Category Archives Travel Photography

I’m Dave Williams and it’s #TravelTuesday here on Scott’s blog. This week, I’m going to tip most articles on their head.

When we start out in photography, we seek inspiration and education from all manner of sources—YouTube, KelbyOne, magazines, blogs, workshops— but I think the most important way to learn is to make mistakes.

The thing these methods all have in common is that they tell you what to do. Obviously! They tell us the mistakes to avoid, so that we can be better photographers. But, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my journey and I strongly recommend you do too! (Stick with me here!)

I’m not saying make all the mistakes I’ve made—for example, don’t drop your camera from a rock on the coast of Iceland straight into a rock pool (it survived), or don’t continuously trek to a remote location to shoot only to realise when you arrive that you have one bar left on your battery. I’m talking about other mistakes.

We learn in life from mistakes, and often it’s the best way to learn. A combination of both regret and education, mistakes are something from which we learn how to do something and how not to do something, as the lesson from the experience is etched into our memory.

Shooting at too high an ISO and having an overly noisy image is one of the mistakes that’s important to make in order to understand how your camera’s sensor interacts with the available light, and how your manipulation of the camera’s settings affect the final image. The extra effort that would have gone into using a tripod and shooting a longer exposure at a lower ISO would be the fix and the lesson to learn in such circumstances.

Speaking of ISO, when I used to shoot weddings, I lost track of the number of times I’d be shooting inside a beautiful church at a high ISO to balance the tonal range of the images, but then stepped outside continuing to shoot at that high ISO and ruining the first handful of images. It was essentially a learning curve—it happened a few times, but once I eventually got it in my mind, it never happened again!

On the same sort of level, one thing that used to often happen when I was shooting in the high north during winter, is that I would go out to shoot the Northern Lights (or at least look for them!) and have my camera set on a long exposure to capture the motion, with a high ISO to be sensitive to the level of light coming at me (which I obviously wouldn’t overlook), but I’d also have the autofocus switched off! The following morning I’d grab the camera, having seen a cool-looking mountain or something, and shoot it, having adjusted the ISO and shutter speed to suit, but forgotten about the autofocus! Again, once I’d made the mistake a few times, it was set in my mind and it hasn’t happened since.

And again, on the same sort of level, the cold, in this case. Have you ever had a wet tripod and not dried it off properly? The result is terrible—trust me! It’s a lesson not forgotten when everything seizes up!

Over-processing is a mistake often made in the early days, and it’s worth noting here that if you want to make your images look unrealistic and have a halo around every object, make sure you crank the Clarity and Saturation sliders right up. ;)

See the big shadow, here, in the sky over Turkey? A reminder to clean the sensor or lens is learned from the mistake of not doing just that!

Making mistakes is very important. I’d like to say we only make them once, and although that is often the case, it’s not always the case. Nevertheless, when we make mistakes, we (sooner or later) won’t repeat them and will get our time to shine and get it right every time. It’s in our nature to make mistakes, and it’s also in our nature to learn from them. I just wish I didn’t make the same mistake twice!

Just be yourself; it’ll all fall into place.

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! I’m Dave Williams, coming at you from Tallinn, Estonia where I’m exploring this old city in search of coffee, burgers, and awesome views! This week, I have a secret tip for your drone photography.

 

 

Everyone wants to know what they’re doing wrong, right? Well, here’s what you’re doing wrong! The top rookie drone pilot mistake, aside from flying in the wrong places (I won’t go there, though), is…

When people get a drone they go through actions not dissimilar to when they get a window seat on a plane. What us humans tend to do is take a photo of that place down below us, familiar to us, from a new perspective. We get on the plane and, as it takes off over our local city, we see things we recognise out of the window and shoot them for the sake of shooting them. It’s not a bad thing; I’m not saying that at all. If anything, it’s pretty cool to get that new perspective of such a familiar place and to see how things look relative to one another from up there. It’s tantamount to what we all did when we first discovered Google Street View—we suddenly had the technological ability to literally go anywhere we wanted in the entire world and despite that, we all did the exact same thing. We opened up the map, we took hold of that little man, and we all dragged him and dropped him into the exact same position: our front door! We like to see things from a new perspective; it’s clearly in our nature. This little trait we all seem to have rubs off in our drone photography and we need simply to be aware of it in order to avoid it.

 

 

When flying a drone, as I’ve explained in my KelbyOne class, we need to fly like a movie director. This means not simply lifting off and turning the camera to view the place we took off from. It means applying all that we know about photography, such as light, composition, and subject matter, and applying it to the new camera up in the air. It’s simply another camera, which is now removed from us—the same rules and principles apply.

Don’t be the passenger in the window seat. Make your drone photography stand out among the crowd.

Much love

Dave

 

Hello, and welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, which of course means that I, Dave Williams, am here, in your face, loud and proud with some industry nuggets of gold to share with you!

First off, news time:

Workshop – If you’re up for a workshop in Iceland, I’ll be running one this summer alongside my brother from another mother, Peter Treadway. Keep your eyes peeled over on my social media (@capturewithdave) for more info!

Webinar – On January 5th, on the amazing Photoshop and Photography Facebook Group, I’ll be hosting a webinar all about drones and drone photography. It’ll go live at 9 p.m. UK time, 4 p.m. EST, and 1 p.m. PST.

Photowalks – Following the awesome time we all had in London on our recent photowalk, it is my intention to run more! The good folks at BlackRapid thought this was a brilliant idea, and they’ve thrown a whole bunch of straps my way to give away at future photowalks. So, if you’re in London (or willing to get there), watch my social for more walks!

Seminar – Sorry to those of you in the USA and the rest of the world, but here’s another UK one: – In the new year, I’ll be hosting a seminar at the Sim Imaging gallery in Hatfield, Herts, and it’d be great to have you there! Again, details will go live over on my social.

So, the blog!

There are Christmas markets dotted throughout the world right now and they bring an amazing atmosphere, beautiful decorations, and sparkly lights.

The best time to take Christmas photos is during the hours of darkness when the decorations and displays are enticing and almost magical. I highly recommend that you get out and find a Christmas market or two, and get some awesome shots yourself!

Now, you and I know that rules are meant to be broken, so I’ll start with a rule-breaking example from Riga, Latvia. Christmas photos may be best at night, but that doesn’t mean they must be taken at night. Take a look: –

 

 

 

But, when we are shooting the Christmas markets and decorations at night, we need to consider the light and the action, as well as the detail.

 

 

Capturing those actions is a great opportunity to play with long exposures. With this giant Ferris wheel, I’ve taken an exposure of a few seconds to capture the movement in a very slight trail of light. It’s only possible to do this with a solid base, such as a tripod or Platypod, but carrying that extra piece of kit with you is totally worth it when you see the results.

 

 

This shot is inside the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, Germany. When shooting a location at Christmas it’s worth incorporating the location to give the viewer a sense of place. In this image, I’ve got that hint of Christmas from the tree in view, just slightly tucked away, adding a little festivity to an otherwise ordinary scene.

 

 

At the other extreme, you can go full-on Christmas mode! In this shot, I’ve filled the entire frame with two trees, one foreground and one background element, giving the viewer an overwhelming yet beautiful feel for the season.

 

 

Going back to the sense of place, this time the situation is reversed in that the place becomes part of the Christmas scene, rather than the other way around. Christmas has clearly taken over here and overcome its surroundings, but highlighting those surroundings in amongst the action makes for a winning shot.

So, now that the Christmas holiday season has landed, spreading joy, peace on earth, and goodwill to all men, etc., etc., get out there with your camera and capture it!

Much love

Dave

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

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