Category Archives Travel Photography

Hi all! It’s #TravelTuesday and here on Scott’s blog, that means one thing: I’m here! I’m Dave Williams, normally found hiding behind the guise of Capture With Dave, and I’m offloading some know-how for you all! Today, it comes in the form of my favourite Adobe Photoshop power keyboard shortcuts!

It’s fair to say that we’re all, in every sector, looking to optimise and streamline our flows and processes. One surefire way to achieve this aim is to hit buttons on the keyboard rather than to carefully and daintily manoeuvre the mouse about the desk. So, to that end, I’d like to share some of my favourite, lesser-known keyboard shortcuts—the power shortcuts!

The Brush tool (B) is frequently used, and there are shortcuts specifically designed to speed up our flow when using it. It’s commonly known that the bracket keys ([ and ]) make the brush size decrease and increase respectively, but did you know that you can use the comma and period keys to cycle through the brush styles, or that you can switch the crosshair on/off for precision brushing using the Caps Lock key?

When it comes to viewing your project it’s important to view everything correctly. As well as hitting the Z key to select the Zoom tool and “scrubby” zooming by sliding our mouse left and right with the left mouse button held down, we can quickly move around an image, whilst still having the Zoom tool selected, by holding the Space Bar and moving the image around right in front of us. Furthermore, from wherever we are on an image, at whichever zoom level, we can quickly and easily zoom back out and fit the image into our view by pressing Command-0 (zero; PC: Ctrl-0), which quickly gives us an overview of the finer work we’re completing.

When it comes to working with layers, we can utilise some handy shortcuts here for commonly used tasks, too. For example, to select the top layer, we just need to hit Option-. (period key; PC: Alt-.) or replace the period key with the comma key to get to the bottom layer. To move up and down through the layers stack, just hit Option-[ (PC: Alt-[) or Option-] (PC: Alt-]), and to move a selected layer up or down in the stack, press Command-[ (PC: Ctrl-[) or Command-] (PC: Ctrl-]). To select all the layers, it’s simply a case of hitting Command-Option-A (PC: Ctrl-Alt-A) or to merge all the visible layers, press Command-Shift-E (PC: Ctrl-Shift-E).

And, finally, if you frequently use certain blend modes, you can apply them quickly with these power shortcuts, but make sure you have the right layer selected and the Move tool (V) active: –

It’s always Option-Shift (PC: Alt-Shift) together with: –

N – Normal
I – Dissolve
K – Darken
G – Lighten
M – Multiply
O – Overlay
U – Hue
T – Saturation
Y – Luminosity

Or, cycle through the blend modes with Shift-+ (plus sign) or Shift-– (minus sign).

I hope you can make use of these power shortcuts to speed up your Photoshop flow! Until next week.

Much Love

Dave

From sunny South America, I’m Dave Williams and today is #TravelTuesday, which means I’m here on Scott’s blog with something for you on travel, photography, Photoshop, or life. Today, a little on business in photography!

I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro where, together with Lonely Planet, I’m on my never-ending quest for the world’s best coffee, and I’m hunting the best views the rainforest city has to offer. It’s all over on my social media—you can find me anywhere hiding behind the alias @capturewithdave. :)

All the times I can remember shooting, I remember the “last shot” has, in fact, never quite been the last shot. When I shot weddings, as part of a tandem outfit with my best mate and business partner Peter Treadway, we often joked that we wanted to take “just one last shot,” and we both knew that whenever the other uttered those words, we’d have at least another 15 minutes shooting. But, why was that? Why were we, on one level, keen to finish, but at the same time, carrying on with the shoot in search of that “one more shot.”

Perhaps it was something relating to confidence. Perhaps we knew there was still a shot there, which would stand out above the rest, but we didn’t quite have it yet, owing to either our ability or simply to the absence of that shot. Perhaps we already had the shot but had such competitive determination that we simply didn’t want to stop because we were chasing a shot that just wasn’t going to happen. I mean, we certainly had the tenacity to know where to start and, when it wasn’t happening, when to stop. Maybe that was why—maybe when it was happening, we wanted it to keep happening. But, maybe it was something else altogether.

Good enough isn’t good enough. 

Maybe we both knew this. Maybe we already had, in our subconscious, the knowledge that good enough wasn’t good enough and in order to stand out, we actually had to excel, not just settle. In a crowd, it’s the one who has a little something special, the one who sticks their neck out—that’s the one who gets noticed.

Sunrises get noticed.

Proper lighting gets noticed.

Personality gets noticed.

Concentrate on these things and others, which will make you get noticed, and don’t settle—good enough isn’t good enough if you really want to go far as a creative.

Much love
Dave

Last night, I sat down to write this post and I had a bit of a situation. Well, a bit of a disaster actually! I dropped my phone onto my laptop screen and everything went dark. I’ve just taken my laptop to Apple and owing to my carelessness, I now have a five-day wait and a £460 bill to pay for a new retina screen, and it’s caused a delay in publishing this post! My apologies. Let’s get cracking!

So, every #TravelTuesday, here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, I land with a little something for you from the world of Photoshop, photography, travel, and life. Today, I’m going to tell you all about something you should be using, and which Scott showed you yesterday—Adobe Spark Page.

Adobe Spark is a creative suite in itself, within the Adobe ecosystem, which allows users to create social graphics, webpages, and videos on a web or mobile platform, and it’s awesome! In fact, all my header graphics here on Scott’s blog and on my own blog at capturewithdave.com are made using Adobe Spark Post.

Scott used Adobe Spark Page to create his story yesterday about his visit on the USS Harry S. Truman, and it delivered an amazing result both in terms of its aesthetic prowess and its storytelling ability. The user interface for creators is top-notch, as is the interface for the end user.

The app allows us to quickly and easily lay out our images, videos, and words, and it encourages good design and placement. The text alignment and animation creates a user experience with apparently seamless links from one section to the next. The ability to decide on the positioning of our images in a variety of styles, and with additional copy over them, gives us the ability to customise our page and truly tell the story in the way we want it to be seen. 

As a photographer, I am of course a creative, but one friend of mine has some strong words which this app brings to life for me. Graphic Designer and KelbyOne instructor Dave Clayton says in his latest awesome class that a graphic designer is a photographer’s best friend. Knowing how to present your work in the best possible way is important for a photographer, and a graphic designer can help you to do this. It seems that this series of apps is the first step towards that goal.

Adobe Spark is part of your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and its best comparison is that it’s basically Microsoft Publisher turned up to 11, and it’s fast!

You can take a look at one of my stories on the northern lights here and one of Terry White’s stories on Iceland here

Have a closer look at the Adobe Spark range and I think, as a photographer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what it can do for you. 

Much love

Dave

It’s #TravelTuesday right here on Scott’s blog, and that means that I, Dave Williams, am here!

It has been a full-on week with lots of prep and planning for a couple of upcoming missions for me. I’ve been working through files from my most recent trip to Norway, and I’m lining up ideas for a little trip to Dorset this weekend for my birthday. It’s all go here, and to top it all off, I’m formulating ideas for an awesome project that has already started rolling: The Diary of the Traveling Platypod, which sees a Platypod Ultra travel the world to help create amazing images (#TravelingUltra)! Larry, the creator of Platypod, sent it to Gilmar Smith to begin its journey, and now I have it! You can sign up here if you want to host the Ultra on its global journey.

But, let’s get back on track and take a look at a cool Adobe Camera Raw trick that can help you create an HDR look from a single file.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a look that has come in and out of fashion, but the concept behind it remains very useful. With this trick, you can take a single exposure, so long as it isn’t overly clipped either way, and create an HDR look from it by ignoring every piece of advice I’ve ever given you and going to 100 on a few sliders! Watch this: –

Here’s a fairly bland shot of a Norwegian road in Senja, turning a corner along the edge of a fjord, with the rugged mountainscape background (mountainscape—definitely a real word).

You can see it’s pretty “regular” looking—more of a snapshot than a creative photograph. By opening this RAW file in Camera Raw and maxing out some sliders, we can really bring it to life.

If we first consider what HDR processing involves, we can start by replicating it. We’ll do this by bringing in the darkest elements of the brightest exposure and the brightest elements of the darkest exposure by setting the Highlights slider to –100 and the Shadows slider to +100. We can give some “punch” to the image by also setting the Contrast slider to +100 and the Clarity slider to +100, increasing the contrast across the entire dynamic range of the image.

Once this is done, we’ll likely end up with something a little bit dodgy looking, but stick with me. The last little tweak is the Exposure slider. We’ll just move this slightly in order to reduce that overly dramatic hit. In this image, I’ve moved it to 0.60, and it has done just the trick.

We now have that HDR look from a single exposure, and it was incredibly easy!

Catch you all next week and, in the meantime, please do keep in touch over at @CaptureWithDave on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Much Love

Dave

There are stories of people doing various photographic experiments in heavily photographed locations worldwide, including Oliver Curtis who famously shot landmarks in the opposite direction. This week, I’d like to discuss methods of shooting places that are already heavily photographed, which is a common issue for me as a travel photographer.

So, I’m Dave Williams and happy #TravelTuesday to you all! Let’s get on!

This is Hamnøy, in the Lofoten Islands of northern Norway. This scene is “internet famous” now as a result of more accessible tourism to the area and the trending nature of big Instagrammers’ shots going worldwide. As is common with such images, there’s one shot, one view, one composition, shot in a variety of styles because there’s literally one vantage point. To shoot this scene depicting the small fishing town flanked by water and snuggled among imposing mountains, you have one option and one option only—walk up the road bridge, which connects Hamnøy with Sakrisøy.

To get a different view here means to get up and change position entirely. Seeing the same view time and again, as cool as it may be, is only gong to take you so far. It’s a cool souvenir shot and there are options to shoot it slightly differently, but rather explore and get a new view altogether, like this: –

Getting up close and personal with one of the buildings, using it here as a frame, I was still able to shoot the quaint wooden houses and their stilts, along with those mountains and the water, giving the same location a different look completely.

This shift to a different subject in the same location or to a different angle of the same location means your image is less “common.” The one thing that relates here the most is something I’ve said many times before and it’s this: –

When you stop, bring your camera up to eye level, and fire a shot, it’s a snapshot. It’s a souvenir shot serving as a reminder that you were there. The week-thought-out, well-composed, and deliberate shots, using a different angle, a different perspective, and a different exposure are the shots that stand out of common places.

The Eiffel Tower—the go-to example—has been shot so many times it’s unreal. Taking shots from a different place, at a different angle, with a different focus are the stand-out shots.

You can also focus in on detail to capture somewhat of a forced perspective to show the subject but not in its entirety, like something of an enigmatic composition, which can be made part of a larger story. Again, Instagram has kind of forced this position on us as photographers, but it’s not all as bad as it seems. For example, when shooting such well-known locations try cropping in tight on an element which makes it—such as the girders of the Eiffel Tower, the tiles on St. Peter’s Basilica, or the lava rocks at Jökulsárlón. Create a new way of seeing things that have been seen time and time again, and show people the way you see.

Much love
Dave

Hey hey, happy #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams and, this week, I’m in Norway where it’s currently –9°C in Skibotndalen. I’m writing this on the side of the road right on the Finnish border waiting for a recovery truck. Yes, a recovery truck! I’ve just seen the most amazing aurora, got a little too excited in my rental car, and now I’m stuck in the snow.

Anyway! This week, I want to tell you about the camera settings I use for the northern lights. It’s not dissimilar to shooting waterfalls actually in its concept—if you want the aurora to be sharp with its detail and motion preserved, you need to shoot fast at around 5 seconds max.


Focusing manually is important. If you forget to switch over to manual focus two things happen: – First, your camera will try to focus in darkness and will automatically land on some random focus point, which will probably not have the aurora in focus. And, second, you may miss the focus by rolling out to infinity. When you set your lens to infinity it’s often actually a bit too far. The aurora is around 100 miles up, but even so, the way our lenses are made means we’re pushing the glass a touch too far at optical infinity. Hitting infinity and then making a tiny adjustment back the other way is, in my opinion, the best spot to focus for the northern lights. 

If you do choose to have the camera focus for you, find a bright star or something else with brightness and contrast to help your autofocus work its magic.

So, what about different strengths of aurora? Well, if the aurora is weak, I shoot for up to 30s and ISO between 2500–4000. If it’s strong, I’ll shoot between 2s and 15s and ISO 500–3200. In both cases, the aperture will be large at f/2.8 to allow the maximum amount of light to hit my sensor.

I hope this has been helpful and entertaining! Now I’m going to wait for the recovery truck to come and get me out of here, so I can head to Senja and find my hotel.

Much love

Dave

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