We’re just 5 days away!

It’s this coming Saturday, October, 5th, so head over to the official site and see if there’s a photo walk near you (we have photo walks™ organized in cities all around the world). Plus, you’ve got a chance at some awesome prizes (and you don’t have to enter the photo contest to still have a shot at some prizes), you’ll take lots of photos, and you’ll just have just a ton of fun.

We’re doing the Photo Walk differently this year (I know. Duh!)

Check out the video below with all the details:

Sign up for a walk right now — head to worldwidephotowalk.com :)

Plus, On Saturday I’ll be Doing an All-Day Live Photo Walk Broadcast

We’ll be sharing pictures from all over the world as they come in; we’ll be pulling random participants to win a bunch of awesome prizes, and we’ll all be sharing in the fun as we walk, and help, and have a great time. I’ll have a link for you on Friday to watch the live-streamed broadcast.

Have a good one everybody!

-Scott

OK, we are off and running, and you guys are making an INCREDIBLE difference in the lives of the great kids at the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya. We just launched last week and we’ve already raised over $5,000 for the orphanage, and people are stepping up in BIG ways — donating above and beyond on their own, and just doing remarkable things. It’s really just so awesome!!!

The Official T-shirts are here!

The walk itself is about two-weeks away — on Saturday, October 3rd, so get your orders in now (100% of the profits go directly to the orphanage). Here’s the link to order yours.

This Year is Going to Be Different (but still really awesome)

Holding a photo walk during a global pandemic is going to be different, and how we going to do it all (and why it’s so important), is all in the video below. Please, take just a few minutes and I’ll bet (knowing the people who visit this blog, and participate in the our previous Photo Walks), you’ll want to be involved this year more than ever. Give it a quick look below: you’ll be glad you watched it (and you’ll understand why we do it and how you can help).

Sign up for a walk right now — head to worldwidephotowalk.com :)

Have a great weekend everybody. Stay safe and sane, and I hope we’ll see you back here next week. :)

-Scott

Bad Camera Reviews and How To Fix Them with Scott Kelby & Erik Kuna | The Grid Episode 444

Bad Camera Reviews and How To Fix Them with Scott Kelby & Erik Kuna | The Grid Episode 444

Posted by Scott Kelby on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Grid, Episode 444: Bad Camera Reviews and How To Fix Them

Join Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna as they discuss what’s wrong with camera reviews, as well as offer solutions on what they’d like to see to make them better!

New Class Alert! Photographing Montana Big Skies with Moose Peterson

New KelbyOne Class: Photographing Montana Big Skies

Head out to big sky country in the Terry Badlands of Montana, and join Moose Peterson for an adventure of learning and photography. Inspired by the photography of Evelyn Cameron (1868 – 1928), Moose sets out on a journey to capture the old west she saw in the early 1900’s.

In this class Moose shares his process for planning an overland photography expedition, his considerations for gear to bring, how to capture those big skies, what to do when arriving on location, considerations for shooting with B&W in mind, his post processing workflow after the shoot is complete, and so much more.

Focus Your Fall Portfolio:
Work with a Theme to Create a Unique Collection of Images

When autumn photography season approaches, I start to anticipate the making of new photographs. I have some ideas to share that may help you develop an excellent portfolio for the fall season. I have found it useful, for myself and for teaching my students, to think about creating a story line, or clear thematic focus, for your work.

Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014

Consider what specific locations or aspects of autumn inspire you the most. The location could be your backyard, a nearby park or reserve, or a travel location where you can spend at least a few days to explore the area fully. A favorite aspect might include colorful reflections, or the patterns of fallen leaves, or a series focused on branch-filled tapestries of color. This approach of specialization will help distinguish your autumn images from other photographers’ work.

Two key elements needed for your selection of an autumn theme are passion for the subject and easy access during the season. Passion is a must-have ingredient for creative, insightful imagery. Repeated access to your location will build your knowledge of the light, weather, and seasonal changes, helping you find the best conditions for making great photographs. One idea would be to photograph the transition of autumn in your area, from the first hints of color in green trees to the last clinging leaves. This transition offers us great opportunities to communicate that visceral sense we all feel of time and the season moving forward.

Instead of trophy hunting for singular, spectacular scenic images, I like to explore around for quiet images, ones that don’t shout too loud. In Yosemite, for example, I often find exciting details on the forest floor, in river reflections, or on cliff faces. Finding unique images often involves photographing small sections of the landscape rather than the wide views. However, even though I usually focus on intimate details, that doesn’t mean I will avoid those epic, rare events where weather and/or light explode with drama and energy.

I have included some examples here from recent seasons in Yosemite Valley. Over a two-week period in late October and early November, I worked with private students in Yosemite Valley. I greatly enjoy the one-on-one process of helping photographers find their own vision, and sharing mine with them. 

On one dramatic morning, an amazing confluence of peak autumn color and morning mist rising off a frosted meadow unfolded before my student and me. We started out photographing from one excellent vantage point, then raced to where the sun was directly behind the extraordinary tree pictured in the opening image, where we witnessed sunbeams bursting through the graceful branches.

Knowing that the mist would burn off soon, we worked rapidly to find the best camera position for him to block the rising sun with the tree’s limbs. Even though the lens was shaded, the high contrast and rapidly changing situation called for bracketing exposures to ensure a full range of data was captured. The end result, for both of us, were top portfolio “keepers” that portray the symbolism of “a new day,” and “light shining through the darkness.”

But just as exciting to me were several quiet Yosemite images I photographed that fall. In my opinion, quiet intensity in an image can endure and engage the viewer for longer. With subtle imagery comes a depth that can be enjoyed more over time. 

When I pull together a group of photographs, such as from that autumn, I edit the collection by looking for the highest and most consistent quality, as well as for a balance of scale, light, weather, and subject matter. I might use a few wide-angle views to set the context of the portfolio as Yosemite Valley.

However, my main focus would be my intimate landscapes, such as the river with tree reflections, or leaves floating through autumn-colored river reflections, as shown in the photograph Maple Leaves Along the Merced River. When you see the selected images as a group, such as in an exhibit or online gallery, they should create a visual story, a personal exploration, a creative viewpoint. 


YOSEMITE AUTUMN

Here I have created a small selection of recent autumn photographs from Yosemite.

Maple Leaves and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2016
Merced River Reflections, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Cottonwoods, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California
Autumn Reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Autumn Oaks and Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California 2015
Black Oaks and Sunbeams, Yosemite National Park, California 2016
Fallen leeaves and ferns, Yosemite National Park, California 2013
Autumn Sunset on El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013
Oak reflections, El Capitan and the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Cottonwood leaves and grasses, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Black oaks, autumn, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 1984

Autumn Light

What light is best for autumn photography? When I look through my favorite fall images, I see that I’ve favored two main types of light. The soft, even lighting of an overcast day, especially a rainy one, is prime light for forest scenes. Generally, the even tonalities make it easier to see the strong colors and details of leaves and branches of most forest scenes. 

(more…)

Dave Williams here for #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com, and this week I’ve been trying not to dwell on the fact that I’m not in Iceland when I should be, and when the northern lights have been kicking off large! (British term, hope you get it.)

It’s still a time of uncertainty for all of us, globally. Scott announced his annual Worldwide Photo Walk, but this year there’s a twist: it’s solo. I sincerely hope that as many of us as possible will take a walk with our cameras on October 3rd to continue the world’s largest social photography event and to support the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya, with 100% of the entrance amount being gifted straight to them. Walking solo rather than in a guided group, as usual, will be a little different, but there’s plenty of support coming from the team at KelbyOne.

Sticking with uncertainty, we often find ourselves uncertain about our photography. We also all strive for improvement constantly, at every level in this industry. Even Scott himself never stops learning and it’s very important to our individual success that we identify areas of improvement. Sometimes it’s not straightforward to do this, but all too often the things we need to improve are rooted in quite practical reasons why our photography may not be at the level we want it to be. To that end, this handy list of reasons serves to remind us where those roots are and what our focus should be when we’re trying to identify those areas of improvement. Let’s get stuck in.

Exposure

The exposure triad, the triangle, the weigh-off of shutter speed versus ISO versus aperture, whatever you want to label it, understanding and applying our knowledge of exposure has to be top of the list. Shooting in Auto doesn’t allow us control or understanding of the exposure triangle because we’re handing over complete control of it to the brains of the camera. So, doing some research into exposure and moving away from Auto onto a semi-automatic setting such as Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Program Mode should be our first step, followed by the absolutely-immersive and totally-overwhelming Manual mode. The thing is, once we get a grip on this understanding, we lose all sense of being overwhelmed and release a whole new level of creativity. We can also sway away from the rules and deliberately over or underexpose our images for that artistic edge, having understood the rules so we can effectively break them. Trust me, it makes sense! It also opens up the world of light painting, long exposures, and much more, which in turn gives us direction and education in itself.

Composition

Composition is a very, very close second place on the list. There are far too many photos taken that clearly give no aforethought to composition. Here’s the thing: Us humans are big subliminal fans of certain things. These things include even distribution, good placement, regularity, pathways, and other such things. All of these have a place within the realm of photography composition, such as the pathway found in an image containing leading lines or the placement of a subject when the rule of thirds is applied. There are a lot of resources available for what makes good composition—I’ve written several here on ScottKelby.com, and there are classes available on KelbyOne which help, among others. Composition should be considered—it can make or break an image. It’s even true to say that good composition can make an awesome image of a boring subject, whereas a really interesting subject composed badly will be an image nobody remembers. Remember that.

Perspective

This is also a very close position, only losing to composition by a hair. Perspective is another element that makes or breaks an image, and here’s why: –

We walk around all day, every day, seeing the world from our perspective— our eye level. When we take photos from our eye level they look normal. They look the way we see things as we walk through life. The photos that intrigue and captivate us, sometimes even leaving us wondering for a second or two about what we’re even seeing, are the ones that are taken from a different perspective to what we’re used to from our eye level. For example, a flower sits below our eye level and we look down on it—that’s normal. If we take a photo of a flower from the perspective of a caterpillar in amongst the foliage it creates an unusual perspective. Now we’re looking up at, or sideways onto, an object that we normally look down on, and that shift in perspective has made an everyday object look far more special. The same thing applies to Kaylee Greer‘s awesome dog photos, for example. We see dogs from above, but if we shift our perspective and get low, we see them from a new angle. And, in getting lower, so that we look up to them, we even step it up a gear and turn them into heroes, just in the way that iconic images of our superheroes are from an upwards perspective. Change your perspective!

Light

Learning to see light is an actual thing. It may not be something that many people understand, and it can even be the case that people think they can see light but the truth is, once you can see light, you know you can see light. Highlights, shadows, drop-off, gradation, tone, all these things suddenly come to light (pardon the pun), and it helps us really understand a scene and a photograph. I’m talking about blue hour and golden hour in this section, too. Knowing when the best light will arrive and recognising it when it does is the difference between a snapshot and a portfolio piece. There are lots of places to help us understand how to see light, and one of the best teachers for this is Glyn Dewis.

Projects

And by “projects” what I mean is that you haven’t done any! One of the best ways to improve, hands-down, in photography is to undertake a project. It takes us out of our comfort zone and helps us to understand a different genre of photography, educating us in the intricacies and nuances of another field and giving us skills that transfer into our own field. For example, if you’re a landscape photographer, shoot some portraits. If you’re a macro photographer, shoot some night skies. It could even be as simple as doing an alphabet project, finding everyday objects that resemble letters of the alphabet in order to improve composition and perspective.

Subject

That is to say, lack of subject. One big mistake people make, particularly at the beginning of their photographic journey, is to take photos that lack a clearly defined subject. Our brain works well at rationalising things. We try to understand what things are all about. When that applies to photography we’re looking for a reason, a rationale, and a subject. We look at a photo similar to the way we look at a piece of art in a gallery, and how many times have you looked at a piece of art and wondered, “What is this even about?” If we have a clear subject in our photos, we don’t leave people wondering what the photo is about and we free our viewers into exploring other elements rather than walking away scratching their head.

Practice

Practice, practice, practice. Understand photography, understand your photography, understand your camera, learn why things work and why they don’t. A great way to do this is to study and copy other photographers’ work, and critique your own work whilst constantly practicing and striving for improvement. We’ve all heard the famous, “Your first 10,000 photos are your worst” quote, and it’s because it’s all practice, and it’s ongoing.

Keep taking photos. Keep thinking about why they do and don’t work. Keep striving for success. If you aren’t happy with an image, just take a step back and think about why. There are lots of things we can do to improve, and no photo is perfect. There’s plenty of time between now and October 3rd to register for the Worldwide Photo Walk and knock out some amazing photos and win some amazing prizes on a solo photo walk in the world’s biggest photography event!

Much love
Dave

I’m the guest on today’s episode of “He Shoots | He Draws” with host, British Superstar (and Britain’s version of Ted Lasso), Dave Clayton. We had such a great chat — we talked about everything from music to life, and everything in-between, it was an awful lot of fun. More like two guys just sitting at the bar chatting away.

That pic Dave shared above is from my first visit to London to meet with Dave and Glyn Dewis; went spent the day shooting and laughing. Mostly laughing. It was the start of two epic friendships.

You can listen right here: https://heshootshedraws.com/

Thanks to Dave for having me on — it really was a treat!

If you missed my live “Book Chat” from last Wednesday…

…celebrating the launch of the all-new version of my bestselling book ever, “The Digital Photography Book,” you can catch the replay (BELOW). It’s really…well…I guess you just have to see it. Wouldn’t hurt if you poured yourself a glass of wine, or two. Or four. ;-)

Deal of the century on my new book!

During that podcast, my publisher offered the deal of the century on my new book: just $15 for the print edition, and it’s in stock now ready to ship (just $20 if you want both the print and ebook edition). Here’s the link for the book deal: rockynook.com/kelbyafterhours

This year’s Worldwide Photo Walk 2020 is On! :)

In cast you missed the news — we announced my 13th Annual “Worldwide Photo Walk” on Friday. We had to kind of rethink how to pull off an in-person event like this during a pandemic, but with the help of our awesome community, we did it. It’s a bit different, but it’ll be awesome. I’ve embedded the video that explains everything below — please give it a watch because we’ve had to change a bunch of thing, but I think you’ll dig it. You can join a walk at worldwidephotowalk.com

That’s a lot for a Monday — hoping yours is a really good one!

-Scott

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