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It happens all the time. Sure, most photographers would rather shoot in the morning or late afternoon. But for paid assignments that involve busy schedules, you'd be surprised at how often you have to contend with midday lighting.

emerson-chen-francesca.jpg This portrait by Emerson Chen was captured in midday lighting at the TDS Sonoma Coast Workshop. Looks good to me!

You survive these situations by taking control of the light. Typically, this involves working with shade, adding fill flash, trying a diffuser, or bouncing light with a reflector. There's an excellent article on The Phoblographer titled, How to Shoot Better Photos at High Noon. There, the author Amanda Chatham explains the most popular techniques for taming harsh light.

Bottom line: you can capture a great portrait any time of day. Brush up on these simple, but effective lighting techniques to make sure you're prepared for your next high noon showdown.


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.

sony-a7s-on-video.jpg

Here's a camera that has piqued much curiosity. The Sony Alpha A7s mirrorless digital camera (currently available for preorder at $2,498) is a full-frame 12.2MP powerhouse with expansive dynamic range, low noise, and extended sensitivity to ISO 409,600. And if that isn't crazy enough for you, it also supports 4:2:2 UHD 4K video output via HDMI.

Needless to say, such a beast would capture the attention of gearhead Doug Kaye. And the result is a comprehensive video review on All About the Gear, hosted by Frederick Van Johnson.

If this camera is on your radar, you should sit back and enjoy this presentation.

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

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Dusting Off the DSLR, Free Photo Workshop, Macro Photography, Lens Deal - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Ricoh announces Pentax XG-1 superzoom. This bridge camera sports a whopping 52X zoom (24-1248 mm) and will go on sale in August for $396. (source: DP Review).

In other news, Hasselblad Releases CFV-50c CMOS Back for V-System Cameras. "Designed with simple operation in mind, the back requires zero cables for connection, a first of its kind. As for the technical details, the CFV-50c is capable of up to ISO 6400, 1.5fps, 16-bit color, features a 3" 24-bit color display and uses a CF card for storage, when not tethered to a computer." Estimated price: $15,000. (Source: PetaPixel).

And finally, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens on Sale for $499 (with free Expedited Shipping). (Source: B&H Photo)

dust-off-dslr.jpg

Story #2 - Dusting Off the DSLR - I have a big corporate project coming up that involves more than a half dozen shoots over a 3 month period. Because these images will be used a variety of ways, including billboards, and because the client wants very soft background for the portraits, I'll be using my DSLR kit. I haven't shot with it a while because of all my travel. Here's a bit about coming up to speed again.

Story #3 - 1:1:1 - Here's a basic technical reminder that 1 f-stop equals 1 full shutter speed equals 1 full ISO setting. I review how this works and why it's important in the third segment of today's show.

Story #4 - From the Screening Room - Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups with Joseph Linaschke. I know Joseph well and he's a terrific instructor. In this brand new title, he shows you a variety of techniques for close-up photography.

You can watch Joseph in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library (including my brand new "Photographing High School Senior Portraits."

Story #5 - A Free Photo Workshop. I'm working on the 2015 TDS Photography Workshop Schedule. As many of you know, I like to introduce at least one new topic a season. And I'd like to hear from you, "What Theme Would You Love for Me to Teach in 2015?" Send your idea to derrick@thedigitalstory.com with the subject line: My Favorite Workshop Topic. My goal is to incorporate one of these suggestions into the 2015 season. If I do, that person gets free tuition to that workshop.

Virtual Camera Club News

From SizzlPix: Now, for The Digital Story listeners and readers, this month only, SizzlPix will knock off 20% of the price for your SizzlPix, any quantity, any size up to 6 feet! Just put the initials TDS or "The Digital Story" in the comments space of their new, simplified online order form. SizzlPix.com.

Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper: Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for July 2014 is "Smokin' Hot".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story Podcast in iTunes.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until February!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

olympus-75-300mm-lens

How do you make a terrific lens look even better? Lower the price to $499.

You can now save $50 instantly (no rebate nonsense) on the excellent Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens. This is the recently redesigned zoom that fared very well in its DxO Mark test and has been popular with TDS readers.

I just purchased this zoom for an upcoming shoot at Safari West as part of the TDS Fall Color with Safari West Workshop in October. I'll have time to test it before the big event.

The Olympus 75-300mm zoom is a solid example of how you can save bulk and weight with Micro Four Thirds photography. The effective view is 150mm-600mm, yet it's less than 5" long and weighs less than 15 ounces. And the $499 price tag is icing on the cake.

Want to Know What's in My Camera Bag?

Take a look at the My Gear page on TDS.


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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.

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

Aperture Exporter is a new app written by Adrian Grah designed to ease the pain of moving your library to Lightroom.

Using Aperture Exporter Aperture Exporter in action.

In my latest article for c't Digital Photography Magazine, Aperture Exporter - A Utility to Move Your Library to Lightroom, I share comments from Adrian and explain in detail how this application works. In essence, AE helps you extract content from your Aperture library and save it in a structure that's easily consumable by Lightroom.

After my first few rounds of testing, I estimate that this utility can easily cut your migration time in half, if not more. Aperture Exporter is still in beta, and Adrian is committed to improving it. So as user feedback rolls in, we'll see the app evolve even more.

If you're considering a move to Lightroom, be sure to take a look at this article first.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn the finer points of Aperture to help you prepare your library for transition, 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.


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


I'm the biggest fish of them all. And when I visit a tropical destination, I can't wait to jump in the water.

ornate-butterfly-fish.jpg Shy Ornate Butterfly fish watching me behind coral - Photos by Derrick Story

I travel light: mask, fins, snorkel, and compact camera. But even with this simple set of tools, I can capture memorable photos and have a great time doing so. I just follow these five tips.

  1. Go Early, But Wait for the Sun - I'm usually in the water by 7:30 AM. The swells tend to be calmer, there are far fewer people, and the fish are plentiful. If it's overcast, however, I usually wait for the sun to appear. Snorkeling without sunlight tends to yield dull pictures.
  2. Learn How to Dive Downward - It's fun to troll the surface and watch the world below you. But when you see a fish you want to photograph, dive down a few feet to get a better angle. It takes a little practice, but it's worth it.
  3. Get the Sun to Your Back - This age-old rule is far more important underwater than topside. It's a bit of effort to maneuver your body in the water to get the sun over your shoulder. But unless I'm going for an artistic approach, I like my fish portraits much better with this type of lighting.
  4. Don't Touch Anything - The reef ecosystem should be treated with the utmost respect. Don't touch coral or wildlife. Watch your flippers so they don't accidentally brush against the landscape. Be aware of the current so you're not tossed against the rocks. Preserving this magical world ensures that generations to come will be able to enjoy it too.
  5. sergeant-major-fish.jpg Curious Sergeant Major fish stayed with me a while.

  6. Use Focus Lock Before Shooting - If you just press the shutter button willy-nilly, you'll get a lot of sharp backgrounds with blurry fish. Compose your shot, focus on the eye if you can, press the shutter button half way to lock it in, then take the photo. Yes, fish move fast and you'll have a lot of misses. But the successes will thrill you.

My first priority is to be safe, protect the environment, have fun, and yes, hopefully capture some photos too. I wish the same great experiences for you.

unicorn-fish.jpg Beautiful Unicorn fish just passing by.

Note: All photos were captured with an Olympus TG-1 Waterproof Camera and processed on an iPad mini using Lightroom Mobile. (I've yet to upload the masters to my MacBook Pro :-)

A big thanks to Dennis Adams, co-author of Step Zero II: Preparation for a SCUBA Live-Aboard Trip, for his advice over the years to help me improve my underwater photography. His tips have been very helpful.

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.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Interesting Canon 7D Mark II Sensor Rumor, Raw Editing on the iPad, No Laptop No Problem, A Clever Charging Cable - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Adobe Photoshop Express update brings Raw editing (sort of). (source: DP Connect).

In other news, What happens to Lightroom after my membership ends? Tom Hogarty says, "...the desktop application will continue to launch and provide access to the photographs managed within Lightroom as well as the Slideshow, Web, Book or Print creations that we know many photographers painstakingly create. The Develop and Map modules have been disabled in order to signal the end of the membership... Lightroom Mobile will no longer sync also. (Source: Lightroom Journal).

And finally, New Version of Dual Pixel AF Rumored for Canon 7D Mark II - "... EOS 7D replacement will not just feature Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS Auto-Focus, it will push its capabilities to new boundaries." (Source: Canon Watch)

Story #2 - The ChargeCard - Faced with a low battery warning for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device? There are plenty of USB ports in the world, but what about the cable to connect to your device? Thanks to the ChargeCard, available at Photojojo, you can have a credit card connector always available in your wallet. I talk more about it in the second segment of today's show.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Lightroom 5: 05 Printing with Tim Grey. Prints are one of the most satisfying ways to present your photography to the world. Author Tim Grey feels the same way. And he shows you how to use the print module in Lightroom to create beautiful output.

You can watch Tim in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library (including my brand new "Photographing High School Senior Portraits."

No Laptop No Problem

Story #4 - The Nimbleosity Report: No Laptop, No Problem. My report on an iPad-only vacation in Maui.

Virtual Camera Club News

From SizzlPix: Now, for The Digital Story listeners and readers, this month only, SizzlPix will knock off 20% of the price for your SizzlPix, any quantity, any size up to 6 feet! Just put the initials TDS or "The Digital Story" in the comments space of their new, simplified online order form. SizzlPix.com.

Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper: Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for July 2014 is "Smokin' Hot".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story Podcast in iTunes.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the iTunes App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until January!

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.

Passenger Seat

In my perfect world, photographers always get to ride shotgun.

Yes, we'll serve as navigators, because that's what shotgun passengers do. But when we're not giving directions, we're free to take pictures.

Late Day - Maui Late Day - Maui

I really like car window photography. Often it combines a sense of energy with interesting or beautiful landscape... Only to be interrupted by the next set of directions.


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