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Now it's easier than ever to move images from your Mac to Instagram. A new app, Uploader for Instagram ($4.99), allows you to right-click on a photo and send it to your account.

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The app isn't going to win any awards for design, but it does work. Once you control-click or right-click on the picture, choose Share to Instagram from the Services popup menu, then you're greeted with a spartan interface that lets you zoom and position the picture.

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There are also filters available, but I wasn't impressed with them (especially compared to the native IG filters). You can add a caption and hashtags, however, and performance is snappy. Within a few seconds my photo was displaying happily in my Instagram feed.


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

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A Photographer's Guide to Social Networks

Participating on social networks isn't for everyone. But for those who want more interaction around the images they create, choosing an online site or two can lead to rewarding experiences. Here's a quick guide to my favorites.

Instagram

Because it's so easy to post and comment via mobile devices, Instagram has become one of my favorite photographer communities.

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The trick here is to develop your Instagram personality. In my case, I've chosen to share the life of a photographer/writer in my feed. So my posts are about daily shooting and travel. Plus, I very much enjoy the work of those I follow.

Flickr

This social network for photographers has been pronounced dead more than Apple in the 1990s. Yet, today it continues to thrive.

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I've become more selective about what I post in my Flickr Photostream lately, using it more as a online gallery page for favorite images.

Unlike with Instagram, where I wouldn't hesitate to share a "behind the scenes" snapshot, Flickr is reserved for the finished product. It's the place that I send people to view my more serious efforts as a photographer.

We also have a wonderful TDS Public Group with more than 2,800 members and 46,000 photos. This feed appears in the Member Gallery page on thedigitalstory.com, and I select the "Member Photo of the Day" from this group to feature on our TDS Facebook page. The imagery here is fantastic.

The Flickr viewing experience has improved of late on both computers and mobile devices. So I'm also enjoying more work of those I follow. Plus, nothing beats the Flickr Explore page for daily inspiration.

Facebook

I have two Facebook pages. On the business side, the TDS Facebook Community is vital to my The Digital Story business. But I also maintain a personal page for friends and family.

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Photographers who want to engage in shop talk should consider setting up a fan page. Here, you can focus the conversation on your passion, and relegate the family snapshots to your personal page.

Ello

I'm still learning about Ello, but so far, I've liked the experience.

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This is the place where I can post images that quite honestly, just don't fit in other places. I can try new techniques, show off my creative experimentations, and view the visual explorations of others.

For me, Ello is very nonjudgmental. This community seems to welcome diversity. I think Ello is here to stay... at least I hope so. It's a special place.

Twitter

Tweets have certainly become more visual these days. And even though I don't feel compelled to always include an image in my Twitter feed, I love having the option.

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Twitter is an excellent way to get the word out. And it's a fun place to hangout and see what's going on. Many photographers use Twitter for their stream of consciousness sharing. I like it too, and I appreciate its natural, flowing conversation.

Other Sites

There's plenty more going on including Google+, 500px, and others. Each has its strengths and audience characteristics. And if the sites I've mentioned don't do it for you, keep looking. There's an online home that will be just right.

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


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

The Art of Airplane Window Photography

Now with eased rules about electronic devices during takeoff and landing, our opportunities for airplane window photography are better than ever. Here are a few points to consider before you lift off from the tarmac.

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Seat Location

As logic would dictate, a window seat is required. There are obstacles that come with this position, especially on long trips when it's time for a bathroom run. But these are the sacrifices we make for our art.

I also prefer a seat that's not over the wing. This is easier said than done, especially if you're tall. The more roomy Exit Row seats are great for comfort, but not so good for picture taking... unless you're in to wings and jet engines.

Take these issues in to consideration when booking your reservation.

Up Against the Glass

I still see photographers position the front of their lenses too far away from the window. You need to get your lens as close as possible to the surface. (And try to find a clean spot while you're at it.) This helps eliminate reflections. Notice that I say, "helps"? That's because unlike most windows in the world, these are twin panes with lots of space in-between. So you still have to keep an eye on reflections. But a good start begins on your side of the window.

No Flash

Again, I shouldn't have to say this: no flash!

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Exposure Compensation

High altitude photography is hell for camera meters. Once you compose your shot, use exposure compensation to adjust the lighting. Even with iPhones this is easy. If you have the current iOS 8, launch the Camera app, then tap on the phone screen to focus. When the sun icon appears, slide you finger along the yellow line. One direction makes the scene brighter, and the other darker. Do it!

Post Production

Generally speaking, the original images will look a little flat. I like to spice them up before posting.

Since I'm usually shooting window shots with my iPhone, it's easy to fire up Snapseed (or your favorite image editor) to adjust color and contrast. It only takes a minute or two, but makes a big difference. I usually have the image ready to go before the drink cart arrives.

When you touch down at your destination, cellular activity is allowed again, and you can post your prize-winning shot.


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 (especially those cool shots from the air).


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

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

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I don't know about you, but I rarely fire-up that HDTV that's in my hotel room when I'm on the road. That may change soon.

Intel has announced the Compute Stick that transforms any HDMI display into a fully functional computer running Windows 8 or Linux.

This "ultra-small, power-efficient device that is just four inches long, yet packs the power and reliability of a quad-core Intel Atom processor, with built-in wireless connectivity, on-board storage, and a micro SD card slot for additional storage. It's everything you love about your desktop computer in a device that fits in the palm of your hand."

I'll keep an eye out for its release later this year, and report on the details once they're available. But with this in your pocket and an iPhone 6 Plus, you could travel very light.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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

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24 Hours with a Windows 8 Smartphone

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Anyone who follows me knows that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool iOS user. But as I was looking around for an inexpensive smartphone to serve as a backup, I couldn't help but to notice that the Nokia Lumia 520 with Windows 8.1. It's an amazing deal at $29 with the "pay as you go" AT&T GoPhone Plan. So I decided to give it a try.

Now if you're thinking that this is going to be a "bash Windows" article, you're wrong. After just a day of use, I like what Microsoft has done with Windows Phone 8.1. And to be honest, I prefer it over my Android device.

Overall Impression

The latest OS from Microsoft is attractive and easy to learn. The Home screen displays tiles that represent your favorite apps. You can "pin" new apps to the screen and remove those you don't use often. There are three sizes to choose from, allowing you to design your Home screen to your liking.

Tap and hold on a tile and it pops forward allowing you to resize or remove it. At the bottom of your Home screen is an arrow icon that you can tap to see all of your apps in list form. You can add any of these to the Home screen by tapping and holding on it, then selecting "pin to start."

As for global navigation, at the bottom of the display is an arrow icon pointing left; that's the go back key. The Windows icon in the center is the home key. And the magnifying glass icon on the right takes you directly to Bing on Windows 8, and to Cortana if your have Windows 8.1 installed. The Nokia 520 can easily be updated to 8.1 over the air, and it's worth doing. Cortana is excellent, by the way.

Overall, I like the typography, design, and intuitive operation of Windows 8.1. It looks great.

Picture Taking and Editing

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Given that I have a very inexpensive smartphone, I tempered my expectations for the 5MP camera on the Nokia 520. And to be honest, it's about what I expected. It takes serviceable images with a minimum of fuss. The side button located near the bottom of the right edge of the phone activates the camera, whether the phone is on or off. Press it again and it takes a picture once the image is in focus.

Dibs the cat captured with the Nokia Lumina 520 smartphone..

This works great for quick snapshots. Otherwise, I'm using the Lumina Camera app that provides more options, such as settings for white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation. You can download the app for free from the Windows Store. The store is easy to use and has a surprising amount of software available.

Either way, the resulting file was 1456 × 2592 pixels and around 1.5 MBs in size. Since the Nokia 520 only has 8GBs on onboard memory, I added a 2GB micro SD card to store my pictures. If needed, I can swap that out anytime for a larger card. It's a good option to have.

As you would imagine, there are a host of image editing apps in the Windows Store. At the moment I'm using Adobe Photoshop Express. It works well and it's free. There are lots of adjustment sliders, auto fix, a before/after button, cropping, and even a handful of filters called "looks." If you have an Adobe ID, you can connect to your cloud storage too.

For those who want to take screenshots with a Windows 8.1 device, press the Volume Up and Power buttons at the same time, and the screen image will be saved to your Camera Roll.

Photographer Stuff

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I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of my favorite photographer apps in the Windows Store.

Instagram is there now as a beta. After a day of use, this early release seems just fine. I had no problems browsing images or adding new ones.

Dropbox hasn't release a native app yet (to my knowledge), but there's a handy third party program called CloudSix that connected easily to my Dropbox account. All the folders show up on the Nokia, and more importantly, I can send images from the device to my account.

Olympus released OI Wireless for Windows 8. It's not as full-featured as the iOS version. But it does allow you to download images from the camera to the phone. I tested it, and the images were transferred smoothly. Now all we need is the nifty camera control function.

Western Digital released WD 2go for Windows 8, that in theory allows me to connect to my wireless WD hard drive. The app can see the drive online, but gives me an error during the connection process. Maybe a fix is in the works?

Bottom Line

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The Nokia Lumia 520 is a great little device for the price. AT&T GoPhone options start at $25 a month. I haven't activated my SIM card, in part, because I haven't needed too. I'm using the Nokia on WiFi with no hiccups. In the field, I've turned on Personal Hotspot from the iPhone 5S, then shared that connection. If I ever need cellular with the Nokia 520, the SIM card is inserted, and I can activate it directly from the phone. I have the SIM information card in my wallet just in case.

As for Windows 8.1, it's delightful. I like it much better on the phone than I do on a computer. The operating system is attractive, intuitive, and snappy. The Home screen is great. I enjoy the interactive tiles a lot.

Will I ditch my iPhone for a Windows device? Nope. iOS 8 is still my top choice. But I would buy a Windows phone before an Android device... easily. I think it's the second best mobile OS available.

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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.

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iPhones, iPads, Galaxy Notes - they certainly grabbed their share of headlines in 2014. To some degree, it feels as though the technology world has gone completely mobile. Who needs a laptop when you can carry an iPhone 6 Plus in your pocket?

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Cloud: computers are alive and kicking. I researched the yearly statistics for The Nimble Photographer, a site built for mobility, both in terms of subject matter and design. TNP is just as consumable on an iPhone 5S as it is on a Windows 7 desktop computer. Plus, all we really talk about there is going places, and how to best prepare for that.

The Nimble Photographer audience may be traversing the planet, but they seem to be planning their escapes on a computer. Here are the stats for 2014.

Top 5 Operating Systems for The Nimble Photographer

  1. Mac OS X - 58%
  2. Windows 7 - 17%
  3. iOS - 12%
  4. Android - 5%
  5. Windows 8 - 3%

Top 5 Browsers for The Nimble Photographer

  1. Safari - 53%
  2. Chrome - 22%
  3. KHTML - 11%
  4. Firefox - 9%
  5. Internet Explorer - 1%

Certainly there's plenty of online activity with mobile devices. But 2014 will not be the year we pronounce the death of traditional computers.

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I just read an interesting field report on ShootTokyo titled, The Panasonic Lumix Smart Camera CM1, where the author field-tested Panasonic's Android smartphone that features a 1-inch 20MP sensor and 28mm equivalent Leica lens. Options include saving in RAW format. The device costs 1,000 Euros and is unlocked.

On one level, the CM1 reopens the conversation about needing a dedicated compact camera, especially if you already have a smartphone in your pocket. The practicality, I think, depends on what type of photographer you are.

I know many people who are perfectly happy using the iPhone or Samsung S4 as their primary camera. They are capturing the interesting moments in life with a device that's always with them. I also take a lot of photos with my iPhone 5S. But when I step out the door for an afternoon walk or to run errands, I put my Canon PowerShot S110 in my back pocket (which is currently on special for $179, BTW).

Why? Primarily because I need more camera than what my iPhone can provide. I want an optical zoom, mode dial, and yes, RAW format. The Panasonic CM1 does inch closer to bridging this gap, especially with the RAW option.

But then, what kind of phone is it? Wouldn't it be ironic I had to carry a second device to serve as my smartphone?

We dream of having everything we want in one package. But the fact of the matter is, it's tough to be a world class smartphone and camera in one tiny device. And how much are we willing to spend for such a convenience? That being said, it looks like the Panasonic CM1 has brought us one step closer.


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.

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What initially attracted me to Kenu Stance was that it did not require an adapter or special case to mount to an iPhone. Its MicroMount inserts directly into the iPhone's Lightning port. Combined with the Stance's lightweight (1.2 ounces) and compact (3.1") design, you can carry it with you anywhere.

The Stance can also be configured as a stand for watching videos on the iPhone. And its ball head allows for versatile positioning for photography.

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And if all of that wasn't good enough, the Stance includes a bottle opener. So when it's time to celebrate your great shot with a sip of your favorite microbrew, you're opener will already be in hand.

The Stance is available directly from the Kenu site for $29.95.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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

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

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One of the exciting enhancements in iOS 8 for photographers is "Photo Extensions." What that means is that 3rd party developers, such as the creators of Camera+, can enable their editing tools to be accessed within Apple's Photos App.

Photo Extentions opens up a whole new experience for photographers. Here's how to use them.

  • Open an image in Photos App, then tap Edit in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on the "more" icon in the upper left corner of the app. It's a circle around 3 dots (as shown in the top illustration).
  • In the screen that appears at the bottom of the screen, tap on More, then enable the app that includes the Photo Extensions that you want to use. In my case, it was Camera+.
  • Camera+ will now reside in the bottom popup screen. Tap on its icon to access its editing tools.
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  • Edit your photo using the tools in the set of extensions you've selected (as shown in the bottom photo). The changes you make to the image will be saved automatically to the camera roll.

Your edits are non-destructive. So regardless what you do with these new tools, you can always revert to original if needed.

This functionality is a preview of things to come on the Mac with the release of Yosemite. The new desktop Photos App will also have extensibility. It will be interesting to see how this changes desktop editing for Mac users.


More Help 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.

WD My Passport Wireless HD Review

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The WD My Passport Wireless HD ($179) is a compact, spinning platter hard drive with built-in WiFi and a DNLA server. It wirelessly connects computers, tables, and smartphones, and includes USB 3.0 for hard wire access. Its built-in battery and SD card reader round out an impressive feature set for mobile photographers.

After 2 weeks of testing, it has earned a permanent home in my everyday camera bag and will be accompanying me to PhotoPlus Expo on assignment. The WD Wireless isn't perfect, but it is impressive.

Wireless Options

You have three wireless connectivity options, each useful depending on your situation: Direct Connection, Hotspot, and Home Network.

Direct Connection establishes a link between you and the My Passport via its WiFi server. The advantage is fast bandwidth. The disadvantage is that the Internet is not available using this method.

Hotspot leverages an existing network allowing both communication with the My Passport and online activity. Others on the network do not have access to your hard drive. You most likely give up a little performance, but gain Internet access. This is the method I use most often.

Home Network also leverages an external network, but makes the drive visible to all who have access to it. Great for sharing work among users in an office or around the house.

Seeing Drive Content via iOS

wd-dashboard.jpg WD Dashboard as shown in Safari on an iPad Mini.

Once you've connected to the My Passport via Settings, you can use the WD My Cloud app to customize the hard drive and access its content. Plus you can monitor battery life, drive capacity, and other vital signs.

I also log-in to its server as an admin via the browser on my iPad for even more configuration options. The dashboard is well designed and easy to use.

Backing Up Photos

I have the My Passport set up to automatically backup the photos from any SD card I insert into its reader. All of the content is copied to the hard drive and organized in folders using this hierarchy: SD Card Imports > SDCard_XXXXX > DCIM > 100OLYMP > images.

images-from-memory-card.jpg Images copied to the My Passport drive via its SD card reader and viewed on an iPad.

The WD My Cloud app can display the Jpegs, but not the RAW files. However, the RAW files are there for when you return from your trip. The simplest method is to shoot RAW+Jpeg, use the Jpegs while on the road, and tap the RAWs at home.

You can copy an image to your device's Camera Roll by selecting it, then tapping the Download icon. Other sharing options include Email, Print, and Open In.

Being able to backup photos from the camera's memory card, then view them on your mobile device is the killer feature I've been waiting for.

More Functions Than I Can List

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In addition to the photographer-friendly goodies, you can stream music and video via the drive's built-in DNLA media server. I also store work documents that I can securely read while on the road, even if I don't have cloud services available. And, now while on the plane, I have dozens of movies to choose from instead of just the one or two my iPad could accommodate.

And if you wish, you can use other apps, such as MoliPlayer HD to view your content. Any software that is DLNA compliant will work.

The battery life is good, about 4-5 hours. The WiFi access point remains active, even when not being used, as long as the device is booted up. The My Passport is also easy to recharge. I've used its compact wall plug as well as my solar Waka Waka charger with great success. WD did a good job with the battery technology for this unit.

A Few Quirks

The drive ships with a dummy SD card in the reader slot. Remove it to activate WiFi. Otherwise the drive will try to read the dummy card. And you don't get an indication of when the drive has finished backing up an SD card when in Automatic mode. I've been leaving it in the reader for about 5 minutes, just to be safe. In the future, I could test the actual copy time using the WD My Cloud app in manual copy mode.

The user interface is robust, but it is a bit odd at times. For example, you can create new folders to organize your work using the iOS app. But in order to put files in the new folder, you have to select > copy > paste. I wasn't used to copy/paste for moving files around. But once I figured it out, it was easy to remember.

You can also back up images from your iOS device to the My Passport drive. To do so, select Add Photo, navigate to the image in your Camera Roll, and tap Upload. The file will be copied to the drive at root level.

To move it to the desired folder, tap Select > Cut > (navigate to the directory) Paste. It's a bit weird, but it works.

Bottom Line

The WD My Passport Wireless HD allows me to travel with just my iPad and iPhone, leaving the laptop behind. Yet, when I return home, it connects to my MacBook Pro via USB 3.0 or wireless... my choice. I'm impressed with its feature set, design, and battery life. Quite honestly, it's the best new gadget I've tested in a while.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The WD My Passport Wireless HD has a very high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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