Posts By David Williams

#TravelTuesday sure does come round quick! That means I, Dave Williams, am here to impart a little nugget for you right here on ScottKelby.com and today I want to touch on something worth considering – Which camera settings really matter?

When we first get a new camera, be it as a newbie or a pro, there are settings abound which we try to work out from the get go and often we can be overwhelmed with what’s really worth giving most of our attention to. It’s worth learning how to properly set up your camera, both in the first instance and when setting up individual shots. That way you’ll be more likely to get the shots you want.

One of the best ways to learn about how camera settings affect your photo is to switch into any other mode than Auto. In Auto mode your camera is making all the decisions for you, which means you aren’t likely to be learning anything. What we need to understand at this level is how Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Learn how to quickly change these settings as well as how they relate and intertwine with each other both technically and creatively, and you’re off to a great start.

There are some great resources out there to learn about ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture, including from KelbyOne, but as well as that it’s important to understand and learn how to quickly control Metering and Exposure. Experiment with these as well by trying the focussing modes and metering modes, learning what works best in a variety of situations so that when you’re in a situation of elevated intensity it can become second nature to change to the right settings.

Having a good understanding of what results come from changing various settings, and being able to change those settings without looking really are two very important things in photography, particularly in fields which are fast-paced such as wedding or pet photography. If you don’t have these two things nailed, make it your priority!

I’m here for any questions as always, and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram if you want to get in touch.

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday and ScottKelby.com combine means one thing – I’m here! I’m Dave Williams and each week I step in to give Scott a little break and offer you something from the world off Photoshop, Photography, Travel or Life. Today it’s about life, and I want to share three little quirky incidents from the past couple of weeks while I was in Utah, Arizona and Nevada following an epic Photoshop World Conference.

Story #1 – the Area 51 thing

Milky Way over Zion national park

So, towards the end of the trip I was in Hurricane, UT, not far from Zion National Park, and throughout the entire trip I was with Siân Elizabeth. We were in the car at about 11:30pm and driving west towards our classy hotel, the Days Inn, and something strange happened. Straight in front of us, high up in the sky, a bright, white light moved from way high on the left, straight down to the Earth on the bottom right. We both saw it and a moment of silence in the car was broken by us both saying, “did you see that?!”

The strange light in the sky was too slow and long for a shooting star, too fast for a plane, and too coincidentally directly above Area 51 (some 150 miles straight in front of us) to be anything other than Paul. That’s right, I made a movie reference to an alien – because it must have been, right?

If you’ve seen the incredible work of Erik Kuna you’ll know that space is humungous and personally I don’t think there’s any where we’re alone here. This was cool, but it put me on edge a little, wondering if it had seen me see it, and I watched my back for a few days!

Story #2 – for the gram

So, back-track a few days and we were in Monument Valley. The place is phenomenal – a truly exquisite work of art by Mother Nature. I’d seen Monument Valley by night but now, having spent a couple of days exploring, I can honestly say it is a magical place that captivated my pants off. One evening whilst on the Monument Valley Loop Drive shooting the area at sunset and into twilight and beyond we came across a pull-out with a rather large rock in the middle of it, roughly the size of an ambulance and perhaps a little bit taller.

As we approached the rock there was a car parked tight up against it and a little flashing light from a cell phone atop it. Wondering whether I was about to be lured into a trap (then remembering where I was, so likely not) I tentatively pulled up close by and rolled down the window and shouted out to see if all was ok. Turns out all was not ok and a young girl was stranded on top of the rock with her mother in the car beside it and they’d been there a good few hours because the girl wanted to get up on top to shoot a little video ‘for the gram.’ The video, I’m sure, went really well and she probably got lots of likes, but she was now stuck!

Being the gentleman that I am I was now in a position where I had to rescue the poor girl. I had her sit down and shimmy down the side of the rock until her feet landed on my shoulders before dramatically swooping her to the safety of terra firma, then exchanged a quick few pleasantries before getting back on with shooting the dramatic landscape, not quite sure what had just happened. All in a days work for a travel photographer, right?

Story #3 – the growler

This one shook me, I’ll be honest.

Siân and I were shooting the Red Reef Trail of Red Cliffs Recreation Area in Utah, also known as Cottonwood Canyon, when we came up against a little hurdle. It was all going really well – I’d found a cool cave to shoot out of for great framing, but unfortunately it was so hot that the river had dried up and there were just a few puddles left where the waterfalls had previously cascaded. The tier system of the canyon was cool to shoot anyway so we trekked further and further up the gorge. We reached a section which had a rope attached to the canyon walls so that people could climb up to the next stage and I went up there, with Siân instead electing to stay down at the previous stage and shoot the little frogs around the water.

I was up safely and walking along the canyon about 1/4 mile from where I’d left Siân and reached a fork. The left section stretched off into the distance, and the right section quickly turned a corner and out of sight. At the fork there was a cool depression in the ground containing the driftwood that had been carried down the now dry river, so I got myself all set-up to shoot it as the foreground of what would’ve undoubtedly turned into an awesome composition. I’ll never know what that photo turned out to look like however, as when I was bent over getting my camera ready I heard a few thuds on the slope up the canyon walls immediately to my left where the canyon was shallower and covered in boulders and bushes.

The thuds, perhaps 3 or 4 of them, immediately grabbed my attention in the silence of the canyon and I stood and turned to face the direction they’d come from. I saw nothing among the terrain but a few seconds later were two more thuds, one accompanied by what I can only describe as a grunt, as if something had accidentally engaged it’s vocal chords and exhaled upon landing.

The entire time we were on the road trip there was talk of what we may see in the wilderness, from snakes and scorpions to bears and cougars. The cougar, or mountain lion, is what I saw in my mind when I heard the grunt, and I kept my eyes focussed on the slope of the canyon wall while gathering my things and walking slowly but purposefully back the way I had come from. Concerned about being followed, and more concerned about alarming Siân, I got back to her and told her it was time to leave. I obviously wasn’t very discrete while I was walking behind her and kept checking my back because she soon figured out that something was up, but we got out of there pretty sharpish!

My three little stories of strange happenings whilst in the States are all part of the experience (and fortunately I wasn’t cat meat, nor did I get probed) and part of the reason why I love travel. From travel I get so many awesome experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

Some people say that I’m lucky, but in response to that I think that luck is a what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I prepare and I search for opportunities, and I strongly urge you all to do likewise because when that luck strikes it’s a fulfilling, inspiring experience that often results.

Much love

Dave

Hello internet! It’s time again for #TravelTuesday with Dave here at ScottKelby.com and so here I am, Dave Williams, with some photographic wisdom for you, free of charge!

This past week I’ve been all over Nevada, Utah and Arizona, and I’ve explored a few slot canyons. I had such a great time in Antelope Canyon a couple of years ago that I decided to go exploring and find some more slot canyons further off the beaten path. There’s an art to shooting in slot canyons, and I want to tell you what I’ve learned about shooting them so you can have a head-start if you get to explore any yourself. Let’s do it!

First up, if you’re in a sandy slot canyon with deep orange walls, just like Antelope Canyon, you can give the colour some serious punch by setting your white balance to ‘Cloudy.’ What this does is enhance the oranges and bring out the purple tones. The colour you get in some of the slot canyons is incredible and this little tweak will really help to bring them out. 

Next up, shoot bracketed. What this means is shooting several exposures at different levels (either with different shutter speeds or different apertures depending on your camera or preference) because there can be some serious contrast on the slot canyons. They tend to occur in places where the sun shines nice and bright, and their high walls trap the shadows. If we shoot bracketed exposures we can merge a HDR shot in post to give the entire range. Don’t forget, your eye can see 13 stops of light at one time whereas your camera only sees one. Shooting bracketed is done by turning on bracketing or auto-exposure bracketing in your camera – check the manual to see how to do this. In post, using either Lightroom or Camera Raw, select the series of exposures (all you really need according to Adobe is two) and right click, then choose ‘Merge To HDR.’

And then, because we want to align our bracketed exposures as best as we can and allow for longer exposures in places, we need stability. I use my Platypod to keep my camera steady, resting it on the floor or holding it firmly on the canyon walls. Taking my Platypod rather than a tripod allows me more freedom of movement in the often cramped canyons, and in fact if you take a regular tour of Antelope Canyon you aren’t allowed to take a tripod. 

The best time to explore a slot canyon, according to many, is midday. The sun overhead offers light on the canyon walls and straight down onto the floor. Having the stability of a tripod or Platypod means that we can take advantage of the midday light, grab a handful of sand and toss it up through a beam of light, and catch a long exposure just like Peter Lik did in his famously record breaking photo, Phantom, or mine right here!

I hope that was useful, and I’ll catch you next week! For now I’m at the tail end of my USA adventure. You can check it out here. 

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, and every week I’m here with something for you from the category lineup of photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. This week: – life. Mine, to be more specific.

First on the agenda, Photoshop World. It was awesome! I had my first PSW class, my “Ten Tips to Help You Create Captivating Travel Images,” and I loved it! I had a great time up on the stage in front of the attendees and it looks as though I had around 200 people in there with me. So, to those who came and to everyone who has followed along on my travels, thank you! Here’s a little look, courtesy of Brad Moore and Mark Heaps.

And, another big thanks to Rachel and the KelbyOne crew for being so ace, and for delivering me a donut onstage!

Now, since Photoshop World it seems life has resumed, which for me means travelling! I’m writing this post from the porch of the Thunderbird Lodge in Chinle, AZ, having woken up in Page and taken a look over the amazing vista at Horseshoe Bend before rolling through the landscape to Monument Valley where I’m currently shooting with Siân Elizabeth on some projects both together and independently. So far so good on that one, but I want to tell you about the little adventure that just finished.

Mark Heaps and I fulfilled a promise. Two years ago we decided we would go on a motorcycle adventure and we have now done that, albeit quite a short and sweet one (but, hopefully, the first of many.)

We collected our Triumph Tigers from Las Vegas Triumph immediately after Photoshop World ended, and we rode straight out into the blazing Nevada and Arizona deserts with one goal in our sights: – Route 66.

For three days we took in the sights on this amazing stretch of the mother road around the Seligman area, and if you didn’t know already, Seligman is perhaps better known as Radiator Springs from the Disney movie Cars. We tested our riding skills with twists and turns, ups and downs, strong side winds and dusty gravel roads, and it was amazing! I’ve been on some cool rides before but this was the most diverse, entertaining, and in some places, challenging motorcycle road trip I’ve had. Mark and I had the opportunity to share our experiences of photography training and of life in general. I already mentioned that we had planned to ride together for a couple of years, but here’s the point: –

One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood. It refreshes the soul. Having the opportunity to share stories and experiences, and then subsequently share and adventure, came off the back of having met online through shared interest and realising we ticked the same tock, and we developed that and took it up a notch. The KelbyOne Community and Photoshop World are a fantastic way not only to learn but to share and to network. Mark and I maximised on it, and I strongly urge you to do the same so that you can click with like-minded people who speak your language, metaphorically and literally, and take on the world together.

Never let your friends get lonely. Keep disturbing them!

Much love

Dave

Photoshop World Vegas starts tomorrow and I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it! It’s me, Dave Williams, here for #TravelTuesday with Dave at ScottKelby.com and this week I’m writing from high above the Atlantic Ocean on my way from London to Vegas (baby) where PSW is about to kick off!

Photoshop World is a gathering of photographers, designers, and all manner of creatives involved in digital imagery from around our beautiful planet, coming together under one roof to share, learn and connect. There are classes, live shoots, events, workshops, and late night sessions designed to educate and inspire, and it’s a great setting to network with other like-minded, awesome individuals, and to grow through investing in the creativity we love.

Kirk marsh, matt divine, mark Rodriguez, brad Moore, Gilmar smith, Scott Kelby, Dave Williams, jr Maddox, Larry Becker, Doug young, Kaylee Greer, dalton Hamm, group shot selfie at photoshop world conference east Orlando

Sponsored by Adobe and hosted by KelbyOne, the conference is an amazing 3 days and well worth attending. I’ve been there for a few years now and learned so much from the instructors, and this time I’m excited to say that I’m one of the instructors too. I’ll be teaching my Top Ten Tips to Help You Create Captivating Travel Images on Thursday afternoon, and I’d love to see you there. You can still get day tickets or full conference passes at PhotoshopWorld.com

Photoshop World is a great place to learn, and learning is important in photography. It boosts our confidence, enlightens us to things we didn’t know (or couldn’t quite put our finger on,) and in turn that gives us happiness and satisfaction. There are various ways to learn, we all know this, but one particular method of learning that comes off the back of Photoshop World is copying. We all look up to people and we mimic those people, looking to them for guidance and taking note of their actions. It’s a good way to learn, we all do it, and it’s particular prevalent at Photoshop World and in the KelbyOne community. The thing about Photoshop World that takes it up a notch is being able to speak to the photographers we admire – asking questions, offering opinions, debating, and then taking new, fresh knowledge and ideas away and taking ownership of the new work we do, applying all that we have learned and working hard at new outcomes.

Photoshop World is great for all methods of learning – you can sit back and listen, you can get involved and jump in, participate in activities, and even go to Midnight Madness and get involved in the quiz and the games (and eat the donuts!)

I personally can’t wait to get there and I’ll be sad to leave, and if you aren’t going you certainly should be. I’ll be hanging out in the lounge area and it would be great to meet you!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday with Dave has come round again, and this week I want to jump into learning photography. I’ve been asked time and again about when I got into photography and where I learned, most recently on the Drobo blog.

I’ve told the story of my first camera many times over: – my parents got me a Nikon F40 for my birthday when I was a teenager. That’s the very short version of the story! If I were starting now, I reckon it’d be a lot quicker to make progress versus back then when I was shooting on film rather than with a screen on the back of the camera. In fact, I recently took hold of a film SLR and it was very strange that there wasn’t a screen back there!

The way I learned to shoot initially was simply by picking up the camera and shooting anything and everything—flowers, my pet dog, landscapes, people, literally anything that happened to get in my way! It was so frustrating, though, because I wasn’t immediately seeing results. Oftentimes, I couldn’t quite remember what I had done when I’d gotten things right and wrong. It was all about making mistakes, then subsequently remembering what the mistakes were!

Me shooting Blesbok in South Africa

When I moved to South Africa I had another camera, as well as my Nikon F40—I had a little digital point-and-shoot. I was learning from both together, taking the “pure photography” skills from what I was doing with the SLR and taking note of composition and colour and various other things from the digital camera, and kind of mangling and intertwining the two to form a bigger picture in my head of what was happening in photography.

It was a few years after my return to the UK that I started to take it much more seriously, investing in a digital SLR and really taking note of what an aperture really was, how shutter speed affects things, and getting my head around ISO. I discovered that I really did love photography as much as I’d thought and I stepped it up a gear again, scouring the internet for all the information that was available and investing in all manner of books for my shelf.

The truth is, moving on from then to now, that I’m still learning and I’m positive that if you ask Scott whether he’s still learning, he’ll give you that same positive answer. And, Scott is someone who I’ve learned so much from with KelbyOne and his amazing books and from shooting together.

Me with Mimo Meidany, Roberto Pisconti, Juan Alfonso, and Scott Kelby, shooting together and learning from each other

The community of photographers incorporates all of us at every skill level, and it’s a great community. It’s one which we should treasure and respect because of its value to us all because, ultimately, wherever and however you learn about photography, you’re learning from a photographer.

Speaking of learning, Photoshop World West is right around the corner, and if you’re there I’d love to meet you!

Much love

Dave

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