September 2017 Archives

My client work typically requires a lot of moving around during the shoot. So I pack my gear as lightly as possible. And when I saw the new Think Tank Spectral 10 shoulder bag, I thought it might be useful on location.

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I chose the Spectral 10 (the middle size of 3 models) because of its nimble dimensions (13.8" W x 10" H x 6.1" D - 35 x 25.5 x 15.5 cm) and light weight (2.2) pounds. Because the bag isn't too thick, it hugs my body nicely while working. This is important to me because I had bulky bags swinging around as I'm navigating a shoot.

Inside I have my DSLR, backup body, two zooms, two primes, flash, and accessories. All of this fits wonderfully in the Spectral 10.

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Think Tank created a clever latch they call the Fidlock that enables on-handed access to your gear. And if you don't overpack the bag, it naturally locks when the flap goes down. This is very handy on location. Because then you can use the top handle as well as the shoulder strap to pickup the bag without worrying about spilling the contents. The Fidlock is also silent, so there's no embarrassing velcro noises on set.

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External pockets are kept to a minimum, retaining the slim design of the bag. There are lined sleeves for a tablet (up to 10") and a smartphone. A stretchy side pocket for your water, and a back pocket for paperwork, or in my case, a Rogue FlashBender. There's also a trolly sleeve on the back for sliding the bag over the extended handle of roller luggage.

Inside is a zippered top that protects your gear during travel and inclement weather. The main compartment has plenty of dividers to organize camera bodies, lenses, and lighting. It's easy to grab my camera during the shoot, then secure it in the bag when I need my hands free.

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Accessories include a set of tripod attachment straps for the bottom, which is a waterproof tarpaulin base, by the way, and a separate rain cover.

You can buy the Think Tank Spectral 10 directly from Think Tank for $119.75, a reasonable price tag for a stylish (great for client shoots), well designed, and easy to use shoulder bag. I worked a long assignment with it yesterday, and I was comfortable and organized the entire time. This one is a keeper.

Luminar and macOS High Sierra

I've been testing Photos for macOS High Sierra with many of my favorite editing extensions. And for the most part, things have moved along quite smoothly. Those who favor Luminar as an extension for Photos will be happy to read that there are no discernible hiccups. Standalone Luminar photographers only have one minor issue that I've discovered. I'll cover that in a minute.

choose-luminar-photos.png The Luminar editing extension worked well in Photos for High Sierra.

Using Luminar as an editing extension, I selected it from the new popup menu, worked on the image in Luminar, then saved it back to Photos without a hitch. I was then able to open the picture (thanks to iCloud) on another Mac running Sierra, and continued working on the photograph. Everything seemed good.

luminar-returned-photos.jpg My Luminar processed image was then opened on another Mac running Sierra. Looks terrific!

Working in Luminar as a standalone app seems OK as well performance wise, but I am having an issue with the interface, seeing artifacts appear in the top toolbar area. This doesn't seem to affect functionality. But it is a visual distraction.

luminar-in-high-sierra.jpg A few artifacts in the Luminar standalone interface in High Sierra.

I contacted Macphun, and they've already tackled the issue. We'll see a fix for it soon. Since I've only tested on my machines, I don't know if the issue will appear for you or not. But all things being equal, if you use Luminar as a standalone app, you might want to hold off a few days on that High Sierra update.

Luminar Pro Techniques Nimble Classroom, Sept. 23

If you want to master Luminar, you may be interested in my Luminar Pro Techniques Nimble Class on Saturday, Sept. 23. It's online, interactive, and you'll learn new tips and techniques. Plus, I send you the videos from the class too, so you can refer to them as often as you wish. We have a couple seats open, so sign up today.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #602, Sept. 19, 2017. Today's theme is "iPhone X and the Rise of Computational Photography." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

If I were to place my cameras for 2018 in a line on a table moving from left to right in terms of technical sophistication, it would go something like this: Pentax Super Program SLR, Olympus PEN-F mirrorless, and iPhone X. The Pentax can compute exposure, the PEN-F can stretch high dynamic range and add effects, and the iPhone X can build an image that is a creation of light and algorithms. The iPhone leverages software to process an image that would be otherwise difficult to capture with traditional cameras. And that's the focus of today's TDS podcast.

iPhone X and the Rise of Computational Photography

Cameras have been using computing power for quite some time. My Pentax Super Program 35mm SLR was European Camera of the Year in 1983. It uses a microprocessor to evaluate light and compute automatic exposure, setting both the shutter speed and the aperture.

The PEN-F takes exposure capability to new heights, allowing me to watch a long exposure develop on its LCD screen, then providing the option to end the exposure once the image looks the way that I want. Plus it has in-camera HDR processing, Art Filters, color adjustments, and more.

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But smartphones are embracing computational photography in a very sophisticated way, using software for realtime image enhancement that goes well beyond exposure. And as I examine the iPhone X, there are some remarkable features that will literally change the face of consumer photography.

First, let's define computational photography: The theory was that software algorithms could do more than dutifully process photos, but actually make photos better in the process.

"The output of these techniques is an ordinary photograph, but one that could not have been taken by a traditional camera," is how the group described its efforts at the time. (Via CBC News.)

Now let's see how all of this plays out.

  • Image Sensors and Optics - The iPhone X has two new image sensors that are 12 MP each, and both camera modules are equipped with an optical image stabilizer. The wide-angle lens offers a 28mm focal length and an aperture of f/1.8, while the telephoto lens is 56 millimeters and f/2.4. In addition, there is also a quad-LED flash. The sensor is reportedly bigger and thus, can capture 83 percent more light. Assuming a crop factor of 7 and a 1/2.9-inch sensor size on the iPhone 7, this would approximately mean a 1/2.0-inch format, which would be bigger than in other current smartphones.(via AndroidPit.)
  • New Algorithms - As with previous iPhone generations, there is also a portrait mode in the new iPhones, which blurs the background, but the portrait lighting function is new. Portrait lighting works by detecting the face of the photographed person in detail and simulating several types of lighting. To process these elaborate effects, Apple has equipped its new A11 SoC with a standalone image signal processor. It will furthermore assist in focusing and noise reduction.
  • Impressive Video - According to the presentation, Apple divides the captured image into a total of two million squares and analyzes their content. This compresses low-detail image areas more heavily while areas that are rich in detail are preserved as much as possible. Of course, this is nothing new--video encoders also work this way--but Apple wants to be exceptionally good at it. Apple uses HEVC for its video codec and, as usual, speaks confidently about having the best video quality of any smartphone.
    60 fps is possible at the maximum resolution, 4K. Furthermore, there are now slow-motion videos at a 1080p resolution and 240 images per second, which equals a slowdown by a factor of eight when played back at 30 fps. In comparison: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 currently achieves only 1,280 x 720 pixels at 240 fps. (via AndroidPit.)
  • Powerful Front Facing Camera - The iPhone X furthermore sports a 7 MP front camera with a 3D scanner for the new FaceID feature, allowing for portrait mode, including Bokeh effect and portrait lighting, to work with selfies as well. (via AndroidPit.)
    Hidden inside the small notch cutout at the top of the iPhone X is a significant number of new camera parts and sensors that do more than just transpose your face onto an emoji cat or scan it to unlock your phone. The front-facing camera module now contains an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity scanner, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, 7-megapixel camera, and dot projector. All of that together combines into what Apple calls its TrueDepth camera, used for Animoji, Face ID, and a number of cool camera tricks.(Via The Verge.)
  • A Closer Look at Portrait Lighting Mode - Apple says it "brings dramatic studio lighting effects to iPhone." And it's all done in software, of course. Here's how an Apple press release describes it:
    "It uses the dual cameras and the Apple-designed image signal processor to recognize the scene, create a depth map and separate the subject from the background. Machine learning is then used to create facial landmarks and add lighting over contours of the face, all happening in real time."
    In other words, Apple is combining techniques used in augmented reality and facial recognition to create a photo that, to paraphrase the Stanford team, no traditional camera could take. On the iPhone X, the company is also using its facial recognition camera system, which can sense depth, to do similar tricks.
    While the underlying techniques behind many of these features aren't necessarily new, faster and more capable processors have made it feasible to do them on a phone. Apple says its new phones even have a dedicated chip for machine learning tasks. (Via CBC News.)

Take all of this and add an OLED screen: The edge-to-edge display is features Apple's proprietary advantages such as the coloration and brightness-adjusting True Tone display tech and a new Super Retina moniker that means the iPhone X sports a 2436 x 1125 resolution at 458 ppi across 5.8 inches of real estate. It's also Apple's first smartphone to come HDR-ready. All this adds up to an impressive display that is clearly the top differentiator between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8. (Via The Verge.)

Cascable Transfer with Photos for macOS "kas-ka-ball"

Here's a scenario that I faced. I had captured a handful of blue hour images of San Francisco the other evening from the top of the Metreon building. I wanted to transfer a few of them to my MacBook Air 11", but I had forgotten my card reader. (There isn't a SD card slot on the 11".) Fortunately, I had Cascable Transfer loaded, so I could send my selected images directly from the OM-D E-M10 Mark II to the laptop. And the best part is, they went directly into Photos for macOS, RAW files and Jpegs alike.

Cascable Transfer is a $15 app that supports WiFi enabled Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony, and Panasonic cameras. It makes it easy to transfer RAW, Jpeg, or RAW+Jpeg to the Finder, Photos for macOS, or Lightroom (which I'll cover next week).

Each RAW+Jpeg pair took about a minute to transfer. Once the process was completed, my images were waiting for me in Photos. The procedure is easy. First, turn on WiFi in the camera, then connect to the network on your Mac, then launch Cascable Transfer and browse the images on the card.

This is a wonderful safety net for those times your card reader isn't available (or working) and you want to copy pictures from your camera to your laptop.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members!

Our next Nimble Classroom focuses on Luminar Pro Techniques on Saturday Sept. 23. If you want to master this amazing image editing application, join us online for this workshop. We chat among ourselves via a Slack classroom, and I'm teaching via live video and screen sharing. It's a blast!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

Texas-based Red River Paper recently announced a new fine art paper, Palo Duro Etching. The new paper is a 100 percent cotton rag paper and is free of optical brightener additives. The paper is designed to offer warm white tones, deep blacks and a subtle texture to accurately recreate traditional darkroom fine art prints.

See you next week!

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

Cascable - Cascable is the best tool available for working with your camera in the field.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Apple will release macOS High Sierra (10.13) on Sept. 25. The photography highlight is Photos 3 that continues to evolve with UI refinements, more intelligence, and a few new tools. The good news is, the transition seems very smooth. And if you're an iPhone photographer, Photos 3 is the perfect complement.

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I've been running a beta version of High Sierra on a test laptop, working in Photos 3, and seeing how it interacts with my overall Apple ecosystem. Even during the betas, handoffs were smooth to my iOS devices and other Photos libraries.

The new tools, such as selective color editing and curves are quite powerful and provide more editing horsepower within the app itself.

My primary editing extensions have also been working well with the betas. And in fact, there's even easier access to them in Photos 3.

Tools to Help You Get Up to Speed

First, stay tuned to thedigitalstory.com. I'll continue with my regular posts about Apple technologies. I've also opened up a second online Nimble Classroom for Photos 3 on Saturday, November 4 (the first session sold out). It's fun and you'll learn a lot.

Later this year, my Photos 3 title will be released by lynda/LinkedIn Learning. And after that, the Second Edition to Apple Photos Book for Photographers will hit the shelves.

If you enjoy iPhone photography, Photos is the perfect companion to organize and enhance your images. And with the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X coming out, all of this is going to get even better.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

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Kingston is off to a solid start with their new flash storage for iOS devices called The Bolt. It's a thumb-sized gizmo with a Lightning connector on one end and USB 3 on the other. You can use it to offload videos and photos from your iPhone and iPad.

The Bolt has its own app to control operations. It works best if you launch the app first, then insert the Bolt into the Lightning port. You're greeted with a nicely designed display showing the open storage available on both your iPhone and the Bolt itself. You can then transfer images or videos, capture directly to the Bolt, or view the content on the device.

In theory, you should be able to share images directly from Photos and other apps to the Bolt, but my testing yielded inconsistent results. The best path at this early stage of development is to tap Transfer on the Bolt app, and choose from one of five options that include a full dump of images and videos, favorites only, or the one that I recommend, handpicking images for copying.

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At this point in its life cycle (version 1.2), I wouldn't wholeheartedly trust the Bolt as my sole backup. But in conjunction with other strategies, such as iCloud, it's very handy as an additional storage device for important RAW files and videos. Certainly it provides extra peace of mind when working in the field, especially if Internet connectivity isn't available.

Plus, you can then plug it into your Mac via its USB 3 connector, and all of those images and movies can be dragged and dropped to your computer. I also set up a Transfer folder on the Bolt that allowed me to copy images and movies from the Mac that could be saved to my iOS devices. Content flows both ways with this device.

The Bottom Line

The Bolt is a handsome, compact, well-designed flash drive that provides another level of flexibility for mobile photographers. It's easy to move pictures and videos from Mac to iPhone and vice-versa, backup important movies and photos, and free up space on iOS devices in a pinch.

Overall performance was stable, but I anticipate that it will improve with upcoming software updates. The rare few times the Bolt did stall, I simply unplugged it, then reinserted it, and all worked fine. I would also like to see more flexibility in the Transfer mode. Right now, we can choose from our Camera Roll. But I'd like to be able to navigate to specific Albums as well.

The Bolt is available in with 64 GBs of storage for $89. There are also 32 GB models ($59) and 128 GBs for $119.

I'm keeping mine on my keyring when I'm out about with my iPhone and mirrorless camera. The Bolt provides me with a little extra peace of mind for my important photos and movies.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Bolt has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Aurora HDR 2018 is availabe for pre-order today, September 12, and will be released on September 28. And if you haven't followed the development of this highly versatile app, you many want to take a look now.

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For example, my favorite (formerly Mac-only) HDR app is now available for Windows as well. Other goodies/improvements include:

  • Next-generation Tone Mapping - A new smart Tone Mapping algorithm automatically reduces noise, and produces more realistic and natural initial results.
  • Mac and Windows versions share the same product key.
  • Dodge & Burn Filter.
  • HDR Enhance Filter - Adds details and clarity to an image, adjusting colors, details and contrast without creating artificial halos or other problems.
  • New User Interface.
  • History Panel.
  • Touch Bar support for Mac.
  • IMPROVED: New Structure Algorithm - The re-developed Structure tool allows you to adjust detail and clarity of an image to get a classic HDR effect with great detail or a smoother effect with less details.
  • IMPROVED: RAW handling - An improved RAW conversion brings out more details in shadows/highlights, displays colors more accurately and reduces noise in RAW files.
  • IMPROVED: Crop tool update - Now specify custom crop sizes for even more versatility.
  • IMPROVED: Speed - Faster merging and masking performance, improvement in RAW image processing.

You can preorder right now. The cost for current users of Aurora HDR is a special pre-order upgrade price of $49 ($59 MSRP). New users can purchase Aurora HDR 2018 at a special pre-order price of $89 ($99 MSRP). A collection of bonuses will also be included with every purchase.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #601, Set. 12, 2017. Today's theme is "HDMI Out - The Untapped Resource." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I haven't shot much with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II since the PEN-F came into my life. It's not that I don't like the OM-D anymore; I love it. But the PEN-F is just so sexy. So I started thinking, "What could I use my OM-D for? What is its special talent?" Well, for one thing, it records amazing video. And it does have that HDMI port. Then it all came together. In this week's podcast I show you the wonders of my recent discovery: HDMI Out.

camlink-connect.jpg

I Just Can't Stand My FaceTime Camera Any Longer

I've been getting by with my FaceTime camera with Skype and other streaming needs. I'm not sure why I stuck with it so long because I hate the video it produces. For one thing, it's too wide. It's too dark. And I look 10 years older than I really am. Yet, I was still using it.

This all came to an end one morning when I was testing mimoLive with my friend Oliver, the head of Boinx Software. Oliver is a very straightforward kind of guy. And when he saw the live video I was producing with his software, he commented, "What are you using? The FaceTime camera?"

I said, "Yes I am."

"Why?" he asked. "You're a photographer. You have cameras. You have lights. Use them."

He was right. But the problem was, I didn't have any experience in streaming video, only recording to the memory card in the camera. I didn't know how to connect to my Mac and an external hard drive.

Interestingly enough, at this time, elgato released a new product called Cam Link. It's a $129 interface about the size of a thumb drive that converts HDMI output from your camera to USB for your computer. I bought one immediately and started testing. And as a result, I've fallen in love with my OM-D and its HDMI port.

What Exactly Is Happening with HDMI Out?

Essentially, instead of sending visual information to your memory card, the camera redirects it out through the HDMI port. Depending on what you're connecting too, this means that you can record full HD footage directly to a hard drive, or stream it via Skype, Facebook Live, or a number of other apps and services.

This opens up a whole new world of movie making. You still have access to all of the settings and controls that you normally use on your camera, it's just that the output feed is redirected.

In my case, I'm using mimoLive to produce my Nimble Classroom series. It's essentially a TV production environment for my Mac. So I can switch between my OM-D and the FaceTime camera for the output. And the difference is night and day. For the first time in my adult life, I look OK on live stream.

I'm using the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, with the Portrait configuration, white balance, exposure compensation, and manual focusing. I have complete control over the image, and I can stream or record at 1080p at 60fps. And not a pixel goes to the memory card. It's all flowing directly to a 2 TB Western Digital hard drive.

Will Your Camera Work with HDMI Out?

There are a few simple checks you can make to see if your camera will work in scenarios like I've described.

  • Look for an HDMI Port - Many cameras have HDMI out, but not all. So check your specs.
  • Determine the Type of HDMI Port - There's more than one port size. And you have to figure out the port on your camera and the device that you're connecting it to. There's the standard HDMI connector, mini, and micro. Figure out what you need, then order the appropriate cable.
  • Clean Output - Check your camera to ensure that it has clean HDMI output. This means that you can turn off all onscreen menu items and that you get full-size HD output. The easiest way to test this is to connect your camera via HDMI to an LCD TV and view what appears on the TV screen. If it is clean and detailed, you're good to go.
  • Automatic Shut Off - Some camera automatically shut down their output after a certain amount of time. It could be 5 minutes or 30. Some allow you to adjust this via their menus. And some don't have it at all. Find out yours and determine if it will work for your needs.
  • External Power Capable - If you're going to have long recording sessions, you may want to investigate external power options to extend broadcast time. As an alternative, a power grip with an extra battery might do the trick, depending on how seamlessly the camera shifts from one battery to the next.

The Elgato Cam Link works great with my E-M5 Mark II. Beware of the system requirements for your Mac or PC computer however. When it says 4th generation quad-core Intel i5 CPU or better, it means it. I tried using it with a dual core, and the image flickered. No good! You'll also need either Windows 10 (64-bit) or macOS Sierra and an USB 3 port. If you meet those requirements, however, Cam Link will open up a new world for your HDMI compatible camera.

Lifelike 3D Audio Recording Headset

Last week I promised you an audio goodie as well. This is about as cool as it gets for video recording in the field. The Lifelike 3D Audio Recording Headset is currently accepting backers on INDIEGOGO, and this affordable device is amazing.

With just these simple earbuds and your iPhone, you can record panoramic, lifelike audio to use with your videos, or as standalone files. I explain in more detail in this second segment.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members!

Our next Nimble Classroom focuses on Luminar Pro Techniques on Saturday Sept. 23. If you want to master this amazing image editing application, join us online for this workshop. We chat among ourselves via a Slack classroom, and I'm teaching via live video and screen sharing. It's a blast!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

Texas-based Red River Paper recently announced a new fine art paper, Palo Duro Etching. The new paper is a 100 percent cotton rag paper and is free of optical brightener additives. The paper is designed to offer warm white tones, deep blacks and a subtle texture to accurately recreate traditional darkroom fine art prints.

See you next week!

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

Cascable - Cascable is the best tool available for working with your camera in the field.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

My Quest to Free Up iPhone Space

Even if you have a 64 GBs of storage on your handset, things can get a bit tight over time. My 2 year old iPhone 6S was down to 10 GBs of free space. With 12,000 photos, 134 videos, and tons of apps... no wonder the closet was getting full.

On the photography front, I do use optimized photos to help manage space. The masters are in iCloud with the optimized versions on the device itself. That really helps, especially for those instances when I shoot RAW with my iPhone.

But videos are another matter. There isn't a user-controlled way to optimize their storage (that I've found). There does seem to be some magic happening under the hood, but it's hard to understand exactly what's going on. So I decided to do a little experimenting.

video-cleanup-mac.png I exported all of my videos out of the Photos library at 1080p, the same resolution that I had originally used to record them. I did include the Location information as well.

First, I exported copies of all my video files out of Photos on my Mac to an external hard drive. This took a few minutes because there was 7.76 GBs of movie content. Much of this footage had already been incorporated into other projects, so it was safe to relocate it to my backup drives.

Once everything had been copied and archived safely, I deleted all of the files from the Photos app, then emptied the trash. (Photos doesn't delete content right way. Instead, it moves it to a trash bin. But you can force the trash to empty.)

Then, I rebooted my iPhone and checked the available memory in Settings (Settings > General > About). I hadn't regained any storage space, even after deleting the videos. I checked the Photos app on the phone, and the movies were gone, but no change in numbers. Rats!

At this point, I tapped my ace in the hole. I had a software update waiting, iOS 10.3.3. I decided to run that to see if it would clean house on the iPhone. And indeed it did. I went from 10.25 GBs available to 13.59 GBs. That wasn't as much as I expected, but still quite an improvement.

The bottom line is this: with a little persistence, you can recover storage space on your iPhone. I don't want to mess with my photos. I like having them available all the time. And optimized storage really helps me manage that. But the videos? They were low hanging fruit as far as I was concerned.

I'm not exactly sure how I regained 3 GBs of storage on my iPhone. Some of it should have been the reduction in movies, maybe some of it from the software update, who knows for sure? What I have learned is that a little housekeeping usually yields positive results. And for now, I have a little more breathing room on my mobile device.

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Many photographers try to use Spot Removal instead of cloning in Capture One for a very simple reason: they can't find the cloning tool.

enable-clone-layer.jpg

That's because it's tucked away in the Local Adjustments panel. Then, someone could tell you that, and you still might not find it. You'll see adjustments for just about everything else - white balance, exposure, etc. - but not cloning.

The trick is to long-click on the new layer icon (+) until a popup menu is revealed displaying: New Layer, New Clone Layer, New Healing Layer. Choose New Clone Layer, and now when you select the Brush, it will transform into a cloning tool that works pretty much like everyone else's.

Give your layer a name. Then make sure the brush icon is highlighted or press the B key. Use the bracket keys to control the size of the brush, and Shift-bracket keys to control feathering. Option-click on the area that you want to sample. Then paint over the area that you want to clone. When you're finished, tap the V key to disable the brush.

(Another nifty way to go about this is to create a regular Adjustment layer, then change it to a Clone layer by click on the "Adjustment Bubble" that reveals the popup menu.)

There are a variety of options in the brushing tool itself that allow you to control the appearance of the mask. And since all of this work is created on a layer, you can turn it off and on by simply unchecking its box in the Adjustments panel.

After a little trial and error, you should get comfortable with Capture One's cloning tool. And now you can save Spot Removal for what it was designed for... removing sensor dust and other specks.

Master Capture One Pro

Start with Capture One Pro 10 Essential Training that will quickly get you up to speed with this pro level imaging application.

Then drill down into mastering the editing tools with Capture One Pro 10: Retouching and get supremely organized with Advanced Capture One Pro: Catalog Management.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Why I Stick with Square on Instagram

A while back, the Instagram gods deemed that it was acceptable for us to publish rectangular images in our feeds. And it was a good thing... but a feature that I will probably never use.

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There's something evenly perfect about the square format. The world has both width and height. It seems fairer. I like the way my IG images fill up the entire space. I feel like I'm looking at the real world.

People use Instagram in many differ ways. For me, it's my visual diary. Here'e what I saw, felt, thought about, or was surprised by today. I'm going to fill up the whole box. I don't want to waste a pixel of space. I don't want to miss a moment of life.

Some of my favorite moments as a photographer are when I tap the Share button and see today's slice of life fill up my iPhone screen. Square is cool. And Instagram is the one place where squares rule.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #600, Sept. 5, 2017. Today's theme is "6 Ways that Photography Has Changed." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I was composing a shot at the Santa Monica Metro Station the other night when I felt someone staring at me. I looked up and saw this man at the top of the steps with his eyes directly fixed on me. I looked back for a moment and waited for him to say something. Finally, he spoke: "We're you taking my picture?" he asked. This is the type of encounter that I'm experiencing more and more these days. And for our 600th show, I thought I'd explore 6 ways that photography has changed since I started this podcast in 2005.

Meanwhile, Back at the Santa Monica Metro Station

I paused for a moment before answering the man who had been glaring at me. His body was stiff with anger. I took a deep breath, exhaled, then replied, "I have been taking pictures here for about an hour. If you've been here during that time, you may be in some of them. I couldn't tell you for sure. But you have not been the subject of my work."

"That's freaking uncool," he spit out. "You should be ashamed of yourself."

"I'm sorry if I bothered you," I replied. "That was not my intent."

I then walked away without saying anything else. There was nothing to add to the story. I put my camera away and walked back to the hotel. The night was over.

I started thinking about all of the encounters I've experienced while working recently. And how much the act of photography has changed, as well as its perception. Some things are better, many are not. And since we're at a milestone today, show number 600, this seems like a good time to take stock of the situation.

Six Things that Have Changed

  • Maturation of the Digital Workflow - In 2005, the year I began this podcast, Aperture was released by Apple, with Lightroom soon to follow. This was the next step in digital photography because it represented a true RAW workflow for all levels of photographers. Today, we have many software options and anyone can produce technically outstanding images.
  • Increased Resolution, Capability, and Storage - On Flickr, I have a shot of my boys captured in April of 2005. I used a Canon Rebel XT. Canon wrote this about its camera: "The EOS Digital Rebel XT features Canon's 8.0 Megapixel CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensor, which captures images of exceptional clarity and tonal range and offers the most pixels in its class." It had a 1.8" LCD viewfinder with 115K dots resolution. Today I'm capturing around 20MPs with 3" LCDs at a million dots. At the same time, storage became cheaper. In 2005, hard drives were relatively expensive and cloud storage was anything but robust. Today, I can buy 3TB hard drives for about $90 and I have 200GB of Cloud backup for $2.99 a month. And all of this storage is optimized.
  • More Sharing Options - (Here's where things really begin to change.) In 2004, both Facebook and Flickr launched. Twitter followed in 2006, and we didn't see Instagram until 2010 and Snapchat until 2011. The impact of these social networks has impacted photography dramatically.
  • The Emergence of the Selfie - The iPhone 4 was introduced in 2010 with a front-facing camera. This single device poured gas on the self-love portrait phenomenon known as the Selfie. Combined with the emerging social networks I mentioned earlier, the tone of consumer photography shifted from an outward exploration of the world to inward reassurance. I think in many ways, the convergence of these technologies is what put us on the rails that we're riding now.
  • The Devaluation of Artistic Imagery - With the improved hardware and software, little ability was required to create a technically acceptable photograph. Unfortunately, this has had an adverse affect for artists and professionals. Technically acceptable has become good enough for stock, public display, weddings, annual reports, and other business opportunities for professional photographers. Our value has diminished, as well as our ability to support our families.
  • Post September 11, 2001 - All the while these other events were unfolding, the effects of 9-11 continued to surface, and to some degree, expand. Anyone taking a picture in public may be subjected to questioning by security guards, pedestrians, shop owners, and police. To my knowledge, photography did not play a role in horrific attack by terrorists, yet it somehow has suffered collaterally ever since. People are not the same in public. And hostility toward photographers has increased.

So where does that leave us? If we're not careful, we could find ourselves in a wholly unsatisfying position. Where on one hand, we have these marvelous tools. Yet the world we have to use them in is highly suspicious, inwardly facing, and satisfied with the average.

As artists and professionals, it is our role to not be content with the status quo, and to push back against hostility, narcism, and visual mediocrity.

santa-monica-pier.jpg

I was back on the streets the next night in Santa Monica. The image that I captured on that second shoot featured a young mother holding her child and looking up at the lights and magic of the carnival atmosphere of the Santa Monica Pier. She was clearly happy to be there. She was enjoying it with her daughter. At that moment life was good, for all of us. And as one viewer commented on Instagram, "I can't stop looking at this picture."

For me, that shot represented the good things about my photography today. I captured the image handheld at ISO 3200, processed it in great software, and was able to share with the world on Instagram. Those are my positive takeaways. I'll deal with the other things as they come up.

Photography has changed greatly since my first podcast in 2005. There are some things I miss from then. But like that image of my boys playing basketball that I captured with the Canon Rebel XT, I will always have those pictures.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

Texas-based Red River Paper recently announced a new fine art paper, Palo Duro Etching. The new paper is a 100 percent cotton rag paper and is free of optical brightener additives. The paper is designed to offer warm white tones, deep blacks and a subtle texture to accurately recreate traditional darkroom fine art prints.

See you next week!

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

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scenes-earbuds.png

Imagine plugging a set of great sounding earbuds into your iPhone, tapping the record button, and instantly capturing crystal clear 3D audio. That's exactly what Lifelike 3D Audio earbuds by Scenes can do.

The Lifelike headset looks like regular earbuds, and it doesn't take up any more room in your camera bag. For listening purposes, they are terrific... crisp and clear. They would be a great music listening device if nothing else. But these earbuds go well beyond simply enjoying your favorite song.

When you plug them into your iPhone via the Lightning port, they are also a sophisticated recording device. Each microphone is positioned naturally outside each ear, capable of recording the world as it happens all around you.

Lifelike 3D earphones come with a Digital Box built-in best-in-class high fidelity processor, which is equipped with a MFi-certified lightning connector to integrate seamlessly with all compatible iOS devices. Use the Lightning port to your iPhone, open the video app, and then you will have a realistic, immersive 3D video. After sharing, use any headphones to replay, audiences will feel like they are there.

That's right, once the recording is captured, anyone can experience your 3D audio with their standard earbuds. No special equipment is required. Here's a movie that I made at the Santa Monica Metro Station using the Camera app on my iPhone and the Lifelike 3D earphones.

To create this movie, I recorded the scene with the iPhone set to standard video mode. I was wearing the Lifelike earphones that were plugged into my handset. I tapped the record button.

Once the footage was captured, the video with the 3D audio was automatically uploaded to my Photos for macOS app. There, I created a slideshow project where I added a few stills, transitions, and background music. That was it. High quality 3D audio with the mere tap of the record button.

You can learn all of the details about the Lifelike 3D earphones at their Indiegogo page. The early bird prices are as low as $79. They are projected to sell for $149 on the open market.

Having this high quality audio dramatically changes even the simplest videos. And to be able to do so without any extra work is just amazing.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Creatures of the Night

The Santa Monica Metro Station connects travelers to the greater Los Angeles area. It's an attractive, well-lit area that's perfect for night photography. So I mounted my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and went searching for those who commute after dark.

Between-Cars.jpg A peek between cars. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, 17mm f/1.8 lens at f/4, ISO 2500, 1/15th. (Out of camera image.) Photo by Derrick Story.

Getting-a-Ticket.jpg Getting a Ticket - Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, 17mm f/1.8 lens at f/4, ISO 2500, 1/40th. (Out of camera image.) Photo by Derrick Story.

It's a great way to get an evening walk, and the images provide a completely different look than daytime travel photography.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.