Recently in Mobile

  Page 1 of 7 in Mobile  

When I decided to join Instagram, I wanted to be somewhere special. I made that decision two years ago, and the location was Maui.

Today, I've published my 500th Instagram post. I chose an image from my stay in Hawaii in August 2012. I selected a colorful sunset image with a sailboat and light reflecting on the water. For some reason, that picture radiates the good feelings I have about this project.

Instagram has had its share of controversy. But for me personally, it has helped me become a more creative photographer. Every day, I think about what would be a good post as I navigate my world at home, or while I'm on the road working. It keeps my gears turning.

I follow a lot of shooters on Instagram. Some depend on their celebrity status, others are beautiful and capture selfies as the mainstay of their feed. But a lot of people are like me too: photographers who love taking pictures for the pure joy of it. And we have a place to celebrate our passion. That's what hooked me.

instagram-page-aug-22-2014-web.jpg

The images on this feed are different than my work as a photographer for hire. Assignments tend to have restrictions. I need to produce images that match a description. Even my publishing on The Digital Story is illustrative. I'm creating photos to describe a product or technique.

But when I press the shutter button for Instagram, it's just a picture. It could be anything in any style with any filter. It doesn't matter. Some images resonate and others don't. Like any photographer, I appreciate a "like." But I'm not thinking about that when I create the photograph. My thought is, "What can I do that's interesting?"

And that's why I love Instagram.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

buffalo-cloudstor.jpg

One of the many backup and sharing solutions that I use for my photography is Pogoplug's personal cloud software combined with a Buffalo CloudStor 2-Bay RAID hard drive ($206).

This system sets up at my studio, yet is accessible anywhere with an Internet connection via my laptop, iPad, or iPhone. The initial investment is just a couple hundred dollars, and there are no monthly fees. Plus, I have on-site RAID mirroring to protect me against hard drive failure.

In this movie produced by lynda.com, I show you how the Cloudstor system works. I demo communication with the networked RAID device located hundreds of miles away. This free movie is part of my training title, Managing Your Mobile Photos, where I cover a variety of backup solutions for both iOS and Android users.

If the embedded movie fails to play, you can watch it by clicking on this link: Taking a Look at Pogoplug.

I've been using the Pogoplug/Buffalo system for over two years, and I haven't had a single problem with it (knock on wood)!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Lightroom Mobile Field Test in Maui

I like to leave the laptop at home for vacation. And with the power and connectivity of the iPad, traveling light is better than ever.

Editing-in-LRM.PNG Editing in Lightroom Mobile on the iPad mini is a joy.

When Adobe introduced Lightroom Mobile, I saw my iPad-only scenario improving. Imagine being able to sync Collections with your master Lightroom library at home and bring them with you on your mobile device? Plus, even better, upload those vacation shots in the field, then use LR's amazing editing tools to fine tune them, and publish online from your remote destination.

In my latest post for lynda.com Article Center, Field Test: Lightroom Mobile in Maui, I go into detail about how LRM performed in the field. The bottom line is this: Bringing content with you from your master library works great. You can view, share, and even star-rate the pictures.

But going the other direction is frustrating. If you're thinking that you can use this software and your iPad to replace a laptop in the field, my guess is that you'll be disappointed.

Browsing-in-LRM.PNG Browsing new images in Lightroom Mobile on an iPad mini.

Yes, you can browse new Jpegs and adjust them with Lightroom's tools. But you can't add any IPTC metadata, including captions, keywords and copyright. And I had issues with the star ratings that I explained in the lynda article.

So for now, Lightroom Mobile is more about bringing pictures from home than it is working with new ones in the field. Maybe over time this will change...


More Help on Managing Your Mobile Photos

In my lynda.com title, Managing Your Mobile Photos, I cover a variety of backup solutions for both iOS and Android users. These tutorials will help you build the perfect backup solution for you, so that you never lose a single image.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Is iPhone Insurance Worth the Cost?

Submerged iPhone

When you buy an iPhone through an AT&T store, they offer you insurance to protect your device. Yes, they give you the basic costs, but more than likely, the big picture won't be explained. Once you look closer at the details, another option may surface.

Here's a real life example. Just this week, I immersed my iPhone 5S beyond repair. Since I had bought the device directly from Apple, I had never considered insurance from my carrier, AT&T.

I submitted a service request via the Apple Online Store on Tuesday evening. The charge to replace my iPhone 5S was $269 plus tax. (The Apple warranty does not cover dunking the phone in water.) Apple submitted my info to UPS that night. The next morning I dropped off my phone at the closest UPS shipping center (they did the packing for me), and by Friday afternoon I had a replacement 5S, same configuration as I had bought, delivered by FedEx. The entire process took 3 days.

We have another iPhone 5S on our AT&T family plan that we purchased at an AT&T store. We opted for the $9.99 a month protection plan that is underwritten by Continental Casualty Company and administered by Asurion Protection Services. The deductible for the iPhone 5S is $199. We've had a claim with them before, and the entire process took over 2 weeks and included 3 phone calls.

The bottom line is this: Apple covers your iPhone for 1 year for free. There are certain exceptions such as water immersion. Even with the exception, they will replace your iPhone for less than $300 when out of warranty, and do so quickly and without hassle.

I'm not recommending one option over the other. But it's something to keep in mind the next time you find yourself purchasing a new iPhone at an AT&T store.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

lightroom-iphone-impiort.jpg

Not everyone wants a Creative Cloud membership. And since you can still purchase Lightroom as a standalone app, you don't need CC.

But what if you want to use Lightroom to help you manage your smartphone pictures? Lightroom Mobile only works with a Creative Cloud account.

No problem. Here's a workflow that doesn't require Creative Cloud, but does let you use Lightroom to help you organize, add metadata, and edit your mobile photos. It's part of my Managing Your Mobile Photos title on lynda.com. (But you don't have to sign up for that either to watch this movie :-) Check out Uploading pictures directly to Lightroom. It's a free movie on the title page (Chapter 5, movie 2 - Just scroll down a bit).

I'll be writing about Lightroom Mobile in the future. But for now, if you're a standalone app user, you might find this movie helpful.


More Help on Managing Your Mobile Photos

In my lynda.com title, Managing Your Mobile Photos, I cover a variety of backup solutions for both iOS and Android users. These tutorials will help you build the perfect backup solution for you, so that you never lose a single memory.

Monster Y Splitter

Airplane entertainment systems are certainly welcome on long flights, but I like to watch my own selection of content too. For example, currently I'm hooked on Breaking Bad and am working my way through past seasons.

This is even more fun when shared with a travel partner. It's just like going to the movies: You can watch it together, then discuss the show over a cup of coffee afterwards.

For these occasions, I keep a Monster iSplitter 1000 Y-Splitter with Volume Control/Mute ($9.99) in my carry-on bag. With it, I can share music, TV shows, and movies with another. It even has separate volume controls.

The iPad is a terrific travel companion in many ways, and entertainment is definitely one of them. Sharing that content with another makes it even more fun.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This Monster Y Splitter has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Shutter for iOS

If you're look for additional backup for your iPhone photos and videos, Shutter by Streamnation has an interesting proposition: unlimited storage for free.

Their iOS app, Shutter combines a useful camera with a clever storage service, and lots of sharing features. One of the things that initially caught my eye was the fact that I could capture an image in Shutter, then open it directly in Instagram.

When you're taking pictures with either an iPhone or iPad with the camera function, you have the basic features you'd expect: focus point, flash control, and a handful of filters. Nothing fancy, but it certainly gets the job done.

Local Backup Too

Beyond that, Shutter saves all of your photos and videos to your account, keeps the last 200 available locally in case you don't want to use bandwidth to play with them, and will even automatically backup your existing camera roll.

You can save your Shutter images to you camera roll (or leave them in the Shutter app), post them online, or email to a friend. The sharing options are strong with good connections to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Because we've had some bad luck with great services closing down in the past, I don't recommend putting all of your backup eggs in this basket. But I think it's worth testing and using as a redundant service to your primary archiving system. I'm particularly interested to see how this all ties together with the StreamNation app that I've loaded on the iPad that lets my manage the content I have in their cloud service.

I'm on the road in a week. That will be a good opportunity for further testing.


More Help on Managing Your Mobile Photos

In my lynda.com title, Managing Your Mobile Photos, I cover a variety of backup solutions for both iOS and Android users. These tutorials will help you build the perfect backup solution for you, so that you never lose a single memory.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

simsmart-prepaid.jpg

I've just returned from two weeks in Europe traveling with an unlocked iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S. Both devices used SIMsmart cards for calling, text, and data while abroad.

Over the course of the trip, I was able to post to Instagram and Facebook directly from my iPhones. Plus, I could answer email, browse the Web, and check the weather.

One of the best aspects of the SIMsmart plan is the ability to order the SIM cards ahead of time, install them, and enable their data configurations. By doing so, both phones were ready for immediate use when I landed in London.

rates-for-simsmart.jpg

I charged each card with an $80 credit. The iPhone 3GS still has about $5 remaining, while the iPhone 4S ran out of data on the second to last day. I could have easily recharged either card online at the SIMsmart site, another nice feature of their service. Fortunately, I was able to use just the 3GS on the last day.

Once you receive the SIMsmart card via shipping, simply install it in your phone and go online to activate. Voice and text will be immediately available. If you want data too (and who wouldn't), then customer support will contact you with a link to their profile. It's very easy to install, and that finishes the set-up process.

For each of my phones, it took about 20 minutes in London before they were ready for data usage. I'm not sure what was going on in the background, but once everything had clicked in, they worked like a charm. I didn't have to do anything on my end to make them work.

I had full connectivity in England, Ireland, France, Scotland, and Wales. Phone service was reliable with no dropped calls, and data streaming was better than many of the WiFi hotspots I tried to use.

If you've unlocked an older smartphone (by request to your carrier), I think purchasing a SIM card with a phone number that's local to your travel destination is an excellent plan. I used WiFi when I could. But when it wasn't available, I was thankful for the SIMsmart cards.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The SIMsmart card 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.

filter-strenght.png

I confess. I already liked Instagram. A lot.

But my fondness for this social networking photo app has grown considerably with the latest 6.0.1 release. Without sacrificing ease of use, we now have an entire tool box of image editing adjustments, improved speed, and the ability to adjust filter strength.

When you first select an image, the app behaves as before. You can crop and move around in the square frame to position the photo to your liking. Things change, however, once you hit Next.

Adjusting filter strength in Instagram 6 on an iPhone 5S.

You have three editing categories represented by icons beneath the photo (on the iPhone 5 and 5S). The magic wand icon for Filters, the sun icon for Lux, and the wrench icon for Tools.

Initially Filters behave as before. Scroll to find the look you want by tapping on the filter name. But now, tap again on its icon and a 0-100 slider is revealed, allowing you to adjust its strength. This is where you can add a frame too. If you like what you see, tap the checkmark and the adjustment is applied. Tap the X and you go back without any changes.

new-tools.png

Lux remains the same. Which is fine with me because it's an amazing slider as is.

Three of the new adjustment options in Instagram 6 on an iPhone 5S.

If you tap on the wrench icon, you're presented with 10 editing tools: straighten, brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows, vignette, tilt shift, and sharpen. Each adjustment has a slider allowing you to apply the amount of strength you desire.

Add a dash of speed without breaking anything, and we have a winning update. And you don't need the latest OS to use it. The new Instagram will run on devices that support iOS 6, and it's optimized for the iPhone 5. I tested it on both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 4S. Worked fine on both, however, the editing icons were at the top of the screen on the iPhone 4S. Instagram 6 is also available in Google Play for Android devices.

Based on my preliminary testing, there's no downside to this release. If you enjoy Instagram, or feel like it's time to jump in, I think you'll like this version of the app. You can follow me at DerrickStory.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Many devices allow us to stream content to our iOS device, but iStick will let you copy photos from your iPad or iPhone to a flash drive.

backup-photos-to-istick.jpg

iStick features include:

  • Free universal iPhone/iPad/iPod touch iOS app
  • Music & Movie Player (able to decode MKV, RMVB, AVI, WMV etc.)
  • 1080p HD movie streaming, direct playback from iStick
  • Photo & Document (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, PDF, iWork) Viewer
  • Open files directly on the iStick without the need to copy to iDevice
  • Copy/Move files between iDevice and iStick
  • File Management (Copy/Cut/Paste/Delete/Rename/Create Folder)
  • Backup photos/videos from iDevice Camera Roll to iStick
  • Support "Open In" functionality
  • Open files from other apps in iStick app
  • Open files from iStick in other apps
  • iDevice Contacts backup and restore

There's two weeks left in the iStick Kickstarter project, and you can jump in if this looks interesting to you. I'll publish a review once I receive mine in August.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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