I’m Dave Williams and this is #TravelTuesday on ScottKelby.com—the moment you’ve, undoubtedly, been waiting for all week, right? Well, I’m afraid today is going to be a bit disappointing. Today is going to be very, very boring…
Today, I want you to take on a photo challenge. Today, I want you to take something very boring and make it look very interesting. It’s as simple and as complicated as that!
Photography is something all of us here have in common. Photography is the thing that brings us all together, removing our differences. I’d love to see how we can all come together to share inspiration and learn from each other in taking a boring, mundane, everyday, commonplace object or scene, and put our artistic spin on it to make it something interesting.
If you’re up for the challenge, I would love to see what you shoot. So, if you post it on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag #BoringScott so the entire community can see it.
Taking on photo challenges or projects is a fantastic way to learn, develop, and stay energised as a photographer. This particular challenge has its own set of hurdles in that we often look to capture something beautiful and show it in its best light. What’s happening here is that we may have to create that “best light” in order to show off the boring subject. I realise also that each of us will have a different perception of what is boring. What’s boring for some may not be so boring for others, and it will be interesting to see these differences.
If you’re looking for a new challenge, a new project, or something to reignite your passion during the pandemic, this challenge is perfect. You didn’t get that camera to let it collect dust. You got it to learn what it does, how it does it, and make awesome art. Only boring people get bored, as they say. Play with perspective, pick out details, look for patterns, seek symmetry, or just find the boredom around you and find out what’s defining it. I wish you luck!
It’s time to face it — the new full-frame camera bodies from Nikon, Sony, and Canon aren’t really that much smaller (if at all), and if they are lighter, we’re talking a few ounces (not pounds). This isn’t awesome because one huge reason so many people were attracted to mirrorless in the first place was the dream of a super high-quality camera without the bulk and weight of a DSLR. That dream is fading away as many of the new bodies being released are relatively close in size and weight to their DSLR counterparts.
Essentially, what we have now (in our mirrorless evolution), is this:
A DSLR-like body that’s nearly as heavy, but they’ve replaced the mirror with an Electronic Viewfinder (which brings some advantages and disadvantages as well).
While a few native mirrorless lenses are a bit lighter in weight, some are actually larger and heavier. Some of the sharpest, faster ones are definitely sharp as heck, and heavy as heck, too (in some cases, stunningly so), and quite expensive, to boot.
As for bodies: for example let’s look at the Nikon DLSR D750 versus Nikon’s new Mirrorless Z6 body. The Z6’s body is 4+ ounces lighter, but if you want to use one of your existing Nikkor lenses on it, once you put the adapter on…it actually weighs an ounce more than the D750 DSLR with the same lens. Same with my Canon R6 mirrorless vs. my old Canon 5D Mark IV. It’s about 4 oz. lighter (negligible), until you put on the adapter so I can use my existing Canon lenses, then it weighs about the same if not an ounce more.
The more I compare new mirrorless bodies and lenses, the less the difference it seems there really is today (especially for Sony users who are just using the same lenses they always have, but now on mirrorless). And yes, I know, if you do some digging, you can certainly find a particular mirrorless full-frame body and lens combination that might weigh less overall, but that’s not where the manufacturers seem to be heading. Even with Canon — for example, their R-mount mirrorless 70-200mm seems a lot smaller at first glance, and it is — when you’re at 70mm, but once you zoom it in to 200mm, the lens then extends out from the barrel, so now it’s nearly as long as the DSLR mount version. It does weigh a bit less, but it costs about $700 more than their 70-200 with a DSLR mount.
If you actually want a legit super lightweight mirrorless body and lens, you almost have to leave Sony, Canon and Nikon full frame and go with a crop sensor or Micro 4/3, like a Fuji or a Lumix with a fixed pancake lens (nothing wrong with Fuji’s, Lumix or Olympus cameras btw, all three make great mirrorless cameras), but if your goal is a lightweight carry-around camera that takes great photos, why not just use your iPhone’s camera instead?
I recently read an article where the author essentially said (I’m paraphrasing here), “If you’re carrying around a low-end DSLR, you’re fooling yourself. Quality and size-wise, you might as well be just using your iPhone,” (and I tend to agree, and when the iPhone gets a real telephoto lens, which I feel will be very soon, it’s game over for those low-end bodies).
This “mirrorless is now back to being heavy and bulky” wave seems like just kinda where we are headed now. I’m cool with it, as we can have the best of both worlds — for me, it’s my iPhone for when I don’t want to lug a heavy camera rig around, and my new Canon EOS R6 for when I think it’s worth hauling the gear (and for me, there are many times when it’s definitely worth it).
There are some really nice things about mirrorless, but the dream of full- frame, super small, super lightweight, super high-quality bodies doesn’t seem to be the direction the big camera companies are moving. Anyway, something to consider if you’re thinking of upgrading.
Have a great week, everybody! :)
P.S. How about Tom Brady and those Buccaneers going all the way and winning the Super Bowl. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. LOL!! Congrats Bucs — you guys worked hard, really came together as a team, and won it all!!! #GoBucs (BTW: This is an incredible football year for me, as our college team is none other thanthe National Champions — The Alabama Crimson Tide. #RollTide!).
This is a question my buddy Terry asked me this week:
“If COVID were completely behind us, and it was 100% safe to travel to anywhere, where is the first place you’d choose to go shooting travel photography?“
It didn’t take me long to come up with an answer. Hands down, it would be Italy. Why Italy? It’s one place that pretty much has it all (as you’ll see in a moment), and because of the country’s small physical size (it’s actually smaller in size than the state of California), and its excellent train system and roadways, you can get to pretty much all of quick and easy, covering a lot of ground in a short time, without rushing around.
Italy has everything from snow-capped mountains, to gorgeous sprawling summer lakes, to hilltop villages, to ancient cities, to seaside hideaways, to big metropolitan cities, to floating cities, and landscape photo opportunities as far as the eye can see.
Here are my top picks for travel photography cities and regions in Italy:
Venice. One of the most unique cities on earth. No roads, no cars, no bikes — just canals and bridges, and wonderful architecture. It’s as close to a magical place as you can get.
Rome. Ahhhhhh, Roma. It’s got everything from ancient architecture to stunning cathedrals, from where Chariots raced to small winding alleys with quaint cafes and coffee shops. The Vatican is here, too, and a treasure to photograph inside and out. There are so many things to shoot in Rome — it, by itself, is a photographer’s paradise.
Tuscany. The hills of Tuscany — the light at dawn and dusk — the quaint villages and roads to wander for miles (er, kilometers), you could spend a month there and not see it all.
Cinque Terre. It’s a collection of five little coastal villages on the Italian Riviera that are so picturesque it looks like Disney made them. Incredible vistas, beautiful color, and charming as all get out.
The Dolomites.It’s a mountain range in Northern Italy that has become very popular with landscape and travel photographers. It’s incredible. Like a bit slice of the Swiss Alps right there in Italy.
Portofino. I’ve been there twice, and while very tiny and compact, there is still much more to be uncovered. One of the most beautiful harbor views you’ll ever see.
Sienna. It’s a hilltop village deep in the heart of Tuscany, and while it takes a few stairs to get up there, once there, you’ll be rewarded with many photographic opportunities. How cool is it that people live there and wake up each day surrounded by this magical place?
Luca.It’s another amazing town in Tuscany, with a unique circular town square that’s…well…it’s not square, and surrounded by charming buildings.
Florence. With its famous bridge extending over the river, and the amazing Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral dome rising over the city (not to mention the statue of David), so many people fall deeply in love with Florence and return to it again and again.
The Amalfi Coast.Another area with the most charming seaside villages, incredible views, places you’d want to move there to live, and so many wonderful shooting opportunities around every corner.
Pisa. Yup, the place with the Leaning Tower, and it’s cooler to see (and shoot) in person than you’d think, and the drive there (from wherever you are in Italy), is just beautiful.
Lake Garda. Another Northern Italy locale that is so charming and interesting and just fun. You’ll find a ton to shoot along the road that rings the lakes, winding through cute little storybook villages. You’ll dig it.
You’re crazy close to the South of France.When you’re in Portofino and Cinque Terra, you’re literally just three hours by car from a whole ‘nuther world — the South of France (Cannes, Nice, Marseilles, Saint-Tropez, and Monte Carlo is right there, too), and it’s so different than Italy but completely charming and awesome. You’re also pretty close to the rolling Lavender fields of Valensole — just a short drive and so worth it at the right time of year. Heck, it’s worth it in the off season.
Plus, have I mentioned Naples, or Genoa, or the super vibrant colors of Burano (seen above – just outside Venice) or Capri, or Ravello, or San Gimignano? I could go on and on because there are so many incredible places everywhere you roam in this amazing country. There’s still so many places in Italy I haven’t been, and I want to capture a piece of them all. :)
The Italian people are warm and wonderful
It’s one of the things that just takes any trip to Italy over the top. The language is among the easiest to learn (well, for Americans anyway), but almost all the folks you’ll deal with in your travels speak some (or a lot) of English anyway, so you don’t have to worry too much about the language barrier. In face, I’d say it’s not a barrier at all.
Did I mention the food?
I don’t have to tell you how incredible Italian food is, but the Italian food you get in Italy and that crazy next level stuff you only get there. My single favorite restaurant in the world is in Rome, it’s Mimi e Coco. Just indescribable and every bit as charming as a 20-seat restaurant tucked away down an alley in Rome can be. The food is worth the trip…but take your camera just in case. ;-)
I hope this inspires you to add Italy to your travel photography wish list — there’s just no place like it, and you’ll come back with pictures and memories that will stay with you forever.
P.S.If you’ve got a sec, I shared some of my favorite images from my last workshop in Rome, along with the stories and behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s the link.
It’s that time again! Join Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna for the latest episode of The Grid, in which they do their signature blind photo critiques. If you’d like to submit photos for a future critique episode, keep an eye out on Scott’s Facebook page for the link to submit.
New KelbyOne Course: Backyard Bird Photography and Beyond with Rick Sammon
Back in November 2019, I had the opportunity to photograph Dude Perfect at their headquarters in Frisco, Texas for their merch website. If you’re not familiar with Dude Perfect, they’re a group of five guys who do crazy sports videos that get hundreds of millions of views.
My goal was to photograph them on a white background with the typical edge lighting used in a lot of athletic portraiture, but also light from the front well so the merchandise was accurately portrayed. This meant a six light setup:
Two Profoto B1Xs with umbrellas to light the background
Two Profoto B1Xs with strip banks for the edge lighting
One Profoto B1X with a beauty dish for the face and upper body
One Profoto B1X with a 5′ octabank further back, but powered up, for a more even frontal fill
My trusty assistant, Graham Dodd, stood in for some tests while we got everything dialed in.
I worked tethered into Lightroom (with my trusty TetherTools cable) with a live gallery updating to the merch company back in Tampa, so they could share feedback with me during the production. I did not do final edits on anything, so I just dialed in exposures and made basic develop module adjustments that applied as photos downloaded to Lightroom.
Here are some of the resulting images:
Here’s how some of the final images look on the website, once the retoucher and designer worked on them:
And some production photos, courtesy of Graham Dodd:
I hope that’s an insightful look into a commercial photo production!
And, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some images of my newest favorite subject… My daughter, Eliza! I may be biased, but I think she’s pretty cute ;-)
Following on from the Aurora tip in the video above, here are some hot snow photo tips:
Firstly, White Balance. Our camera measures the white balance by finding 18% gray in the scene, or determining what 18% gray should look like, and it measures from that point to determine what it thinks white should look like. From there it works out all the other colours and tones. There’s some serious math going on in this process and it’s all happening at lightning speed. Sometimes our camera gets it wrong, and sometimes what’s right in reality just doesn’t look right. It’s for this reason that we should shoot raw – it affords us full creative control over our white balance in post, regardless of the white balance we shot at.
When we shoot a scene blanketed in snow or encased in ice our camera can be fooled when trying to find the 18% gray it’s looking for. This often throws the white balance off, usually resulting in photos that turn out too blue. Shooting in raw and shifting the colour slider in Adobe Lightroom of Camera Raw to the right a little will help us bring things back to a truer representation of what we really saw.
The second tip is for the camera and relates to Exposure. Looking again at a scene covered in snow can fool another piece of sensing in our camera – the Exposure Meter. When we point our camera towards the subject or scene it is reading the amount of light, displaying what it determines to be the correct exposure through our viewfinder or on our screen. The large amount of snow reflecting light in our photo often causes the meter to think the scene is too bright, showing an incorrect reading and causing us to underexpose our photo. To combat this, it’s often a smart move to overexposed by 1/2 a stop to one stop when shooting a scene full of snow.
Short, sweet, and to the point, that’s my input for the week. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out my class. Have a great Tuesday!