Category Archives Travel Photography

I’m Dave Williams, and I’m back again, right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for my weekly #TravelTuesday post—straight from across the pond in (not so) sunny England. Today, I’m going to lay down some tips for shooting wide, which have come from my realisation that I’ve been carrying around a 14–24mm, 24–70mm, and 70–200mm lens almost everywhere I go, but haven’t actually used the 24–70mm for a very, very long time! Instead, I’ve opted for the 14–24mm to take in a much wider scene.

 

 

The most important points to note when shooting with such a wide lens are these:

It will make big things seem smaller! This can mean that our point of interest can be lost amongst the larger scene and we really do need to consider this when we’re composing the scene.

It needs a foreground element to work well. This is because there’s so much in the frame that if we didn’t have a foreground, we’d risk creating a confusing mess of a photo, with the viewer’s eye wandering around a large scene and getting lost without anything, in particular, drawing their attention around the edges. When setting up and composing our shot with a wide angle lens, just the smallest movement can make a huge difference to the foreground element. Whatever foreground element we choose, be it a road or some other leading line, or perhaps something like water to support the atmosphere of our composition, it must support and direct to the background to work just right. Because the foreground is so much more emphasised with a wide angle lens it really must be carefully considered and composed.

It will put more of the scene in focus. The depth of focus from a wide angle lens is so much greater than other, longer lenses and, therefore, it’s easier to catch a lot more of the image in focus. What we can potentially lose in distortion, which we can, of course, deal with in post, we are going to gain in overall sharpness throughout the scene.

 

 

Having a wide angle lens in the arsenal is a fantastic thing for many genres of photography, but in particular for landscapes. When it’s used carefully and properly it can help us create some truly powerful and dramatic images, so use it right and step your photography up a gear!

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all, from freezing-cold Iceland! (Selfie attached as proof. ;) I’m Dave Williams, and I’m here, as always, to lay down a little light on something photographic! If you’d like to see what I’m up to in Iceland as well, take a look at the KelbyOne Instagram Story, while I take over this week.

 

 

Our photographs are sometimes like evidence of a place, or a time, or a situation. In fact, they’re more than that. Photos can speak to our heart and soul; that’s why we get that warm, fuzzy feeling when we see a photo we really love and can’t take our eyes away from it. There are so many photographers out there sharing their work for all the right reasons, and it’s often an overwhelmingly large arena, what with Instagram, 500PX, and Flickr, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, and blogs all hosting an enormous array of emotive, purposeful images that people want the world to see. It’s often true to say that we communicate through our images, and those images can be seen by a whole world of people not known to us.

It’s not only a way of sharing our passion, though. Another thing I’ve noticed a lot is how much it invokes creativity, and I often receive messages from people asking how to take similar photos—it’s because sharing creativity inspires further creativity, not only to others but also in ourselves. When we figure out how to take a certain type of photo, we feel a sense of achievement and pride and it makes us feel good. It makes us want to do it again. Our attention grabbed, our emotions prodded, these photos really can move us. Photography is a powerful language, and it shows the world how we see things.

Another thing that’s both important and powerful in photography is the memory and legacy involved. When I shot weddings, I always used to explain to clients that it is important to have a printed album because in years to come, when children and grandchildren are looking at the photos, there’s that moment when they’re taken from the attic, the dust is blown off, and the photos are felt. They’re tangible. It’s a physical memory, as well as a pictorial reference. It’s the old printed photos of our history and our family history that we look at now, and it’ll still be those printed photos that we look at for generations to come. Those frozen moments of our lives are significant and special and are another part of photography.

 

 

One final piece of this intricately simple explanation of why photography is so important is because—and this may blow your mind—they tell us what is important. The ones we value represent the things that are important to us, and are important in our lives. What we shoot means something to us; what we keep out of what we shoot means even more.

Much love

Dave

Hello, and a warm and glorious #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams, I’m here every Tuesday, and today I have some notices for you to begin:

My new class is out on KelbyOne! If you want to create a cinematic look for your drone photography, go check it out right here!

I’m delivering a Photoshop Masterclass on November 14th in Hatfield, UK. Bag your ticket right here.

And, I’m hosting a webinar all about travel photography with the Facebook group, Photography and Photoshop this Saturday. Full details are here.

Finally, being unable to run a Photowalk this year for Scott’s WWPW, I’m teaming up with my brother from another mother, Peter Treadway, to run a walk in London on November 18th. There are prizes on offer from KelbyOne, Platypod, and BlackRapid. Full details are here.

Now, on with the show! The title here is “Photo Police” because, recently, I had an experience with Peter whereby we were chased down. I still get a little emotional, to be honest, so bear with me while I recall this traumatic experience.

We were in Gatwick Airport in the UK and Peter was making a video. He had his DSLR attached with a Joby Gorillapod to the top handle of his roller case and was basically just shooting our journey through the airport, which he would then speed up in post and use as B-roll footage to a wider, much more epic video. Whilst we were walking through the duty-free shop, we heard a very nervous “excuse me” coming from behind us, but proceeded on our route and thought nothing of it. The “excuse me” became louder and louder, and nobody else was stopping to react, so perhaps it was intended for us. I say us; I mean Peter.

We both turned and saw that, indeed, the “excuse me” had been intended for us and it was coming from a whole medley of staff wearing different uniforms, one of whom was a manager and another was security. We were told that we weren’t allowed to film in this area, so being the polite and understanding chaps that we are, we agreed to stop immediately without question. But, what happened next was strange—we were asked to delete the footage. We both took a brief glance at each other and in sync, we shook our heads and said, “No.” I explained that, albeit we were on private property, an airport here in the UK is treated as a public place owing to its right of access, and there were no signs visible as a condition of entry, stating that we were not allowed to take photographs or make video. After all, there are hundreds of people taking selfies and making videos in the airport all day, every day, and we weren’t making the video for anything other than personal use.

Wanting to avoid confrontation, we started to walk away but were told, again, to delete the footage. Once again we refused, but this time we were told that they were going to get the police involved. Both of us clearly thinking, “yeah, sure” we walked away again, but this time committed. You’ll never guess what happened next…

So, we were in Starbucks, where I was fuelling up and getting my caffeine fix, when out of nowhere two officers approached us, asked us about our video, and to whom we gave a detailed and frank explanation. The two of them had no problem whatsoever with the explanation we gave, were quite understanding, and tried to spin the reason for stopping us from a public safety point of view. I mean, I understand that there are, of course, safety implications, but realistically they wouldn’t come from the two of us quite overtly filming with a big rig whilst each hauling what was clearly camera bags.

The point is this: the “Photo Police” is a thing, and we see it all too often with tripods, so where do we draw the line? At what point does a sign expressing that no drones are to be used, for example, become enforceable? At what point does it need to be obeyed, and at what point does it need to be merely considered. Recently, in Halstatt, Austria, there were “no drone” signs all over the place, but upon checking the airspace in the area, it was clear that these signs were effectively meaningless and they had just been put up by the locals. Similarly, the manager in that duty-free store simply didn’t like the fact that we were filming—it wasn’t anything other than that. He didn’t have a firm understanding on what his position was, nor on what our rights were, not only as photographers but as “members of society” when he insisted we delete the footage, and subsequently got the police involved in his incorrect actions.

I guess it’s all something we need to accept as photographers, and to that end, it’s important that if other people don’t understand the rules then we need to make sure we do. We need to know the laws, rules, and regulations for where we live and wherever we’re visiting so that we can properly and effectively deal with these kinds of situations.

And, in that endeavour, I wish you luck!

Much love

Dave

I’m Dave Williams, and it’s time for another dose of knowledge to land here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider for #TravelTuesday. This week, that knowledge ties in with the first of my 10 tips that appear in the recent “19th Annual 100 Photoshop Hot Tips” issue of Photoshop User magazine!

Coming in at tip number 91 of 100 is “Blue Sells So Emphasise It!” There’s a lot to back up with this wild claim, so let me tell you all about it:

Take a look around at the clear attraction to the colour blue and its association with loyalty, faith, and trust. It also represents strength and dependability. It’s the colour of the sky on a nice day, and even for that reason alone, it’s a colour we love. There are so many global brands who use this colour for these very reasons, such as Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Flickr, NASA, AmEx, and even WordPress, which I’m using right now.

 

 

Research has been done by gender on favourite colours, and in a study it was noted that blue was the majority’s favourite colour, taking the lead at 57% of the vote amongst men and 35% amongst women.

It is, therefore, important to give serious consideration to the use of the colour blue in your photography because, as I claimed in that Photoshop User Hot Tip, blue sells! It’s obvious when you think about it—if the majority favour blue, then, of course, people will tend to spend more time looking at something blue and associating it to good things in their minds. But, how else can we work with the colour blue to make our work stand out?

 

 

Sitting equidistantly from blue on the colour wheel are yellow and red, which we can incorporate into our images for good contrast. Let’s take a very quick look at how that relates to real life with a sunset! We all love a sunset, and our sunset tends to match the blue sky with the red or yellow warmth of the setting sun. It’s familiar and it’s a perfect example of the use of these colours together. Taking it back to less contrast and having more complementary colours, going in either direction from blue on the colour wheel, we go towards purple and green. Using these colours together will tend to keep things much calmer and even incorporating some blue, gray, or white will complement the use of blue in our images.

And just as a final pointer, when describing colours it helps to give it a name. This is a secret pro tip for you: when describing the colour “brown,” if you use another word, such as “mocha,” you’ll get a far better response. So, when describing the colour “blue,” if you find a matching word such as “azure,” “sky,” “royal,” etc., you’ll notice a difference, and you can thank me later. ;)

Check out the rest of my Hot Tips, and the 90 others, in the latest edition of Photoshop User magazine right now on KelbyOne.com!

Much Love

Dave

 

Hi all! Apologies for posting a little late today. I’m having some connection issues while I’m on the road, so I’m actually having to write this on my phone—should be interesting to see what autocorrect makes of it! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m a travel photographer and writer from the U.K., but you knew that already, right? I’ve been sharing my current mission over on the KelbyOne Instagram Story, so thanks to those who are keeping up. I’m currently sitting in a petrol station in Kongsvika, way up in the Lofoten area of Norway and about 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle. It’s situations like this that have inspired what I’m going to share with you today, which has, in fact, been in my head for a few days.

You know the sayings, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” and “You only live once”? Well, these are the best matches for what I want to share today.

This trip of mine has been in the plans for months. I wanted to get to the Lofoten Islands before the snow hit, but after summer. I wanted to catch autumnal scenes, awesome sunsets, and feel the start of the cold. Well, that was the idea. What actually happened has turned out to be starkly different. That hurricane that hit the Carolinas left a depression hanging over the mid-Atlantic which, in being left behind, got picked up by the jet stream. It carried all the way up through the top of France, through the U.K., and up the coastline of Norway. The problem with that is that when it hit the colder air up here, it dumped somewhere around a metric fudge-ton of water in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Occasionally, all three, and sideways!

What that did to me is have the disastrous consequence of a potentially wasted trip. Fine for a holiday, to be fair, because it’s all still here and pretty looking, but absolutely no use for photography. For these past few days, I’ve been working hard and fast in the gaps between the weather. Here’s one shot I got during a bit of drizzle on Sakrisøy:

 

 

It’s such a beautiful place, but with only a handful of shots from the entire trip, I had to consider my options. So, that’s when I decided—I’m going to Finland!

At around an 8-hour drive, it wasn’t beyond possible, and I’d checked the weather forecasts, the radars, the aurora forecast, the lot! It could work, and there was only one way to find out. So, I immediately changed my plans, being drowned out by a storm, and punched Kittilä, Finland into the GPS.

The drive took me through Sweden, and it was covered in beautiful autumn tones and a pleasure to experience. I was heading through Lapland and determined to see clear skies and, hopefully, some northern lights. Well, guess what! It didn’t happen! This is the best I got, and I’m sharing it purely as proof that it happened:

 

 

I was so full of disappointment, and to be honest, I still am. My whole trip has been a washout, owing to this terrible weather, but that’s just how things go sometimes. You’ve just got to roll with it. Me, however, I tend to tuck my knees into my chest and lean forward. That’s just how I roll. Above all, keep smiling.

 

 

Heres the thing: if you don’t try, you’ll never know. I spent 31 hours in the car, slept in it, and drove across three countries in order to see what I could get. It was a failure, but if I hadn’t done it, I’d never know. You can only fail if you try, and trying is the best you can do. The newly coined phrase “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, is basically made just for this. Although I failed, I know that I tried my best and I took the opportunity to find out what could have been. All in the quest for creating awesome images!

Right, it’s time to get out of this petrol station and head for Tromsø! (Big thanks to Kim for helping me get this post online with the lack of connection I have here!)

Much love

Dave

Hey all! It’s #TravelTuesday right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider and today I, Dave Williams, want to share with you a little bit about how photo intentions affect travel. Today, I want to provoke your thoughts.

On that note, Scott has a new class out now on KelbyOne called The Photographer’s Guide to Traveling Light. Go check that out!

 

 

Take a look around and note how much influence media has on our everyday lives. I’m talking about the entire range from personal Instagram accounts, right through to National Geographic and other such epic documentaries. You’ll even find influence coming from KelbyOne in respect of what I’m talking about today. The travel industry, in particular, is absolutely dominated by social media and influencers, so it’s absolutely no surprise that travel and photography are intrinsically linked. More and more often we are finding that our travel plans are weighed up against how “Instagrammable” (definitely a real word) the destination is. It’s actually my job to do that very thing.

Here’s something very interesting, which has popped up recently; something that’s worth giving a little thought: Studies have recently shown that us humans are now very likely to recall our experiences and our photos from a third person perspective. What we’re doing, as I’m sure you will have noticed, is showing the world our images with the intention of gaining likes, comments, shares, and engagement. We’re no longer looking to have experiences, but rather we’re looking to share. It seems that our number one priority is not to reflect on the moments within ourselves, but to consider how the perception of our experience would be evaluated by our followers.

 

 

This information is worth keeping in the front of our minds because travel (and indeed travel photography) is about experience. Our travel experience is tragically becoming hindered by sharing. We give undue consideration to our photo sharing over our internal forbearance and reflection on the circumstances we face to give us the experiences we see and feel in travel, and this is a necessary evil in some regards and some situations, particularly for myself as a professional travel photographer and writer. The fact that social media has a massive impact on our experiences is now a part of everyday life, and we are still getting used to it. It has hit us all in the face, and in some cases has become a genuine obsession. We can, if we aren’t careful, become obsessed with getting something “grammable,” something worthy of a Facebook post, and the subsequent likes and follows. It can take over us and take us beyond the reason we shoot and travel. The focus. The present moment.

It takes discipline to deal with social media effectively and productively, but similarly, it takes discipline to not let social media steal your time. With respect to how this is becoming “the norm,” just remember this:  if you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be. In a world where everything is disclosed, perhaps it’s sometimes a good thing to remain a mystery. Make experiences, remember to actually experience them yourself, and don’t use your social media to try to impress people. Use it to make an impact. Give it value.

Much love

Dave

Close