environment in which I am photographing.

 

Photo Editing
Photographers are often asked, “is that Photoshopped?” When it comes to my editing, the answer is always, “yes,” but not in a manipulative way (see below). More accurately, my photos are organized and edited in Adobe Lightroom, with some editing occurring in Adobe Photoshop or via other plugins. These edits are most commonly basic tonal adjustments, lens corrections, noise correction, and other minor adjustments.

Photo Manipulation
Often, when someone says “Photoshopped,” I think they are referring to outright manipulation of a photograph to the point that it no longer accurately represents reality. My goal with all of my photography is to capture realistic portrayals of my subject. I do not substitute skies, add or remove subjects, or do other significant edits that leads to a misleading photograph.

If I were to take significant liberty with a photograph, it will clearly be disclosed.

I do, however, utilize tools and techniques to overcome shortcomings of the camera, such as HDR, focus stacking, and panoramic stitching. I will also occasionally remove minor distracting elements, like dust spots on the lens, a small bird in the sky, or a foot print on the ground. I make these edits to eliminate distractions and focus the viewer on the primary subject.

Nature
Before any editing, however, comes the actual capture, and there, too, I believe care must be taken. When out in the field, I strive to follow Leave No Trace principles and I won’t modify scenes to get a better shot (yes, I’ll push a branch out of the way, but I won’t break the branch off).

With wildlife, I keep a safe distance (as much for them as for me) and never bate or lure animals. While I am no wildlife biologist, I follow posted rules and have worked to learn more about the animals I look to photograph.

Travel
I respect local laws, rules, and norms while traveling. In addition to trying to educate myself before a trip, I approach my photography, at least initially, conservatively to ease into the environment and prevent missteps. Afterwards, I take care what I post on social media and how I tell its story.

Baby Elephant, Kruger National Park

Partners

My passion for the outdoors extends beyond simply photographing scenes. I also enjoy partnering with outdoor organizations whose missions I support. I have provided photography services for the following organizations and am always looking to for future partnerships (contact for more information).

American Hiking Society

Annual report cover, mailing pieces, and social media campaign.

VOC

Social media and organization stock photography.

Greendals

Social media and stock photography.