Tag Archives dave williams

I’m Dave Williams, here for #TravelTuesday at ScottKelby.com as always, and let me start by saying that right now I have zero trips booked! Zero! This is unusual for me, but I’ve got a lot going on with a new writing gig over at DIYPhotography, and I’m moving house this month. This is not good for me—I’m feeling very apprehensive and need to get a trip booked soon, so if anyone has any ideas of where I should go next, drop it in the comments!

This week, I want to address a subject which is very important in making our images stand out, and one which unfortunately seems to take a back seat. Depth! Giving our images the third dimension is very beneficial in keeping the viewer’s eyes on our image just a little longer. Considering a foreground, middle ground, and background is the simplest way to bring the third dimension to life, but there are some techniques that can help us do this. Lucky for you, I’ve slimmed it down into five steps! Let’s go!

Use Perspective

If we have different elements of a scene that provide perspective, we create a sense of depth. Converging lines do this very well. Converging lines draw our eyes through a subject, perhaps to another subject, and eventually end at the horizon.

The lines of the roofs and floors of the cabins in the foreground, on either side, extend to the background and converge. They converge on the centre cabin, but could just as easily converge on the horizon and do the same job.

Use Leading Lines

Similarly to using converging lines, we can use leading lines to convey depth in a scene with fantastic results. A simple way to do this is to use a wide-angle lens, but any lens will work fine if we’re considerate about what we’re doing. The lines don’t even need to be obvious—they can be subliminal or subconscious and work great.

Everything in this shot leads the eye to the jagged stack in the sea—all the lines, the clouds, and even my gaze. Yes, it’s a selfie.

Go Aerial

Aerial shots add depth through both perspective and atmosphere. Incorporating atmospheric conditions into our shot helps convey a sense of depth and dimension.

If we reinforce our aerial perspective through the use of another one or more techniques from this list, we are onto a winner.

Shoot Through Something

By literally adding another layer to our image we add a sense of depth. We can do this by using a part of the environment as a frame, or by selecting something like a plant to shoot through, focussing on either element to create the depth.

Consideration should be given to which element deserves focus. As you can see here, when I shot this grass on top of a Norwegian fjord, I decided it deserved the attention whilst the enormous depth of the background adds an enigmatic quality.

Isolate the Subject

By using depth of field to isolate our subject, we inherently create depth through bokeh. The blurred background helps to separate the subject from the background.

This Hairy Highland Cow was shot at f/2.8, which is a decent, wide aperture and lends itself to this kind of bokehed background.

How’s that for quick-fire education on a Tuesday!? I hope something in there was useful for you. But, seriously, I don’t have any trips booked! If you think of something, shout at me on my Insta. I’m feeling very tripophobic right now.

Define: Tripophobia [ trip-uhfoh-bee-uh ]

  1. (n) The fear of not having any trips booked.

Much Love
Dave

#TravelTuesday is happening, people! Right here at ScottKelby.com it’s me, Dave Williams, and this week I want to dispel a myth about the pros!

I’ve just returned from a trip to Norway and Finnish Lapland, and the weather was disgusting! That’s what prompted this post. I didn’t get nearly as many photos as I usually do because there was a lot of thick, sideways snow and I didn’t fancy the risk-to-life to get some of the shots I wanted. One of my plans was to climb a mountain overlooking a small cove in the Lofoten Islands, but that never came to fruition owing to the severe weather and deep snow, for example. This led to me not returning with nearly as many photos as usual, which in turn led me to think this: –

When I was starting out I spent a lot of time thinking I had a lot of shots that were no good, and that there was no way the likes Scott Kelby or David Yarrow would have such a collection of out-of-focus, over and underexposed shots that I had. I figured that these guys are the pros and they must have a whole collection of keepers and nothing else.

To take this up a step, when I go somewhere there’s usually that “one shot” I’m going for, and if I get it I’m happy. For this last trip, it was a very simple shot, and one not often seen of the Reine region of the Lofoten Islands. It’s not a tricky shot (aside from the 40MPH gusts that were seriously pushing the limits of my tripod), but it’s a shot I wanted. It’s this one: –

So, one shot. One. There are a handful of other shots from the mission that will end up on blogs and stock, but it is just a handful. When I was starting out, I wish I’d known that the photographers who make a living from this and travel the world and are known for their advice and tutorials are also knocking out far less keepers than I thought, and that it wasn’t just me! I mean, it’s a good thing to have that little burning thought as motivation to work harder, but it’s just as important to know that having a whole reel of keepers isn’t realistic. Bottom line is this: – they aren’t all keepers!

Don’t judge yourself by your bad shots, we all have them! Sometimes I can come back from a trip and have no special shots. Sometimes there’s a bunch of “standard” shots, not particularly creative, not particularly special, not good enough for the portfolio, just good enough for stock.

That’s the purpose of this post summed up. Sometime’s there’s a pile of rejects, and often there’s just that one shot. It’s not just you, it’s all of us.

Much love

Dave

Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here on ScottKelby.com 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

Dave

#TravelTuesday has come round again, and I’m here on ScottKelby.com. I’m Dave Williams and this week, I want to start by saying, “well done” to all the walk leaders of events around the globe as part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk®! Great work, team! To everyone who attended a walk, I hope you had a fantastic time and made some great, new friends! Don’t forget to enter the contests as there are some top-notch prizes on offer across all the categories!

The thing I want to address in today’s post is about photography on social media. Specifically, how to deal with a problem I recently encountered. You know those interactive panoramas on Facebook? Well, there’s a piece of code that figures out whether your image is suitable by checking whether or not it’s a panorama when you upload. It checks the height vs width ratio of your image as one factor, but this isn’t the deciding factor as to whether your image is posted as an interactive panorama or a 360° photo. I learned this to my frustration recently with this post.

When I was in Iceland last week I saw the most spectacular show Mother Nature has to offer—the Northern Lights were filling the entire sky, all night long, owing to a geomagnetic storm. I set up my tripod on the road at the top of a mountain pass in north-east Iceland, far away from civilisation, and shot 16 exposures over-lapped, covering an entire circle around my position. I used Adobe Photoshop to stitch the exposures together as a panorama when I got home, using Merge to Panorama.

I shot the images using my Nikon Z6 (remember this for a second). When I went to upload the panorama to Facebook, it was looking just like this: –

I wanted the image to be an interactive panorama, but the code in Facebook wasn’t picking up that it was a panorama for some reason, and I couldn’t work out why. I tried uploading from my computer and from my phone, but it just wasn’t making a difference.

I was reading about how Facebook decides whether a photo is a panorama, and whether it’s solely the aspect ratio. As I said already, it turned out this wasn’t the only deciding factor. The camera used to take a panorama is also a factor, so I had to manipulate Facebook and trick it into making my panorama one of those cool, interactive ones, just like I wanted. Here’s how: –

Facebook recognises images of a certain aspect ratio taken on a phone as being an interactive panorama, or a 360° photo, however, we know my image was shot on the Nikon Z6, not on a phone. I had to make Facebook think it was a phone shot, but how? Well, it’s quite simple: If you use an EXIF editor, you can change all manner of details about an image. One such thing is the make and model of camera used to take the shot. By simply uploading the image at theXifer.net and changing the EXIF data to show that the image was taken on an Apple iPhone, rather than a Nikon Z6, this was sufficient for Facebook to accept the uploaded file as a 360° photo, and allowed my social media followers to get a sense of what I was seeing at 2 a.m. on the top of a mountain pass in Iceland. Simple!

I’ll be sharing a lot more detailed info on the Northern Lights really soon, so stay tuned if you want to know more.

Much love

Dave

#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.

Much love

Dave

#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

Milky Way over Zion national park

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.

Much love

Dave

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