Tag Archives platypod

It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here on ScottKelby.com as always. Today, I write from a cold, rain-soaked Scotland.

Tomorrow on The Grid there’s going to be something epic happening. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Platypod social media feeds, you’ll know there’s a new product dropping, but what could it be?

Platypod has a great history of Kickstarter projects, each time unleashing a ground-breaking new product on the market, and this time is bound to be no different.

I’ve been a big fan of Platypod from the first moment I had my hands on the Ultra. It’s a fantastic piece of kit, and a solution to a problem so many photographers have, but what are its capabilities?

Today, I want to explain why I don’t go anywhere without a Platypod. Let’s do it!

First up, the tripod police!

We come up against a lot of situations as photographers whereby the use of tripods is banned. Most of the time we are completely unable to see why, and it’s usually backed up by the words “health and safety,” and enforced by an over-zealous security guard. Well, the Platypod isn’t a tripod, and that’s a workaround that has always worked in my experience. With a Platypod, I’ve been able to shoot in The Palais Garnier, Paris, St Stephens Basilica, Vatican City, The Royal Portuguese Library, Rio Di Janeiro, and a huge list of other places where tripods are otherwise banned. When I use a Platypod I can get away with placing it down right under the nose of the same security guards that would have kicked me out with a tripod, and it gives me the stability to get shots of some stunning interiors with a lower ISO and higher shutter speed. Perfect.

Coming in second, space-saving

I often find myself in situations where savings in space and weight are important. Having a Platypod instead of a tripod in certain situations is the perfect way to save this space and weight, meaning I can trek with a less awkward camera bag and still get the stable shots I need a tripod for. I’ve found that the creative expression that comes from moving a tripod around to find a particular perspective can be achieved just as easily with a Platypod, so there’s no disadvantage to losing the height. There are usually places to put a Platypod that still allow us height in our shots, and when we’re exploring with another person it’s often the case that our photography comes in at “second place” and, therefore, we may not want to be carrying all our gear anyway. If we are exploring a new place on vacation and we’re out all day, carrying a huge camera bag with all our gear can be quite cumbersome. In these cases, I’ll pick the lens I want for the day and attach it to my camera, then stick a Platypod under the camera and use my Blackrapid Sport Breathe to carry the whole rig. This gives me the option to take longer exposures and more stable shots, but also means I’m carrying only the bare minimum.

The best low perspectives

Shooting low, particularly for interior architecture shots, is a great perspective and really shows off the walls and ceilings of locations that are ornately decorated, and opens the spaces up. The floor in such places is normally quite bland, so getting low and cutting that floor into a slither whilst concentrating upwards gives a fantastic viewpoint. Cutting out the floor completely and just shooting upwards, focusing on the ceiling details in places such as the Vatican City, where there are large crowds to consider and a lot of beautiful artwork above us, is another option the Platypod affords us. We can be in and out in a flash with shots like this, which allows us to either turn out more photos, or simply kick back and enjoy the place we’re visiting.

I can talk about the advantages of a Platypod all day, but I’ll stop there for now. Feel free to check out my more detailed posts over on the Platypod blog, but I’ll leave you with this: –

Tomorrow, Wednesday 6th April, the creator of this epic piece of kit will be alongside Scott on The Grid, and there’s something big coming! Be there in the live feed on Scott’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss anything, including the special offers for first backers of this brand new piece of magic!

Much love
Dave

For #TravelTuesday this week I, Dave Williams, want to give you a quick twilight tip. It’s only for those of you with patience, mind!

I just visited Zermatt, Switzerland, which is made entirely of chocolate! Okay, maybe it’s not made of chocolate, but it’s on that same league of fantasy. The town itself is a beautiful, Alpine skiing paradise, and it’s car-free which makes it all the more exciting. Everywhere you go requires walking unless you want to take an electric taxi (think more golf buggy) or ride a bike. It meant I had to walk up the slopes to the edge of the village to get this selfie: –

And it’s this selfie which inspired me to get this shot: –

But here’s the thing—and if you were watching my Instagram story you’ll know already—this isn’t one shot.

The key to this scene is that the upper half was taken during golden hour, and the lower half was taken during blue hour. It’s a simple process but it involves patience! I found my spot, got my composition sorted, and from that point on I couldn’t move my camera one bit.

I found a fence post, which was sturdy and out of the way, so if any tourists appeared (which they did) I wouldn’t have to move out of their way. I needed my frames to line up exactly and if there was the slightest deviation it would ruin the entire process. I stuck my Platypod Max on the post, securely holding my Nikon D810 and Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8.

The process from here on is simple. First, I took a shot for the sky, using a 10-stop filter to smooth out the clouds (though they were barely moving), and when I had the shot I wanted I simply had to twiddle my thumbs for a little while and wait for the darkness to fall and the lights of the village to come on, then get my second shot without the filter. The removal of the filter was a little tense; I was so scared of moving the camera! But when it was done I was left with these two images: –

All that was left to do was open them in Adobe Photoshop, place one image on top of the other on separate layers, and then use a layer mask to select the components I wanted from each image. Following this, I used the adjustment brush to paint some highlights onto the Matterhorn and the Toblerone mountain in the background, and then straightened everything up using the church spire as my guide for this.

Simple! Taking separate shots at twilight to combine golden hour and blue hour works wonders on an urban scene, and I strongly recommend working on your patience and trying it yourself.

Much love
Dave

Hello, hello, and happy #TravelTuesday to you all, as always! I’m Dave Williams and this post is a quick roundup of what’s been going on over here in the UK at The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

First of all, I’m here with Platypod, whilst they get a foothold in the UK and Europe, and it’s been a great show. Having a Platypod stand here at The Photography Show for the first time has opened up the UK’s eyes to what the USA already sees as a fantastic piece of kit. So, I’m proud to be involved in it all as an ambassador for this awesome company, along with Cathy Baitson, who has worked hard on the stand showing the capabilities of this great product.

A big shout-out to my brother from another mother, Team Epic member Peter Treadway who, along with Dave Clayton, is playing a key role in running the live stages here at the show. Speakers who were up included KelbyOne instructors Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Glyn Dewis, Lindsay Adler, and making an impact on the UK was Gilmar Smith, who nailed her live stage appearances with a live shoot and retouching session.

Gilmar did an amazing job capturing the minds of the audience, with even the standing room at the back crammed with people. She asked me before the show whether I’d mind jumping up on stage with her to be the model for a live shoot. But, little did I know, I’d be dressing up as a clown and stretching my face through a dynamic range of expressions in order to catch just the right moment. I can honestly say I can’t wait to see what it is she’ll do to that shoot to get the final image!

Elsewhere around the show, it has been great to see some great brands and great people represented. Whilst Gilmar is over here in the UK, she is also running a workshop at Amersham Studios, and at the time of writing this, there are only tw spots left open if you want in! Getting her over here from sunny Orlando was 3 Legged Thing, and I was lucky enough to have caught this moment of Gilmar with 3 Legged Thing’s Danny Lenihan. I don’t shoot photo reportage, but if I did!

What’s always great to see is the brands such as 3 Legged Thing and, as seen here, Rocky Nook who, much like Platypod and KelbyOne, have a genuine passion for the art of photography and the photographers behind lens. I chanced upon a moment of calm over at the Rocky Nook stand, whilst Lindsay Adler was there doing signings and proudly grabbed some pin badges of the cover art of Dave Clayton’s and Glyn Dewis‘ newest books to plug onto my show lanyard.

The show is getting bigger and better every year, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. With the addition of The Video Show this year, and another bar set, I’m sure 2020 will be another great year. But, for now, with one more day ahead, it’s time to get a coffee and get back to work!

And, with that, thanks to Peter Treadway and Brigitte Gathercole-Day for some of these photos of the show, and right here next week, I’ll be back with more education and wisdom from the world of photography and Photoshop!

From here in Birmingham,

Much love

Dave

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