Category Archives Travel Photography

Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, and every week I’m here with something for you from the category lineup of photography, Photoshop, travel, or life. This week: – life. Mine, to be more specific.

First on the agenda, Photoshop World. It was awesome! I had my first PSW class, my “Ten Tips to Help You Create Captivating Travel Images,” and I loved it! I had a great time up on the stage in front of the attendees and it looks as though I had around 200 people in there with me. So, to those who came and to everyone who has followed along on my travels, thank you! Here’s a little look, courtesy of Brad Moore and Mark Heaps.

And, another big thanks to Rachel and the KelbyOne crew for being so ace, and for delivering me a donut onstage!

Now, since Photoshop World it seems life has resumed, which for me means travelling! I’m writing this post from the porch of the Thunderbird Lodge in Chinle, AZ, having woken up in Page and taken a look over the amazing vista at Horseshoe Bend before rolling through the landscape to Monument Valley where I’m currently shooting with Siân Elizabeth on some projects both together and independently. So far so good on that one, but I want to tell you about the little adventure that just finished.

Mark Heaps and I fulfilled a promise. Two years ago we decided we would go on a motorcycle adventure and we have now done that, albeit quite a short and sweet one (but, hopefully, the first of many.)

We collected our Triumph Tigers from Las Vegas Triumph immediately after Photoshop World ended, and we rode straight out into the blazing Nevada and Arizona deserts with one goal in our sights: – Route 66.

For three days we took in the sights on this amazing stretch of the mother road around the Seligman area, and if you didn’t know already, Seligman is perhaps better known as Radiator Springs from the Disney movie Cars. We tested our riding skills with twists and turns, ups and downs, strong side winds and dusty gravel roads, and it was amazing! I’ve been on some cool rides before but this was the most diverse, entertaining, and in some places, challenging motorcycle road trip I’ve had. Mark and I had the opportunity to share our experiences of photography training and of life in general. I already mentioned that we had planned to ride together for a couple of years, but here’s the point: –

One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood. It refreshes the soul. Having the opportunity to share stories and experiences, and then subsequently share and adventure, came off the back of having met online through shared interest and realising we ticked the same tock, and we developed that and took it up a notch. The KelbyOne Community and Photoshop World are a fantastic way not only to learn but to share and to network. Mark and I maximised on it, and I strongly urge you to do the same so that you can click with like-minded people who speak your language, metaphorically and literally, and take on the world together.

Never let your friends get lonely. Keep disturbing them!

Much love

Dave

#TravelTuesday with Dave has come round again, and this week I want to jump into learning photography. I’ve been asked time and again about when I got into photography and where I learned, most recently on the Drobo blog.

I’ve told the story of my first camera many times over: – my parents got me a Nikon F40 for my birthday when I was a teenager. That’s the very short version of the story! If I were starting now, I reckon it’d be a lot quicker to make progress versus back then when I was shooting on film rather than with a screen on the back of the camera. In fact, I recently took hold of a film SLR and it was very strange that there wasn’t a screen back there!

The way I learned to shoot initially was simply by picking up the camera and shooting anything and everything—flowers, my pet dog, landscapes, people, literally anything that happened to get in my way! It was so frustrating, though, because I wasn’t immediately seeing results. Oftentimes, I couldn’t quite remember what I had done when I’d gotten things right and wrong. It was all about making mistakes, then subsequently remembering what the mistakes were!

Me shooting Blesbok in South Africa

When I moved to South Africa I had another camera, as well as my Nikon F40—I had a little digital point-and-shoot. I was learning from both together, taking the “pure photography” skills from what I was doing with the SLR and taking note of composition and colour and various other things from the digital camera, and kind of mangling and intertwining the two to form a bigger picture in my head of what was happening in photography.

It was a few years after my return to the UK that I started to take it much more seriously, investing in a digital SLR and really taking note of what an aperture really was, how shutter speed affects things, and getting my head around ISO. I discovered that I really did love photography as much as I’d thought and I stepped it up a gear again, scouring the internet for all the information that was available and investing in all manner of books for my shelf.

The truth is, moving on from then to now, that I’m still learning and I’m positive that if you ask Scott whether he’s still learning, he’ll give you that same positive answer. And, Scott is someone who I’ve learned so much from with KelbyOne and his amazing books and from shooting together.

Me with Mimo Meidany, Roberto Pisconti, Juan Alfonso, and Scott Kelby, shooting together and learning from each other

The community of photographers incorporates all of us at every skill level, and it’s a great community. It’s one which we should treasure and respect because of its value to us all because, ultimately, wherever and however you learn about photography, you’re learning from a photographer.

Speaking of learning, Photoshop World West is right around the corner, and if you’re there I’d love to meet you!

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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It’s #TravelTuesday with me, Dave Williams, and today I’m in the KelbyOne studios recording some classes for you beautiful people! If you’re waiting to learn a little more about how to make some money and about how to prepare for travel photography, you’ll love my two new classes! But before they land, I’d love all you KelbyOne members to join me in an exclusive webcast about where to shoot in Iceland, and if you aren’t a KelbyOne member you can sign up for a free.

Today, I want to touch on something else. Right now I’m planning on changing my camera, and it made me think a little about that age-old conundrum: whether or not gear makes the photographer. Well, my answer is no, and my argument is that if you give a pro photographer a $700 camera, and give a rookie a $5,000 camera, the pro will produce the better image. One main reason for this argument is that the pro will be concentrating on the creativity whereas the rookie is more likely to be focused on the gear. Here’s why: –

When a pro photographer and a rookie photographer each shoot 100 images, the pro is more likely to say that one is good, and the rookie is more likely to say that 90 are good. If they then look at each other’s images, the pro is likely to say that one of the rookie’s is good, and the rookie is likely to say that 90 of the pro’s are good. Self-criticism lands front and centre, and the pro is far more critical of themselves than others. But it goes beyond that: –

When the pro screws up, they are far more likely to blame themselves than to blame the gear. They are probably shooting Manual, may have added some extra gear, such as filters or lighting, and have planned the shot. If something goes wrong, they are far more likely to blame the application of their knowledge than they are to blame the gear. Here’s the point: they will use the same gear and try again until they get it right, working on correcting their technique rather than switching out the gear.

There’s a lesson to be taken from this. Being honest about your skills, having the understanding to apply them, and giving objective evaluation to your creative vision will help you to become a better photographer and not to rely on the gear, rather to rely on yourself. I’ve been through this process and continue to do so, as does every other pro photographer, and it’s extremely valuable to think this way.

I hope to catch you all in the comments tomorrow on The Grid!

Much love

Dave

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