I am super excited to be one of the speakers again at the 8th Annual B&H Photo OPTIC conference (called OPTIC 2022 – It’s a conference for outdoor, wildlife, travel photography, and post-processing), and after a couple of years of doing it virtually, this year they are doing a hybrid event where it’s your choice – you can go and be there live in person as it happens at the New Yorker Hotel up in Manhattan, or you can catch the conference virtually, but here’s the best part – all you have to do is RSVP and tell ’em you’re coming (and, of course, choose in person or online) Registration is free. That’s it. You’re in. Boom. Done.

I’m teaching sessions on travel photography, on post processing your travel photos, and I’m co-hosted a dinner cruise (well, that’s for the folks who come in person of course), along with B&H Photo’s on rockstar David Brommer, and I really want you to be there, so RSVP right now at this link.

Besides me (and awesome instructors like Joe McNally, Deb Sandidge, and Matt Kloskowski among many others), plus there’s an Industry Trade Show, Panels, Portfolio Reviews, Webinars, that Sunset Cruise I mentioned earlier, a Print Competition, and OPTIC Signature Photo Walks around the city. All you have to do is RSVP at http://www.bhoptic.com, and you’re in. You should RSVP right now and I’ll see you, one way or the other, up in New York City, June 12-15, 2002 – it’s going to be incredible – I hope you can go. :)

Anyway, as you can tell, I’m super psyched to speaking in front of an in-person audience; I’m delighted B&H Photo asked me back again, and I’m honored to be sharing the stage with so many amazing photographers. I just. Can’t. Wait!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, everybody, and we’ll catch ya next week. :)

-Scott

AI Demo from ON1 with Scott Kelby & Dan Harlacher | The Grid Ep. 515

Want to make your editing life easier with the latest in AI tech? Check out the latest episode of The Grid with Scott Kelby, where he’s joined by Dan Harlacher of ON1 Software to share the latest advances in their software suite!

New KelbyOne Course: Making Logos In Photoshop with Dave Clayton

If you have Photoshop you can make a logo! Join Dave Clayton for a fun introduction to creating logos in the Swiss Army knife of programs, Photoshop. You’ll learn how to use type, custom shapes, combine shapes, put type on a path, create mockups, export your finished logos, and a whole lot more. Dave packs expert tips and tricks into each lesson and eases even a beginner into the tools and process of creating a logo from scratch.

Angelique Kidjo is interviewed by Sal Masekela at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.
Angelique Kidjo is interviewed by Sal Masekela at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

We arrived on site for day two of Bonnaroo around 1:00pm, and I started with an interview with singer/songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo and Red Bull’s Sal Masekela. When photographing interviews like this, my goal is to capture images that show both the production involved in case the client has a need for it, as well as just photos of the interviewer/interviewee. Depending on the space I have to move around, I’ll use some mix of the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses.

From there, I went back to the Red Bull trailer to do a quick edit and check in with my editor before heading out for my first performance of the day at What Stage (the main stage).

Since this was the first day of performances on the main stage, I arrived at the early to make sure I familiarized myself with the entry points and introduce myself to security. The stage had a thrust in the middle (, and I found out that most of the photographers would be stationed on one side of it. I made my way to the opposite side, because who wants to get the same photos everyone else is getting?

Francis & The Lights performs at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

Francis & The Lights, of which Francis Farewell Starlite is the sole member, took the stage with a highly energized set. As the first act of the day on this stage, he really woke up the crowd with his performance. I mostly relied on the 11-24 mm f/4 as my wide lens for his set.

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It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here! Just like every other Tuesday I’m here to write something from the world of travel, photography, and inspiration! Today is my first 24 hours with my feet solidly back on the ground in the UK (and back to the van!) and I have to say, the USA has hit me hard with ideas! Don’t be surprised if you see me back real soon!

Today I want to talk about changing direction in our photography. Everything I’m doing with my van is not long term. You may be aware that in moving into a van I’m simply enjoying my freedom after leaving the 9-5 life that pinned me down whilst working on the next plan. The next plan is coming together but on the outside it probably appears to be a change in direction. It isn’t, but….

Changing direction isn’t a bad thing. If we do it too much it can be bad, such as constantly jumping around and leaving the impression that we aren’t committed to a single thing, but changing the direction of the big ship that is our life can be a good thing for us, and that’s exactly what I did. Here’s the scoop: –

I worked for 14 years as a cop in central London, UK. When I was growing up it was one of the items on a short list of things I wanted to do. Also on that list were NatGeo photographer and Pilot, but for whatever reason I ended up following the cop path. It was secure and steady, and it was fun. What it wasn’t is engaging. It wasn’t activating the things in my mind and body that pushed me forward.

Only a few years into that job I decided to concentrate on my photography hobby. The thing that had pushed me with that whilst growing up was looking at a bunch of awesome books and wishing I was able to take the photos. It wasn’t just the ability to take the photos, though. It was being in those places.

Now I find myself understanding all of this and having a foundation in my photography personality, I can now steer this ship a lot better and carve out the path that’s meant for me. It’s with this short piece explaining the absolute basics of my journey that I reach out to you with today to say this: –

Once in a lifetime as often as you can.

Yep, that’s the tag you’ve heard in all my YouTube videos and all over my blog. It’s the root behind everything I’m doing and ever since that saying hit me in Turkey whilst watching the balloons at sunrise over Cappadoccia I’ve let it guide me. If a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, take it. Better still, make it. Changing direction now and then is a good thing for us and for our creativity. And with that… I’ll catch you next week!

Much love
Dave

Above: that’s me Saturday night singing (I sing lead on a few songs and backup on the rest). Dig my Royal British Airforce insignia t-shirt. I had a cool jacket I was going to wear, but it was out in my car, and it started raining, and old guys don’t do well running in the rain, so…

When I was just 16, I played in my first rock band. The band was named “Phoenix,” and I was the drummer. The singer (James Aparo) and I were the two young guys in the band (we were just high school juniors, while Tim the bass player, Tayloe the keyboard player, and Tony the Lead Guitar player were all Seniors). They were also very accomplished musicians for their age, which meant James and I received a constant flow of disdain commensurate with the fact they had to put up with us two uncool lowly juniors in the band, which I have to imagine was unbearable for them (LOL!). 

Above: that’s Joe (our singer, and really cool guy), me (looking rather serious), Tony our lead guitar player, and Tim the bass player on the far right. Photo by the wonderful (and super gracious for coming out and taking photos), Larry Becker.

Anyway, every five years, we all reunite to play our high school reunion, minus our singer James for the past few – he’s a star in his own right, still playing concerts, and he wrote Faith Hill’s Grammy-winning mega hit “Cry” – his stage name is Angie Aparo. Still, back in school, he was just “James” to us or “hey kid” to the seniors). Well, this Saturday night was our 45th reunion, and we got to play again for the big Saturday night party (it was a huge Senior class from a vast high school).

From L to R: Tayloe Harding on keyboards, “Big Dog,” on percussion, Joe Mathien on vocals, Me, Tony McMahon on lead guitar, Tim Colton on bass, and Dean Erskine on Rhythm guitar and banjo.
Above: I look like I’m angry at my mic, but in reality, I just want those damn kids off my lawn!

It’s “Not My Reunion”

When I tell my wife it’s time again to play this gig; she quickly reminds me that it’s actually NOT my reunion – it’s really the other guys in the band’s reunion. I graduated the following year (remember, I was just a junior), so my wife refers to it, lovingly, mind you, as the “Not My Reunion” gig. However, at this past Saturday night’s reunion, I realized that I am now officially old (that’s me below, on Saturday night between sets, not looking quite as old as I’m about to realize that I am).

Above: The calm before the storm. Taken right after our first set. Hardly sweating at all, because I was mostly napping.

We rehearsed on Friday over at the local college’s music building and then set up for our sound check and the gig on Saturday. It was so great to see these guys again, catch up, and a real treat to play with them (plus, they don’t treat me like a high school junior anymore, which is a big plus). We’re mainly playing the same songs we did back in the day (Doobie Brothers, Bad Company, Chicago, Lynyrd Skynrd, The Eagles, Steely Dan, Santana, ZZ Top, Grand Funk, and even a KISS song). We have a lot of laughs along the way, but we take the gig pretty seriously, and the crowd at the reunion is really great to play for. They dance, they cheer and applaud a bunch, it’s really a fun night (and yes, someone always, always yells from the crowd, “Freebird!”, and yes, we ended the night with it).

Above: Here’s a view of my drum kit before the gig (well, actually it’s my son’s kit – he let me borrow it for the gig). The rug is there in case I need a nap.

It was at this moment when it hit me…

Most of the folks attending this event are around 63 years old (so much older than me. Stop smirking), anyway, between sets, the reunion’s official MC is on the mic making various announcements and giving away some prizes, and then in a moment I’ll never forget, the MC asks the crowd (and I am not making this up):

“If you’ve had hip replacement surgery or any joints surgically replaced, come on up to the stage to be recognized.”

That. Right. There. If I ever needed proof that I am officially old, I am now playing gigs where the MC asks if you’ve had a hip or joint replacement to come up and be recognized, and it’s not even my reunion. Mine is next year. What has happened to me? It all went so fast. Anyway, sure enough, around 30 or 40 people came up to the stage, and he asked that we give them all a big round of applause. Maybe we were applauding that they could make it to the stage. I don’t know, it was all a blur at that point, and all I could think of was this was probably as solid of a sign as I’m going to get that it’s time for me to just be done with it and finally join AARP.

OK, it’s time for a five-year flash back

OK, this is me, same hall, same gig, but five years ago, and look at the massive kit I’m playing – double bass drums, loads of cymbals, two-floor toms, etc. Now look back at the photo from this year: one bass drum, one-floor tom, and a sensible amount of cymbals. Holy crap, I am getting old. Next time, I’ll probably be down to one tom, maybe a snare and a small cymbal. Or just a washboard.

Let’s go back even further

Yup – that’s me with the gloves and the bolo neck tie with strings, back in the late 80s. My wife Kalebra is in the center (we’re married 33 years this year). That Tony Llanes (from my current band on the far left – I still play with this Tony after all these years – if you’ve heard my band at Photoshop World parties, you’ve seen Tony play. On the far right, that’s Scotty, my drummer, and you probably saw him play at Photoshop World, too. Both are super talented musicians, and both are like brothers to me. Finally, that’s Jackie Green in the white jacket. One heck of a bass player and singer.

What the heck – let’s go back even further

That’s the band “Strut” from 1980 (slogan: “Shake your butt to Strut!”). Hey, five points to the photographer back then for using a fog machine. Anyway, we were pretty much a disco/funk band, and that’s me in the red shirt with the white “I’m the keyboard player” tie. Yup, that’s Tony Llanes again on the far left, who hired me to play keyboards in Strut when I was just 20 years old. Behind him (and me) is Dennis Mones (absolutely incredible drummer); to my right, that’s percussionist Nicky Noyes, vocalist Betts Johnston, and bassist Ray Villadonga. Of course, all of them were way better than me, but I learned so much from being in that band – about music, business, and life. Clearly, I learned nothing about how to dress. 

Anyway, thanks for coming on this journey of discovery that I am, now, officially old as a dinosaur. If you’re thinking of posting a comment along the lines of “You’re only as old as you feel,” just know, at that moment, I was feeling pretty darn old (but I still rocked it!). LOL!!! 

Here’s wishing you a “throw down your walker and dance” kinda Monday! :)

-Scott
Certified Old Guy/Aging Rocker

New KelbyOne Course: Uncovering the Magic of the Golden Hours with Rick Sammon

Learn how to capture your best photographs during the best time of day! Join Rick Sammon as he uncovers the magic of photography during the golden hours. In this class Rick shares tips for shooting before, during, and after sunrise and sunset, as well as his post processing techniques for making photos look their best. You’ll learn how to make the most of that warm golden glow, those long dramatic shadows, and the cool blue time that comes before sunrise and after sunset.

In Case You Missed It: Uncovering The Magic of Utah’s National and State Parks with Rick Sammon

Join Rick Sammon for a mini-course on landscape photography while uncovering the magic of Utah’s state and national parks. Rick takes you on a road trip that starts in Salt Lake City, Utah and ends in Las Vegas, Nevada, while showing you an array of amazing places to photograph along the way. You’ll be introduced to places like Bryce Canyon, Goblin Valley State Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and so many more! At each scenic location Rick shares his tips, tricks, techniques to help you get the most out of your gear, your photography, and your time. With Rick, you’re sure to have a ton of fun and by the end of the class you’ll be ready to plan your next trip to photograph all that Utah has to offer.

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