#TravelTuesday today is a throwback to some travel and a look at adding some zing to our travel photography with light. I’m Dave Williams, and I’m taking you today from my flat on the outskirts of west London, UK to Route 66 near Seligman, AZ. Let’s go.
Last summer after Photoshop World West in Las Vegas had drawn to a close, Mark Heaps and I found ourselves in a Triumph dealership picking up a pair of Triumph Tigers to go on an adventure we’d spent months planning and years yearning for. We were taking our two-wheeled machines from Nevada into Arizona to explore a stretch of Route 66.
Capturing the adventure would be a challenge because we were both riding so the shots we got needed to be remotely activated or cleverly executed, but there was one particular thing we wanted to capture that removed us from the scene altogether – the brilliant light of the Milky Way.
As we rode back to our top-quality motel one evening and the darkness drew in we noticed the Milky Way piercing through the deep blue of the twilight sky and despite being separated from each other and our heads encased in protection we seemed to both just know what we needed to do and stopped at the pullout in sync.
The moon was absent and aside from the nearby freeway there was no artificial light for miles, nor any cloud or haze to catch it if there even was any. The objective was clear – shoot the bikes under the Milky Way. The problem was the lack of light. To make this photo special would require us producing our own light and applying it in such a way that the bikes didn’t distract from the stars, or vice-versa.
I pulled out my Litra Pro and we both got our tripods and cameras ready, constantly scanning for tiny, stingy critters like scorpions and spiders as we stepped through the grit, and we were ready.
With the light set perfectly, here’s what we got: –
In travel and landscape photography we tend to rely entirely on natural light, but using our own light can add to a photo and make it really creative as well as technical.
Flash and lighting is not just for portraits, it can be applied in so many ways to add to our images. It just happens that right now KelbyOne is running a conference to teach all about flash, which you can jump into right here.
Thanks for dropping by, and I hope that little glimpse has inspired you to think about artificial light and different ways to apply it. As with everything it’s important to learn the fundamentals and step it up from there.
The Grid: iPhone 12 & What It Means for DSLR & Mirrorless – Episode 447
The latest iPhones have been announced, so Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are here to share their take on how they affect the greater camera market of DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras. Join them for a great discussion of what it could mean for you!
New KelbyOne Class: Creative Portraits at Home with Gilmar Smith
In this class Gilmar shares her favorite tips and tricks for making small spaces look their best, demonstrates how she uses colored lights for making the ordinary look extraordinary, puts her family to work in front of the camera in a series of fun photo shoots in different rooms, and then walks through her post processing workflow to bring her concepts to life. You’ll learn how to conduct a creative portrait shoot without even setting foot outside your door, and while making the most of the gear and space that you have.
Strap in y’all, this one is a MARATHON! Scott Kelby and Erik Kuna are back for another fan favorite episode of The Grid, Blind Photo Critiques! This one is a whopping 3+ hours long, so grab your beverage of choice and enjoy!
Every Friday we post another Photo Tip from one of our awesome KelbyOne Instructors over on the KelbyOne social media accounts (follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. — links are below), and I thought I’d gather five of them for you today. They’re all right around 1-minute long, so they’re short, sweet and to the point. Here we go:
You catch more tips like these every week by following us on social.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE ATLIVE CONCERT SERIES FOR MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM
Last year, back before all of this craziness hit, Rob Foldy and his team at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta hired me to photograph their inaugural ATLive Concert Series. To make sure I was properly equipped to photograph the event, I got some gear from my friends at LensProToGo. Thankfully, they had the new Nikon 180-400mm lens, which came in incredibly handy for the shows! Here is the recap of my experience, along with some examples of photographs from different focal lengths from that lens.
While plenty of huge concert tours have come through Mercedes-Benz Stadium, ATLive is the first concert series created by the stadium itself (as opposed to a tour using the stadium as the venue for its Atlanta stop). It was held across two days, and featured some of the biggest acts in country music, such as Sugarland, Brothers Osborne, Sam Hunt, Luke Combs, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, and more.
My primary objective was to make attention-grabbing photos that can be used for promotion of future shows and events that the stadium produces. This meant getting photos that weren’t artist-specific, but showed the venue and ATLive branding. My other objectives included photographing each of the artists’ sets, as well as showing the sustainability efforts of the stadium, and things they do to enhance the fan experience.
Because of the variety of photos this job would require, I requested two bodies, three lenses, and a flash:
I knew I wanted the speed and high ISO performance of the D5 (which tops out at 12fps) for this job, so it was a no-brainer to go with this as my main body. And I went with the D850 as my second body because I knew its high ISO performance would be great, but I would also need its 45.7MP files for another job immediately following this one. Honestly, I set the D850 to medium RAW because my card would fill up too quickly with large RAW. Even at medium RAW, it still gave me 33.6MP files compared to the D5’s large RAW files at 20.8MP.
Since I knew I would be carrying a fair amount of heavy gear around for two days, I wore a SpiderHolster SpiderPro Dual Camera System Belt with Large Lens Pouch. One SpiderPlate went on the D5, and I swapped between the 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses on this body. Whichever lens I wasn’t using was in the Lens Pouch, ready to go when I did need it. The other Spider Plate went on the 70-200mm, which was attached to the D850. When I used the 180-400mm, I would swap the D850 between it and the 70-200mm. Since the SpiderPlate was on the 70-200mm, it stayed attached to my belt when I was using the D850 on the 180-400mm.
The 180-400mm was supported by the Manfrotto MVMXPRO500 Video Monopod, which allowed for smooth movement when recomposing and following the performers thanks to the FLUIDTECH base.
Upon arriving at the stadium on the first day, I found out that the primary position for photographers would be from the soundboard, which was positioned about halfway back on the floor. When I heard this, I was immediately thankful that I was equipped with the extra reach of the 180-400mm lens and its built-in extender. Because I was working for the stadium, I was also able to borrow a ladder from the maintenance department so I could get a higher vantage point above the audience and their camera phones.
While photographing from the sound board, the 180-400mm was my main lens, incorporating a good range of medium to tight photos without having to move. This monopod also gave me enough height to reach my higher vantage point on the ladder (not all monopods are tall enough). The 70-200m was my wide to medium lens for photos of the entire stage.
Here are some examples of what I was able to get at different focal lengths from the sound board:
One thing I was quickly reminded of (since I don’t get to use glass this long very often), was that I needed to increase my shutter speed when using longer focal lengths to maintain sharpness. At 1/125 or 1/250 shutter speeds, I was still seeing blur from the movement I had as I was following the performers. Thankfully I caught it early and was able to increase my shutter speed to compensate.
The 180-400mm has a maximum aperture of f/4 without the extender engaged, and that becomes f/5.6 when you engage the extender. Keep this in mind if you ever use an extender so that you (or the camera) can compensate by increasing your ISO to maintain the desired shutter speed.
As the venue’s photographer, I was able to move around to different areas and keep photographing throughout the show.
I love roaming around in the crowd with a wide or medium lens to find excited fans, whether they’re holding homemade signs:
I’m the guest on today’s episode of “He Shoots | He Draws” with host, British Superstar (and Britain’s version of Ted Lasso), Dave Clayton. We had such a great chat — we talked about everything from music to life, and everything in-between, it was an awful lot of fun. More like two guys just sitting at the bar chatting away.
Thanks to Dave for having me on — it really was a treat!
If you missed my live “Book Chat” from last Wednesday…
…celebrating the launch of the all-new version of my bestselling book ever, “The Digital Photography Book,” you can catch the replay (BELOW). It’s really…well…I guess you just have to see it. Wouldn’t hurt if you poured yourself a glass of wine, or two. Or four. ;-)
Deal of the century on my new book!
During that podcast, my publisher offered the deal of the century on my new book: just $15 for the print edition, and it’s in stock now ready to ship (just $20 if you want both the print and ebook edition). Here’s the link for the book deal: rockynook.com/kelbyafterhours
This year’s Worldwide Photo Walk 2020 is On! :)
In cast you missed the news — we announced my 13th Annual “Worldwide Photo Walk” on Friday. We had to kind of rethink how to pull off an in-person event like this during a pandemic, but with the help of our awesome community, we did it. It’s a bit different, but it’ll be awesome. I’ve embedded the video that explains everything below — please give it a watch because we’ve had to change a bunch of thing, but I think you’ll dig it. You can join a walk at worldwidephotowalk.com
That’s a lot for a Monday — hoping yours is a really good one!