Monthly Archives March 2019

Hey hey, happy #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams and this week I’m in Norway, where it’s currently -9c in Skibotndalen where I’m writing from the side of the road right on the Finnish border waiting for a recovery truck. Yes, a recovery truck! I’ve just seen the most amazing aurora and I got a little too excited in my rental car, and now I’m stuck in the snow….

Anyway! This week I want to tell you about the camera settings I use for the Northern Lights. It’s not dissimilar to shooting waterfalls actually in its concept – if you want the aurora to be sharp with its detail and motion preserved you need to shoot fast, at around 5 seconds max.

Focussing manually is important. If you forget to switch over to manual focus two things happen: – firstly your camera will be trying to focus in darkness and will automatically land on some random focus point which will probably not have the aurora in focus. Secondly you may miss the focus by rolling out to infinity. When you put your lens to infinity it’s often actually a bit too far. The aurora is around 100 miles up, but even so the way our lenses are made means we’re pushing the glass a touch too far at optical infinity. Hitting infinity and then making a tiny adjustment back the other way is, in my opinion, the best spot to focus for the Northern Lights. 

If you do choose to have the camera focus for you, find a bright star or something else with brightness and contrast to help your autofocus work its magic.

So, what about different strengths of aurora? Well if the aurora is weak I shoot for up to 30s and ISO between 2500 – 4000. If it’s strong I’ll shoot between 2s and 15s and ISO 500 – 3200. In both cases the aperture will be large at f.2.8 to allow the maximum amount of light to hit my sensor.

I hope that has been helpful and entertaining! Now I’m going to wait for the recovery truck to come and get me out of here so I can head to Senja and find my hotel.

Much love


Today’s the day! We’re wrapping up the first quarter of 2019 and we’re heading into this next quarter knowing that we started it right by backing up our Lightroom Classic catalog today (and we’ll all be sleeping better tonight night for it).

While the process of backing up your catalog is easy, first you might want to know why you need to backup your Lightroom catalog and then how to do it, step-by-step. So, first read this (from my other blog,

After reading that, you might ask, “Where should that backup be stored?”So, read this:

OK, that’s the plan — stop what you’re doing; backup that Lightroom Classic catalog, and start this week off like a boss!!

Have a great backed-up feelin’ Monday! :)


P.S. If you’re thinking of joining us in Orlando for the Photoshop World Conference (May 31-June 2), our host hotel (The Hyatt Regency) is filling up fast, so get your rooms right now (last year, we sold out the entire hotel, and folks had to stay off-site. Stay where we’re all staying, in the middle of it all right there at the Hyatt). Here’s the link with our room discount for attendees.

…it went way, way off the tracks. I think in a good way — but anytime you do an interview, and you actually talk about things like religion, well…you know it’s not your average interview. I really enjoyed going what host Andy McSweeney called “going off the grid” (I see what ya did there), and anyway, it’s an audio podcast with a part 1 and 2 (links below), and you’ve got a few minutes, you can let it run in the background while you’re doing your post-processing.

Here’s the link to Part 1

Here’s the link to Part 2

Thanks to Andy for asking me questions, and going places, I usually don’t get to go in interviews. What great fun. I think. ;-)

From”Make a Print Monday”

You might remember last month when I launched “Make a Print Monday” where we all stop what we’re doing and make a print (or send a print off to the lab, for the sheer joy and importance of printing. Well, I shared the shot you see above of my print from “Make a Print Monday” on my social media channels, but I realized I never shared it here, so….well, here ya go. :)

I say, next month, let’s do it again! :)

Only Two Spots Left…

If you want to come with me to Paris this summer, there are only two spots left. It’s going to be an amazing travel photography workshop — lots of learning, laughing, amazing French food, and making new friends in the most photogenic city in the world. Grab one of those spots right now (here’s the link with details), and I’ll see you in Paris for an unforgettable experience.

Here’s wishing you a weekend filled with lots of great images, and fun. :)


P.S.A big thanks to everybody who joined our KelbyOne Pro plan during our big sale last week. It was a record-breaker for us, and we’re excited to have so many new members. You guys rock! 

Simple Light Portraits at Night with Sam Haddix

Learn how to make simple night portraits with Sam Haddix! Join Sam and a group of his friends as they walk around Ybor City at night looking for locations to create interesting portraits. Sam takes you through his gear, camera settings, and lighting setups at each location. With the right mindset you can create amazing photos with a minimal amount of gear and a short amount of time. After the shoot, Sam returns to the studio where he demonstrates his process for making selects, and then works through his typical Lightroom to Photoshop workflow for finishing his portrait edits.

In Case You Missed It

Join Lindsay Adler in studio for a class all about the extremes of lighting! From low key to high key setups, Lindsay starts you at the beginning where your shoot’s purpose determines the type of lighting you will use and all the choices you make from that point onward. In the first half of the class Lindsay focuses on low key setups, with a look at the characteristics of low key photographs, to the modifiers you can use, to examples of her favorite setups. In the second half of the class Lindsay builds on what you’ve learned about low key lighting to morph into a variety of high key setups. All throughout the class Lindsay shares her perspectives on why and when she uses a particular set up, the gear she uses, the positions of the lights, and so much more. Get ready to have a whole new repertoire of lighting setups to add to your studio offerings. This class is perfect for an intermediate or experienced photographer looking to experiment with extreme light.

It’s a great honor for me to be invited here as a guest blogger. In my early years learning photography, well over ten years ago, the first photography books I purchased were from Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography series.  

My love for landscape photography began while I was living on the Southern Oregon Coast for many years. It’s there that I developed my skills as a landscape photographer, on the local beaches and throughout the forests in the Pacific Northwest. Spending time in nature has always been a part of my life since my early childhood years. For these reasons I’m passionate about photographing nature.  

During the last four years I’ve been traveling full-time in an RV with my husband. My goal has been to photograph places I’ve never been before in the western states. I’ve spent a lot of time photographing deserts and mountains, but my heart always comes back to the Pacific Northwest where my favorite landscape scenes are. 

To get this shot of Elowah Falls in Oregon, I needed to wade into the stream and get up on a boulder to get this composition.

Spring is right around the corner, so I thought I would write about one of my favorite things in nature to photograph, waterfalls. In this post, I’ll share with you some tips on photographing flowing water during the springtime. The water run off can be pretty intense in the spring so hopefully these ideas will help you get the best images while out in the field. 

Don’t Let Bad Weather Stop You

Being from the Pacific Northwest, I’m not afraid of the rain. I love going out to photograph waterfalls on a cloudy, drizzly day. For me, I feel these are the best conditions for photographing flowing water. The foliage around waterfalls most likely will be moist and lush looking. The moss and forest floor will pop with color.  

Springtime can also bring foggy conditions. When mixed with a little bit of light, this can create some magical moments.

Misty Metlako – Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Be prepared for any kind of conditions by wearing layers, preferably non-cotton. This will work best in moist and still cool conditions. The proper footwear is important too. Bring boots, waders, or neoprene socks for under your boots for getting into the water. When it’s safe to do so, you’ll get much more interesting photos if you are willing to get into the water. 

A sturdy tripod is important for getting the sharpest images and slowing down the shutter speed to get some nice long exposure images. 

Bring along plenty of lens cloths to wipe away the spray from your lens. Invest in a good camera sleeve to protect your gear from water damage.  

Getting down low to capture Lower Kentucky Falls in the Oregon Coast Range.

Photographing Waterfalls In Iconic Places

Springtime in State or National Parks can be a busy time with lots of tourists. It can make it hard to get the shot you want without people. Sometimes because of my travel schedule, I can’t avoid the crowds because I might have limited time to visit the area. I have found it best to avoid the weekends and definitely holidays. Be patient and allow people their opportunity to take their picture. I try not to take too much time photographing when there are people waiting to get their shot in the same position. 

Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite using a telephoto lens during mid day.

Get Creative With Composition 

When I’m out photographing waterfalls, I will usually start with taking both horizontal and vertical shots with my wide-angle lens. Once I am satisfied that I have the images I want, I enjoy wandering around to scout for other possible compositions. Take your time. To me, the exploration is the most enjoyable part of landscape photography. Just being outside and experiencing the sights and sounds of nature has such a calming effect on me. 

Change out that wide-angle lens with a telephoto to capture intimate or abstract scenes. Experiment with black and white. The creative possibilities are endless. 

For this intimate scene I zoomed in to capture a portion of a waterfall.

Bring Your Filters

Filters are a must for me. I bring my circular polarizing filter and a neutral density filter. The circular polarizing filter will help reduce the glare in the water and on the rocks. Along with your camera settings, the neutral density filter will help to slow down the shutter speed so you can get that beautiful silky look to the flowing water if that is your style and preference. 

Experiment with the look you like when using your filters. I often just use the circular polarizing filter for reducing glare and bringing out the colors more. I may even stack both the circular and neutral density filters depending on the situation. My goal in some cases may be just to freeze the motion of the water to show the power of nature. In that case, I might remove the filters.  

Close up of ripples in the creek below the waterfall.

Enjoy The Adventure

I hope you get a chance to get out this spring and photograph waterfalls. As mentioned, the most enjoyable part of photographing flowing water is getting out in nature. Hiking trails to get to the waterfall and the exploration makes the whole experience even better. Be safe out there and have fun!  

Lower Kentucky Falls in the Oregon Coast Range.

You can see more of Patricia’s work at, and keep up with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Hello, hello, and happy #TravelTuesday to you all, as always! I’m Dave Williams and this post is a quick roundup of what’s been going on over here in the UK at The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

First of all, I’m here with Platypod, whilst they get a foothold in the UK and Europe, and it’s been a great show. Having a Platypod stand here at The Photography Show for the first time has opened up the UK’s eyes to what the USA already sees as a fantastic piece of kit. So, I’m proud to be involved in it all as an ambassador for this awesome company, along with Cathy Baitson, who has worked hard on the stand showing the capabilities of this great product.

A big shout-out to my brother from another mother, Team Epic member Peter Treadway who, along with Dave Clayton, is playing a key role in running the live stages here at the show. Speakers who were up included KelbyOne instructors Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Glyn Dewis, Lindsay Adler, and making an impact on the UK was Gilmar Smith, who nailed her live stage appearances with a live shoot and retouching session.

Gilmar did an amazing job capturing the minds of the audience, with even the standing room at the back crammed with people. She asked me before the show whether I’d mind jumping up on stage with her to be the model for a live shoot. But, little did I know, I’d be dressing up as a clown and stretching my face through a dynamic range of expressions in order to catch just the right moment. I can honestly say I can’t wait to see what it is she’ll do to that shoot to get the final image!

Elsewhere around the show, it has been great to see some great brands and great people represented. Whilst Gilmar is over here in the UK, she is also running a workshop at Amersham Studios, and at the time of writing this, there are only tw spots left open if you want in! Getting her over here from sunny Orlando was 3 Legged Thing, and I was lucky enough to have caught this moment of Gilmar with 3 Legged Thing’s Danny Lenihan. I don’t shoot photo reportage, but if I did!

What’s always great to see is the brands such as 3 Legged Thing and, as seen here, Rocky Nook who, much like Platypod and KelbyOne, have a genuine passion for the art of photography and the photographers behind lens. I chanced upon a moment of calm over at the Rocky Nook stand, whilst Lindsay Adler was there doing signings and proudly grabbed some pin badges of the cover art of Dave Clayton’s and Glyn Dewis‘ newest books to plug onto my show lanyard.

The show is getting bigger and better every year, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. With the addition of The Video Show this year, and another bar set, I’m sure 2020 will be another great year. But, for now, with one more day ahead, it’s time to get a coffee and get back to work!

And, with that, thanks to Peter Treadway and Brigitte Gathercole-Day for some of these photos of the show, and right here next week, I’ll be back with more education and wisdom from the world of photography and Photoshop!

From here in Birmingham,

Much love