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Good day! It’s #TravelTuesday and because it’s Tuesday, it’s not Scott but me, Dave Williams, fresh from a red-eye flight from Calgary to London, coming at you loud with some kind of photographic wisdom!

Today, I want to touch on reverse engineering a photo, and this is something you can learn a lot more about from Glyn Dewis’ book Photograph Like a Thief if you want to dig deeper. Let’s do it!

So, in Banff National Park, there’s an iconic photo and I wanted it. I’ve preached time and again about being original, but I just wanted this shot bad! There’s a train line running through the park as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway network, and one curve, in particular, facing up to the mountains’ home to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It’s Morant’s Curve, named after the Canadian Pacific photographer who took the first photo of the new rail line here.

As you can see here, it’s so popular because of the original shot that there’s a viewing area with railings.

When it comes to reverse engineering a photo, it’s a lot about light. When it comes to photos of people, we can usually work out the lighting quite easily by looking at the edges of the person and the reflection in their eyes to see how they were lit. But, when it comes to landscapes, it’s more about working out the location and the timings, which we can do quite easily with maps and PhotoPills.

What we’re looking for with the light is the time of day, dictating the direction, and other clues that will help us with the scene, like the temperature and tone and the softness.

We also need to reverse engineer the shutter speed and focal length used, so we can apply it to our image, or add a creative flair if we want to put our own spin on it.

The whole process of reverse engineering a photo is a combination of science and art, and we can use it to apply the exact look from the original photo or put it “into our own words” if we want. That’s what I wanted to do, and here’s my shot: –

What I’ve done here is pick a spot slightly back from the gap, giving the train a piece of the image but not the entire focus. The front end creeps through the gap in the trees looking somewhat like a face, and then the rest of the train twists and turns as a leading line toward those epic mountains behind. The whole scene is, of course, iconic, but it has my own little spin on it, too.

Reverse engineering a shot like this is a good skill to apply, and a great way to learn. Have a go at it. I promise you’ll enjoy it, and it will help you in critiquing yourself, as well as deconstructing and analysing a photo.

Much love


Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! It’s me, Dave Williams, kicking my way onto just like every Tuesday!

I hope you’re all well! I have a little thing to share today about pushing yourself and getting your work out there. Without further ado (/adieu) lets get into it!

Us photographers are funny creatures. We tend to get ourselves into a status quo. Perhaps a sort of happy place. This is all well and good, but who got anywhere by being the same? That’s right, I hear your answer! Well if we’re going to get anywhere we need to be sticking our neck out and getting noticed. But how?

Easy! No, honestly, it is! If we’re going to get noticed we need to do two things: –

  1. Be so damn good they just can’t ignore us.
  2. Put ourself front and centre.

Honestly, get in their face! Have you tried it? You should try it! Ok, maybe I’m being a little extreme, but try this: –

Find a good shot of yours and try to work out who would be interested in it. Perhaps you’re a KelbyOne member and the KelbyOne community would be interested. Perhaps you used a Platypod to take the shot and Platypod would be interested. Perhaps you learned the technique you used for the shot in one of Scotts books, in which case Scott would be interested. Whatever the reason you come up with, take some action on it!

If you are a KelbyOne member you could share your shot with a story about how the KelbyOne community has helped you create the image and submit that for a Member Monday feature. If you used a Platypod, write a piece about exactly how the Platypod was the right tool for the job and send it off via their website. If you learned the technique from one of Scotts books, tell him. These are all small, simple things to do, and each varies in its end result. You may up featured on an Instagram post or in a blog post, or you may draw the attention of your favourite photographer. Whatever the result, we’ve actually achieved that extra little something special that we wouldn’t have if we’d stuck with the status quo – we’ve been noticed by someone, and it could end up with us being featured, and that could in turn result in our growth as a photographer. Simple!

Ladies and gents, go ahead and stick your neck out! If nothing happens, you’ve lost nothing, but if it gets noticed and you get featured, you’re on the path for a win!

With much love, as always


(By the way, I’m in the Faroe Islands, hence the selfie, and you can keep an eye on me over on my Instagram story)

Last Friday I announced the Grand Prize Winner and 1o finalists from this year’s Worldwide Photo Walk, but there are some other images that, while they didn’t wind up winning a prize, were still so good that I thought they needed some special recognition, so I wanted to share some of these images in an “Honorable Mentions” post here to celebrate these images which are so good they deserve to be recognized.

Note: You could make a case for any of these to have been chosen as a finalist (in fact, all of these images were in the running and on my shortlist at one point which gives you an idea of how hard it is making the final decisions. There are just so many wonderful images again this year).

Congratulations to all these photographers below who created such wonderful images; all within a short time span, in a location they didn’t choose, at a time they didn’t choose, on a route they didn’t choose, while navigating their way through a group of other photographers in the same location. That’s a tough thing a do, and another reason why these images taken during the walk are officially receiving an Honorable Mention:

Photo Walk: Hormozgan, Iran
Photo By: Amir Hossein Khorgooei
My Comments: The colors here, of course, are wonderful and they all work together so well. I love his facial expression, but it’s the shooting perspective from up high that really took this shot over the top. Well done!

Photo Walk: Giza, Egypt
Photo By: Mohamed Ashraf
My Comments: I love this shot — such a genuine moment
. They see the photographer and can’t help but strike a group photo pose. So great!

Photo Walk: O’Fallon, Missouri, USA
Photo By: Sam Jordan
My Comments: It takes a really good photographer to make an old discarded beer can and make an interesting shot of it, but this photographer did it. Great post on this one, too!

Photo Walk: Jakarta, Indonesia
Photo By: Adri Budiman
My Comments: This image is a class on composition and color unto itself. I don’t know if it was staged or not, but if it was…well done! If it wasn’t…even well done.
Love the use of negative space. Really beautifully crafted!

Photo Walk: Cagayan De Oro, Philippines
Photo By: John Maxim Peñaranda
My Comments: The text makes this such an interesting shot — like something from a movie, but I also think the bicyclist’s position in the frame is just so right. Not an easy shot to get in such low light.

Photo Walk: Scalloway, Shetland Islands, UK
Photo By: Anne Macdonald
My Comments: We all should be lucky enough to do our photo walk here. What a beautiful scene, but beyond its sheer beauty is a beautifully composed and processed shot. I’m going to have to add the Shetland Islands to my travel wish list after seeing this image.

Photo Walk: Giza, Egypt
Photo By: Heba Elfares
My Comments: Everything works so well together here, from the color to the gesture to the lighting. A beautifully dramatic shot.

Photo Walk: Southbury, Connecticut, USA
Photo By: Rich Colicchio
My Comments: An incredible mural for sure, but I like the way the photographer “book-ended” the shot framing wise. Cool shot!

Photo Walk: Cuenca, Equador
Photo By: Juan Sebastian Vasquez
My Comments: Here’s a shot you just don’t see every day
, and the lighting really makes it. Of course, the color didn’t hurt either, with our subject wearing the perfect contrasting color to the bananas. Nice!

Photo Walk: Rishon Lezion, Israel
Photo By: Guy Sharabi
My Comments: The incredible colors and the awesome low perspective really made this image a standout. Just beautiful!

Photo Walk: Gurugram, India
Photo By: Parul Patnaik
My Comments: I love that the photographer decided to let this one tight detail shot tell the whole story. I love the depth of field; the feeling of motion and the black and white conversion works really well. Great shot!

Photo Walk: Hamedan, Iran
Photo By: Azadeh Mousavi
My Comments: One of my favorites — the beam of light is so strong and leads you directly to the subject, which is often not the case, and that helps to make an already special image even more special. Great tones throughout. Congrats!

Photo Walk: Rasht, Iran
Photo By: Jalileh Massoumi Moqaddam
My Comments: I love the juxtaposition of old and new in this shot. Such great contrast and I love the gestures of both subjects. Another great Iranian photographer.

Photo Walk: Cairo, Egypt
Photo By: Ma7moud 3mr
My Comments: What a great shot! This one has it all — the light; the position of the subject’s in the room is just perfect; the tones throughout, but I think it’s the post-processing that took it over the top. What a really slick image!

Photo Walk: Zapopan, Mexico
Photo By: Carlos Enrique Alatorre Flores
My Comments: This shot is so interesting — a great expression, and that fact that she’s not surrounded by anyone in the same style of the costume makes it all the more unique. The black and white treatment is very appropriate here as well. Good job!

Photo Walk: Peoria, Arizona, USA
Photo By: Kent Gray
My Comments: This is just such an awesome image with an even stronger message. It looks very photo-journalistic in nature, and the black and white treatment works beautifully here, too. Great job on this shot!

Photo Walk: Kaunas, Lithuania
Photo By: Vaidas Vidugiris
My Comments: Great timing; a great moment, a really great capture. Makes me want to know the rest of the story!

Photo Walk: Cairo, Egypt
Photo By: Shrouq Ashour
My Comments: This is a great capture — a moment in time, but what really made it for me is the gentleman on the far left. His smile is just captivating. I want to have a cup of coffee with him. Great tones in this image, I like how close the photographer got into the scene — you feel like you’re right there with them.

Photo Walk: Selangor, Malaysia
Photo By: Chee Choy
My Comments: This is another one of those images that make us want to know the rest of the story. The black and white treatment really gives it a reportage look, and the smoke and the gestures really make for a compelling image. Nicely done.

Photo Walk: Giza, Egypt
Photo By: Mohammed Fouad
My Comments: Another great shot from an Egyptian photographer. I love the super low perspective and the looks on the subject’s face. I can only imagine they’re thinking, “Crazy photographer!” and that makes it even more special.

Photo Walk: Singapore, Singapore
Photo By: Rick Regala
My Comments: The colors here are just too perfect, and that alone would be enough, but the gesture and body language are just so intriguing. I want to know what’s going on; where they’re going, and what three out of four of them are looking at. It’s just so strange, and I love it!

Photo Walk: Alexandria, Egypt
Photo By: Ahmed Tawfeq
My Comments: I love the way the photographer is right in the middle of this scene — it makes the viewer feel like they’re right there. I love the colors, the tone, the mystery. Really a great capture. I so want to go back to Egypt!

Photo Walk: Giza, Egypt
Photo By: Mohamed Ashraf
My Comments: Another great dramatic beam shot — I know it’s a popular genre of photography, but I can’t help but get sucked in by it. Another very interesting scene.

Photo Walk: Kovačica, Serbia
Photo By: Jaroslav Kralik
My Comments: This is such a joyful shot – three puppies out for a walk — what could more joyful that than, but it’s the low perspective that makes this shot special. You really connect with the pups and feel like you’re on the walk with them. Cute puppers!

Photo Walk: Calbayog City, Philippines
Photo By: Edrian Loable
My Comments: This is such a well-framed, well-executed shot (Edrian should sell it as a stock photo). For a silhouette shot to really work the silhouetted subject has to be instantly recognizable, and this is just spot on. Great color, composition, and just a really interesting shot.

Photo Walk: Utrecht, Netherlands
Photo By: Marco F van Apeldoorn
My Comments: Many of you that watch my weekly photography show “The Grid” know that I absolutely hate photographs of insects, which speaks volumes about this shot that I chose as an honorable mention. It really is wonderfully composed, with great color, and wonderful depth of field.

Photo Walk: Kyiv, Ukraine
Photo By: Maryna Yurlovskaya
My Comments: I’m not sure if a professional model was a part of this walk, or they ran across her during the walk, or if she was one of the photographers on the walk, but this is a wonderful portrait. Great pose and expression and the lighting is just beautiful. Really nicely done!

Applause, applause!

What a wonderful collection of images in this year’s Honorable Mentions. Congratulations to all these photographers on creating such memorable images that they deserved special recognition. We still have the winner of our Leaders Competition (lots of great shots — another tough one to judge) and our mobile photography category to go. It’s such a treat getting to enjoy so many great images!

Here’s wishing you all an awesome Monday and a great week ahead! :)


P.S. Tomorrow, I’m off to my seminar in San Francisco on Wednesday. Hope you can come out and spend the day with me. Tickets and info here.

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here on with some top tips for you.

What I’m sharing today is something I’ve seen time and again on Facebook groups – people asking how to focus in the dark for night time landscapes and astrophotography. It just so happens that this features in my new book about the Northern Lights, so in my experience shooting the Aurora I’m quite well versed in how to focus when you can’t see anything and I have three methods to share with you.

Method 1 – Focus on the brightest thing

This is the best way, hence sticking it up at number 1 on the list. It’s far better using Mirrorless cameras, but can still be done on DSLR’s. First up, get Live View up and running. Using the + key on your camera, zoom in on the brightest object in the distance (perhaps by moving the camera to face another direction.) When you’re zoomed in, manually focus until the object is tack sharp, then lock off the focus by keeping it on Manual Focus mode. The bright object could be the moon, a bright star, or a lit farm or building in the distance.

Method 2 – Focus while it’s light

This method requires planning and preparation – but it works if you can do it. Before you lose the light, focus on something in the distance which is compatible with the focus you’ll want when you’re shooting in the dark, then lock off that focus by switching to Manual focus. You can take it up a step and, to ensure that focus doesn’t accidentally get knocked off-point, taping the focussing ring to the barrel of the lens with some gaffer-tape.

Method 3 – Focus on infinity

This doesn’t mean twisting the focussing ring as far as it goes – it means hitting that sweet spot. Take a look at the markings and there’ll be a particular point at which the lens is focussed on infinity – usually either the centre of the infinity symbol, or a line demarcated next to the infinity symbol. This tip requires light, which obviously kind of defeats the object of being able to focus in the dark, so remember that when you create your own light to use this method, be courteous to other photographers around and don’t flash bright lights all over the place and, where possible, use a red light to maintain your own night-visibility that your eyes will have adjusted to.

I hope these three methods are useful to you, and if you haven’t had a go at photography in the dark you really should give it a go!

If you’re in or around London, UK, this Sunday it’d be cool to see you. I’m holding a photographer meet-up and you’re invited.

Much love


#TravelTuesday with Dave is here again! Mostly because it’s Tuesday….

I have recently switched things up a little (after what I’m going to label as occasional passive-aggressive pressure from Mr Kelby) and I just thought I’d offer an explanation. I was using the handle @capturewithdave but made the switch to @idavewilliams. Let me tell you why.

Every week I interrupt proceedings on to give you something inspirational from the world of Photography, Photoshop, Travel or Life, and this week is no exception.

Firstly, I’ll point out that I’m losing some link-backs here and there because of this in that there are lots of blogs and what-not out there with my name shown as @capturewithdave so it was hard for me to actually make this move (and if anyone operating any of these blogs wants to retroactively switch my handle, I’m ok with that!) because of losing those links, but I reckon the pros outweigh the cons. Here’s why: –

It’s important that we have a uniform approach wherever possible on social media, which means having the same handle with the same identifiable profile photo (more on that shortly) because we need to be sure that people recognise us when switching from one place to another. When they see us in the Twitter ecosystem for example, they should be able to easily recognise and find us in the Facebook ecosystem. I hope you appreciate my use of the term ‘ecosystem’ there, and of course it applies across all platforms and to our blog/website. Bottom line – it should have our name in it! Along with this we must also be clear about what it is that we do. If we’re a wedding photographer, we must make it clear in the profile that we’re a wedding photographer. Ultimately, we’re looking to get attention so we can sell ourselves as photographers, and often this is right where it all starts and the traction can build.

My ‘set selfie’
My ‘hold on, this might be important’
whats wrong with my other profile picture?’

So, the profile photo. Again, Scott put a little pressure. Apparently I looked a little moody in my last one so last time I was over at the KelbyOne studios I was cornered and told I was getting a new shot done. I complied, offering little resistance in the Florida heat after a day recording on set, and was looking straight down the barrel of Scotts lens. It took a while – I’m not used to having my photo taken – I’m a role model, not a fashion icon, after all. We went through the usual – you know, shabang and all that – and following a little bit of me fooling around we ended up with a shot that made me kinda look like I know what I’m talking about and that, at the end of the day, is what we need for a profile photo. We need to convey the message to our prospective clients that we are the one they need to hire and a profile photo for a photographer is actually kind-of a big deal. Think about it, is a photographer with a poor profile shot likely to get hired? No, because how can a good photographer possibly have a bad headshot?! 

So, take a minute and assess your tag and your headshot. Please.

Much love


Images Copyright Scott Kelby 2k19 ;)

By the way… I wrote a book all about the Northern Lights. It’s called ‘The Complete Aurora Guide for Travellers and Photographers’ and it’s out now. If you’re heading to the cold, dark north, this is the book that will help you find and shoot the Aurora, complete with Eskimo stories and everything :)

Hello world! It’s me, Dave Williams, and it’s #TravelTuesday so I’m back, right here on, just for you!

This post comes live from Iceland where I’m about to board a plane back home to London. Sad times! But this trip has been epic so I can’t grumble! The purpose of this mission was to shoot the northern lights, and out of the four nights I’ve been here they came of for three of them! There’s been a little bit of a geomagnetic storm on, so combined with the cloud-free skies it’s been awesome! I’ll be posting some of the shots on my Instagram when I get them finished so keep an eye on that. Also, just for the record, I’ve switched my social media handle from capturewithdave to idavewilliams. It’s not because a new operating system came out, but in short it’s because I needed to get my whole name in there somehow, and I was limited with options.

Anyway, let’s get to the point! Photowalk leaders, this ones for you (and Photowalk attendees, keep an eye on them!)

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk is just around the corner. Having led a fair few photowalks in my time, I’m in a reasonable position to lay down some tips and tricks for the walk leaders.

First, and probably most important, everything takes longer than you think it will. You can be so stringent when it comes to planning your timings, but the group will always have stragglers who will be stopping to take more photos when it’s time to move on, or walk slowly having a chat at the back. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way it is. Just be aware of this if you have something planned with strict timings.

Next, the word ‘leader’ comes with responsibilities and expectations. You will be asked questions, and you will be expected to know answers. The Worldwide Photowalk is not an educational experience, rather it’s a social one, so work out your stock answer for questions you can’t field.

Breaks – personal breaks, refreshment breaks, you need breaks. Having plans for your route which includes restrooms, coffee, water, all these food things, will make your walkers so much happier. Plan a good route taking these things into consideration.

Enjoy yourself! There are pressures that come alongside being a walk leader, but make sure you take the time to chat to people, make new friends, and enjoy yourself! You deserve it – in planning and leading a Photowalk you’re doing a wonderful thing. You’re amazing, well done!

Much love