Posts By David Williams

#TravelTuesday with Dave sure comes around quick, doesn’t it! I’m back!

From time to time we may need to remind ourselves about why we work so hard at photography and don’t seem to get anywhere, be it for any number of reasons ranging from being stuck in a rut or for trying to achieve something time after time that fails. Like me, trying to get a shot of a lighthouse in front of a huge chalk cliff and failing several times in my efforts before finally getting the shot!

It took me three attempts to get that shot, and I even got capsized in my kayak in the process. But anyway, the point is this: –

  1. Make your big goals more manageable by breaking them into smaller tasks. 
  2. Remind yourself why you’re doing it.
  3. Remember the good feelings.
  4. Use your strengths.
  5. Decide to take action.

That’s it, that’s the list!

Okay, I’ll explain. If we have a big goal, it’s harder to achieve it. If we have a setback, it’s likely to put us off altogether if our goal is big. Whereas, if we break up our big goal into smaller, more manageable tasks we’re far more likely to succeed because those small tasks are accomplishments that together lead to achieving our big goal. If we fail at one of the small tasks, we’re far more likely to keep trying to overcome the problem because of number three—the good feelings.

The good feelings we get when we achieve something stick with us, but in moments where we feel that perhaps we aren’t hitting our targets or realising our goals, taking a moment to remind ourselves of the good feelings will help to spur us on even further. Taking that feeling and reminding ourselves why we’re doing something is valuable. That reminder as to why can often be enough to pick us up when we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, and perhaps it’s that one occasion when we remind ourselves that we suddenly make progress where we weren’t before.

Pushing to number four (because this is obviously in order from the above list), we need to use our strengths, and in order for that to happen effectively, we need to recognise them—and our weaknesses! Knowing comprehensibly what our strengths are will help us to achieve goals, but knowing what our weaknesses are will help as well.

And, finally, take action! There are a lot of people out there doing nothing much aside from telling other people how they should be doing things. Don’t be that person—the person who says it can’t be done is usually interrupted by the person doing it.

So, if you have a shot in mind that’s particularly challenging, don’t give up on it! Persist, come up with a game plan, and keep trying. Pick yourself up when you fail, dust yourself off, and get it done.

The thing that motivated me to write this is the shot above. I was researching shots of Beachy Head Light in the UK and noticed they’re all very much alike. I wanted to be different. I knew the topography of the area was such that the enormous white, chalk cliff was essentially a hill, tapering off on either side of the lighthouse, and I wanted to feature that in my shot. I tried three times to get the shot, capsizing in a kayak and sliding all the way down the hill on my behind, but I didn’t let these things put me off and I got my shot.

Don’t give up. If something fails, try something else. And, then something else. Remind yourself why you did it, identify which of your strengths will help you, break down the task, remember the good feelings, and take action.

Much love

Dave

P.S. My Sunrise Challenge has just one week left – get your entries in for a chance to win big!

#TravelTuesday with Dave has come around again, you lucky, lucky people!

I’ve just returned home from a trip to Valensole in Provence, France, where I’ve been shooting lavender, sunflowers, mountains, and all manner of French fancies. I hope you were following along on my usual Instagram Story but if you weren’t, here’s a little glimpse at what I was doing: –

I have a tiny, itsy-bitsy secret…. The lavender season was pretty much over and there were just a few fields of lavender left un-harvested! What this means for you isn’t much, but what it means for me is a fair amount of Photoshop action.

In other news, my Sunrise Challenge starts today! I’ve teamed up with KelbyOne, Drobo, Platypod, Litra, and BlackRapid, and they’ve very kindly donated some amazing prizes which are up for grabs to you lucky people! In fact, the total prize haul is worth in excess of $1,000!!!!

For your chance to win check out the full details right here, but basically I want you to set your alarm clock bright and early and go shoot a sunrise. Here’s why: –

Sunrise and sunset are the best times of day to go and make photos. There’s a golden hour while the sun’s up, and a blue hour while the sun’s below the horizon. Take a look around and notice how many of the awesome landscape photos you see in everyday life are taken at sunrise and sunset. The thing is though, sunrise totally beats sunset! Sunrise is a magical time of day where the world around you is just waking up. The summer sky is generally filled with haze, however at sunrise this haze tends to be absent. Sunset has colour scattered across the sky, whereas sunrise tends to focus the colour around the sun itself.

At sunset our eyes are tired from the brightness of the day, but at sunrise we are adapted to the dark and notice the colours and brightness so much more vividly. With these factoids in mind, there’s one further thing that steps sunrise up a gear over sunset – the change in view! Sunset shots are far more common than sunrise, so if we shoot sunrise we’re able to get a more unique perspective by changing our focus in the opposite direction to the more commonly seen angles of famous subjects.

On the whole we, as a species, don’t like to be up early enough to shoot sunrise. Not regularly, anyway! While it’s more ‘normal’ for us to sleep in a little and spend our energy shooting throughout the day and into sunset, the rewards of shooting a sunrise range from being set up to an awesome day ahead, through to potentially capturing the best photos we’ve ever gotten. Oh, and if you’re not so much of a people-person, their absence in at sunrise will be great for you!

Moving away from the photography, and with absolutely nothing to back this up, I swear that breathing the morning air is good for your health! Just as an added extra!

Moving back to Provence, if you ever get the opportunity to visit, take that opportunity! The vibe across most of rural France is pretty good. There’s a rustic charm and a generally laid back mood, but the past few days I’ve been exploring whilst making the launch image for the Sunrise Challenge have genuinely been amazing. I found myself racing across the countryside trying to capture as many views as possible at golden hour. To my surprise, having been immersed in views of the famous lavender fields of Valensole for the past month or so, there were barely any photographers taking advantage of the beautiful light. All day whilst driving around there were hordes of people shooting in the harsh, direct sunlight, but at dawn and dusk I found myself completely alone as if the whole plateau had been abandoned. During the days there were tourists walking the fields, but there were also couples and small groups with changes of clothing doing their ‘Instagram shoots’ in totally the wrong light. I felt like telling them to relax and come back later, but there were just too many people!

As for Valensole, there’ll be more on the story over on my blog in the next few days, but for now I urge you to get out and shoot that sunrise!

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every week at ScottKelby.com, at your service!

Today I’m very tired! I’ve just returned from a tip to Norway where I travelled some 1,600 miles in just a few days, exploring the landscape and shooting some awesome sights. I was taking over the KelbyOne Instagram account while I was there and showing the lovely KelbyOne community what I was up to every step of the way. It’s from this that I’m taking inspiration for today’s post.

There’s an American photographer born 1898 in Germany, shooting and documenting World War II before becoming a staff photographer for Life Magazine. The reason I’m telling you this is because he once came out with a cracker of a line: –

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”

So, when I was in Norway one of the locations on my bucket list was Kannasteinen, sometimes referred to by us English speakers as the mushroom rock, which appears to be a precariously balanced boulder atop a thin shaft on the coastline of Maløy. I had driven a very, very long way to get to this spot and get this shot: –

But it’s more about the experience I had whilst I was there that I laid down that quote. I wasn’t the only photographer at this incredibly remote location. I bumped into Espen who, like me, had just bought a Nikon Z6, and we got chatting (with his perfect English rather than my terrible Norwegian) and in the Instagram takeover I included a short video of the two of us chatting, explain the importance of making friends and the power of local knowledge in your research of photographing locations.

As well as discussing our cameras we swapped lenses to get more variety of shots, we talked about techniques and traded secrets, and we discussed other locations to shoot. Espen is from the Lofoten Islands way up in the north, which is an absolutely beautiful part of Norway, and he’d dragged his caravan all the way down some 400 miles to this rock. If there are any geologists reading this, by the way, I have some questions for you!

Well here’s the point: – When you’re researching and planning, it continues well into the trip until the point you actually leave. Plans need to be dynamic enough to adapt to the unexpected, but also they can be flexible enough that when you meet a local person (or any person for that matter) you can make a new friend and learn from one another, like Espen and I did while we waited for sunset at Kannesteinen.

There are ways to learn from one another in the KelbyOne community, both from the instructors and from other members, and plenty more ways to network and share our skills and experiences as well. To learn more about this, check out my new class on KelbyOne.com – How to Prepare For Your Travel Photography Adventure.

This week I’m off to France, so next week I’ll have more stories to share with you, and as always you can follow along on my social media.

Much love

Dave

Hello one and all! It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, here at ScottKelby.com where Scott gets the day off and I jump in to lay down something from the world of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life! Today, it’s all about photography with a little bit of travel – I want to show you something awesome I found recently in Montenegro.

Arizona has Horseshoe Bend at the edge of the Grand Canyon, but it turns out Montenegro has its own, green version. Pavlova Strana is a viewpoint way above the horseshoe bend of the Rijeka Crnojevica River, meandering through to Lake Skadar. Last week, I had a little road trip shooting around Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro and this viewpoint was one of my stops.

Now, there’s a whole load of people out there telling us that we should be shooting at sunrise and sunset, but if we do it right, we can get some great images in the bright, midday sun as well. Don’t believe me? Well, one method we can employ is the sunny 16 rule. What this means, in short, is that we should set up a balanced exposure with an aperture of f/16 and we will have a well-exposed image.

With our aperture set at f/16, we simply need a shutter speed that is the inverse of the ISO. If we are at ISO 100, we need a shutter speed of 1/100th. If we’re at ISO 200, we need to shoot a shutter speed of 1/200th. It’s as simple as that!

The thing is, as with all the rules, the rules are there as a guideline. If we break away from golden hour, be it because we simply cannot be at a certain location then or for any other reason, we can switch to the sunny 16 rule to effectively capture good images in bright sunshine. The sunny 16 rule tricks your camera, which is in fact falling for a trick in the first place. Here’s the secret: your camera is being tricked into metering reflected light which, in bright sunlight, causes it to read the scene incorrectly because of harsh highlights and shadows. This means it reads the scene as being brighter or darker than it actually is. We’re bypassing that system with the sunny 16 rule, balancing the scene much better than relying on metering at smaller apertures in such lighting conditions.

If we learn to use the sunny 16 rule, creating balanced images in bright, midday sunlight can be so much easier. I’m glad to have helped!

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here today (and every Tuesday) with some photography wisdom for you. This week, I’m in Croatia! I arrived a couple of days ago and, so far, I’ve also hopped some borders and checked out Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. If you were wondering—they’re beautiful!

I caught sunrise in Mostar, Bosnia, and framed up a lovely series of shots down the Neretva River of the town’s famous bridge. Now, I arrived before sunrise and caught the sun coming up over the bridge, then I drove half an hour down the road to Blagaj Tekija, a monastery on a beautiful pool next to a cliff edge, built by Dervish monks in the 16th Century. The reason I’m telling you this is to point out something that photographers don’t necessarily always consider when shooting sunrise and sunset situations, and that thing is this: –

The sunrise and sunset times will vary if you’re in mountains! Yes, simple, right? My pro tip for you if you don’t know the actual sunset time is to hold your clenched fist out, thumb up, to the horizon. Because of the beautiful piece of nature that is the golden equation, the God number, the divine proportion, whatever else you want to call it, the sun will sink approximately the distance your fist occupies every hour. Therefore if the sun is one fist’s height above the mountain next to you, you have about an hour until sunset!

(That’s a top-secret pro tip, don’t tell anyone!)

So, although it may seem simple, it may not actually be considered. Mountains and other such high terrain affect the sunrise and sunset, which is something I took full advantage of in Bosnia and Herzegovina by having two sunrises!

If you were wondering, sunrise totally beats sunset! That time of day is calm, relaxed, the rest of the world hasn’t woken up yet, there’s no traffic to get where you’re going, when you get there you can always find a place to park, and the light is amazing. It’s just all-around better!

Much love

Dave

Seriously, photography is good for you! But first of all, let me introduce myself—I’m Dave Williams and every Tuesday here at ScottKelby.com is #TravelTuesday with me instead of Scott (let’s be honest, he deserves a break on Tuesdays), and today, I want to tell you why I feel photography is so good for you!

First of all, photography is documenting life. Whether it’s your child growing up, your first dates, or simply selfies, photography is the ultimate tool when it comes to documenting things that may otherwise fade into history, preserving these precious moments and locking them in time. This is just one benefit; there are plenty more!

Photography relieves stress. When we turn our attention to photography we can make problems disappear. Focussing our thoughts on whatever’s happening through the viewfinder literally tunnels our mind and vision, removing (even momentarily) all the other distractions and focussing us on the light, the composition, and the moment. The moment could be a mountain, a waterfall, flowers, your pet dog—whatever’s happening down that narrow viewfinder can magically block everything else out.

Through focussing our attention, photography makes it possible to see things we may otherwise have missed. Furthermore, it makes beautiful sights last longer. I love to shoot sunrises, but they undoubtedly feel as if they’re over just when they’ve begun. Photography immortalises every single sunrise we capture, showing off the interaction of the cool and warm tones of the days beginning, and they allow us to look at the specific elements of a scene after we’ve taken in the overall view.

In terms of our growth and development, photography skills develop over time and this improvement boosts our self-esteem. Our skills getting better, our photos receiving feedback online from friends and family, it gives us pride and that’s good for us. The creativity involved receives this positive and constructive feedback, and this gives us new ideas in other walks of life.  

Photography is good for us, as well as our profession, so it’s only going to be a good thing to explore other areas of photography and to use photography as a tool to alleviate stress and explore our creativity. Trust me.

Much love

Dave

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