Tag Archives travel

Hi all! Apologies for posting a little late today. I’m having some connection issues while I’m on the road, so I’m actually having to write this on my phone—should be interesting to see what autocorrect makes of it! I’m Dave Williams, and I’m a travel photographer and writer from the U.K., but you knew that already, right? I’ve been sharing my current mission over on the KelbyOne Instagram Story, so thanks to those who are keeping up. I’m currently sitting in a petrol station in Kongsvika, way up in the Lofoten area of Norway and about 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle. It’s situations like this that have inspired what I’m going to share with you today, which has, in fact, been in my head for a few days.

You know the sayings, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” and “You only live once”? Well, these are the best matches for what I want to share today.

This trip of mine has been in the plans for months. I wanted to get to the Lofoten Islands before the snow hit, but after summer. I wanted to catch autumnal scenes, awesome sunsets, and feel the start of the cold. Well, that was the idea. What actually happened has turned out to be starkly different. That hurricane that hit the Carolinas left a depression hanging over the mid-Atlantic which, in being left behind, got picked up by the jet stream. It carried all the way up through the top of France, through the U.K., and up the coastline of Norway. The problem with that is that when it hit the colder air up here, it dumped somewhere around a metric fudge-ton of water in the form of rain, sleet, and snow. Occasionally, all three, and sideways!

What that did to me is have the disastrous consequence of a potentially wasted trip. Fine for a holiday, to be fair, because it’s all still here and pretty looking, but absolutely no use for photography. For these past few days, I’ve been working hard and fast in the gaps between the weather. Here’s one shot I got during a bit of drizzle on Sakrisøy:

 

 

It’s such a beautiful place, but with only a handful of shots from the entire trip, I had to consider my options. So, that’s when I decided—I’m going to Finland!

At around an 8-hour drive, it wasn’t beyond possible, and I’d checked the weather forecasts, the radars, the aurora forecast, the lot! It could work, and there was only one way to find out. So, I immediately changed my plans, being drowned out by a storm, and punched Kittilä, Finland into the GPS.

The drive took me through Sweden, and it was covered in beautiful autumn tones and a pleasure to experience. I was heading through Lapland and determined to see clear skies and, hopefully, some northern lights. Well, guess what! It didn’t happen! This is the best I got, and I’m sharing it purely as proof that it happened:

 

 

I was so full of disappointment, and to be honest, I still am. My whole trip has been a washout, owing to this terrible weather, but that’s just how things go sometimes. You’ve just got to roll with it. Me, however, I tend to tuck my knees into my chest and lean forward. That’s just how I roll. Above all, keep smiling.

 

 

Heres the thing: if you don’t try, you’ll never know. I spent 31 hours in the car, slept in it, and drove across three countries in order to see what I could get. It was a failure, but if I hadn’t done it, I’d never know. You can only fail if you try, and trying is the best you can do. The newly coined phrase “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, is basically made just for this. Although I failed, I know that I tried my best and I took the opportunity to find out what could have been. All in the quest for creating awesome images!

Right, it’s time to get out of this petrol station and head for Tromsø! (Big thanks to Kim for helping me get this post online with the lack of connection I have here!)

Much love

Dave

Hey all! It’s #TravelTuesday right here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider and today I, Dave Williams, want to share with you a little bit about how photo intentions affect travel. Today, I want to provoke your thoughts.

On that note, Scott has a new class out now on KelbyOne called The Photographer’s Guide to Traveling Light. Go check that out!

 

 

Take a look around and note how much influence media has on our everyday lives. I’m talking about the entire range from personal Instagram accounts, right through to National Geographic and other such epic documentaries. You’ll even find influence coming from KelbyOne in respect of what I’m talking about today. The travel industry, in particular, is absolutely dominated by social media and influencers, so it’s absolutely no surprise that travel and photography are intrinsically linked. More and more often we are finding that our travel plans are weighed up against how “Instagrammable” (definitely a real word) the destination is. It’s actually my job to do that very thing.

Here’s something very interesting, which has popped up recently; something that’s worth giving a little thought: Studies have recently shown that us humans are now very likely to recall our experiences and our photos from a third person perspective. What we’re doing, as I’m sure you will have noticed, is showing the world our images with the intention of gaining likes, comments, shares, and engagement. We’re no longer looking to have experiences, but rather we’re looking to share. It seems that our number one priority is not to reflect on the moments within ourselves, but to consider how the perception of our experience would be evaluated by our followers.

 

 

This information is worth keeping in the front of our minds because travel (and indeed travel photography) is about experience. Our travel experience is tragically becoming hindered by sharing. We give undue consideration to our photo sharing over our internal forbearance and reflection on the circumstances we face to give us the experiences we see and feel in travel, and this is a necessary evil in some regards and some situations, particularly for myself as a professional travel photographer and writer. The fact that social media has a massive impact on our experiences is now a part of everyday life, and we are still getting used to it. It has hit us all in the face, and in some cases has become a genuine obsession. We can, if we aren’t careful, become obsessed with getting something “grammable,” something worthy of a Facebook post, and the subsequent likes and follows. It can take over us and take us beyond the reason we shoot and travel. The focus. The present moment.

It takes discipline to deal with social media effectively and productively, but similarly, it takes discipline to not let social media steal your time. With respect to how this is becoming “the norm,” just remember this:  if you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be. In a world where everything is disclosed, perhaps it’s sometimes a good thing to remain a mystery. Make experiences, remember to actually experience them yourself, and don’t use your social media to try to impress people. Use it to make an impact. Give it value.

Much love

Dave

Well, hello there!

It’s #TravelTuesday here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider and I’ve just completed a mission and a half! Let me tell you about it!

I’m currently running a challenge and I want you to get involved. It’s a sunrise challenge!

Until July 15th, I want to see your sunrise photos. Just upload them to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, use the hashtag #SunriseWithDave, and you can win a KelbyOne membership and a Platypod Ultra!!! That’s definitely worthy of all three of those exclamation marks!

So, here’s how I started it: –

Last night, I shot the sunset at Land’s End, the western-most point in England.

 

 

I quickly retouched the shot, uploaded it, and then I got on my motorcycle and headed east. This morning—450 miles later and with 5 minutes to spare—I arrived at Ness Point, the eastern-most point in England. The race against the sun was to kick off the sunrise challenge, but unfortunately, Mother Nature gave me a typical British sunrise: –

 

 

But, never mind, the point of the challenge and the contest is to encourage as many people as possible to shoot sunrise. I can’t wait to see the images you make this week!

Check out all of the details here.

 

 

For me, I’m finishing my coffee and headed home to think up the next stupid idea!

Much love

Dave

Hello, internets! It’s #TravelTuesday again, so I’m here to impart some kind of wisdom onto you, and today it’s all about tweaking colour with Camera Raw’s Hue sliders. But first!

I’m writing this post from a Starbucks just outside of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in Scotland, fresh from an overnight stop before I head farther north towards the Isle of Skye. I’m shooting a couple of little projects involving drone photography and Platypod tripods. You can keep up with what I’m doing on this trip by following me on social media (look for @capturewithdave) and by watching the @kelbyonepics Instagram story!

On with the blog!

The HSL  (Hue/Saturation/Luminance) Adjustments panel in Adobe Camera Raw is very useful, but perhaps most confusing are the Hue options. While the Saturation and Luminance sliders enhance the colours, the Hue sliders actually change them. There are some pretty powerful things you can do with the Hue sliders—you can even change the seasons in post if you tweak the colours the right way.

What’s actually happening when you adjust a colour slider in the Hue tab is that you’re moving its position on a colour wheel. In terms of its practical application, I’ll use the Hue sliders to adjust this photo and make the grass greener, whilst maintaining the other colours.

 

 

In this shot, the tones up in the sky are beautiful—the sun lowering in the sky (it’s 9pm) is casting a fabulous orange glow—but I feel like the grass should be just a little bit greener. We can take advantage of the Hue sliders and make this adjustment easily right in Camera Raw.

 

 

Using the Hue sliders to shift the colours within sections of the colour wheel, if we move the Yellows slider (the colour of the grass in this case) towards the green end, and compensate with the Oranges and Greens sliders to maintain the actual green and retain that orange in the sky by moving those sliders away from the yellow ends, we’ve easily achieved our goal! It’s as easy as that!

 

 

 

That grass is now greener, which to me is more realistic and more pleasing, and all it took was an understanding of what’s going on with the Hue tab’s sliders.

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)

Hello, hello, HELLO! Happy #TravelTuesday one and all, from right here at the prep for Photoshop World in Orlando, Florida!

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of being invited to join Scott on The Grid when I visited the KelbyOne offices (a long way away from my hometown of London, UK) for super-secret meetings and super-awesome burgers! It was (technically) my third Grid appearance, but the first where I had actually been on set, and it was flippin’ sweet! So here’s the thing…the topic was all things travel photography. Where to shoot, when to shoot, what to bring, all that lovely stuff. But, the thing is, we had a whole load of awesome questions coming in and not enough time to answer them all! So, here’s what I’ve decided to do today:  I’m going to expand on an answer I provided to one of those great questions, and that question is right under this epic photo!

 

 

“How do you make your photos tell a story?”

 

In my answer, I related to a trip to Paris. You can go to Paris and shoot the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Elysée, but when you only have those three photos you don’t have a story, you just have those three photos. What makes your trip a story is the things which happen before, during, and after the point at which you stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and shot it. Just like this: –

Before you shoot your all-encompassing story it’s a good idea to know what the story will be. If you want to capture the hustle and bustle of a city or the tranquility of the countryside, those are very different things which are caught in different ways, but both, equally, are stories worth telling and which can be told. Having anything between a rough idea to a storyboard for your story idea will help you when you’re on location so that you know exactly what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot it, and how you want to portray it as an element within your story. It’s this little bit of homework beforehand (which, I think, we in the business call “research”) that helps get you as prepared as you can be to make your story epic!

 

 

Next up, what is it that makes the “story shots” different from those Eiffel Tower shots? Well, it’s the element and feeling of belonging. As I already answered, it’s the things like the restaurant frontage, the car parked out front, the chefs and waiters, the Parisienne taxi, all of these other details which make up a scene when they’re put together, or which could potentially be anywhere. But, again, they paint the picture and tell the story of Paris when they’re put together.

 

 

Think of it like this: Way, way, way back, our ancestors sat around a fire telling stories. The stories were there in place of Facebook, Instagram, TV; they were handed down and told through the generations. They were twisted a little and evolved like a Chinese Whisper, but they essentially stayed the same and their morals certainly sat solidly within the story. The story is essentially timeless. Its narration was integral to our lives and cultures, and that has evolved into reportage or photojournalism, which has become practically synonymous with wedding photography and can and should be translated to travel photography.

 

 

The bottom line is that it’s more about the series of photos than just the one photo. It’s the combination of recognisable landmarks with details, close up crops, people, and things nearby. It’s the things which poke and evoke the other senses and perceptions. One way to practice, if you’re so inclined, is to make a few stories on Instagram Stories or Facebook Stories and ask your friends and followers for feedback.

Let me know how you get on, and show me by finding @capturewithdave on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

Much love

(come find me at PSW!)

Dave

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