Category Archives Travel Photography

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 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

It’s #TravelTuesday again and I, Dave Williams, am here from Salisbury Plain, home of Stonehenge, with about as much wisdom as I bring to the party every Tuesday. Let’s go!

This morning I woke up bright and early to shoot sunrise over Stonehenge, a neolithic stone monument here in the UK on Salisbury Plain. Whilst I was here, I noticed two other photographers had similar ideas, though not quite the same idea. One of them was up early and then disappeared before the sun was up. One appeared once the sun was up, missing the bit before dawn. It was a little odd because they both had cameras on tripods, so I wanted to quickly explain why I shoot the whole sunrise.

The photographer that was up before the dawn broke was shooting the blue hour. Blue hour is so named because the sky is largely blue because as the sun hasn’t breached the horizon yet its warm light doesn’t cast. It’s worth noting that it isn’t actually an hour, but can be longer or shorter depending on the season and latitude. Here’s my blue hour shot from this morning: –

The other photographer missed out on blue hour and shot golden hour. Again, this isn’t actually an hour, but it’s the time just after the sun breaks the horizon in the morning (or just before it does so in the evening) and, owing to various environmental and scientific factors including the effects of the wavelength of red light and the distance from us, we get a red or orange sky. Here’s what that looked like this morning for me: –

I was left a little baffled about why, if you’d dragged yourself out of bed at 6am, you wouldn’t shoot both types of light. It dawned on me, if you’ll pardon the pun, that perhaps they’d each only ever seen the one type of morning light and perhaps weren’t even aware of the other.

I know it’s a big ask, but here’s what I would like you all to do:

One day, when you have the time, get yourself up an hour before the sun is due to rise. The sky should still be a little dark and you will probably be able to see a star or two. Now, just watch what happens. Take a camera, or don’t take a camera, it’s entirely up to you, but be sure to observe exactly what is happening in the sky all around you. Notice the colours change. Watch what happens just before the sun breaks the horizon. Then how fast it moves. Watch where it goes. Watch how the light changes. Just take note of all that happens at sunrise and how it can affect a photo. Then, if you want, make a cup of tea and go back to bed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sunrise totally beats sunset.

Have a great day!

Much love
Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here! I apologise that it’s a little late in the day, but better late than never.

To those attending Photoshop World, I hope you have a fantastic conference and get to absorb a load of knowledge from the amazing instructor line-up!

Today, I want to touch on the importance of photography and the time-travelling opportunities it presents. Photos play an important role in everyone’s life, as well as being the things we photographers take pride in, practice, and on top of that, they remind us of places, people, feelings, smells, and evoke memories of what was happening at the time the photo was taken. Personally, each photo serves as a reminder of what happened throughout the day the photo was taken, evoking memories of trips overseas and childhood memories in a similar way that music can. Photos have been proven to stimulate our minds to such an extent that things we thought were long forgotten can be stirred up, including vital clues to events in history and important facts.

Photography helps us document events and moments in time, finding things in common and sharing experiences post-event.

Perhaps the reason being this evocation caused by photos is that when we capture an image, we freeze the memories that go along with it. It can encapsulate that moment in time in such a way that we can reinvigorate the memory years after it was taken, in particular, when the emotions that run alongside it are stronger than usual.

Photos are stories and there’s a story behind every image. By looking at photos, we can conclude a lot of things based on the photographer’s skill and actions beyond the visuals. The story can be contained within a single image as a result of the skills we learn and utilise as photographers, and we can even inspire others through our photography. We can inspire others to travel, to enjoy life, to celebrate moments, to become aware, or to build connections.

Photography is art, it’s science, and it’s a skill that goes beyond either of those things as well. Photography is something special and I’m proud to be a photographer.

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am back! Today, I want to touch on some colour science. Yes, “colour,” because I’m British – get over it!

Let’s start with the importance of colour. We all know that as photographers we are creating art with light, but from the outset, and then when we get into our post-processing, it’s important that we give due consideration to colour, as well. There are colours that naturally work together that create our epic sunset and sunrise images, which I’ve talked about many times before, and those are blue and orange. The reason we’re so attracted to these images deep within our subconscious mind is because of this complementary play of colours. On the colour wheel, we find that orange and blue are opposite one another. This is what essentially defines them as complimentary colours.

This colour psychology extends beyond merely being something that pleases our minds, though. There’s something physical going on when these colours are working together with our eyes.

I’m no ophthalmologist, but hear me out. In our eyes, we have rods and cones which are responsible for detecting colour and shade. These sit on our retina, which is at the back of our eye, and specifically, it’s the cones that deal with colours. Here’s a fun fact: – The rods work well in low light, and there are 20 times more rods than cones, which is why we find it hard to see in low light.

We have three types of cones: – those that see red, those that see green, and those that see blue. When these cones are activated in different combinations, we see the world in glorious technicolour. Interestingly, these are the colours that add up to being the primary colours RGB. Here’s another fun fact: – around 12% of women actually have four different kinds of cones, so they can see more colours than most people! That explains all the colours some people come up with!

Anyway, we can provoke our cones to demonstrate which ones are working and which aren’t in this simple little piece of science. Take a look at the heart below. Stare at it for 30 seconds straight with no movement whatsoever. When 30 seconds is up, immediately turn your eye to a white surface, like a wall or a piece of paper.

What should have happened is that you should have, for a couple of seconds, seen a red or pink heart on the white surface. This is because the other cones have been stimulated but the red has not, so the red receptive cones created the image in the absence of the other colours. It’s a pretty cool demonstration of the way our eyes work and of the balancing of colours.

Anyway, when we shoot, we should consider complementary colours, as well as other colour harmonies, and, luckily for us, Adobe has given us a helping hand in the form of this colour wheel. We can see various colour principles at play and create a colour palette that we can take into our Creative Cloud account and use in tandem with our creations across Photoshop, InDesign, and the entire range of Adobe apps that feature the Adobe Color Theme panel.

And with that, I wish you a good Tuesday!

Much love

Dave

Hi team! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here again! This week, I’m coming at you from a piece of woodland on the English/Welsh borders where I’m topping and tailing some work, putting the van through its paces to make sure it stays in one piece under some extreme circumstances, and waiting to be joined by Kersten and Nick from the Camera Shake Podcast who are arriving tomorrow to do some recording with me. It’s all go! Here’s a water test I did yesterday with the van, making sure it could successfully ford a river.

It’s held up against everything here so far, including some very steep inclines and declines. Go Kofifernweh!

Today isn’t about the van or my life though, it’s about addressing something I’ve answered personally this past week when asked this particular question by someone, so I’m sure there must be more of you out there wondering the same thing. I’ll paraphrase the exact question, and here it is: –

Do I have a problem if my account is followed by inactive or fake followers?

The reason behind this question was an e-mail received, which I’m sure had informed the recipient that they had successfully performed a “scan” or “reviewed your account” and determined that they have lots of dangerous, inactive followers on Instagram. It’s strange how “scan” and “scam” are so linguistically close to one another, isn’t it? Well, it’s safe to say that while the identification and removal of ghost followers can do us a favour, I wouldn’t be paying someone else to do it. Not at the least because you’d have to give them your account password!

The first thing we can do is time travel somewhat and ensure we never do anything that will inherently bring ghost followers in the first place, like buying likes, subscribers, followers, comments, out anything similar where we’re promised “growth” or “boost” because these will all be fake. These will do more damage than good.

If we find ourselves in a position where we have ghost followers, we can deal with it ourselves. It may be quite a laborious and boring process though, so we need to determine whether it’s even worth it. Here’s your metric: –

If our account has an engagement rate of 5%, we’re doing good. If it’s above 3%, we’re doing fine.

To work this out just take a post…

…and look at the stats.

My engagement is therefore 9.48% on this post. If we do this a few times for different posts, we can get a rough idea of our engagement rate. If percentage isn’t your thing, make a note of this: –

( (Likes + Interactions) / Accounts Reached ) x 100 = Engagement

So, what about the ghost follower thing? Well, it all depends on whether you think it’s affecting your engagement. Here’s why: –

If we’re being followed by accounts that are not offering anything to our engagement, they’re no good to us. The total number of followers may be great for your street cred, but it does nothing when it comes to monetising and valuing your account. If we had a bunch of followers who aren’t engaging with our posts, or even seeing them at all, they’re just no good to us.

We can deal with them by trying to identify them ourselves. A ghost account has a strange username, a disproportionate number of people it’s following in relation to the number who follow it, and a highly suspicious set of photos, if any photos at all. Take a look at this one: –

No profile picture, no posts, and following 6,409, whilst somehow followed by 1,681 with no content…. very odd!

It can be a good idea to go through your followers and remove these by simply blocking them, thus removing them from your follower count. This will help a little, and if you’ve ever paid for followers, it will help your engagement a lot to remove them.

Good luck with the ‘gram!

Much love
Dave

PS. You can see more about my van here.

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