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It’s that time of the week again! #HybridDaveTuesdays come around pretty quick, right? Well this week the timing is perfect for me to give you my big five tips for a fantastic photowalk!

The annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk 2017 is right around the corner and if you haven’t signed up for one yet, you’re seriously missing out on an awesome day! Sign up here.

For the past couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of running a London walk, last year in fact I only made it by the skin of my teeth! I was away on a Polar assignment in Svalbard (average temperature -10.3 degrees C, or -13.4 F) and my succession of flights, starting at Longyearbyen and hopping through Tromsø, Oslo and Copenhagen before touching the tarmac at London Heathrow took a tad longer than I had anticipated and I literally made it to the start point – London’s best coffee shop, Bar Italia – with moments to spare. Fortunately my walkers were very understanding of my situation (or maybe they were distracted by the piles of free pizza, panini and Prosecco, or Damaris who modelled for the day) and the rest of the walk went down without a hitch.

 

My 2015 group for that year’s London leg of the Worldwide Photowalk

It’s these and other photowalks I’ve run which prompted me to share my experiences here, for both walkers and walk leaders, so let’s get that big five rolling!

Aim high in the competition

With in excess of $22,000 worth of prizes on offer from Scott and the team at KelbyOne it’s absolutely worth setting your eyes on the prize and aiming, if nothing more, to achieve one great shot or great video from your walk. Somebody has to win, it may as well be you!

That’s me pointing out a shot to the group at a walk I organised in London

Network

Photowalks are often organised and attended by professionals, and everyone there is (at some level) interested in the same thing as you are. Pack a pile of business cards, have your Instagram feed or your 500px portfolio down so that when they check you out, you’re on point. You’ll meet fellow photographers looking to collaborate on a project or share some skills and ideas, and you’ll likely meet business owners. In fact it’s at the 2015 Worldwide Photowalk that I met Chief of the Chicken Shed, Danny Lenihan the CEO of 3 Legged Thing. If you find a model to shoot, as I explained a couple of weeks ago in my #HybridDaveTuesdays post, you can hit them up with a business card so you can provide copies of the shot afterwards. It’s a brilliant bargaining tool as well as a way to grow both your network and your portfolio!

Eat

That’s right. Eat! Eat before you go so that you’re packed full of energy for a high tempo activity, and arriving early to eat will also prevent you from being late to the meeting point at the start. When you finish your walk you can go grab a bite or a drink with the new friend you’ve just made and share your experiences too, it’s all part of the fun! When I’ve run walks in the past I’ve made a point of organising a drink or a bite to eat as part of the programme.

This is a group I led gathered around a table in Byron Burger post-walk – it’s one of two tables I’d reserved!

Dress right

So, you know those shoes you wear walking that support your feet and keep them dry? Those. Wear those. You’ll be on your feet and on the move for a few hours so whilst you should perhaps be thinking about shooting and sitting should the opportunity not present itself you should be prepared. Check the weather report, dress appropriately, consider headgear, sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrella etc. Along this theme, keep your surroundings in mind when you get out there on the walk. Don’t lose sight of the group, note who’s around you (and who’s looking at you gear), and don’t be so focused on the viewfinder that you trip up a kerb.

Think kit

Here’s the thing;- You may have a ‘regular’ set-up of two bodies and five lenses, you may carry an arsenal of gear, light meters, tripod, modifiers, but pack light! Try going for an all-rounder lens, or two lenses tops, and minimise your weight in all other respects. Maybe consider pockets over bags, and trust me when I say the heaviest thing should be a bottle of water. You’ll be hunting in a pack of photographers – the masses will spot you all coming a mile off – you stand a better chance of stealing that $4,900 top prize if you minimise your profile, make sure you’ve got only the gear you need (plus power and cards!!) and put the legwork into your shots rather than being bogged down with what every photographer loves – kit!

So now you’re armed – go ahead and enjoy being part of the worlds biggest photography event! I’ll be in Lisbon with Scott – you can keep up with what I’m doing on Facebook, Twitter, or on my story on Instagram.

You can make a donation to the Springs Of Hope Orphanage, the charitable cause of the Worldwide Photowalk, and I hope these tips help you on Saturday!

#WWPW2017

Much Love

Dave

Capable model Damaris and the crowd of photographers behind him at my 2016 London walk

Old combat boots with American flag

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

This post is dedicated each year to the memory of David Leimbach, (shown above; the brother of our dear friend and colleague Jeff Leimbach), who died eight years ago in combat in Afghanistan.

Just a humble word of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our armed services and to all those who came before them who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day.

Here’s wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Memorial Day.

All my best,

-Scott

 

mylioupdate

Hey gang, and Happy Monday. (Brrrrrrr!)

Here’s what’s up: Mylio is developing a pretty significant new version of their software designed to gather all your photos from your computer, phone and tablet into one library that you can edit and organize from any device (you can learn more about Mylio in general, at this link).

They’re looking for some Beta testers who will get to work with a pre-release version of this major update, and they’re looking for your feedback and input before it’s released to the public. They’re asking that beta testers use the software on their computer, phone, and a tablet for a few hours per week, and be willing to speak directly with a Mylio team member by phone once a week during the three-month testing period.

It’s a pretty cool opportunity — so if you’re interested in helping, send an email to usertest@mylio.com

I’m off to the frozen East Coast
Tomorrow I’m heading to Richmond for my seminar there Wednesday, and they I’ll be in Atlanta on Friday. Over 300 photographers are going to be joining me in each city – I hope you’re one of them. :)

Have a great Monday everybody, and try to stay warm :)

Best,

-Scott

moosebtj183

Our friend and KelbyOne instructor Moose Peterson has released the latest issue of his BT Journal, and it’s huge! This issue is packed with more images, more video and more text then ever before so you feel like you’re right next to them in that Landie! This issue is 80 pages (it’s normally 24 pages) this time. It centers around Moose’s July Africa Adventure. Before you think further, the issue is the length it is because so much of what it is to be a wildlife photographer, going to Africa and much more has been clouded with time. The romance, the technical, the good for your soul and so much more are what bulks up this issue and it is inspiration I think you need and will enjoy reading! Those of you wanting to improve your wildlife and landscape photography, what are you waiting for? Go get it now!

Pete Collins here filling in for Scott…

I don’t know about you, but when another photographer says to me… “You have to go there!” I tend to nod politely while internally I am thinking… yeah right, it can’t be that good. So for a couple of years now I have heard about Old Car City outside of Atlanta, and how great it was, but I was secretly like “it can’t be as good as they say.” Well, I am here to admit that Old Car City is definitely worth putting on your bucket list. According to the Internet, which only tells the truth, this place is ranked as the third best junkyard in the world behind the Russian space junkyard, and the Airplane boneyard out in Arizona. (of course I don’t know who rates these things or what is the criteria, but at the end of the day this place is pretty darn impressive.)

Fancy sign Fancy spelling. Photo by Clint Brownlee
The inner lair of Dean Lewis... Photo by Clint Brownlee

Located about 50 miles outside of Atlanta in White, Ga. (Yep, way too easy to make inappropriate jokes so let’s move on.) This dixieland automotive museum spans 34 acres with over 4000 American cars covering over six miles of trails. The thing that makes it so unique is that the cars are becoming one with the environment… some of them have been around since 1931 and have been reclaimed by trees, grass and bushes. I could give you a lot of facts, etc… about the place, but I am going to write this from my perspective as a photographer and first time visitor and hopefully you will enjoy the images and the insight with the end result being that you having a new place added to your bucket list. Be sure to check out their website, OldCarCityUSA.com.

The Journey
I drove down from Chattanooga with my buddy and fellow camera junky Mike Daniels; he did the navigating. I tend to get distracted and miss places, so I was glad he was there to guide us. I was then extra glad that he came along since Dean Lewis (the owner) only takes cash and I conveniently forgot my wallet. :D The cost of entry is $25, and Dean is happy to direct you down the road to an ATM if you forget. Dean was busy doodling on one of his cups and talking to a gentleman named Clint Brownlee when we arrived. Dean is what I like to call “a mess.” Now for those of you not from the south the term “a mess” can be used in a variety of ways depending on the tone/inflection and twinkle in the eye of the one speaking. This particular use of the term means “someone who is unique and inspiring, and yet maybe a bit strange.” Sort of like that uncle that you hope will come for Christmas and bring his amazing set of fireworks, but then you spend the whole time trying to not let him drink too much eggnog before he goes out to light them so he doesn’t lose yet another finger. :D (I hope that makes sense… someone you want to watch, just to see what he will do next.)

Clint Brownlee is another one of use crippled with the photography bug and is responsible for putting together the Old Car City blog, and he happens to follow Scott and our crew, so he was able to vouch for me with Dean. Actually, Dean knew of our group because last year at Photoshop World in Atlanta we had a workshop come out, and then Bill Fortney has done a class out there. I told Dean that I was Scott’s boss… but I don’t think he bought it since he then tried to charge me double. :D Make sure to check out Clint’s blog. Clint volunteered to show me around the place… which is a huge undertaking… only 34 acres… meh, we should be done in no time. As we started out, he shared with me that he and a friend of his had been coming out here multiple times a week when they first discovered the place and I now understand whey.

To get a true feel of the place, you need to appreciate this new installment that Dean has placed near the entrance to the cars. Yep, that is pretty creepy. Larry Becker titled it “Youth Springs Eternal!”

Dean says welcome! Don't mind the dolls!

Once past the baby dolls, it became sensory overload… It wasn’t a matter of trying to find something to shoot, it was trying to narrow your focus so that you could actually not spend the entire day just at the front of the place. You know that feeling when you come across something so neat and cool that giggles sneak out spontaneously? It was at that point that I felt like Roy Scheider in Jaws… “We are going to need a bigger boat!” We were going to need a longer day and more energy to be able to take it all in.

Clint was doing his best to be a tour guide, but at a certain point I just needed to play, and so I asked if I could take off on my own to wander around with my camera. It was early morning, hot, humid, wet and I didn’t care… I was in heaven. How good a place is it? I don’t know about you, but I hold my breath when I take a picture, and at one point I realized I was really out of breath from taking too many pictures back to back… it was such a target rich environment. Think of it like a giant easter egg hunt with 4,000 golden eggs.

The old Old Car City office
Just past the baby dolls, the fun begins
A photographers playground awaits
Wonderful mixture of man vs. nature

Let’s talk about my gear and my approach for the day.

(more…)

Hi everyone and happy Monday! Corey Barker here filling in for Scott today because he is on vacation and Brad “The Beard” Moore asked us to post a little something. With Photoshop World coming up in a few weeks I wanted to share my thoughts around what used to be one of my most favorite parts of the event and that is the Guru Award competition. (I say used to because I can no longer enter, I actually help judge them now.) Anyway in case you are unaware, the Guru Awards is a contest open to all Photoshop World attendees who can submit images in a number of categories like Commercial, Retouching, Artistic, Photography, etc. These images are then judged by a panel of experts and then the winners are announced at the event. The reason I think this is such a great thing is because where I am at today can be somewhat attributed to winning a couple of these very awards.

Long before I was an instructor for KelbyOne and Photoshop World I was a regular NAPP member and had attended several Photoshop World events. When I first heard about the Guru awards I was rather intimidated because I did not think my work was good enough to win. However one year I found a piece I had done and decided to just submit it to see what would happen. Besides it was free to enter so what was there to lose? Well it turns out that image ended up getting me recognized as a finalist in the Artistic category. Suddenly my confidence got a little boost. So the next year I was determined to do better so when I registered for Photoshop World I immediately started playing around with images to submit. After coming so close the last time, I just had to see what I could do for the next one.

Why was I so motivated? I wasn’t getting paid. Yeah there is the glory of winning but I also realized I was getting something worth more. It is because competition breeds creativity. It wasn’t necessarily the award itself that was the goal, though having an award is certainly great for marketing purposes. I was once told by one of my instructors in art school to always enter art contests. Big or small, local or national, enter as many contests as you could handle because selling yourself as an award winning designer gave you and edge over others but later I discovered it was more than that. I started to realize that I was becoming better and better at Photoshop and I found ideas were coming to me a lot easier than before. The result of pushing myself to do something different, that no one had seen before. I was having fun!

A couple years later I ended up taking home the Guru award in the Commercial category. I was getting recognized for my work at a major industry event. Which was pretty cool, but I was also getting something much more valuable, I was advancing my skill set. I continued every year to enter not just the Guru awards at Photoshop World but also other design competitions until, in 2006, I was hired to be an instructor for what was then the National Association of Photoshop Professionals as well as an instructor at Photoshop World. It was a dream come true!  I found out later that they had remembered me winning a couple of Guru awards and that was how my name stuck out more than others for the job.

So the moral of the story is to push yourself to be better than you are. There’s is always more to learn. Always try to show the world something it has never seen before, or perhaps to look at something in a different way and enter as many design contests as you can. Not just for the industry recognition, which is great, but because the nature of competition will enhance your skills and make you more creative.

If you are in fact going to Photoshop World this August in Las Vegas you still have time to enter the Guru Awards. The submission deadline is July 20, 2015. Go to www.photoshopworld.com for more details.

A Creative Exercise
I want to leave you with a little creative exercise that I do often that helps me keep my creativity alive and also presents problem solving scenarios. It’s called the 30-Minute Composite. Choose 2-4 random images in your library of photos. Then give yourself just 30 minutes to come up with something cool. You can only use the images chosen beforehand and give yourself an assignment like a movie poster or a package design, or whatever. The key is to stick to the time limit. By limiting resources like the number of images and the amount of time you are forcing yourself to be creative in a pinch. This will condition your mind to come up with creative solutions. Now you will not succeed every time. Many times I have gotten to the end and had nothing to show but I may have gotten a better understanding of the software or how to approach something the next time. We can learn from failure as much as we can from success. Try it and see what happens. I do this exercise at least once a week to keep my wheels turning. It beneficial and it is a lot of fun! Have a creative week!

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