Posts By David Williams

I’m Dave Williams, and #TravelTuesday has come round again. Let’s get straight into it!

The most Instagrammable bird has been announced. It’s big news, I can assure you. There are some keen bird photographers among the KelbyOne community, so this may be no shock to some, but let’s flip things on their head and begin with the least Instagrammable bird. 

Vultures have scored high on the list of least Instagrammable birds. Maybe it’s their bald heads from the neck up, often covered in entrails, or maybe it’s the dreariness associated with their scavenger lifestyle, but the vulture doesn’t tend to feature alongside other beautiful wildlife.

Topping the list is the Frogmouth owl. This bird was once designated the world’s most unfortunate-looking bird, but it’s the bird you may recognise from social media posts showing it seamlessly blending into its forest surroundings. What may make it even more special in terms of an ornithology model is the fact that it’s quite rare, so each sighting and each awesome image attracts attention and likes, along with its huge, inviting eyes and unusual facial features adding to the attraction.

What is it that makes a good bird photo in general?

In general, it’s a tight crop, exposing the details, such as an attractive plumage or a detailed activity like fishing or building a nest. A long lens is a fairly important piece of gear to get close in on the small subjects. Composition, which we rely on so much in most fields of photography, takes a bit of a back seat in bird photography owing to their less-than predictable movements, so long as the surroundings have been considered. Above all, those wishing to get into bird photography should get out there and into position to get as much experience and practice as possible.

Much love

Dave

Hi all! #TravelTuesday is here again, and the return of travel is looking more and more promising with each passing day. I can’t wait to hit the road again and dedicate more time to travel photography, entailing more travel for myself, but for now, it’s all about planning and preparation (which is a very important aspect of travel photography). I’m Dave Williams, and this week for ScottKelby.com, I want to share some pro tips to up-and-coming photographers in all fields. Let’s do this!

Number one on the list – megapixels

The whole thing about megapixels is actually a bit of a non-issue. It’s something that has continued from the inception of digital photography where there was a megapixel race involving far fewer digits than we’re used to now. That megapixel race led the consumer to choose a camera based on the number of megapixels it shot as one of the primary criteria. We’re now seeing cameras on the market that feature a megapixel capability far in excess of what we need as consumers and only actually useful if we’re producing billboard-sized masterpieces, so please don’t base your decisions on megapixels when choosing a camera.

It’s actually about the glass

Now that megapixels are out of the way, let’s talk about what you should be investing in: – glass! Our hardware is something we tend to collect as photographers. We’re all fairly hooked on our kit list, our gear, whatever else you want to label it – we’re hooked on “stuff.” When we choose our primary setup, it’s far more important to consider glass than it is the camera itself. So long as we have a reasonable, functioning camera, we can turn out a decent photo with a careful investment in a good, fast lens. Our lens makes so much more of a difference than our camera does in terms of creativity, from the size and shape of the bokeh produced, through to the capacity to let more light in and knock a background out of focus to focus attention on the subject of our images. To this end, and to reiterate, it’s more about the glass than it is the camera.

Also, tripods

A good, solid tripod is worth an investment, too. Think about it: We balance all our expensive gear on top of a tripod. That tripod needs to be rated to carry that weight, robust enough to keep it there, and rated enough that nothing will go wrong. A good tripod or a Platypod is well worth the investment for the sake of keeping our camera and lens safe when we’re taking rock-steady shots.

And, straps

Straps are exactly the same, but different. Rather than balancing our gear on top, like a tripod, it hangs down from our strap, and as such, the strap needs to be up to the task. Using a low-quality strap is a risk that’s just not worth taking. When our gear is on that strap it needs to stay there, safe from falling off.

Essentially, when it comes to gear, it’s worth some research and some wise investment. It isn’t the gear that takes the photo, it’s the photographer. The gear is what makes it easier at times and, therefore, is worth that extra bit of consideration.

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! #TravelTuesday is here again and I, Dave Williams, have another little post for you all.

We photographers are in a strange, unique field. We obviously sell ourselves predominantly through our images, but there are lots of amateur photographers and that’s part of what makes our industry unique. There are few like it – for example it’s rare to find an amateur receptionist. I say rare. If you’ve ever heard of one, please tell me! And while there are other hobbies that tandem as occupations, such as floristry or mechanics, it’s still not quite the same as what we do.

We can step up our imagery by giving it a story or an explanation through blogging. Just as I’ve explained before that it’s important as part of our marketing to shoot and share behind the scenes images, it’s also very productive to share behind the scenes stories through blogging.

If we maintain a blog on our website it doesn’t just act as a story segment to our website. Search engines are trawling through websites constantly to see what additions there are, and if we post to our blog we’re demonstrating that we’re active and therefore boosting our score and giving ourselves a greater opportunity to appear high in the search results.

Every genre of photography is suited to blogging. Just take a look at these: –

Stephanie Richer – weddings and proposals

Brad Moore – music photographer

Gilmar Smith – portrait photographer

These blog posts all have something in common – they tell a story and they’re fun to read. If they’re too long, that isn’t ideal. If they’re too short, that’s not ideal either. It needs to be something that makes a point, that flows, that doesn’t take too long to read, and ideally has one theme throughout for a good story.

Almost every hosting platform, including WordPress, SquareSpace, has a bold hosting section that allows us to post regularly. Go find yours and start using it!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday is here again with me, Dave Williams, and today I want to talk about documenting our journeys.

I’ve talked a lot before about shooting behind the scenes so our friends and followers can gain an insight into what we do, how we do it, and a little extra on who we really are. More important perhaps than that is shooting behind the scenes for ourselves.

I’ve also often said that we need to take travel photos that are above and beyond a souvenir shot so we can stand out amongst a crowd and sell our images. Forget that for a moment…. only a moment, of course.

Filling our personal photo album with memories of our journeys is a huge part of life. When we go somewhere as photographers we can often become so focussed on shooting the location with our ‘big camera’ that we forget about our phone or our compact, or even our back-up camera. Don’t do that!

Souvenir shots of ourselves or out friends and family when we’re out shooting are invaluable. They serve as reminders of everything about that shoot, even evoking memories of the sounds and smells, and the temperature!

I’ll be totally honest and give this tidbit of info here and here only, and it’s a once only offer so don’t quote me saying this in any other context: –

It doesn’t even need to be a good photo!

Souvenir photos – which are important memories – are essential to bring our journeys back to life. Forget social media, I’m talking about shooting for yourself. Next time you’re out and about on a photographic mission, take some memory shots.

Much love
Dave

Dave Williams here for #TravelTuesday, as always, on ScottKelby.com. This week, I want to touch on the best camera out there – the one in your pocket.

Almost every one of us has a phone in our pocket. These phones are now capable of helping us to create awesome images, alongside the mobile editing apps available to us, such as Adobe Photoshop. The performance of mobile phone cameras has grown massively in recent years, affording us the ability to shoot in a way similar to when we’re shooting on our “proper camera”. Noise performance in low light, dynamic range, shutter speed, and other features have been added to camera phones, which give us so much more freedom to be truly creative with them.

When we’re out and about, not necessarily with our camera in tow, it’s more true now than ever that the best camera we have is the one in our pocket. This is so true, in fact, that Scott has released a book detailing all the reasons why and how to make the most of these amazing pieces of kit.

I’ve often found myself “caught short,” so to say, and have resorted to using my iPhone to take a photo. That said, I’ve also used my iPhone in place of my camera, or in addition to using my camera. Sometimes when working on a tripod, or when taking a long exposure and having the camera unavailable at any given moment, our phone takes its place and allows us to carry on shooting, particularly in moments where the opportunity may pass.

This is a selfie taken right after I delivered the last line to camera for my latest KelbyOne class. It’s an iPhone shot, edited in my phone using Adobe Photoshop and LD (Lens Distortions).

Here’s my 3LeggedThing in Reine, Norway. As is obvious, my camera is in the photo – I took this with my iPhone as a long exposure and edited it in the phone with Snapseed.

This iPhone shot, from the Italian Dolomites, demonstrates the dynamic range on offer to us, right in our pockets.

This iPhone shot from Iceland shows the artificial broken we can have on our images by utilising a phone camera with more than one lens, combining images right in the phone to separate a subject (me, of course) from the background.

And this is me, with walking legend, Mark Heaps, at Byron Burger in London…because that’s also what our phones are for!

I’ll reiterate something I’ve already said, but only because it makes so much sense: The camera on our phone is more powerful than ever, and the best camera we have is the one we have in our pocket.

Use your phone camera as often as you can. Get to grips with all it can do, so you can take advantage of it to create some great photos. You won’t regret it.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again and I, Dave Williams, am here as always with something from the world of travel photography. This week I want to take you all vicariously out of quarantine for your morning cup of coffee to one of my favourite places on earth. I’m actually still a little sore over the fact that I was meant to be in this place but the flight was cancelled (thanks ‘rona!), however it’s something I’ve enjoyed seeing via social media. Also, I’m not entirely sure of my punctuation combination in that previous sentence, but I’m giving myself a break and letting it slide! Who says you can’t use a comma after an exclamation mark?!

I’d like to begin by introducing two friends – Ása and Dagur. They’re both photographers and travel professionals based in Iceland.

Ása is happiest outdoors and grew up surrounded by rugged, extreme landscapes. She’s established herself with an outstanding Instagram presence and works with many Icelandic brands.

Dagur is a qualified fine art photographer. He specialises in tailored, private tours of the island showing off the dramatic landscapes and dancing northern lights.

So, every now and then we’re presented with a once in a lifetime opporunity. Right now in Iceland there really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and these two talented legends have both been fortunate enough to be in a position to take that opportunity.

On the Reykjanes peninsula, the south-west point of the fault line that runs all the way through Iceland. It’s the fault line that seperates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. If you’ve ever been here you’ll know it’s a spectuacular landscape formed by the twisting and splitting of land, filled back in with emerging lava from the earths core. One of the most famous spots to see an example of the two plates is the Bridge Between Continents. Iceland is home to very many volcanoes and, very cleverly, utilises the energy from them to generate power and heat their hot water – geothermally.

We all know of the infamous eruption of Eyjafallajokull in 2010, throwing airspace around the world into chaos because of the ash cloud that came alongside it. But did you know there’s an eruption occuring right now? Right on the Reykjanes peninsula, following weeks of tremours and earthquakes, the magma finally reached the surface just outside the town of Grindavik. It’s all fairly safe, as far as volcanic eruptions can be, and locals have been visiting and exploring the area.

Here’s one of Dagur’s images showing visitors to the site, which I imagine would be starkly different if we weren’t in a global pandemic. Even so , there’s a fair amount of people who have hiked out to see it with their own eyes (and lenses).

Ása has explored by helicopter and drone, as well as on foot. Here’s one of her images from the site of the eruption.

The point fo the post today is to impress upon you all the fact that once in a lifetime opportunities are just that – they’re once in a lifetime. There are very few people who have the opportunity to witness magma oozing from the earth like this. Whenever we’re presented with such a chance, we should take it.

Along with the amazing sights presented with this spectacle, which we can all use our skills to capture in photographs, come other things. In this case the smells of the sulphur and the mesmerising flow of lava must be incredible to experience first hand, and this kind of experience is translatable to many others which we can seize on our journeys as photographers. I implore you to take a moment to look at Ása and Dagurs work, and I will leave you with this line: –

Once in a lifetime as often as you can.

Much love

Dave

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