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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.

Much love

Dave

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!

 

 

Much love

Dave (and Kaylee)

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.

Much love

Dave

Hey hey! Welcome to #TravelTuesday, right here on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’m Dave Williams, I’m here every Tuesday, and today I’m coming at you with a quick-fire Photoshop tip on how to sharpen without hitting that Sharpen button!

This technique works across the board, from landscapes to portraits, and can be used to make your images more visually impactive. It’s a clever little technique, which improves contrast across the entire range of tones, particularly within the smaller detailed elements (such as hair in a portrait or plants in a landscape), and it enhances the textures and, of course, the sharpness of the picture.

The reason this technique should be considered in many cases, rather than the Sharpen filter, is because the Sharpen algorithm samples pixels and looks for what it considers an edge, and then it applies some contrast to those edge pixels. This technique uses a different method of contrast-specific blend modes to quickly and easily enhance detail in your shot by using the actual edges, rather than guessing what’s an edge. Here’s how it’s done:

Open your image and duplicate the layer with CMD + J (Windows: CTRL + J).

Next, apply the High Pass filter (found under the Filter menu, under Other) by selecting a Radius value that gives you a clear contour on edge elements in your shot—usually between 1 and 6 px.

Now, we need to set the blend mode to Overlay using the pop-up menu near the top left of the Layers panel.

That’s it! I told you it was easy! The differences between using the Sharpen filter and using this technique give you, in most cases, a fantastic result, bringing your image to life!

Much love

Dave

Ladies and gents of the Internet, I’m here this week to hit home a point!

I’m Dave Williams and I’m here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider every Tuesday, which is more commonly referred to as #TravelTuesday. You can catch up on who I am over on my little website – capturewithdave.com – or on the Gram. But enough #ShamelessSelfPromotion, I have a serious point to make!

The title right up top there, “Time is Precious,” kind of makes the point itself. What I’m telling you is that if you have a goal in mind, you absolutely need to get up and go for it! Do you think Ansel Adams would’ve been who he was had he not gone out and worked hard? Do you think Annie Leibovitz would be where she is if she hadn’t gone out asking to shoot people’s portraits? How about Kaylee Greer? Had Kaylee not gotten up and pushed for what she loves and wants she wouldn’t have the cover of NatGeo. Dave Clayton wouldn’t be such a graphic design guru without tireless hours working out what’s what in the world of fonts and line art, nor would Richard Branson be such the entrepreneur that he is if he hadn’t invested the dedication required to be the master of his field. So, that said, answer me this: what is your goal and what’s stopping you from reaching for it?

If you want to shoot travel like me, get on Skyscanner and find some cheap flights, spend a few minutes finding an Airbnb, and get out there shooting! Build your portfolio, pitch your work, and get the recognition you deserve!

Portraits? Get out in your local area and shoot somebody’s photo. Make them look great, make yourself known, be approachable, and be good!

Weddings? Somebody you know knows somebody who knows somebody who’s getting married. Don’t go ruining their big day if you’re not ready for it yet, but you have to start somewhere so why not offer them a pre-wedding shoot. Take an hour or two out of your day to take a beautiful couple to a stunning place and shoot them so good that they tell all their engaged friends at their wedding!

Want to shoot real estate? Well, that’s easy – just go shoot some houses near you! Make sure you have an excuse ready for when you’re busted by the homeowner when they come outside and see you standing there with your rig on a tripod, though!

Ladies and gents, what I’m trying to say is this: –

The only way you’ll get where you want to be in your photography (and, in fact, other walks of life) is to get out there, put in the time rather than letting time pass you by, and work hard at being the best you can be. No excuses, no postponing, no false evaluation of where you are already, just work hard and make the most of your time. Time is precious. Too precious for “what if?” Get out there and work hard!

To plug where a plug is deserved, you can improve your base knowledge by taking courses from KelbyOne and you can seek inspiration from Instagram, 500px, and I hear that even Flickr is still a thing, however nothing but nothing beats getting out there, making the most of your time, and working hard to realise your ambitions!

Much love

Dave

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