September 2012 Archives

With the new Shared Photo Stream in Aperture 3.4.1 and iOS 6, you can set up mobile portfolios that can be viewed on your iPad, iPhone, Mac, or even Windows computer. You can limit accessibility to just your devices, or share individual streams (mobile portfolios) with friends. Here's how to set it up.

Setting Up Photo Stream To get started, select your photos and then click on the Share button in Aperture.

First, you have to designate one library as your Photo Stream environment. This library can be opened in either iPhoto 9.4 or Aperture 3.4.1. You can't maintain Photo Streams from multiple libraries with one iCloud sign-in. So I've established one library that is my "Photo Stream Mission Control" and maintain it with iPhoto or Aperture, depending on my needs at the moment. Remember, it's very easy to switch among libraries now with the Shared Library Container.

Set Up a Shared Photo Stream

Select a group of photos, then click on the Share button and choose Photo Stream. If this is your first, you'll be asked to give it a name. After that, you can add the selected images to an existing Photo Stream, or create a new one.

I like creating unique Photo Streams for portfolio sharing. That way I can show a curated collection of photos instead of sifting through everything I've got. This helps with viewer attention span too.

Photo Stream Dialog If you leave the "Share With" box blank, the Photo Stream will only be viewable on your devices.

Now you can set some parameters. If you want to share this with someone else, enter their iCloud email into the dialog box. They will be able to view your images on any iCloud-enabled device.

If the person doesn't have an iCloud account, you can still share with them, but then you have to check the box next to Public Website. The recipient will receive an email notification with a link they can view in any web browser. However this method puts your images on the Web, which is something you may not want. For tight control, it's best to stay within the iCloud ecosystem.

For Photo Streams only to be viewed on your ecosystem of devices, leave the "Shared With" box blank.

Photo Stream Portfolio Now I can show off my pictures on the iPad or iPhone, yet the portfolio is controlled via Aperture.

Once you've published the Shared Photo Stream, you can add or subtract images from it, share with additional people, or unshare if needed.

It's an easy way to create and maintain portfolios that you can show at anytime, anywhere, on your iPad or iPhone. And they look great!

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 16 & 17 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


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The new panorama feature in iOS 6 might seem like reinventing the wheel, but once you use it, you'll discover that it's quite remarkable.

Apple has combined hardware and software to help you produce images up to 240 degrees wide and around 25 MPs in size. And the best part? They look great.

Andechs Pano
I didn't go the entire 240 degrees for this pano of a former monastery in Bavaria, Germany. But I didn't have to. Captured by Derrick Story with an iPhone 4S.

To get started, enable the camera on your iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 or current iPod touch, tap the Options button, and tap Panorama. Continue to hold the phone vertically. That's the way you capture the images. It feels odd at first, but it's actually quite easy to use.

You'll see an arrow pointing to the right and a line. Tap the shutter button to begin recording, then move the camera from left to right keeping the arrow on the line as you record. I had best results when I moved the phone in a steady "not too fast, not too slow" motion.

Klosterstuberl Pano
I went the full 240 degrees for this image.

Once you've captured enough information, tap the shutter button again to stop recording. Or, you can keep moving until the camera stops, indicating that you've captured the full 240 degrees.

The iPhone will then process the picture and place it on your camera roll along with your other shots. They looked really good on the iPhone, but I reserved judgement until I could review the panoramas on the MBP 15" Retina Display. And they looked great there too!

My typical file size for a full 240 degree image was around 16 MBs. There's plenty of secret sauce in these shots, not only to create an image without seams, but the exposure and color looks wonderful also. This is about as easy as it gets for capturing panoramas.

It's funny, I have 3rd party panorama apps, and they work great. But now I'm shooting far more panos because the workflow is simpler, and the results are fantastic. Maybe Apple did reinvent the wheel, but it's free and has plenty of chrome.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


The Lowepro Passport Sling II has been my daily companion for the last two weeks in Germany. Each day, before I leave the hotel, I pack it with selected camera gear, personal items, and even a light jacket. By the time evening arrives, my back and shoulders still feel as fresh as they did when I left.

Passport Sling Working out of the Passport Sling at Herzlich, Germany.

The key to success is not to carry everything I own all of the time. I use a Digital Video Fastpack 250 AW as my "A to B" bag. It contains a 15" MBP Retina Display, an iPad, my camera gear for the trip, and extra hard drives. It fits under the seat of the plane, so I never have to worry about checking it. The Fastpack is an excellent bag for getting me where I need to go.

The Passport Sling goes in my suitcase. Because it has a removable camera box, it's easy to collapse and stow. Once I get to my destination, I fill it with the contents I need for the day. The extra gear stays locked up in my room.

Flattened Passport Sling I can flatten the bag so it takes up very little depth in my suitcase.

I can configure the Passport Sling to hold a medium sized DSLR or my Compact System Camera kit. For this trip, I was shooting primarily with the Olympus OM-D and the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom. I often carried a second lens and flash, plus polarizer and a Joby GorillaPod.

There were times, however, when I needed its help for more mundane tasks. For those trips, I would empty the Sling and hike to the store. Because of its large capacity, I could fit quite a few groceries inside.

Shopping with the Passport Sling It holds a lot of groceries too...

What really impressed me over the two weeks was how comfortable the bag is to wear. If I'm on a crowed train, climbing into a taxi, or walking for hours, the Passport Sling feels great and hugs my body. And if I need more space, I can unzip the expansion compartment that gives me about 30% more room.

When shooting, I leave the top zipper open so I can quickly get to my camera. I rarely missed a shot using this approach, and I was able to keep my camera out of sight during my adventures.

For urban travelers of any distance, this is a bag to consider. I know it has made my recent tour more enjoyable. The Lowepro Passport Sling II will be available for $65.


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My Podcasting Rig While in Germany

If you listened to my post-Oktoberfest morning podcast from the Leonardo Hotel in Munich, you know that I was sipping coffee and relaying events from the night before.

I thought you might get a kick out of seeing the set-up I've been using to record during these last two weeks.

Podcast Recording Munich Germany

I mount a Rode VideoMic Pro on a Joby GorillaPod and plug it in to my MacBook Pro Retina Display laptop via a Plantronics USB interface. The audio is captured by Audio Hijack Pro and edited (sometimes) in Fission, both by Rogue Amoeba.

I usually set up my Lowepro Fastpack to serve as a sound cushion. It's a simple rig, but it is very portable, and it has enabled me to keep posting to iTunes, even while on the road.


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I had a surprising number of conversations last week that were focused on my micro four thirds system. At the Photokina show, people wanted to know if my gear was serious enough for assignment work, and is this something they should be interested in. I realized that the general photography population in Europe and USA still hasn't fully grasped the value of CSC. I then spend some time talking about Photokina itself and a few of the things that caught my eye. And then I wrap up the show with my night at Oktoberfest in Munich - all of this recorded in Germany.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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A Night Inside Oktoberfest Munich

I spent Monday night inside the Hofbrau tent at Oktoberfest in Munich. The capacity of this facility is over 3,000 people. During the 16 days of the festival, they will serve more than 500,000 1-liter beers... just in that tent.

Oktoberfest Crowd The scene from the balcony in the Hofbrau tent. Photos by Derrick Story.

Speaking of beer, It's amazing how much more you can drink there. It's stronger, specially brewed for Oktoberfest. But it's also fresh because it's not transported. Hofbrau makes it there, and there it is consumed.

More Beer Please
"More Beer Please!" The women who bring the beer are absolutely amazing.

The festival itself is huge. There are a total of 34 beer tents, 9 of which are very large. It takes 4 months to build the Oktoberfest village and 2 months to take it down. This happens every year.

In this shot that I took from the air, you can see how the festival dominates the Munich landscape.

Oktoberfest from the Air Oktoberfest from the air.

Inside the tents, music fills the air from live bands. Thousands of chickens and giant pretzels are served to help soak up the beer. And people truly have a good time. Yes, it's noisy, and there's lots of bumping. It's a beer drinking festival. And it's a blast.

I talk more about my Oktoberfest experience in this week's TDS Podcast.


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Across Germany, One Instagram at a Time

For me, Instagram is the ultimate travel log. You can capture images with your smart phone, apply effects, write captions, and share with others -- all in real time over a cellular network. During my visit to Germany, I've used Instagram to augment my Photokina reporting for Lowepro and to document my own observations. This is the first time I've tried this (in fact I've only been using Instagram for a few weeks), and I'm having a blast.

instagrams.jpg Recent Instagrams from my travels.

You can set up the application to share your posts on other social networks too. So I'm able to keep my Twitter and Facebook friends up to date, even if they don't follow me on Instagram.

Power Lines - Setting Sun "Power Lines, Setting Sun" captured through a train window while traveling from Cologne to Munich.

What's even more interesting to me, is that I'm using an iPhone 3GS for this reporting, not my iPhone 4S. As you may recall from a podcast earlier this month, I had AT&T unlock my iPhone 3GS, then I bought a SIM card in Germany for 25 Euros with 750 MBs of data plus plenty of talk time. This allows me to post lots of content regardless of my location.

Tonight, we head to Oktoberfest. I will certainly be reporting from there. If you use Instagram, you might want to follow me at derrickstory. Otherwise, I'll be sure to post on Twitter and on TheDigitalStory on Facebook. Prost!

Good Night Photokina

By now you've probably read plenty about the announcements and discoveries at Photokina in Cologne, Germany. So, for just 90 seconds, I want to take you inside the halls and share with you what I've been experiencing over the last week.

Thanks to the entire Lowepro team for your support and outstanding effort. It's a pleasure to work with you.

Now... I board an ICE and head to Munich. Next report and podcast will be from the land of Oktoberfest.


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Spinner 360 Puts Twist on 35mm Film

Do you have a few rolls of 35mm film in the freezer that you'd love to do something fun with? Take a look at the Spinner 360 degrees by the creative folks at Lomography.

Spinner 360

All you do is load up the camera with film, find an interesting subject, pull the cord, and the camera spins, filming as it moves. It records everything around you.

Specs include: 25mm fixed focus lens, two aperture settings (f/8, f/16), 3 exposure settings (1/125 - 1/250, manual slow), and a battery-free, rubber band drive. You can get your hands on one for less than $100.

Then all you have to do is develop the film, have it scanned, and share with friends. You might want to take a look at the sample galleries to get those creative juices flowing.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

I was wandering around the lighting hall today at Photokina and noticed a lot of people positioned around a very large stage. Everything was branded Hensel Performing Light, a very big name in the lighting game. But it didn't stop there. Backstage was Manfred Baumann, a widely known celebrity and fine art photographer.

Hensel Stage - Photokina This was no standard booth talk. Hensel had an all star photographer waiting in the wings.

So I decided to hang around with a few hundred of my closest friends. On stage was a model who was being tended to by a stylist. Both had their backs to us, in part, I'm guessing, to add a bit of drama to the scene.

Then at 3pm, Manfred Baumann made his grand entrance and shared some opening remarks in German. The stage was cleared and the model shoot began.

Hensel Model Shoot The model shoot begins...

I think this was the part where everyone else knew a lot more about what was going to happen than me. The model was quite sexy, and all around me shutters were firing off as she moved from one pose to the next. Manfred was using some big time Hensel lights as he captured her in his lens. No wonder there was a crowd: sexy woman, famous photographer, and lots of gear.

Moral of the story. If there are a lot of people gathered around an empty stage at a photo trade show, there's probably a good reason why.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

The Clever Olympus 15mm Body Cap Lens

If you like pancake lenses, you're going to love this. The just-announced Olympus BCL-15mm f8.0 Body Cap Lens is literally the size of a body cap, yet transforms to become a fixed focus snapshot lens that's a blast to shoot with. The lens is just 9mm thick, and when the cover is in place (to protect the glass), it looks like a body cap for your micro four thirds camera.

In the Olympus booth, they were calling it "the cookie."

Olympus 15mm Body Cap Lens

The 15mm will be perfect those who have a back-up body. In my case, I pack the PEN mini as a second camera. With the body cap lens, the PEN will occupy even less space in my camera bag.

It's fixed-focus. So you just shoot. Don't worry about the AF locking in on the correct element in the composition. I think this will be very appealing to street shooters.

In my informal tests on the OM-D in the Olympus booth, the 15mm rendered quite nicely. If has 3 glass elements and a fixed aperture of f/8.

olympus_booth_.jpg 15mm on OM-D, ISO 1600, f/8, existing light

We can expect to see this holiday stocking stuffer around mid-November. It should retail for approximately $50 US.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Photokina Time Lapse

The most recognized icon at Photokina is the Photo Globe. It attracts curious visitors to look at the thousands of images there, and to take pictures themselves. Here's a short time lapse movie captured with an iPhone 4S that shows this activity.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

One of my stops today at Photokina was to take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Camera. In case you missed the announcement, this is the first compact camera that's WiFi and cellular connected, and controlled by the Android mobile operating system.

The front looks like a Samsung camera, including a collapsable zoom lens. But the back has the appearance, feel, and functionality of an Android-powered device. Yes, that means apps too.

samsung galaxy camera Taking a picture with the Samsung Galaxy.

The screen looks great. I opened and closed various apps and had a nice geeky moment with the device (except for one thing -- more on that in a minute). But then I wanted to take a picture, and I wasn't sure how to hold the camera. There's no place on the back to rest your thumb. It's all screen. After some trial and error, I ended up holding the Galaxy by the edges like I do my iPhone.

samsung_vs_iphone Speaking of the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is a bit larger than the iPhone 4S I always have with me.

Now, back to when I was playing with the Android apps. I wasn't sure how the hold the device then either. The zoom lens was smack in the middle of my hand.

samsung_android The zoom lens wasn't that comfy in my hand when I was in "Android mode."

All of this led me to one, big question: how the heck should I hold it? I guess these are the little things you put up with when you're very enamored with the technology.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Canon comes through with the 6D, a more affordable full frame DSLR. I take a look at its specs and see how it stacks up the the 5D Mark III and Nikon D600. Olympus was busy also with two new PEN announcements, the E-PM2 (mini) and E-PL5. They both have the same wonderful sensor as the OM-D, but in smaller packageS. I share a few travel tales, talk about the week ahead, and even have a surprise or two. All of this on this week's TDS Podcast, recorded in Cologne, Germany.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (24 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Photokina Coverage On Track

After 24 hours of traveling, I'm in my room in Cologne making sure I stay awake until the evening hours. I want to acclimate to German time as quickly as possible. Of course, having a Kolsch is part of the acclimation process.

It was definitely a "planes, trains, and automobiles" trip, with the last leg on the high speed ICE train that clocked over 185 km per hour on some of the open stretches to Cologne.

ICE DB Bahn

While I was traveling, both Panasonic and Olympus made big announcements in the micro four thirds space. I'll cover those in the podcast that I'm going to record tonight from my room overlooking the old Wolkenburg building that's outside my window.

Tomorrow morning, German time, I take a local train to the Koelnmesse for the official opening of Photokina. Stay tuned for hands-on reports, Instagrams, and tweets. But first, I need to find some food. I don't really remember when my last real meal took place.

More to come...

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

The TDS Fall Photography Workshop with Safari West starts October 19 in Santa Rosa, CA. This year's event is sold out, but it will also be a part of the 2013 TDS Workshops season.

On day one, attendees will go on safari with our own professional photographer and tour guide to photograph African wildlife at Safari West. Then on day two, we focus on landscape photography and environmental portraiture with a professional model.

We'll be sure to share pictures and keep you posted on how this event unfolds.

The rugged Sonoma Coast provided the perfect background for the stunning Alyssa Jayne during the first day of shooting at the recent TDS Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop. As part of our assignment work, we assembled a gallery of favorite images.

Alyssa Jayne by Michael Arbore

Contributions include images by Doug Kaye, Sean Staples, Gary Angelo, Tom Seng, Fred Brundick, Scott Loftesness, and this image by Michael Arbore. John Larsen contributed the action shot of these photographers working.

John Larsen TDS Workshop

You can see the entire gallery here that contains more than 50 images by these photographers.

If you're interested in attending a TDS Photography Workshop, the 2013 Season will be announced in November. You can use the "Send Me Info" form on the Workshops page to get on the reserve list for your favorite event. Most TDS Workshop fill up via the reserve list.

Thanks to a great crew of photographers, and to Alyssa. You can contact Alyssa via her Model Mayhem page.

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Nathalie Rollandin was in San Francisco with a GoPro when a seagull picked it up and flew away... with the camera still recording. Now we get to fly with him during a bay area sunset.

Unfortunately the gull flew off before Nathalie could get his name.

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Nikon D600 - Take that Canon!

nikon_d600

Nikon answers the call for an affordable feature-rich full frame DSLR with the D600 that will sell for $2,100 US body only, or $2,600 with the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens.

It has many of the specs you'd expect, such as 24 MPs, 5.5 fps, full HD movie capture, 39 point AF system, 921,000 dot LCD, and maximum 25600 ISO. Then it has a nice surprise up its sleeve: an optional Wi-Fi module allowing the D600 to be controlled remotely from an Android or iOS device.

There are a couple limitations. Flash sync maxs out at 1/200th and there's no external microphone jack.

But if you have been waiting for a full frame Nikon body that won't bust the credit card, you can preorder the D600 today.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Sony RX1

The just-anounced Sony Cyper-shot DSC RX1 is a Nimble Photographer's dream machine. Sony packed a 24 MP full frame CMOS sensor into a gorgeous body with lots of manual controls, then mounted a Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens on the front.

Nice touches include a dedicated aperture ring, five user-customizable buttons, 1.2 million dot LCD, threaded cable release socket in the shutter button, microphone port, full HD movie capture, and multi-functional hot shoe.

There are compromises, however. First, if you want a viewfinder, optical or electronic, that's an accessory. Otherwise you're composing images on the LCD. Next, is price. The base kit estimated cost will be $2,800. Add a handful of accessories, such as the optical viewfinder, lens hood, and thumb grip, and your investment will be close to 4 grand. And finally, it's a fixed lens camera. So there's no changing glass.

All of that being said, I would make room in my camera bag for the Sony RX1 if it were made available to me. The low light performance and depth of field control would be wonderful in many, many situations. In addition to the fact, that it's most likely a pleasure to use.

I'll be sure to get my hands on one in Germany.


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Taking good photographs from land is hard enough, but it gets even more exciting on a twin-engine outboard bouncing across the San Francisco Bay. I enjoyed the challenge while covering the Rolex Big Boats Series with pro shooter Daniel Forster. I take you behind the scenes and explain how Rolex reports on these events, and how Daniel makes his amazing images. I also have a fun iPhone anecdote, plus chat about the upcoming assignment in Germany. All of this and more in this week's TDS Podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Don't Buy a New Camera This Week

pentax_k5_2.jpg

As we've already seen with the Pentax announcement, there will be lots of photo equipment news over the next few days. This is the time to watch and evaluate if you're considering upgrading.

After Photokina is over on September 23, that will be the time to make your buying plans. All of the announcements will have been released, and those of us covering the show will have had a chance to look at the new products in person.

I'm leaving for Germany this weekend, and I'll be covering Photokina from the trade show floor. I plan to post lots of images on Instagram and via Twitter. Of course there will be features and wrap-ups here on The Digital Story.

In the meantime, keep your credit card in the wallet, and let's see how things unfold.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


Professional photographer Daniel Forster invited me to accompany him while shooting the Rolex Big Boats Series in San Francisco. I learned much about this type of photography during the day, and thought you might enjoy a behind the sails look.

Daniel Forster Capturing Action Daniel Forster at work during the Rolex Big Boat Series. We were so close at this point that he had to put down his 70-200mm and go with a wider lens.

Daniel Forester works for Rolex, shoots with Canon gear, and uses Lowepro to protect it. He is an experienced sailor as well as a season professional photographer. He knows both the craft of making great images and maneuvering on the sea.

His "go to" cameras and lenses are the Canon 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III. The Mark II has his 70-200mm f/2.8 L zoom and the Mark III is mounted with the Canon 400mm f/4. Even though he carries additional lenses, bodies, and accessories, he accomplished the bulk of his shooting with those two rigs. Daniel relies on a Lowepro Pro Runner x450 AWto protect his cameras on the sea and in the airport.

Daniel Forster Preparation Daniel preparing his gear on board our boat just before the race began.

I was introduced to the Rolex team, of which Daniel is a member. In order to publish on a daily basis during events, there's another photographer who focuses on image processing, copy writer, and an editor. Together they report on the people and activities of the day, including an inside look at race results.

We left the marina on an outboard Protector navigated by a pilot. The interaction during the race between Daniel and Peter Scott (the pilot) was vital to the success of the shoot. Both are seasoned sailors who understand the actions of the racers and know how to approach them without interfering with the event.

Forster with Pilot
The interaction between pilot and photographer during the race is crucial to the success of the shoot.

Daniel and I returned to the media center at the San Francisco Yacht Club to turn in the memory cards so the rest of the Rolex team could start working with the content. After a cup of tea and a short break, Daniel, Peter, and I headed back to the outboard for a second round of shooting.

The outboard is extremely fast and can navigate around the sailing boats. Daniel and the pilot would discuss positioning, then Daniel would shoot, then we'd be off again for another angle. We followed the racers for hours in order to capture a variety of shots of each of the contestants. After all, you had to make sure you had images of the winners at the end of the day.

Rolex Big Boat Series, SF, CA Being in the right position had everything to do with creating an interesting image.

I really appreciate Daniel and the entire Rolex team inviting me on this shoot. The Rolex Big Boats Series is a thrilling event. Having the opportunity to work in the middle of it was exhilarating.

You can see more of Daniel Forster's work at www.danielforster.com.


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One post production technique for delighting the viewer's eye is to first convert the image to B&W, then restore bits of color. The element of surprise is often stimulating.

Unexpected Nasturtium

For this shot of a "formerly yellow nasturtium," I applied the Black & White adjustment in Aperture 3.3. Then, in the Black & White Adjustment Brick, I clicked on the gear menu, and selected, "Brush Black & White away." I used an adjustment brush to restore color to the nasturtium leaves. I like the pattern they form around the flower.

The first pass took only a few minutes of image editing. If, after time, I decided that I liked the photo, I would go back and spend another 20 minutes or so touching up the details. Typically, I "live with a photo" for a day or two before deciding whether or not to put more work in to it.

This technique works well for greeting cards and personal messages. It shows that you put a little extra effort into the image that you're sharing.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


Unwanted Metadata

Unwanted Metadata

I love the metadata that cameras write to our digital files... most of the time. But every now and then a camera includes information that I don't want, and have a hard time getting rid of. Case in point: the "Image Description" field automatically populated by Olympus digital cameras.

For reasons unknown to me, the Olympus OM-D insists on writing (in upper case no less): OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA in the "Image Description" field of the EXIF data. And it just so happens that this is the field that Google+ reads for the caption information.

To make matters worse, Aperture 3 views this information as EXIF data and won't let me edit it away (as illustrated in the screenshot). So if I go straight from Aperture to Google+, I get that ugly all caps description for my photo.

Fortunately, there are workarounds. I can:

  • Edit the information out in Google+ by clicking on the picture, then clicking on the Edit hyperlink next to the description.
  • Open the image in Photoshop, go to File Info, and edit the metadata.
  • Shoot with a different camera.

Why Photoshop lets me edit the "Image Description" field and Aperture does not is a mystery to me. And while we're at it, why Olympus puts that data there in the first place is even more annoying.

My hope is that Apple allows me to edit that field in a future version of Aperture, or Olympus stops adding it. In the meantime, thank goodness for Photoshop. It's an extra step, but at least I can edit the metadata before sending the image out into the world.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


News from the World of Filters

Even in the digital age filters have an important role. Here are a few updates that might be of interest to you.

Hoya UV and IR Cut Filter

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Think of this like a supercharged UV filter. When working outdoors, UV and IR rays just outside the visible spectrum can "pollute" our images. This Hoya filter allows only visible spectrum light rays to enter the camera.

You can leave it mounted all of the time, letting it serve as protection glass. But its filtering effects will be most noticeable outside for landscape photography. Available sizes range for 49mm to 82mm. They're not cheap though. The 58mm UV and IR Cut Filter will run you $107 at B&H. It might be worth it for serious landscape shooters, however.

Filter Kit for Your Micro Four Thirds

Just because the lenses are smaller, that doesn't mean that they still don't need protection or could use the occasional polarizer or ND filter. Here's a nifty collection called the Hoya 37mm Digital Filter Kit that includes a multi-coated UV, and single coated polarizer and 3-stop ND filter.

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The three filters are housed in a handy filter pouch that fits just about anywhere in your camera bag. I bought one of these to share for my Olympus 14-42mm, 17mm, and 45mm lenses. At $59 it won't break the bank, but it might save the front of your lens.

An Affordable Variable ND Filter

polaroid_nd_filter.jpgHave you wanted a variable ND filter to shoot at wide apertures in bright light, but didn't want to spend $200 or more? Take a look at the Polaroid 58mm Neutral Density Fader Filter for $35 (58mm). It provides variable exposure from 1.3 to 8.6 stops, and it's multicoated too.

Now you can shoot those waterfalls in bright light, soft focus background portraits at the beach, or dramatic video footage just about anywhere. Polaroid makes 12 different sizes, and all of them run less than $50.


Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

I've been waiting for a professional zoom lens to complement the Olympus OM-D, and thanks to Panasonic's new 12-35mm f/2.8, I have one. At 2.9" long and less than 11 ounces in weight, this 14-element zoom allows me to tackle the most demanding of assignments. I share my initial impressions of the 12-35mm in the first segment of this week's show.

In the second story I share how AT&T kindly unlocked my iPhone 3GS so I could take it to Germany and use a local SIM card there. Will make life much easier on the road. And finally, I cover the iPad Smart Case. It protects the entire unit, not just the front. All of this and more in this week's podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (31 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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The Panasonic 12-35mm lens for micro four thirds cameras is the equivalent of a 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms for DSLRs (keeping in mind that you double the focal length listed on the lens in the M 4/3 system.) When mounted on a top-tier body, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, you have a professional caliber rig that is far more compact than its DSLR counterpart.

I've been testing the 12-35mm Panasonic in the studio and field with great success. Here are a few highlights.

Handling

The lens is 2.9" long (74mm) and weights 10.8 ounces (305 grams). Its non-rotating front element accepts 58mm threaded filters. Both the manual focus and zoom rings are well dampened and rotate smoothly.

One of the things I like about this lens is I can use manual focus easily. I programmed the Fn1 button on the OM-D to toggle back and forth between manual and autofocus. That way I can quickly switch between the two modes. Manual focusing with this lens is a pleasure, especially when mounted on the OM-D.

The zoom ring also rotates smoothly and stays put at the selected focal length. There isn't any creep, even when you angle the camera up or down.

The Power O.I.S. switch on the side of the lens activates the optical image stabilization system. When mounted on Olympus bodies (that have sensor based IS), the switch can be in the off position. On Panasonic bodies, turn it on. Having the switch makes this zoom compatible for any body you mount it on.

Magnum 650 AW Inside 12-35mm on OM-D: Good sharpness at f/3.5, 1/15th sec using natural light in the studio.

Autofocusing

I was curious about the autofocusing ability of a Panasonic lens on the Olympus body. But I guess this is one of the advantages of developing a "standard" that both companies follow closely. The 12-35mm zoom autofocuses quickly and quietly - as fast, or faster, as any of my DSLRs. The linear stepper motor provides top notch performance.

Ewelina Studio

Image Quality

Center sharpness is outstanding at all apertures, including f/2.8. Corner sharpness is also excellent, with only a bit of softness at the extreme corners when wide open. Color and contrast is beautiful. Fantastic images on the OM-D.

Bottom Line

The only drawback to the Panasonic 12-35mm lens is its $1,299 US price tag. But this is a professional lens that should yield outstanding performance for years to come. Canon just released an update to their 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom for $2,300, nearly twice the price of the Panasonic.


12-35mm on OM-D: In the studio with strobes I shot at f/5.6 at 1/125th for this high key fashion look.

For my photography, this lens makes it easier to bring the OM-D on any shoot, knowing that I have the glass to handle most any assignment. Highly recommended.


Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

You can save even more time in Aperture by apply basic image adjustments during the import process. This automation became particularly attractive in version 3.3 with the introduction of Auto Enhance, which never harms a photo, but does a great job of applying subtle adjustments to improve it.

Here's how to set up your import to apply Auto Enhance, or any other effect.

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First, make sure that "Effect Presets" is selected from the "Import Settings" popup menu in the Import dialog box. If there's a checkmark next to the name, it's selected and should appear on the right side of the interface.

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Next, go to the Effects Preset brick in the Import dialog box and choose Quick Fixes > Auto Enhance.

Now, when you import your images, Auto Enhance will be applied to each shot. You can fine tune the settings for your favorite shots in the Adjustments tab.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 16 & 17 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


For the July 2012 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters tried to stay cool while capturing heat in their images. See for yourself in our gallery, Hot. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

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Photo by Gerry Legere. "Heat is important in the making of bread, so I thought I would try to show the bread and heating elements together, to convey the the cooking process," Gerry wrote. To see all of the other terrific shots from July, visit the Hot gallery page.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The September 2012 assignment is "Bokeh." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Sept. 30, 2012.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Sept 2012." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Good luck with your Sept. assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for July.


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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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