#TravelTuesday sure does come round quick! That means I, Dave Williams, am here to impart a little nugget for you right here on ScottKelby.com and today I want to touch on something worth considering – Which camera settings really matter?
When we first get a new camera, be it as a newbie or a pro, there are settings abound which we try to work out from the get go and often we can be overwhelmed with what’s really worth giving most of our attention to. It’s worth learning how to properly set up your camera, both in the first instance and when setting up individual shots. That way you’ll be more likely to get the shots you want.
One of the best ways to learn about how camera settings affect your photo is to switch into any other mode than Auto. In Auto mode your camera is making all the decisions for you, which means you aren’t likely to be learning anything. What we need to understand at this level is how Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Learn how to quickly change these settings as well as how they relate and intertwine with each other both technically and creatively, and you’re off to a great start.
There are some great resources out there to learn about ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture, including from KelbyOne, but as well as that it’s important to understand and learn how to quickly control Metering and Exposure. Experiment with these as well by trying the focussing modes and metering modes, learning what works best in a variety of situations so that when you’re in a situation of elevated intensity it can become second nature to change to the right settings.
Having a good understanding of what results come from changing various settings, and being able to change those settings without looking really are two very important things in photography, particularly in fields which are fast-paced such as wedding or pet photography. If you don’t have these two things nailed, make it your priority!
I’m here for any questions as always, and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram if you want to get in touch.
#TravelTuesday and ScottKelby.com combine means one thing – I’m here! I’m Dave Williams and each week I step in to give Scott a little break and offer you something from the world off Photoshop, Photography, Travel or Life. Today it’s about life, and I want to share three little quirky incidents from the past couple of weeks while I was in Utah, Arizona and Nevada following an epic Photoshop World Conference.
Story #1 – the Area 51 thing
So, towards the end of the trip I was in Hurricane, UT, not far from Zion National Park, and throughout the entire trip I was with Siân Elizabeth. We were in the car at about 11:30pm and driving west towards our classy hotel, the Days Inn, and something strange happened. Straight in front of us, high up in the sky, a bright, white light moved from way high on the left, straight down to the Earth on the bottom right. We both saw it and a moment of silence in the car was broken by us both saying, “did you see that?!”
The strange light in the sky was too slow and long for a shooting star, too fast for a plane, and too coincidentally directly above Area 51 (some 150 miles straight in front of us) to be anything other than Paul. That’s right, I made a movie reference to an alien – because it must have been, right?
If you’ve seen the incredible work of Erik Kuna you’ll know that space is humungous and personally I don’t think there’s any where we’re alone here. This was cool, but it put me on edge a little, wondering if it had seen me see it, and I watched my back for a few days!
Story #2 – for the gram
So, back-track a few days and we were in Monument Valley. The place is phenomenal – a truly exquisite work of art by Mother Nature. I’d seen Monument Valley by night but now, having spent a couple of days exploring, I can honestly say it is a magical place that captivated my pants off. One evening whilst on the Monument Valley Loop Drive shooting the area at sunset and into twilight and beyond we came across a pull-out with a rather large rock in the middle of it, roughly the size of an ambulance and perhaps a little bit taller.
As we approached the rock there was a car parked tight up against it and a little flashing light from a cell phone atop it. Wondering whether I was about to be lured into a trap (then remembering where I was, so likely not) I tentatively pulled up close by and rolled down the window and shouted out to see if all was ok. Turns out all was not ok and a young girl was stranded on top of the rock with her mother in the car beside it and they’d been there a good few hours because the girl wanted to get up on top to shoot a little video ‘for the gram.’ The video, I’m sure, went really well and she probably got lots of likes, but she was now stuck!
Being the gentleman that I am I was now in a position where I had to rescue the poor girl. I had her sit down and shimmy down the side of the rock until her feet landed on my shoulders before dramatically swooping her to the safety of terra firma, then exchanged a quick few pleasantries before getting back on with shooting the dramatic landscape, not quite sure what had just happened. All in a days work for a travel photographer, right?
Story #3 – the growler
This one shook me, I’ll be honest.
Siân and I were shooting the Red Reef Trail of Red Cliffs Recreation Area in Utah, also known as Cottonwood Canyon, when we came up against a little hurdle. It was all going really well – I’d found a cool cave to shoot out of for great framing, but unfortunately it was so hot that the river had dried up and there were just a few puddles left where the waterfalls had previously cascaded. The tier system of the canyon was cool to shoot anyway so we trekked further and further up the gorge. We reached a section which had a rope attached to the canyon walls so that people could climb up to the next stage and I went up there, with Siân instead electing to stay down at the previous stage and shoot the little frogs around the water.
I was up safely and walking along the canyon about 1/4 mile from where I’d left Siân and reached a fork. The left section stretched off into the distance, and the right section quickly turned a corner and out of sight. At the fork there was a cool depression in the ground containing the driftwood that had been carried down the now dry river, so I got myself all set-up to shoot it as the foreground of what would’ve undoubtedly turned into an awesome composition. I’ll never know what that photo turned out to look like however, as when I was bent over getting my camera ready I heard a few thuds on the slope up the canyon walls immediately to my left where the canyon was shallower and covered in boulders and bushes.
The thuds, perhaps 3 or 4 of them, immediately grabbed my attention in the silence of the canyon and I stood and turned to face the direction they’d come from. I saw nothing among the terrain but a few seconds later were two more thuds, one accompanied by what I can only describe as a grunt, as if something had accidentally engaged it’s vocal chords and exhaled upon landing.
The entire time we were on the road trip there was talk of what we may see in the wilderness, from snakes and scorpions to bears and cougars. The cougar, or mountain lion, is what I saw in my mind when I heard the grunt, and I kept my eyes focussed on the slope of the canyon wall while gathering my things and walking slowly but purposefully back the way I had come from. Concerned about being followed, and more concerned about alarming Siân, I got back to her and told her it was time to leave. I obviously wasn’t very discrete while I was walking behind her and kept checking my back because she soon figured out that something was up, but we got out of there pretty sharpish!
My three little stories of strange happenings whilst in the States are all part of the experience (and fortunately I wasn’t cat meat, nor did I get probed) and part of the reason why I love travel. From travel I get so many awesome experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise get.
Some people say that I’m lucky, but in response to that I think that luck is a what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I prepare and I search for opportunities, and I strongly urge you all to do likewise because when that luck strikes it’s a fulfilling, inspiring experience that often results.
#TravelTuesday with Dave sure comes around quick, doesn’t it! I’m back!
From time to time we may need to remind ourselves about why we work so hard at photography and don’t seem to get anywhere, be it for any number of reasons ranging from being stuck in a rut or for trying to achieve something time after time that fails. Like me, trying to get a shot of a lighthouse in front of a huge chalk cliff and failing several times in my efforts before finally getting the shot!
It took me three attempts to get that shot, and I even got capsized in my kayak in the process. But anyway, the point is this: –
Make your big goals more manageable by breaking them into smaller tasks.
Remind yourself why you’re doing it.
Remember the good feelings.
Use your strengths.
Decide to take action.
That’s it, that’s the list!
Okay, I’ll explain. If we have a big goal, it’s harder to achieve it. If we have a setback, it’s likely to put us off altogether if our goal is big. Whereas, if we break up our big goal into smaller, more manageable tasks we’re far more likely to succeed because those small tasks are accomplishments that together lead to achieving our big goal. If we fail at one of the small tasks, we’re far more likely to keep trying to overcome the problem because of number three—the good feelings.
The good feelings we get when we achieve something stick with us, but in moments where we feel that perhaps we aren’t hitting our targets or realising our goals, taking a moment to remind ourselves of the good feelings will help to spur us on even further. Taking that feeling and reminding ourselves why we’re doing something is valuable. That reminder as to why can often be enough to pick us up when we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, and perhaps it’s that one occasion when we remind ourselves that we suddenly make progress where we weren’t before.
Pushing to number four (because this is obviously in order from the above list), we need to use our strengths, and in order for that to happen effectively, we need to recognise them—and our weaknesses! Knowing comprehensibly what our strengths are will help us to achieve goals, but knowing what our weaknesses are will help as well.
And, finally, take action! There are a lot of people out there doing nothing much aside from telling other people how they should be doing things. Don’t be that person—the person who says it can’t be done is usually interrupted by the person doing it.
So, if you have a shot in mind that’s particularly challenging, don’t give up on it! Persist, come up with a game plan, and keep trying. Pick yourself up when you fail, dust yourself off, and get it done.
The thing that motivated me to write this is the shot above. I was researching shots of Beachy Head Light in the UK and noticed they’re all very much alike. I wanted to be different. I knew the topography of the area was such that the enormous white, chalk cliff was essentially a hill, tapering off on either side of the lighthouse, and I wanted to feature that in my shot. I tried three times to get the shot, capsizing in a kayak and sliding all the way down the hill on my behind, but I didn’t let these things put me off and I got my shot.
Don’t give up. If something fails, try something else. And, then something else. Remind yourself why you did it, identify which of your strengths will help you, break down the task, remember the good feelings, and take action.
P.S. My Sunrise Challengehas just one week left – get your entries in for a chance to win big!
#TravelTuesday with Dave has come around again, you lucky, lucky people!
I’ve just returned home from a trip to Valensole in Provence, France, where I’ve been shooting lavender, sunflowers, mountains, and all manner of French fancies. I hope you were following along on my usual Instagram Story but if you weren’t, here’s a little glimpse at what I was doing: –
I have a tiny, itsy-bitsy secret…. The lavender season was pretty much over and there were just a few fields of lavender left un-harvested! What this means for you isn’t much, but what it means for me is a fair amount of Photoshop action.
In other news, my Sunrise Challenge starts today! I’ve teamed up with KelbyOne, Drobo, Platypod, Litra, and BlackRapid, and they’ve very kindly donated some amazing prizes which are up for grabs to you lucky people! In fact, the total prize haul is worth in excess of $1,000!!!!
For your chance to win check out the full details right here, but basically I want you to set your alarm clock bright and early and go shoot a sunrise. Here’s why: –
Sunrise and sunset are the best times of day to go and make photos. There’s a golden hour while the sun’s up, and a blue hour while the sun’s below the horizon. Take a look around and notice how many of the awesome landscape photos you see in everyday life are taken at sunrise and sunset. The thing is though, sunrise totally beats sunset! Sunrise is a magical time of day where the world around you is just waking up. The summer sky is generally filled with haze, however at sunrise this haze tends to be absent. Sunset has colour scattered across the sky, whereas sunrise tends to focus the colour around the sun itself.
At sunset our eyes are tired from the brightness of the day, but at sunrise we are adapted to the dark and notice the colours and brightness so much more vividly. With these factoids in mind, there’s one further thing that steps sunrise up a gear over sunset – the change in view! Sunset shots are far more common than sunrise, so if we shoot sunrise we’re able to get a more unique perspective by changing our focus in the opposite direction to the more commonly seen angles of famous subjects.
On the whole we, as a species, don’t like to be up early enough to shoot sunrise. Not regularly, anyway! While it’s more ‘normal’ for us to sleep in a little and spend our energy shooting throughout the day and into sunset, the rewards of shooting a sunrise range from being set up to an awesome day ahead, through to potentially capturing the best photos we’ve ever gotten. Oh, and if you’re not so much of a people-person, their absence in at sunrise will be great for you!
Moving away from the photography, and with absolutely nothing to back this up, I swear that breathing the morning air is good for your health! Just as an added extra!
Moving back to Provence, if you ever get the opportunity to visit, take that opportunity! The vibe across most of rural France is pretty good. There’s a rustic charm and a generally laid back mood, but the past few days I’ve been exploring whilst making the launch image for the Sunrise Challenge have genuinely been amazing. I found myself racing across the countryside trying to capture as many views as possible at golden hour. To my surprise, having been immersed in views of the famous lavender fields of Valensole for the past month or so, there were barely any photographers taking advantage of the beautiful light. All day whilst driving around there were hordes of people shooting in the harsh, direct sunlight, but at dawn and dusk I found myself completely alone as if the whole plateau had been abandoned. During the days there were tourists walking the fields, but there were also couples and small groups with changes of clothing doing their ‘Instagram shoots’ in totally the wrong light. I felt like telling them to relax and come back later, but there were just too many people!
As for Valensole, there’ll be more on the story over on my blog in the next few days, but for now I urge you to get out and shoot that sunrise!
It’s #TravelTuesday with Dave! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every Tuesday with something for you from the world of Photoshop, Photography, Travel, or life, and today was never going to be the exception! This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hooking up with The Kelby’s in my home town, London, England. Scott and his son, Jordan, were over in Europe on a trip and we went on a little jaunt to Greenwich in South East London, and this is the inspiration for today’s post.
Travel photography doesn’t actually require travel! Big news, right? Well here’s why: – the whole point behind travel photography is to make the viewer want to be there, in the photo, seeing the sights, smelling the smells, and feeling the feels. It doesn’t mean you, the photographer, have to be in another country, rather it means the viewer needs to be seeing a place with which they aren’t familiar or where they want to go. Whatever the underlying style, be it landscape, architecture, lifestyle, portraits, so long as the image makes the viewer want to be in the place depicted you’re succeeding as a travel photographer.
From this we know that travel photography can be a little closer to home for us, so that’s exactly what I did with Scott and Jordan. We went to Greenwich to shoot travel – architecture in this instance, but travel nonetheless. The location is just down the road from me, thousands of miles from Scott and Jordan, but regardless of distance it’s travel in that we wanted to show the location in its best light and, from our photos, make people want to be there. Well, Scott and I did. Jordan maybe not so much, but it seemed he was having a good time learning that the paint on the walls is probably older than the USA!
As Scott explained here yesterday, he was here to be a tourist. He wanted to get some shots checked off the list. For me the little exploration mission was travel photography, but it wasn’t travel. I hadn’t actually gone anywhere. It hit the point home that travel photography isn’t necessarily about the photographer travelling, rather it’s about everything else I’ve mentioned. We had a good look around at Greenwich before heading back to central London: –
What a pleasure it was to take Scott and Jordan on tour in London, and next week I’ll be writing from KelbyOne where I’ll be recording some classes. Show me your travel photography and keep up with mine on Instagram!
Hello, hello, hello, and welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider so I, Dave Williams, am here for you! Yes, that’s right, for you! Every week, right here, I try to either get your cogs turning or share something to make your life a little easier or a little better. (And, it’s no easy task, let me tell you!) But, first off, I have a little story to share with you about an encounter I had with a fox, during which I learned exactly what is and what isn’t covered by the warranty offered by BlackRapid—you can read that here. Moving on, however, let me tell you what I came here to tell you!
The punchy title, above, doesn’t give a lot away really, does it? I tend to do that. I’m not going to say ‘clickbait,’ but yeah, you know. Here’s exactly what I’m going to show you:
Using Adobe Spark Post, it’s really simple to bring one of your iPhone Live Photos to life as a video to easily share anywhere. It’s so easy it’s actually going to make for a really, really short post (so I may have to drag it out somewhat ;-).
Here’s what I’ll show you how to do (I’ve helpfully embedded the file here, as well as provided a link to it separately, just in case you have a disastrous browser situation because I’m nice like that. Anyway, what was I saying about padding this out a little?):
First up, we need to launch the Adobe Spark Post app on an iPhone. Within the app, get a new project up and running.
Next, let’s add a photo. By selecting a photo already present in the post, or by using the Add Image option, select Photo Library from the list and find the Live Photo in your Gallery.
When adding the photo you’ll get the option seen here to select either the Photo or the Live Photo. Let’s choose Live Photo.
When the entire post is complete, hit Share in the upper-right corner, then select Video rather than Image.
This will output the post as a short video made up from the sequence of shots captured when you shot your Live Photo on your iPhone, and it’s a great way to share it easily. The file I shared with you is 3.9mb and is in MP4 format. :)