It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always. Today I’m in rural England putting together the final pieces of a few projects before I head over the channel to mainland Europe again in a couple of weeks. One of the project is a new book all about shooting differently, so keep an eye on my socials for news about that.
Today I want to talk a little about how we can grow by forcing ourselves to be limited, and it’s all about using our phone.
When we’re working on improving composition it can be incredibly helpful to pick up our phone and challenge ourselves with it. The key is to not use the zoom feature but to move and walk around, employing the prime lens technique of ‘zoom with your feet.’
Having this easy method to experiment which test our capabilities and offers us a large image preview give us the opportunity to really open our eyes whilst having the limits we’re putting on ourselves. Being a great photographer relies so much on a combination of elements, including light, depth and composition, and it enables us to think differently and develop skills in the areas that are important to standing out and shooting differently.
When we have these skills that we acquire from pushing ourselves to think differently, thereby shooting differently, we can quite easily transpose these skills to apply to our regular photography. Standing our from the crowd is a huge factor for our growth and, if it’s the direction we want to go, in monetizing our photography. There’s also a lot of opportunity to grow in mobile photography that’s certainly worth exploring!
Give it a go – go set yourself a target and shoot some images exclusively with your phone that push your limits of creativity. And with that….
It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am coming at you from Austin, Texas. Yep, I’m still here! Honestly, though, I’m melting. It’s a far cry from the nordic winter I just experienced. With the word ‘winter’ mentioned I’m now set to let you know that today we’re going ‘off piste’. This post has nothing to do with creativity and everything to do with creativity all at the same time. Let’s go!
The roots of creativity differ with all of us. Some people need constant stimulation, while others need tranquility. There are many things that influence our creativity and I can say with absolute confidence that I know exactly what to do to kick start mine if there’s something lacking. The thing I need is a change of scenery, and it works a treat when I’m in a creative rut. I’m working on a few projects right now, including a book. Being here in Austin is perfect because not only have I changed my scenery simply by being here, I can also change my scenery within Austin when a paragraph doesn’t quite flow right and I need to give myself a boost.
That boost is currently coming to life in the form of a coffee and BBQ tour led by expert tour guide and creative guru, Mark Heaps.
There’s something to be said about how creativity inspires itself. The creativity of the city around me is inspiring the creativity inside of me and I’m getting much more done in this environment. When I feel like there’s a lull, all I have to do is go and sit somewhere else and take inspiration. As I said, the root of creativity is different for each of us. That said, I firmly believe that each of us can be inspired by a change of scenery, even if it’s just by facing the other direction or stepping outside. You can check many of my other posts for creative inspiration, too. Whatever it is that inspires you is something you should keep close to the front of your mind. Whenever you feel your creativity running downhill, pull out that card and play it.
See. Nothing and everything to do with creativity. Now, I have to get back to book writing and lesson planning. If you happen to be in the Austin area, I’ll be speaking at Precision Camera this weekend. Keep an eye on my social feed for details.
Welcome to the online version of my “14th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide,” which is featured in this latest issue of Photoshop User magazine.
I know it’s hard to believe I’ve been writing this for 14 years, which must also mean that I’ve apparently amassed a huge collection of stuff that’s now horribly outdated. This is precisely why it’s so critical that I create a new “Holiday Gear Guide” each year, and sell the old stuff on eBay to pay for all my new stuff. It’s a vicious cycle and one that I’m certain drives my wife crazy. But don’t let our holiday gift discord dissuade you from making the same mistake I have, because it’s the holidays and time to unwrap a bevy of spectacular holiday gems that are perfect for the petulant photographer on your holiday gift list.
As always, these items are gifts and gadgets that I use myself, and not only have I fallen hopelessly in love with them, but like a pacemaker or the new chicken sandwich from Popeyes, I also now find it hard to go on living without them. My job here is simple: Transfer my dependence on these items to you this holiday season, therefore completing the circle of life.
Just remember, giving one of these gifts by itself isn’t enough. The real magic of the holidays is when you can use social media to make others feel less adequate by taking cell phone pictures of all the stuff you bought, and all the stuff you got and sharing it online. It’s what separates us from the animals.
These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide—it’s just two rules actually. To be listed here, they have to be: (a) products that I use myself; and (b) if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation (especially if I wasn’t that crazy about this particular friend—more of an acquaintance, really).
Also, to make things easy, we added direct links to all the products I picked so you don’t have to wonder if you’re getting exactly the right one. (Note: Depending on the product, clicking on the links below will either take you to the manufacturer’s website or if the product is available at B&H Photo or Amazon, then clicking on the links will take you to those websites.)
As is my sacred holiday tradition for more than a 14th of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:
Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if this person has ever asked you for a loan.
Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, so it will look like you spent more than you did, and they’ll think you’re actually a better person than you are. So essentially, these are the perfect gifts.
Cha-Ching!: Stuff you’d buy for the Disney executive or Wall Street hedge fund manager on your Holiday gift list. These will often require a credit check in advance and putting up some sort of collateral.
PhotoPills (for iPhone & Android)
PhotoPills is the app every landscape, nature, or travel photographer should have. It’s like having your own photo assistant out in the field with all the answers to things such as, “When’s sunrise?” “What time is blue hour?” “How long should I keep the shutter open on this long exposure?” and a ton more. But beyond just numbers, it can do everything from tell you exactly which day and time a full moon will be over a particular mountain or lake you want to photograph, or which direction the sun will be coming from at any date and time in the future. Plus, it has a built-in augmented reality feature that can even superimpose the Milky Way’s position over a scene so you’ll know exactly where to set up and compose your shot. It’s easily worth $100, but it’s only $10. It’s truly a killer app!
The tagline for this book is “Images and Stories of the Rarest Species in Illinois,” but this book is really for anyone who loves great wildlife photography. Carol worked on this inspiring book for more than 20 years, and it’s just stunning from cover to cover. Goodreads calls it “…a glorious tribute to some of the most amazing life on our planet.” For a $50 donation to the Team Green Environmental Network, you not only get a printed edition (180 pages softcover) of Carol’s wonderful book, you also get her printed 2020 calendar as well. So you’re getting the book, the calendar, and donating to a good cause, so there’s something in this one for everybody!
Price: $50 donation (includes both her book and calendar)(link)
A Nice Roll of Gaffer Tape
Buying someone a roll of tape as a stocking stuffer may sound like just one step above a lump of coal, but that’s only because you may not realize the magic and wonder that gaffer tape can bring to the life of a photographer. Developed in Hollywood for use in movies and TV shows, this tape does something very special: When you remove it from a wall, equipment, your mother-in-law, etc., it doesn’t pull off paint (or skin) or leave a sticky residue. That’s why photographers love it—it’s easy to tear, easy to use, and doesn’t mess up stuff when you’re done.
Price: A roll of ProTapes Pro Gaffer Tape (2″ x 55 yards) at B&H goes for $20.59 (link)
Rick Sammon’s Bestselling Book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures
Over the years, Rick has written 40 books on photography, and this is his bestselling book ever. Ironically, there’s not a single photo in the book—it’s all words, but powerful words they are. People absolutely love it, and so will the photographer on your holiday gift list. Really great stuff (at a really great price)!
Think Tank Photo Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket (Black)
I love mine because it securely stores all my memory cards, including CF and SD cards, and the design is just right on the money. There isn’t a photographer that wouldn’t love finding this one in their stocking (and if they don’t like it, they really weren’t your friend in the first place now, were they?). Of course, if you really feel close to them, you could always fill those empty card slots with actual memory cards, in which case you should move this entry from Stocking Stuffers to the Cha-Ching! category.
Price: $21.75 (stylist black with gray trim, but also available in bright obnoxious colors) (link)
Platypod Stackable Gooseneck (2-Pack)
If the photographer on your holiday gift list has a Platypod (and if you were really paying attention to last year’s Gift Guide, they do), then what better follow-up gift could there possibly be than the new two-pack of flexible, bendable gooseneck arms. These allow you to mount things such as small portable lights or flashes, or a microphone directly to your Platypod and place them wherever you’d like. The folks from Platypod brought some of these to the PHOTOPLUS Expo in NYC back in early November, and they created a sensation. They not only sold out of every one they had, they even sold their sample. So cool!
If you’ve ever heard your photographer friend say something along these lines, “Ya know, this lens used to be really sharp,” then the Focus Pyramid is for them. It helps them use the in-camera adjustment to get their lens back to being super sharp. (Over time, lenses can lose some of their sharpness for a variety of reasons, like being tossed 700 times into a camera bag, or dropped, or being dipped in molasses, etc.) This will help bring it back to its former glory. Plus, it’s very easy to set up and use.
When I was at a workshop up in Canada, one of the participants had this backpack. I fell in love with it, and I ordered one as soon as I got back. It’s just about the perfect size for those times when you don’t want to lug the whole kitchen sink with you (which for me these days is pretty much always). It’s light, so cleverly designed, and still holds a good amount of gear without overloading you. Really well built and thought out. They will super dig it (and super dig you, too!).
This is always the perfect gift, because B&H Photo is the greatest camera store in the world, and whatever the photographer on your gift list wants, they have it, in stock, ready to ship. They’re the magical unicorns of camera stores. Get them a gift card from here and they’ll follow you anywhere.
Westcott X-Drop Vintage Gray Canvas Backdrop by Glyn Dewis
Photographer, retoucher, and KelbyOne instructor Glyn Dewis has really made a name for himself through his inspirational and touching portraits of World War II veterans, The 39-45 Portraits Project. This backdrop was designed by Glyn himself, so you can get the same style portraits with your subjects, even if they weren’t in any world wars.
The folks at ON1 have been on a roll, and they have fans of their plug-ins all over the planet. Part of the reason is their new AI stuff is pretty incredible. Of course, as the name says, it’s a RAW photo processor, but it’s really so much more, wrapping organization, special effects, RAW processing, and more into a plug-in that your photographer giftee will lose their mind over! It’s really incredible what ON1 has done. You’ll be a champ for picking up this one!
This drive is so incredibly small and lightweight, but it holds a freakin’ terabyte of data and it’s faster than a greased pig (and you know how fast greased pigs can be—well, if you don’t, they’re really, really fast). The person you give this to can take their high-res images with them on vacation, and use the drive to back up images, too. These drives are just incredibly awesome. No way they won’t love this! You can even get a 2-terabyte version for around the same size and weight, but throw another hundo on the fire (totally worth it).
This tiny little rechargeable light is kind of like the GoPro of little lights. In fact, it would be awesome with a GoPro camera, or for doing selfies with your phone, or for bright continuous light for iPhone videos. You can even connect it to a drone for drone lighting. It’s waterproof, and you can even mount it anywhere using the Platypod Gooseneck (see above). It just so tiny, and yet it’s surprisingly bright and flexible, plus there are a ton of accessories for it, and it’s pretty cheap. Well, inexpensive anyway.
Price: $90 (link) Add the LitraTorch Filter set to add lots of colors (includes holders): $35 (link)
A Fine Art print from Bay Photo
You can either get a gift card for the photographer on your list so they can get one of their images printed, or you can give one of your own prints as a gift (which is a very personal gift). Either way, you’ll love the quality of Bay Photo’s Fine Art Prints. Want to give somebody a really memorable gift that’s more than just the product itself? This is it!
This is a special-effects plug-in that just keeps getting more and more incredible! It does everything from replacing skies to adding sunbeams to your photos to retouching skin to any one of a bunch of stuff that’s totally cheating. You’ll be a star for giving this one! You can order version 4 of this bad boy right now and save a few bucks, too.
Price: A killer deal for $99 (this is a special deal that expires soon), plus you’ll get some pre-sets, too (and they’re normally $49 just for the presets!) (link)
This is the updated, newly advanced, “more better” version of their super popular Ellie L-Bracket. When shooting on a tripod, it lets you switch your camera from wide to tall in about two seconds. This is very popular with landscape photographers, who love these to death. The price is right, and it’s available in a lovely metallic slate gray or putrid orange (don’t get it in orange!).
Price: $79.99 (available for preorder with delivery set for the end of November) (link)
XP-PEN Deco Pro Medium Graphics Drawing Tablet
If you’ve always wanted to buy a really nice graphics tablet for your photography friend (a tablet and pen are the pro retoucher’s tools of choice), but the price has kept a good one out of reach; that’s all about to change. Earlier this year I got my hands on the new XP-PEN Deco Pro tablet, and I have to say, I was blown away at the quality for the price. Personally, I like the smaller size tablets (one I can easily fit in my laptop bag or backpack and it takes up less room on my desk), so I’d go with the Small Deco Pro (9×5″), but if you think they’ll want something bigger, go with the Medium (11×6″). They’ll dig the way the double wheel works. Absolutely amazing for the price! (They’ll think you paid way more!)
You might be thinking, “I dunno, Scott, $415 seems like a lot of money for a ballhead,” but I can tell you that’s only because it’s a lot of money for a ballhead. But, at least it happens to be the greatest ballhead in the entire recorded history of ballheads. It’s the single greatest ballhead ever, and you’d be the single greatest gift-giver ever to give one of these to the photographer on your gift list. You’d instantly elevate yourself to “most valued friend or relative.” They’ll cherish this one for many years because it will last forever (even after the Great Gas War of 2046).
Every photographer wants to get close to the action, and this will help them by taking their existing lens and getting them 1.4-times closer. It’s like getting a longer lens for a fraction of the cost, and as long as you buy a quality extender (and I’d only list quality extenders here anyway), there won’t be any real visible loss of quality. These are so awesome and, after buying a friend one, he’ll look upon you with awe. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but they’ll definitely want to nuzzle you (but I’m not sure that’s a good thing!).
Price: Sony FE 1.4 Teleconverter (for E-mount lenses): $548 (link) Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (for EF-mount lenses): $429 (link) Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (for F-mount lenses): $496.95 (link)
Canon RF 24-240mm F4–6.3 IS USM Lens
This is my new go-to travel/walk-around lens and I absolutely love it! Wider than most all-in-one lenses like this (most are 28mm), it’s very lightweight, beautifully designed, and sharp as the dickens. (See how I worked a Charles Dickens reference in there? I know. It’s a gift.) Anyway, this is one kick-butt lens and now it goes with me on every trip. Perfect for the Canon EOS R mirrorless user on your holiday gift list (plus, the price is actually pretty amazing). They’ll lose their minds when you give them this!
The 85mm range for portraits and weddings is a pretty magical one, with its look and style, along with those creamy out-of-focus backgrounds. The f/1.8 range is also the range I recommend (rather than the heavier more expensive f/1.4 or f/1.2 lenses, because their depth of field is so incredibly thin that if you’re not 100% right-on-the-money with your focus technique, you’ll wind up with a lot of out-of-focus shots). With an f/1.8 like this, you’ll save money, it’s much lighter, and you’ll get a lot more shots in focus. I mean to say, “They’ll get a lot more shots in focus.” You’re not buying this for yourself now, are you? ;-)
Profoto C1 Plus (Serious Lighting for iPhone Shooters)
Beautifully designed and built (like all Profoto gear), this super-portable studio strobe (it fits in the palm of your hand) lets iPhone photographers light their subjects like a pro. This is what I’d call the first “serious” flash for serious iPhone shooters, with its soft light and slick design—it’s just so cool! It works with iPhone 7s and up, and you can control the strobe with Profoto’s free app. It has flash and continuous lighting options, and you can even control the light’s color temperature and power output. You can get some nice accessories for it as well, such as gels, a grid, and a dome that snap on its magnetic mount. If your photographers are serious about their iPhone portrait photography, they’ll love this on a crazy level. It’s a can’t-miss gift.
If the photographer on your gift list shoots on location, man are they going to love this! It’s a small, specially designed battery power pack and adapter from the folks at Tether Tools that let you power and charge your laptop, camera batteries, flash or strobes, phone, and most any other USB devices, all while out in the field where you don’t have access to an AC wall outlet. It’s really pretty brilliant, and while I put this in the Cha-Ching! section, the price is actually a bit less than Cha-Ching. It’s more “Cha-Less-Ching” at a little under $270. It’s really well made and cleverly thought out.
The gallery YellowKorner sells three of my fine-art prints of classic interiors at various sizes (you can get some really nice large sizes) and styles and I, for one, would be honored if you saw fit to give one as a gift. Imagine how tickled I’d be if you gave three or four? Or even three or four hundred? The mind reels, doesn’t it? Anyway, they’d make a great addition to your collection (says the author, so his opinion is somewhat tainted, but correct nevertheless). If you purchase one, please post a pic on social and tag me in it so I can share it, as well.
This one is literally on press now and will be available before Christmas. It’s my new book completely focused on how to take really amazing natural-light portraits, and it uses the same style and layout as my Digital Photography Book series: Just one topic per page, so it’s quick-and-easy to digest, and you can turn right to the page you want, for the thing you want to learn, and boom! You’re off and shooting. Be one of the very first to get a copy by pre-ordering now.
It just came out earlier this year and it’s already in its third printing (meaning, the first two print runs of the book completely sold out). It’s my bestselling book in years, and if the photographer on your holiday gift list shoots landscapes (and at some point, we all shoot landscapes, right?), they’ll get a lot out of this book. Well, so I’ve been told.
You’ve probably heard again and again (or you’re already a member and you know firsthand) about all the incredible 700+ online courses, the online community, the webcasts, the magazines, and the discounts that are part of a KelbyOne Pro membership. Now you can share all that with a photographer you super-dig. It’s only $199 for a year, with full access to everything! They’ll devote the rest of their natural life to let you know how thoughtful, caring, and generous you were to change their life in such a meaningful way. Okay, that’s perhaps a best-case scenario, but I think they’ll love you for it (and so will I).
If they love online training, we have a special membership level that focuses on the online classes themselves (with access to more than 300 courses), but it goes for just $9.99 a month. Give ’em a 12-month membership and they’ll love you all year.
Hey hey, happy #TravelTuesday to you all! I’m Dave Williams and, this week, I’m in Norway where it’s currently –9°C in Skibotndalen. I’m writing this on the side of the road right on the Finnish border waiting for a recovery truck. Yes, a recovery truck! I’ve just seen the most amazing aurora, got a little too excited in my rental car, and now I’m stuck in the snow.
Anyway! This week, I want to tell you about the camera settings I use for the northern lights. It’s not dissimilar to shooting waterfalls actually in its concept—if you want the aurora to be sharp with its detail and motion preserved, you need to shoot fast at around 5 seconds max.
Focusing manually is important. If you forget to switch over to manual focus two things happen: – First, your camera will try to focus in darkness and will automatically land on some random focus point, which will probably not have the aurora in focus. And, second, you may miss the focus by rolling out to infinity. When you set your lens to infinity it’s often actually a bit too far. The aurora is around 100 miles up, but even so, the way our lenses are made means we’re pushing the glass a touch too far at optical infinity. Hitting infinity and then making a tiny adjustment back the other way is, in my opinion, the best spot to focus for the northern lights.
If you do choose to have the camera focus for you, find a bright star or something else with brightness and contrast to help your autofocus work its magic.
So, what about different strengths of aurora? Well, if the aurora is weak, I shoot for up to 30s and ISO between 2500–4000. If it’s strong, I’ll shoot between 2s and 15s and ISO 500–3200. In both cases, the aperture will be large at f/2.8 to allow the maximum amount of light to hit my sensor.
I hope this has been helpful and entertaining! Now I’m going to wait for the recovery truck to come and get me out of here, so I can head to Senja and find my hotel.
Hi there! It’s me, Dave Williams, coming at you again this #TravelTuesday at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’ve just returned home from a Stateside mission and returned to a rather gloomy London Town, and I’m a little exhausted from the adventure and the jet lag so massive apologies for posting so late today! I have a little nugget of wisdom though, so I hope it’s worth it for you all. It’s a little tip which I’ve learned from many times on my journey as a travel photographer, and it’s the result of anticipation, climax, anticlimax, and reward! I had this experience again just a few days ago, so I’ll share it through that story to show you why I’m saying what I’m saying.
So, I was in Rhode Island and went to meet up with Kaylee Greer for an awesome adventure. I headed to Kaylee’s place and before we went out I was lucky enough to have my portrait shot by Sam Haddix, which I can’t wait to see! We were all discussing where to go and what to do, which ended up being the Cliff Walk near Newport, RI. The plan was to be there for sunset but you may have sensed already by the words I chose to use there that we weren’t! As is so often the case in the world of travel photography, things change. They may go wrong, they may be somehow cancelled, they may just not be achievable. In this case it was the latter.
Kaylee and I were in Newport having a little explore around the shops there. We had about 4 hours until sunset and everything was in sight. But then it started to go wrong. Right then I saw a postcard stand outside one of the souvenir stores and I was explaining to Kaylee: –
Whenever you go to a new place, one of the best sources of inspiration for shots is the local postcards
And right then I saw something awesome. I had been looking online for the local lighthouses during my entire trip, but right there on one of the postcards was an awesome looking lighthouse on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by azure blue water with waves breaking all around it. I had to shoot it myself! Out came Google Maps and I found the lighthouse, probably 1/4 mile offshore. The problem then became real. That lighthouse was an hour away. Things in the plan were starting to change. Determined to shoot the lighthouse and get back to the Cliff Walk for sunset, we pressed on!
That little lighthouse shoot took longer than anticipated, with a drone battery change required and a few other nice little scenes noticed and shot, which meant that getting back to the Cliff Walk was going to be tight if indeed it happened at all. Turns out it didn’t! But here’s the thing. The intention to shoot the Cliff Walk as the sunset shoot was now flipped out completely, which for me would once have ended up with me in somewhat of a sulk, stubbornly refusing to do anything else in my determination to get there despite knowing full well that I wouldn’t. The moral of the story is this: –
Whenever and wherever you get a sunset, shoot it right there!
A golden hour opportunity is often too good to waste. In this case we were totally in the wrong place according to the plan, but when the sun started to change the light of the entire sky we just stopped in the first ‘slightly nice’ place we saw, which turned out to be a little marina in Tiverton, RI. The change in light made what would likely have been a mediocre scene change into something else. Something worth shooting. Certainly something worth shooting rather than risking shooting nothing by driving on and arriving in the dark, or by stubbornly not shooting anything because the plan had changed! A sunset, wherever it may be, is often worth shooting for either the practice, or for getting a sky to switch out in another photo, or just for the experience of watching another day come to a beautiful close. Us photographers can so often be such a stubborn breed, so don’t let that get in the way of an opportunity!
Many thanks to Kaylee for putting up with me for the day and for sharing that sunset!
Hey hey! It’s me again! I’m Dave Williams, and every #TravelTuesday I’m right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider to share some of my bountiful wisdom from the worlds of photography, Photoshop, travel, and life. Well, today it’s the last two—travel and life! I’m writing this post today from aboard the SuperSpeed ferry from Kristiansand, Norway to Hirtshals, Denmark, and I’ll try to explain my wanderlust.
So, if you’ve been following along on the KelbyOne Instagram story, you’ll know that I’m currently on a mission where I’m riding across Europe from my hometown of London. The purpose of the trip is twofold: (1) to have a little adventure, and (2) to shoot and write for three projects for companies who are involved in my trip—namely Platypod, Triumph, and Sim Imaging. It’s point number 1, though, that I will be exploring with you here.
My wanderlust, my thirst for travel and adventure, is strong and deeply rooted. A little-known fact about me is that I lived in South Africa for eight months, in a little place named Franskraal, just outside Gansbaai which sits between Cape Town and Cape Aghulas. I lived in this tiny little village on the coast, spending my days exploring the countryside and seeking out wildlife, and I spent my evenings dining on fresh, local fish and meat whilst watching the sun go down over the South Atlantic Ocean as the whales leapt and waved their fins at me. Before this, I’d been to a handful of countries whilst growing up—Spain, Greece, France, Barbados, Germany, and the U.S. (Disney World in Florida). It’s this experience that kick-started my desire to travel and see the world. But, then there’s another factor that comes into play: the camera.
I remember being given a camera by my parents on my 14th birthday—a Nikon F40, I think. I’d looked at photography and I wanted to be able to do it, too. I wanted to be able to make great images. To show the world as I see it. Through my eyes. I spent quite some time coming to grips with how it all worked. I wasn’t reading much, but I was experimenting. I was getting used to what happened to my photos when I changed various settings. I was learning about composition. I fancied myself as a bit of a ‘”proper photographer” and kept learning through doing.
Fast forward a number of years and combine the two, and now I was in a place where I’d returned home from South Africa after a few fails. I knew that one thing I wanted to really push harder with was my photography and another was my desire to see more of the world. I got my first DSLR, a Sony Alpha. I was now able to make more photos and spend less money doing it! I was coming to grips with Photoshop too, starting with the cheesy things we all hate like selective colouring, but also the essential things to learn how it all worked!
So, pushing on a bit more, my first “big” solo trip was to Iceland. I fell in love with it, and in fact, with what I can only describe as difference. I like to compare the world with my world. See how other people live. See what’s good about other cultures. It’s true to say that you only appreciate what you have when it’s gone. And, this relates here because it’s only when you go deep into another culture or another place that you really see what you have at home and appreciate it more, while also bringing back positive influences and ideas from the places you visit. Take the Danish concept of Hygge, for example. This mindset, which apparently makes the Danes the worlds happiest people, can give us so much in our lives and it’s only through exploring this idea and this culture, then comparing it with our own, that we can really benefit from it. The Icelandic have a phrase that I absolutely love, and it’s only through coming into difficulty while in Iceland that I know about it. I was in the Westfjords at the Arctic Fox Centre shooting a pair of awesome fox cubs. My camera broke, it was a very expensive one, and it had sustained water damage from a waterfall. I was able to borrow a camera for the rest of my trip, so the few days remaining weren’t wasted, and I was told at the time, “thetta reddast.” My expression must’ve reflected the ultimate confusion when it was uttered to me, but when I asked what it meant it made perfect sense. The explanation I was given from Midge, who’d said it to me, is this:
“Thetta reddast. It means everything will turn out fine. Things happen, you have no control over them, and whatever is happening just know that it’ll all work out and everything will be alright.”
Well, that nailed it! It’s hard to understand sometimes, of course, but everything will be fine. Everything will work itself out. So, it’s little things like this, little bits of learning from across the world and the feeling of accomplishment and knowledge when I go visit another part of the world, along with seeing new landscapes and the amazing things we have on our planet, that drives me to see as much as I can. It’s only been a few years that I’ve been traveling hard, and in that time my goal was to get the number of countries I’ve visited higher than my age. I’m happy to say that I’ve achieved that and I fully intend to keep it that way for as long as I possibly can!
I love to travel and to see the world and all the amazing things it has to offer, and I love to share the images I make, too. I ran this quote past Scott and he laughed at its weirdness, but I’ll put it out there:
“Lend me your eyes and I’ll show you what I see.”
I will. Let me show you what I see, and let me inspire you to please see as much of this world as you can. You only get one shot, after all. Don’t let things pass you by, grab opportunities and, indeed, make them, too. Wanderlust is real.