Posts By David Williams

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! I write to you today from the top of the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I’m waiting patiently for the gale force wind and sideways torrential rain to stop so I can walk a trail and fire off a few shots as part of my Due North series. It’s testing my patience, if I’m being honest. Hopefully in the morning (Tuesday) I’ll have a. gap in the weather that I can make the most of.

Today I want to touch on the subject of Instagrammable locations, and by that I mean locations made famous by hitting the Explore section of Instagram so often. In particular, I’ll be talking about the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Made famous following Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, when Harry and Ron are flying in the blue Ford Anglia when the Hogwarts Express arrives behind them, this location attracts droves of tourists wanting to see the train come around the tracks.

This location, like so many, is feeling the effects of being made somehow famous. From the photo you may think it’s a rather solitary location, and you’d likely think the same if you saw a BTS image I took on my phone: –

When I show a pano from the location you’ll see that the truth of the matter is quite different.

(Apologies for blotching out the tripod – it is a pre-produciton model and it’s still super secret)

You’ll see that there’s actually quite a horde of spectators waiting for the Jacobite Steam Train to pass by, and I’ve had to crop the edges to ensure the faces of the people behind me can’t be seen. There’s probably 60 people, and this is a weekday during school time.

Instagram and other such influences have made otherwise out-of-the-way, tranquil locations become very popular. It’s a catch-22 for us, however. We want to be the only people to know about such a place, but we wouldn’t necessarily know about it if it hadn’t been made ‘instagram famous’. My personal thoughts are that we should embrace it, enjoy it, share the space, and shoot the best and most unique image we can.

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday again and I, Dave Williams, am here! You didn’t think I’d skip the world’s favourite photography blog just because I’m full-time on the road now, did you? On that note, I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone that tuned in to the premiere episode of Due North on YouTube on Sunday. I promise my videos will improve – I’ve just picked up Premiere Pro and the Adobe magicians have pointed me in the right direction.

I am now officially heading north and my first proper night was spent at the Scottish border. I woke up to a beautiful purple and pink sky, and all the vibes I needed to put my mind in the right place were there. Exploring and simultaneously sharing is what I absolutely love to do. Everything else that comes with it could be considered a by-product. After I captured a few shots of my sleeping spot, I headed towards Kielder Forest because there’s one shot I wanted to get. It’s that shot that I’m here to tell you all about.

In Kielder Forest, there are several art installations. This particular one is called the Nick Shelter, at Blakehope Nick on Forest Drive in Kielder Forest, UK. The reason I wanted to shoot it is all down to having seen a friend’s shot taken there.

Rita the Ranger

I wanted the shot. It hit the list the moment I saw it and I wanted it. In photography, we’re concerned about copyright and other infringements, but we learn a lot by copying. It’s all summed up quite nicely in Glyn Dewis’ book, Shoot Like a Thief, which is a great resource for learning methods, along with the rest of his books.

I knew I’d learn something and I knew it would be worth my while in going and shooting this location with Kofifernweh in the centre of the frame, so I banked the image my friend took and didn’t look at it again. I headed out to Kielder Forest and found the sculpture, lined the van up, and took my shot. Here’s what I ended up with: –

It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. I love the concentric pattern of the pentagonal slats that form this sculpture, and the handy little parking spot across the road at the end is almost asking to be used for photos.

So there it is. My advice to you all this week is to find a photo you love and copy it! Add your own style, your own ideas, your own signature moves, but take inspiration from the work of others and use it to better yourself.

Thank you Duncan for allowing me to show your image of Rita the Ranger!

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here once more with something from the world of travel photography. This week is all about gear but first of all, I hope you all enjoyed last nights Facebook outage! I had a wonderful time on Twitter.

Let’s talk tech. I want to preface this blog by highlighting this Facebook post: –

I’ve anonymised it and I haven’t included the image, which was a lovely shot of a USAF F-15 from RAF Lakenheath. But here’s my problem. Imagine the post looked like this instead: –

Dave: That’s a lovely stir fry! What wok do you use?

Scott: Many thank. It’s an older Calphalon Signature 12-inch.

You see my point without me having to elaborate, right? What is it about us as photographers that makes us so obsessed with gear, and when does it actually matter?

I’m trying to learn 360 photography at the moment and for that, it matters. I could use any camera and shoot in every direction from one fixed point, then load the images into Adobe Photoshop and stitch them into a sphere. Or I could use a 360 camera and just get it done in one go. That’s an example of when gear matters. It isn’t the end of the world – I could’ve worked without it – but it helped me a lot having a 360 camera.

An emerging wedding photographer looking to really blow their bokeh might be looking to get a lens with a wider aperture. It’ll cost more than other lenses, it’s a good addition to the kit bag, but ultimately that photographer could continue using a low aperture lens that they already own.

I guess it’s all about what we want versus what we need. What is going to make our life easier? What is going to make our job easier?

But let’s get back on track. The photo was taken by the camera; I’ll take the opportunity to point that out right now before anyone raises any technicalities. But who actually took the photo? Who observed the scene, gauged the light, noted the size, speed, shape of the approaching subject, ensured the correct lens was attached, dialled in the settings, panned with the motion, processed the image and uploaded it to Facebook? It wasn’t the Fuji X-Pro 2, it was ‘M’.

When adding gear to your arsenal, take a moment to consider what value it actually brings. If it makes your life easier, adds value, or it makes you look cool, go for it. But remember, the gear isn’t making the photos, you are.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am back again. You lucky thing! Today I’m hiding because the fuel situation that hit the USA a short time ago has now hit us in the UK, but seemingly under a different guise. Rather than having an actual fuel shortage, we have plenty of fuel reserves, but the media are encouraging a fuel shortage by saying there is one when, in fact, there isn’t. Get it? It sucks. Rather than constantly joining lines for fuel reaching half a mile from the gas station, I decided I’ll just park up and wait.

Well, that was boring! So, what am I here for today? What have I got for you? If you own an iPhone, I have a nugget of wisdom for you. If you don’t have an iPhone, I still have a nugget of wisdom for you!

When we look at our Photos app on our iPhone, we see a grid of square images, which really isn’t helpful a lot of the time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be familiar with the gamble of whether a photo was taken in portrait or landscape orientation. We can, however, show the actual orientation of the photos and remove the square grid, just like this:

I don’t like the square view and it helps, for so many reasons, to see the actual orientation of the images in my camera roll. To turn this on, simply tap the three dots in the top right and select ‘Aspect Ratio Grid’.

It’s as simple as that!

Here’s the thing though – you may be wondering why I don’t like seeing the square grid and why I can’t remember which orientation I took a photo in, and it’s because…

I have gotten into the habit of taking most photos in both portrait and landscape orientation. I recommend this to you, too. When we shoot tall and wide, we have all bases covered for our image uses. We may print, which we’d likely want to do with the side shot. We may want to post to social, which we’d likely want to do with the tall image to maximise onscreen real-estate. We may also change our mind after the fact and prefer the opposite orientation to that which we preferred when we took the shot. There are so many reasons to shoot both tall and wide, and if we can easily differentiate between them in our camera roll, we save ourselves the time and hassle of choosing the wrong one.

And with that, I’m going to continue hiding… until next week!

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always with a little something from the world of travel, photography, and Photoshop.

Over here in the UK, things are turning more and more “normal” as we move out of the age of the ‘rona. Here, I am with International wedding photographer extraordinaire, Peter Treadway, and KelbyOne instructor Dave Clayton.

The show was missing a few players, particularly noteworthy being the American contingent, but most major brands were represented. Front and centre at the entrance was Nikon, with the UK and Nordic branch showing off the latest tech and the Nikon School demonstrating techniques, and as you walk through the aisles there’s a clear emphasis on space and hygiene throughout.

The queues at the Canon stand were ever-present, with a couple of demo models of the new EOS R3 available to try out. I had to do it, despite shooting Nikon, and I have to say I was very impressed with what I saw. The 30fps continuous and eye control for focus point selection are the key features, and very impressive they both are.

The Photography Show and The Video Show are placing a clear emphasis on education, with a lot of live stages available both paid and free, which is great because although the exhibitors are there to sell gear there’s a much larger audience out there wanting to learn how to best use that gear to make their investment worthwhile. I was fortunate enough to be speaking twice in the Masterclass Theatre, then on the Editing and Post Production Stage, and I loved how receptive the audience was and how, again, everything felt like it was going back to normal.

The return of live events is great to see, and here’s to many more!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday has come around again and I, Dave Williams, am here as always! My departure date is getting closer and closer and I’m busy preparing and testing for my mission in Kofifernweh. I’ve been making minor adjustments and I’m happy to report that the turbocharger is now fully operational again. But that’s not what I’m here for – I’m here to talk pixels. More specifically, gifting them!

With a special time of year approaching it’s time for us to get thinking about what to do in the way of gifts. A random gift from Amazon may solve the issue of being empty-handed, however we can use our skills as photographers and artists to give a gift that really has meaning instead.

A portrait photographer can gift a portrait, a landscape photographer can gift a landscape, and a photographer with too many to choose from can gift a calendar. We have so many fans amongst our family and close friends that offer constant praise and act as personal cheerleaders to our growing photography skills that we could think smart and offer something bespoke that they would really love.

Having seen the headline of this post you could have very easily guessed what it was about and you’ve just read it, so surely there can’t be a lot left to say. Well, here comes the curveball!

Gifting photos to promote our business and to open doors is very, very effective. I’ve told the story of how I shot inside St Pauls Catherdal in London with a tripod – a feat only ever achieved by the BBC when they record and broadcast ceremonies – and it was all down to the promise of a print.

I got in touch with the marketing manager (who is always a good person to start with) and ensured I addressed them personally, by name. I asked very nicely what I wanted to ask without beating around the bush or wasting their time, offering a brief explanation of the circumstances, the intended result, and who I was. At the end as well as the usual line of ‘you can have copies of the images’ I added, ‘and I would love to print one for your office.’

That offer of a print, or the surprise gift of a print, is a fantastic way to market ourselves, make ourselves memorable, and form a lasting relationship. It’s also the best tool for leverage!

Short but sweet, but valuable, that’s todays post. Honestly worth its weight in gold!

Much love

Dave

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