Tag Archives travel

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

Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday and here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means, like every Tuesday, I’m here to share some love! This week I want to kick off a little series of Bucket List Photography destinations and tell you all about why Norway is on the list.

 

 

Norway is certainly one of the most photogenic countries in the world, offering the entire range from modern cities through to barren wilderness. With clearly defined seasons it’s not what I’m used to in the UK where everything tends to merge together in a wet cloud of grey, where the day can have glorious sunshine followed immediately by sub-pro temperatures and sideways rain. In Norway at least you know that if it’s cold, it will be consistently cold!

 

 

The magnificent fjords of Norway mean that going from A to B can take a while as you meander the contours of the landscape, however it also gives Norway 62,706 miles (100,915 km) of coastline! The only country that beats this coastline length is Canada. If you’re a fan of the coast then Norway is for you!

 

 

Sticking to fjords, the sheer cliff faces and gushing waterfalls sitting below glacier caps offer what I think is up there with the worlds most beautiful of views. Beautiful arctic light cast on lush green fed by melt water from those glaciers must be on your bucket list too, surely?

 

 

The northern cape, crossing the arctic circle at 66 degrees north, takes you into a whole new world. The cold is cold, the aurora shine bright across a star filled sky, and fishing villages sit on a rugged coast. Killer Whales, Arctic Tern, Reindeer, a wildlife photographer with a little patience will have nothing but rich pickings up here.

 

 

Norway is designed for photographers. Literally, I heard that from a good source, a photographer listed all the amazing things they want to see and one day Norway just appeared. There was also an angry man with a great big beard and an axe there. True story.

 

 

I’ll keep the bucket list destinations trickling through here on ScottKelby.com – have you been to Norway? What was your favourite sight?

 

 

Get in touch right here in the comments, or find me anywhere by searching @CaptureWithDave, I’d love to see your Norway shots! I’m heading back to Norway in just a couple of weeks and you can follow my mission on my Instagram Stories as I ride from London, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, and into Norway, I’d love you to see it!

Much love

Dave

Hello there fair people of the internet! I’m Dave Williams and I’m here every #TravelTuesday on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. This week I’m writing you to tell you about my trip to Stockholm this past weekend and what I’ve done there in terms of generating some new stock assets, along with my experiences along the way.

If you’ve been keeping track with my Instagram Story (you can catch up on my Highlights if you missed it) you’ll know that here in the UK we’ve recently felt the wrath of the Beast From The East, and this weekend we were hit with part two, the beast returns! The reason it was so named is because meteorological folklore describes easterly winds here in the following  rhyme: –

Winds from the East are no good for man nor beast

Which basically means if the wind is blowing from the east it’s likely coming from Siberia and will be bitterly cold, so any condensation in the air (which we have a lot of owing to our maritime climate) will turn into snow. It’s good to know a bit about weather systems when you’re a travel photographer – most importantly so that you know when to stay nice and cosy in bed! With that in mind, I headed East to Stockholm to meet this beast for myself! I’m a bit strange like that!

The reason I chose Stockholm is largely due to my love for all things Scandi, but partly because I went there a few years ago and discovered that they have an absolutely incredible metro system. It’s basically an enormous art installation with all the stations having something different about them, my favourite of which being the ones that resemble caves. It’d get me into the relative warmth too and away from that beast! While I was there I took advantage of the Platypod Ultra I’ve been working with and provided the great people of Platypod with some more BTS shots. If you don’t have one, get one!

So, that Metro system… I speak very little Swedish, but one thing I can translate is tunnelbana – tunnel train! The only other thing is takk – thanks. That’s literally the extent of my Swedish. I can, however, show you why the Tunnelbana is often called the world’s longest art gallery.

 

 

A short while ago I wrote a post here about the importance of personal projects, and for me this was very much a personal project. I visited Stockholm three years ago and this was a test of self improvement, and a break away from reality because right now there’s just too much going on and it’s important to take care of number one! Saturday night and Sunday were spent having time for me, but during the day on Saturday I was on a mission with this project!

I hope this helps provoke you all into self-development and a little project just for you!

Much love

Dave

It’s that time of week again here at ScottKelby.com – it’s #HybridDaveTuesdays on #TravelTuesday – and this week, I’m going to answer a question I’ve been frequently asked, and then I’ll break it down a bit more!

Take a look at my posts on Instagram, and you’ll notice a theme: they’re all geotagged with the coordinates, along with a marker pin denoting the country right there at the top of the caption. It look’s a bit like this:-

 

 

The question I’m most often asked is not “How do you do it?” but “How do you remember?”

We live in a world where you can have GPS right there in your D-SLR, but mine doesn’t have that, so I have to have a system for remembering where I take photos, particularly those in the middle of nowhere or of something potentially nondescript in and of itself.

The first and primary thing I tend to do is, when using my D-SLR, I will also take the same photo with my iPhone with my geotagging turned on, thereby marking the shot on a map. It’s so simple, and it’s a really good reminder of what was where when I’ve been away on a trip taking hundreds of photos one after another. There are, of course, things which stand out in my memory, but those things which don’t can be easily tagged on a map right in my pocket.

Here’s an example, starting with the (festive, because it’s nearly Christmas) D-SLR shot:-

 

Of course, we know this is the Rockefeller Center tree, but suppose we didn’t. All we’d need to do is take a shot at the same place on the iPhone (or another brand, whichever, but preferably an iPhone!), and then go into the photo on the phone and swipe up:-

 

Right there, it’s sitting on the map, showing us the exact spot the photo was taken. It’s a GPS solution to tagging photos that we already have right there in our pockets.

My second option is simpler still: once you’ve taken a photo, have a look around and see if there’s a sign you can shoot – a street name, a tourist sign, a shop name, anything that will jog your memory later would be great for getting a praise location for your photo.

 

 

This is a Svalbard reindeer, the smallest reindeer sub-species. He’s looking down my lens from the edge of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. The glacial water flowing off into the sea through Adventdalen is pretty familiar, so as a reminder, in this instance, here’s what I did:-

 

Easy, right? Too easy to be telling you about? Well, it’s one of those things – it’s simple when you know what to do, but if you don’t do it, you’ll end up racking your brain trying to remember the name of a place you took a photo, so you’ll thank me when you start doing this!

I hope this was useful. Remember to check in here every week to see what other wisdom I have to impart from the world of travel photography and retouching, and you can reach out if you have any questions or topics for me by searching for me, Hybrid Dave, across social media :)

 

Much love

Dave

Winter is coming people!

It’s that time again, I’m back to share my weekly dose of photographic wisdom under the lovingly crafted hashtag – #HybridDaveTuesdays

This week it’s something I feel I have a good standing to talk about due to my love of cold places. I’m going to tell you about shooting in the cold in the form of a list. If the internet has taught me only one thing it’s that everybody loves a list, right? By the way, I realise that winter is only approaching in the northern hemisphere and I’m kinda excluding half of the population of the entire world, but I’m finding peace from that with the knowledge that you southerners are about to have your Christmas BBQ’s fired up!

So here goes!

 

Here’s some snow…… it’s authentic Finnish

 

Tip #1 – Never delete anything in camera!

Snow is a funny old thing. It tricks our cameras as well as our eyes. There WILL be shots you look at of snowy scenes on the back of your camera that look terrible, but then when you get them up in Lightroom or Camera Raw they’ll look amazing following a tweak or two.

 

Tip #2 – Keep your gear cold

When you take your gear from cold to warm (like in and out of a hotel or rental car) it puts a strain on it. Once it’s cold, keep it cold. It can short out the electrics if condensation forms inside the camera. The worst thing you can do is to actively try and warm your gear up or try to make it warm near the heat vent or under your ski jacket. Furthermore, if you see that shot and pull out your camera but it instantly fogs you’ll have nothing to show your friends! I remember shooting in Finnish Lapland where I visited the Wild Spirit Animal park and just after meeting Romeo the wooly pig and before meeting Spike the Husky I was taken into a small, round cabin with a fire burning inside for a hot drink to warm me up. I left my camera outside on a pile of wood so it stayed cold and was ready to shoot again as soon as I was back out.

 

Cold enough for an Arctic Fox

 

Tip #3 – Except your batteries. Keep them warm!

There’s some science here. I mean, I don’t know what it is, but it’s here! So basically, if your batteries are exposed to the cold they’ll lose power quicker. I’ve experienced this first hand, it definitely happens. I was shooting the northern lights in the Icelandic Westfjords up on top of a mountain. I couldn’t feel my face, it was that cold. Whatever was happening to my batteries due to the cold happened pretty quick. The power was just going. What I discovered is that if I kept my batteries in my inside pockets my body heat kept them going for longer.

 

Tip #4 – Then warm your gear back up slowly!

I learned this the hard way! Kirkjufellsfoss, shown below, is an iconic Icelandic waterfall with it’s namesake mountain right behind it. Take a look here though – I have a nice wide lens mounted on my Nikon D810 but the middle of the shot is all hazy and soft. This is a direct result of having moisture build up inside the lens. It’s virtually impossible to remove in post because it ruins a whole portion of the image. Bottom line is to consider ways to warm your gear up slowly. Put it in the boot of the rental car where it’s that little bit colder and far from the heating, and put it inside your bag (closed) when you take it indoors so that it gradually adjust to the new, warmer climate. If your camera does get moist for any reason, keep it somewhere dry and of a consistent temperature, and leave ALL of the ports wide open to give the moisture an easy escape.

 

Kirkjufellsfoss, with Kirkjufell in the background – Iceland

 

Tip #5 – Overexpose for white snow

What our eyes see as pure, white snow filling the landscape, our camera sees as overexposed and so brings your camera down a notch or two. To combat this, it’s a wise idea to shoot a little over. It’s the number one tip you’ll always see on advice for shooting snow but it’s easily overcome so just be mindful of it and shoot over – you can always bring things back down in Photoshop if you’re way too bright. On a sidetone, your Auto White Balance will often change things a little towards to blue end – another thing to bear in mind. If you’re the type to use a grey card or a light meter then fine, but I’m not and I consider it all in post.

 

Some snowy bushes in Iceland

 

Tip #6 – Don’t concentrate only on snow

There’s so much more going on and snowy scenes are in themselves very romantic, I find. This shot below is of a couple stood alone outside the beautiful House of the Roundheads in Riga and although they’re only a tiny feature of the images, they add to it just enough. As with everything you shoot, snow has a tendency to get very ‘samey’ and breaking it up with details, much like you would when shooting a wedding, you’re giving it a new perspective and engaging your audience and lifting interest.

 

House of the Roundheads – Riga, Latvia

 

Tip #7 – Shoot the fauna

Even if it’s hard to find some! There are two animals which epitomise Iceland – horses and puffins – and here’s 50% of that combo! Shooting animals helps give a sense of their hardiness to the testing climates they find themselves in and if you get it right, showing their character, it can give the viewer an intense connection!

 

An Icelandic Horse

 

Tip #8 – And the flora

Good luck finding some! Much like the animals, showing the hardiness of the plant life can create a connection between the viewer and the image. It mixes up and breaks up the images of snow scene after snow scene too!

 

Lapland

 

Tip #9 – Capture the festivities

There’s a 50% chance (hemispherically) that winter means it’s Christmas! Alongside this, there’s so much going on and it all tends to give contrast to the cold. Warm fires, hot chocolates and fairground rides – it’s all beautiful, especially when you capture it right. Going to a Christmas market with a camera can yield some awesome results.

 

One of many Christmas markets in Berlin, Germany

So there’s 9 tips for shooting in the cold, I hope you can use them! Right now I’m in Tromsø, Norway, way up in the Arctic Circle (oh the power of the internet!) and you can check my progress on my Instagram story or on Facebook to see the snow I’m seeing :)

 

Until next time!

Much love

Dave

 

It has been the subject of blogs, media articles, conversations, magazine columns, and it’s this:

Should we Photoshop people?

Well, let’s relate it all to my genre: travel. Should we Photoshop travel pictures? To what extent and why? Is it an “okay” thing to do?

First, I’ll just get this out of the way: many people will argue that Photoshop is not a verb. It is. It just is. It has become a commonplace term in our society, and if you hear somebody say that something’s been “Photoshopped,” you may want to throw a can of cheese at them, but you know what they mean. This post isn’t about that. So, moving on….

My stance, as someone who writes tutorials centred on Adobe Photoshop, is that Photoshopping fits in travel photography just as much as it does in glamour photography. It has a role to play, and it is useful, but it should (in terms of its use for marketing at least) result in an image being inspiring, enticing, and offering somewhat of a realistic depiction. A representation of reality.

But when does it stop being real? How far do you have to go before your image of some far-flung location no longer looks the way it really looks? What are the limits? Well, to me, when I Photoshop something, I want the final result to look like something that could actually happen. When we apply the fashion stance, the model on the cover of the magazine isn’t real. It’s what we imagine could be real; it’s the image we have in our head, but it absolutely isn’t real. Reverting back to travel, if the image I produce has created something inspiring, but false, then I’ve let myself go too far.


Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

This image is an example. I have Photoshopped it, but it’s a thing that actually happened. If I created something that hadn’t or at least couldn’t happen, I’m no longer operating in the realm of travel photography, but have moved into fantasy. This is Hohenzollern Castle in Germany, sitting high atop a hill, overlooking the countryside for miles around. The moon rose, and I positioned myself on the opposite side of the hill to capture it silhouetting the castle. It’s a thing that happened, but in order to portray it with its massive difference in exposure, I had to retouch.

I suppose something to consider, based on what I’ve mentioned, is what we define as travel photography. When it comes to travel, we occasionally make our decisions based on personal recommendations and the influence of our peers, but in today’s society, we’re making more and more decisions based on social media. We’re looking at the images of travel photographers. Travel photographers like me. What people are looking at in my photography is the scene before me at the time I saw it, the way I saw it, and indeed the way I felt it.

 


Odda, Norway

When I was stood here, I wasn’t just seeing this scene, I was feeling it, smelling it, hearing it. I took all the information available to me from all of my senses for the amount of time I stood photographing that scene (and I’ll add, in various different directions), and I retouched the image to portray, in a tiny, little box, what I was seeing. I wasn’t just seeing an island with a tree on it, I was seeing a bunch of mist, feeling isolated, smelling the fresh, early morning dew, wrapped up from the cold, and I had to show that as best as I could in one image.

It’s for this reason that I say time and time again, “lend me your eyes and I’ll show you what I see.” What I see in my mind’s eye and what’s physically in front of me vary somewhat in most instances, however, with Photoshop I can take everything that was forming that image of what I saw and show you that same thing.


Here I am in real life ;)

One travel subject, which is a prime example of how travel photography has bent the truth, is the famed and elusive Aurora. The northern lights. The lights are phenomenal, don’t get me wrong, but just as one point, they’re generally very dynamic. The countless amazing photos of them on Instagram are what you perceive them to be, not what they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to crush any dreams here for those of you hoping to tick the northern lights off your bucket list, they’re incredible, but they aren’t like you see them in photos.

Westfjords, Iceland

So, it is okay to adjust things, right? In the world of travel photography, it must be. It’s what we’re used to seeing. But, when we know the truth of the image versus our representation of the scene, it can change. I’ll work to remove the things that I didn’t necessarily notice at the time. The things that were there, but that my mind blocked out of my vision—the power lines, poles, aerials, all of that stuff which is there, but doesn’t form the vision in front of me, but which immediately stand out in the photograph. The other senses have had their input, too, and everything that flooded those senses has had its say, and those power lines aren’t part of it.

If it’s true to say that we do it in real life with our own eyes, and it’s true to say that around 90% of the images we see in everyday media have been retouched, then what’s the limit? When does travel photography become fantasy? When the movement in the scene, the sounds, the smells have all gone, it’s fair to represent those things differently on our image that becomes flat and motionless.

We have a job to do in photography, and it’s not to make things fake. The job of a photographer and retoucher is to make things look real, but the real way you saw it at the time. With the distracting elements gone, the scene looks like real life. If people go and stand in the same spot, they can expect to see what you see too, but looking at its best. That’s our job. That’s what travel photography is. That’s what sets it apart from fantasy.

Lend me your eyes and I’ll show you what I see. Bear that in mind when you consider your limits. Show people what you see. Something achievable, realistic, and at its absolute best.

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