Posts By David Williams

I’ve seen that phrase all over the place, but what does it really mean?

I’m Dave Williams and it’s #TravelTuesday, which means here on ScottKelby.com I’m back with you to lay down a post which, today, is all about memories.

What I mean by memories is, of course, photographs! So, the title: – “collect moments, not things.” I’m sure we’ve all seen this a million times plastered on social media as some kind of wisdom-nugget, imploring us to make memories rather than collect souvenirs. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the other popular saying, “leave nothing but footprints” in that we’re not creating waste, but that’s off the point.

The importance of these memories doesn’t land just with us because those memories or moments we collect in our photography can be handed down or passed around for others to remember and enjoy. Put it this way: – When our grandparents were married they had an album made of their wedding photographs, and probably have an invitation in there as well. That album is the thing that gets pulled out of the attic and dusted off every now and then for the family to look at because those photographs are the things that evoke the memories of those present, and instigate the emotional response of those not present at the time the images were made.

This is important because in this digital age we still need to be making memories, collecting moments, and having something tangible to hand down and pass around, especially with the gift we have as photographers and creatives of being able to make something extra-special. At the risk of getting a little too deep here, collecting moments rather than things is certainly something that gives value to our lives and experiences. Making sure we soak it all up and make the most of it is so, so important, but having the skill and ability to capture and share those moments, immortalising them and sharing them, is basically a superpower!

Sticking with the “digital age” remark, taking it back an era and transforming our memory into something tangible makes the best of both situations. The power of print is phenomenal, it really is, and it’s worth creating the things that are going to be pulled from the attic and dusted off in generations to come when everything around us is different and new, bringing back the nostalgia and all the memories that go with it.

Print, people! Print! Just a little thought provocation and a gentle reminder for your Tuesday. ;)

Much love
Dave

For #TravelTuesday this week I, Dave Williams, want to give you a quick twilight tip. It’s only for those of you with patience, mind!

I just visited Zermatt, Switzerland, which is made entirely of chocolate! Okay, maybe it’s not made of chocolate, but it’s on that same league of fantasy. The town itself is a beautiful, Alpine skiing paradise, and it’s car-free which makes it all the more exciting. Everywhere you go requires walking unless you want to take an electric taxi (think more golf buggy) or ride a bike. It meant I had to walk up the slopes to the edge of the village to get this selfie: –

And it’s this selfie which inspired me to get this shot: –

But here’s the thing—and if you were watching my Instagram story you’ll know already—this isn’t one shot.

The key to this scene is that the upper half was taken during golden hour, and the lower half was taken during blue hour. It’s a simple process but it involves patience! I found my spot, got my composition sorted, and from that point on I couldn’t move my camera one bit.

I found a fence post, which was sturdy and out of the way, so if any tourists appeared (which they did) I wouldn’t have to move out of their way. I needed my frames to line up exactly and if there was the slightest deviation it would ruin the entire process. I stuck my Platypod Max on the post, securely holding my Nikon D810 and Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8.

The process from here on is simple. First, I took a shot for the sky, using a 10-stop filter to smooth out the clouds (though they were barely moving), and when I had the shot I wanted I simply had to twiddle my thumbs for a little while and wait for the darkness to fall and the lights of the village to come on, then get my second shot without the filter. The removal of the filter was a little tense; I was so scared of moving the camera! But when it was done I was left with these two images: –

All that was left to do was open them in Adobe Photoshop, place one image on top of the other on separate layers, and then use a layer mask to select the components I wanted from each image. Following this, I used the adjustment brush to paint some highlights onto the Matterhorn and the Toblerone mountain in the background, and then straightened everything up using the church spire as my guide for this.

Simple! Taking separate shots at twilight to combine golden hour and blue hour works wonders on an urban scene, and I strongly recommend working on your patience and trying it yourself.

Much love
Dave

#TravelTuesday is going to be bigger and better in 2020—mark my words! And here I am, Dave Williams, on ScottKelby.com as always, with something from the world of travel, photography, Photoshop, and life. Today, it’s all about travel photography with minimal gear, as the title suggests, so let’s get to it!

We photographers are a special kind of people. We have something that a lot of people don’t have. Let me explain: Most people are either technically minded or artistically minded, but rarely are they both at the same time. Photographers are, generally, both. We are the combination of creativity and science—the left and the right brain together.

We create art with science, and we tend to be proud of a collection of the gear we use to do that, but it’s not always necessary. I used to travel the world with everything I owned just in case I needed it, but then I realised that it’s far better to save the weight and take only what I need based on some proper planning. Here’s a shot of the gear I took with me to Paris last year: –

Yes, that’s it. I shot the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier, the Saint Chapelle, and plenty more architecture up and down the Seine at all times of day and night. One camera, my Nikon D810, along with a Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8, a Nikkor 14–24mm f/2.8, and a Platypod Ultra with a 3 Legged Thing Airhed, and then a BlackRapid Sport. The thing is, you see, this trip to Paris is a perfect example of how you don’t necessarily need to carry around a whole cache of gear in order to effectively shoot a location—you just need to be smart and considerate about what gear you actually need in order to get the job done.

Another thing we photographers can feel the effects of is gear envy. Developing the skills to showcase to the world that you don’t need all the various bits and pieces the person next to you has, but can still attain an amazing shot is a skill, which in itself, creates envy and one which develops technical discipline in our workflow. When we are able to work effectively with minimal gear we are not only saving ourselves from future back problems, but also beginning on a road where we’ll end up giving careful consideration to any purchases likely to end up in our camera bag.

Rather than needlessly buying gear, employing a practice of minimalism will allow us to focus our energy and attention on practice and training, so we can enhance our skills in the raw skill of photography rather than leaning on gear to get the job done. In addition, it helps us to decide on our shot faster, making us more productive photographers.

With a new year, “new you” mentality, take the time to assess your pile of gear and decide what the core setup is so you can get on the road to minimalism, higher productivity, and skill development.

Much love
Dave

Happy New Year’s Eve! And, of course, happy #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams and, on ScottKelby.com this week, I just want to explore a couple of ideas for photographic New Year’s resolutions, so let’s do it!

Firstly, what is a resolution? Apparently, it’s a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life. We can improve our photography and tick this box!

Here’s the easy one: – learn more! We all learn differently and there’s a way for each of us to learn more photography in 2020. Take a look at KelbyOne and consider signing up for any of the awesome membership plans to learn from the best instructors in the industry—it’s a guaranteed win! Or how about finding a book that suits your field and interests.

Maybe your photographic New Year’s resolution could be to spend less time on social media or to spend more time on social media. Maybe you will decide that you will not hesitate in taking the photos you want to, or that you won’t leave home without your camera. Maybe, and this is a big one, you’ll stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to a past version of yourself!

There are apps and project ideas out there that maybe you can use to help you achieve a goal, such as the 1SE (1 Second Everyday) app or a 365 project (or a 52 project if you’re feeling a little less ambitious.)

Furthermore, in the interest of enhancing our photographic eye, how about a resolution that incorporates a smartphone? We all have an amazing camera in our pockets nowadays, so we don’t necessarily need to focus on a project which requires our “proper” camera, but could instead use our smartphone camera.

Whatever it is you decide to do for your New Year’s resolution, do it with all your heart and inject it full of passion. Us artists have plenty of that, so let’s use it! If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with all that you have.

Now, it’s nearly tomorrow, so get to thinking about what your photographic New Year’s resolution is, then head over to my Instagram and tell me what it is in the story!

Much love
Dave

Happy Christmas Eve #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here with another sparkly nugget of wisdom for you, as always, fresh from England but inspired by the North Pole!

Today, rather festively, I want to discuss something we can do as photographers to spread love and cheer. This Christmas I’ve given the gift of photography in two ways. To loved ones I’ve given prints of mine, and to friends and family with children I’ve given a letter from Santa along with two photos from him, one of Rudolph and the lads, and one of his house high up on the hillside in Lapland.

As it’s Christmas Eve, let me share the story here with you, too. In deepest Lapland, high up on a fell amongst the reindeer and the snow, is a little, wooden cabin. They say Santa lives at the North Pole, but that’s just to cover up the truth so he can have a peaceful year in Lapland getting ready for the big night. High up on that hillside in the deepest snow is the cabin Nicholas grew up in, and Nicholas became Father Christmas, spreading cheer and delivering toys to all the boys and girls around the world as thanks for his upbringing. To find his cabin there are no signposts, all you have to do is believe. Well, kind of… there’s also a ski lift at the Levi ski resort in Finland which will take you there, and then when you ski down slope 13 you’ll see the cabin just off-piste to the right. The cabin was actually built as part of a movie set for the Finnish Christmas movie Joulutarina (which translates into English as Christmas Story.)

Anyway, back to the point. Us photographers can share our creative talents by gifting our photography, not only in the way that I have here and in gifts to our friends and family, but also to help us advance in our industry by showcasing our work to prospective clients. There’s something very different about a printed photograph in comparison to one on a screen, and that extra element of tangibility alone is one of the awesome powers that print has to help us. Having a photograph printed on a wall or in our hands to hold and to feel, and to look at with awe, is that extra step which we’re losing in our digital age.

Gift your photography. Trust me, it works.

Much love

Dave

(PS. Here’s the shot of Rudolph… Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!)

It’s #TravelTuesday with Dave (that’s me) right here on ScottKelby.com, and today is all about why we should have a crack at compositing!

I’m going to refer to the work of a good friend in this post, as well as touch on the reasons why compositing can enhance our work. What I’m going to refer to can be found here on Layers Magazine. It’s by JR Maddox, and it won him a Guru Award at Photoshop World in 2013, so it’s serious business!

Compositing, first of all, is what we’re doing when we combine elements from two or more images together in Adobe Photoshop to create something a little different. It could be something taken to a radical extreme, or it could be something as simple as switching out a sky or just adding the moon, for example. When we create composite images we use layers, layer masks, blend modes, and a whole host of other features. Take a look at this example: –

A photo merge of husband Bill and wife Mandy to create this beautiful creature “Billandy.”

Here we see a composite image of two people, both shot in the same place with the same light, blended together to form a human-hybrid. JR explained that one of his sources of inspiration for this project was Mr. Potato Head. With this project, JR used the Lasso tool to select the components of the face and body that he needed, then blended those images together. He made the point that he had no firm plan, just a loose idea, and at many points throughout the process, he had no idea what would stay and what would go or what would be used from each of the two images. When it came to blending the elements together he used tools such as the Warp tool in Free Transform and ensured the colours were correct using the Curves Adjustment Brush.

Here’s one of the images he began with: –

A photo merge of husband Bill and wife Mandy to create this beautiful creature “Billandy.”

This kind of project can translate across the board in photography and applies to every genre, and it’s amazing what you can create if you put your mind to it. Whether it’s as part of a personal project or something bigger, it’s well worth broadening your skill and knowledge base in getting a grip on compositing. This example from JR is a great demonstration of what’s possible.

There are tons of resources out there that’ll help you learn how to get a grip on compositing, including KelbyOne and Photoshop User Magazine.

For those in the photography community who aren’t aware, we sadly lost JR this past week, and he is sorely missed. As he was a friend of mine, I didn’t receive the news well and one of the first things I did was call my mum. She said this: – “Life is short. If you want to do something, and you can afford to do it without hurting anybody, do it. You don’t know how long you have to get it done. And when it comes to the people you have in your life, remember this: We love our family; they’re given to us and they’re so special and important, but our friends are the ones we’ve made a decision to have in our life and they’re just as special and important. Give love, treat people well, be the best person you can be, and whatever it is you want to do according to the above—do it.”

If you have five bucks to spare to help JR’s family, that’d be awesome. Let’s show what our little community can do. You can leave a little gift right here.

Much love 

Dave

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