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Even though the original attraction to mirrorless cameras was their high nimbleosity rating, over time, that's evolved into all around photographic capability. I have a few editorial assignments on the horizon, and I'm packing my Lowepro bag for these jobs. I thought you might be interested to see what's inside.

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  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 - when it comes to professional work, this is the most capable mirrorless body in my arsenal. It is rugged, light, and very sophisticated.
  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens - this is my workhorse optic. I can shoot indoors existing light or outdoors in full sun. It's optically exquisite, fast, and solid. (A highly capable alternative is the Olympus PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 zoom.)
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens - this is the optic I reach for when I need a portrait with a soft background. At f/1.8, it is incredibly sharp where I focus, and creamy soft everywhere else.
  • Olympus 9mm Fisheye body cap lens - I love having a fisheye in my kit, and this little gem hardly takes up any room. The pictures it produces, however, are grand indeed.
  • Olympus 60mm Macro f/2.8 lens - not only does this prime optic bridge the gap between my 12-35mm zoom and 75mm portrait lens, but it has outstanding 1:1 close-up capability. The 60mm is very handy when you have to get really close.
  • Fujifilm X20 compact camera - I like the X20 as my back-up camera because it has a silent mode (thanks to its leaf shutter) that's perfect for street shooting, ceremonies, and other locations where going unnoticed is important. Plus it includes an optical viewfinder, film simulation modes, and great image quality. (As an alternative backup, the Panasonic GX7 or petite GM1 have electronic shutter options and can shoot silently. And they accept these lenses.)
  • Lowepro Urban Reporter 150 - I've modified the interior of this bag to accommodate this kit, plus a flash and my iPad mini. It looks professional, yet is discreet. Great bag for city assignments.

I'll usually pack the MeFOTO DayTrip tripod in my suitcase during flight. But it will fit in the Urban Reporter if I need to bring it out on location. That means, of course, I would have to leave another piece of equipment back in the hotel.

With this kit, I can photograph just about any editorial assignment that comes my way. Yet, it's very nimble, and quite honestly, a joy to use.


Nimble Photographer Logo

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

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Silent Shutter, Huge Price Drop for the Panasonic GX7, Traveling with David Hobby, Luxurious Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 Lens for Micro Four Thirds - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Cactus Releases the V6 - The Cactus Wireless WRLS Flash Transceiver V6 is the world's first non-TTL wireless trigger that can control power of cross-brand system flashes of Canon, Nikon and Pentax. You can adjust power levels in 0.1EV increments for perfect control of light output. And the best part, they sell for $59 each.

In other news, The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX7 Price Drop - The Micro Four Thirds GX7 is now available for $697 that's a huge price drop for its $999 list price. I'll be talking more about the GX7 for street shooting in the next story.

And finally, Rumor: Zeiss Will Soon Announce the "Loxia" Lens Line for Full-Frame Mirrorless Systems (Sony Alpha) - All are designed by ZEISS itself, unlike the 55mm f/1.8 FE, which is a Sony product with ZEISS branding. All are said to be manual focus prime lenses, will feature a physical aperture ring and be made of high-quality materials. (Source: PetaPixel).

new-fujifilm-x30.jpg The new Fujifilm X30, along with its older siblings the X10, X20, X100 and X100S, feature a "silent shutter" option that's impressive.

Story #2 - Silent Shutter - We often don't realize just how noisy our cameras can be until we're in a quiet environment, such as a church. But there are a few stealthy capture devices out there, and I discuss their advantages for street shooting, weddings, and other situations where you don't want to draw attention to yourself. Four of the cameras I discuss are:

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - The Traveling Photographer: Fundamentals with David Hobby. David might surprise you with his approach to this title. It's not just about f/stops and lenses. He provides insights to traveling as a photographer while balancing the other aspects of your trip.

You can watch David 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.

Story #4 - I Got to Touch the Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2 lens for Micro Four Thirds. My friend and Lumix Luminary Joseph Linaschke stopped by the studio this morning with this optic in his bag of tricks. I immediately mounted it on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 to see how it would perform.

Story #5 - SizzlPix Winners! Here are the latest class of winning photographers for the SizzlPix Pick of the Month:

  • Michael Hoffman -"HDR" - March 2014 Photo Assignment
  • John Dillworth - "Flower Power" - April 2014 Photo Assignment
  • Victor Hermand - "Around the House" - May 2014 Photo Assignment
  • Richard Messenger - "Any Kind of Light but Natural" - June 2014 Photo Assignment

Congratulations on your excellent work!

Virtual Camera Club News

Red River Paper just released RRP Luster Card Duo again. It's a double-sided luster paper pre-scored for cards. It is related to Arctic Polar Luster, but the surface is more pearlescent. You can find it here.

The SizzlPix Challenge is Back! (for one month only). Each week the first 10 TheDigitalStory listeners/readers to order SizzlPix from their own favorite images will receive a mini-sample of each SizzlPix prior to production by return mail absolutely free! Just put the words "free sample first" and your mailing address in the comment space of SizzlPix's new simplified order form.

Photo Assignment for August 2014 is "My Favorite Close-up".

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 (29 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 January!

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

panasonic-prime-on-em10.jpg

Early start to the day. I received a text message at 6:19 AM from my friend and Lumix Luminary Joseph Linaschke. He was heading north from the Sonoma Racetrack and wanted to see if I was available for a coffee meeting. He had a bag full of Panasonic gear with him.

You bet I was available.

After catching up for a bit, Joseph pulled out his Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power OIS lens. What a beauty!

I mounted the prime on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and shot a few pictures. I wanted to test its "soft background" capability, so Joseph suggested we step outside for a quick portrait.

joseph-linaschke-with-panasonic-42_5mm.jpg Joseph Linaschke with Panasonic 42.5mm prime lens on an OM-D E-M10: ISO 100, f/1.2, 1/500th. Photo by Derrick Story.

The lens was everything you'd expect from a premium optic. Focusing was swift and accurate. Design and build were outstanding. And image quality was top notch with beautiful softness in the background. Most photographers wouldn't expect these results from a Micro Four Thirds sensor. But yes, you can enjoy full frame quality from your compact Panasonic or Olympus body.

The Nocticron 42.5mm has a click-stop aperture ring near the front of the barrel, and a switch for optical image stabilization on the side. Olympus shooters can leave the aperture ring set to "A," because the OM-D firmware doesn't acknowledge the click stops. (They're still fun to play with, however!) But the optical stabilization does work if you prefer to use that over the sensor-based stabilization on the OM-D.

The nine circular diaphragm blades help create very smooth bokeh in the background. And the metal lens hood, which is very similar to the metal hood I have for the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, adds a nice finishing touch.

The Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens is a dangerous lens to test. After about 3 minutes, you'll be checking your credit card limit to see if it can accommodate another $1,600.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Adding Pictures to Tweets Via iPhoto

Not every tweet should include an image (thank goodness!), but on occasion, a picture really helps tell the story. If you use iPhoto to organize your captures, then you might be interested to see just how easy it is to enhance your tweets.

In my free training video, Using Twitter to Share Photos, I show you how to connect iPhoto to your Twitter account, then post tweets directly from the picture management application.

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Regardless of how you like to use iPhoto, I think you'll find many useful tips in Up and Running with iPhoto. This title is for the latest version of iPhoto that runs on Mac OS X Mavericks.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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: Off the Grid Photography (the Green Photographer), SizzlPix Award Winners, EISA Awards: the Best of the Best from Europe - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Sony a5100 First Impressions Review - "Based on my initial experiences with the a5100, it seems like a very compelling midrange ILC. For $699 with the 16-50mm power zoom lens, you're essentially getting an a6000 without an EVF and a few dials. If you don't mind losing that feature, you're getting what seems to be a lot of camera for $699 (with a 16-50mm lens)." (Source: DP Review.

In other news, The European Imaging and Sound Association Awards 2013-14 include the Olympus OM-D E-M10 (Best Consumer Compact System Camera), FujiFilm X-T1 (Best Advanced Compact System Camera), and the Sony RX100 III (Best Compact Camera). You can see all of the winners at the EISA site.

And finally, onOne Software is giving away Perfect Effects 8 ($79 value) in exchange for your email address and a free subscription to their Fotocommunity newsletter. You can take advantage of this offer at the onOne web site.

solar-charging-camera.jpg Olympus camera being charged via USB by a WakaWaka solar charger.

Story #2 - Off the Grid Photography (The Green Photographer) - Our digital tools have made us dependent on Internet connectivity and power outlets. But if you wanted to get off the grid for a week or two, could you? Yes, and fairly easily. Because technology is advancing in renewable energy too. Here are a few of the items that I discuss in today's Green Photographer segment.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - GarageBand Essential Training with Garrick Chow. Garrick is one of the most season lynda trainers, and he specializes in Mac software titles. If you've wanted to learn GarageBand, but just found it a bit overwhelming, Garrick will break it down for you in digestible parts.

You can watch Garrick 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.

Story #4 - SizzlPix Winners! Here are the latest class of winning photographers for the SizzlPix Pick of the Month:

  • Michael Hoffman -"HDR" - March 2014 Photo Assignment
  • John Dillworth - "Flower Power" - April 2014 Photo Assignment
  • Victor Hermand - "Around the House" - May 2014 Photo Assignment
  • Richard Messenger - "Any Kind of Light but Natural" - June 2014 Photo Assignment

Congratulations on your excellent work!

Virtual Camera Club News

The SizzlPix Challenge is Back! (for one month only). Each week the first 10 TheDigitalStory listeners/readers to order SizzlPix from their own favorite images will receive a mini-sample of each SizzlPix prior to production by return mail absolutely free! Just put the words "free sample first" and your mailing address in the comment space of SizzlPix's new simplified order form.

Visit the Red River Paper Card Shop. You can peruse top selling cards, order the card sample kit, and read tutorials on card printing. 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 August 2014 is "My Favorite Close-up".

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 (31 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 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.

Macro Mania on a Budget

Getting close doesn't have to mean going broke. You can create professional macro images with a little ingenuity and tape... literally.

In the article, Gaffer's Tape Plus Prime Equals Magnification Boost, I explain how you can attach a reversed 50mm lens to a telephoto or macro lens for a substantial increase in magnification. It's a very easy technique, and the image quality is excellent.

50mm Attached to 100mm

In the article, Gearing Up for Macro, I show you how inexpensive accessories can enhance your capability and enjoyment when shooting close-ups.

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Gaffer's tape, LED lights, free iOS apps... all add up to big fun, not large charge balances. Take a closer look.

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Weekend Warrior, Photographer Style

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There are many athletes, who because of their busy jobs, can train only after they clock-out on Friday afternoon. They're weekend warriors. And for many photographers, the situation is similar.

A great way to unwind on Friday evening is to fill your favorite daypack with photo gear, and make plans for a short hike. It doesn't have to be all day or on a trail in an exotic location. The local park will do just fine.

What is important is getting out in nature, or the city streets if that's your preference, and taking pictures. In just a few hours, you will capture a handful of images that you can use for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, or your web site. And if you're lucky, maybe something that would make a nice print too.

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Yesterday, after I had met my work obligations. I grabbed my Lowepro bag and drove 30 minutes to Sugarloaf State Park. Patrick, my camping buddy, had already set up the site. We grilled a couple burgers for dinner, then went exploring on a twilight hike.

In just a 90-minute span of time, I photographed deer grazing in tall grass (went on Instagram and Twitter), two girls riding their bikes (TDS, Facebook), and a sunset vapor trail from a jet (probably Instagram tomorrow).

Will I win a contest with any of these images? No.

But I had a great time, got some exercise, practiced taking pictures, played with a new lens (75-300mm), and acquired fresh content that I would never have captured in front of the TV or at the grocery store.

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Athletes forced to train on the weekend would love to work out more often than that. But they realize by staying in shape, they can take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves in the future.

For photographers, it's even better. Embracing your weekend warrior makes you a better shooter. And you're rewarded with new images right on the spot.

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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.

New Uses for Old Camera Bags

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I have camera bags dating back to the 1980s. They might not have the styling and features of my current favorites, but they certainly are functional. And some of them have been pressed back into service.

For example, this Lowepro Elite Convertible contains the flash kit I use for location portrait work. I have twin Sunpak units with CowboyStudio Wireless Flash Triggers mounted on an adjustable bracket. On location, I simply pull the entire unit from the bag and attach it to a stand. It literally takes a minute, and I'm ready to shoot.

elite-convertible-inside.jpg

Having a bag that allows me to work quickly on location is a blessing as I move from site to site. Nobody likes to wait for the photographer as he fiddles with his gear for 15 minutes before he's ready for the next location.

In the front pocket, I stash all of my Rogue FlashBender light modifiers. I open the pouch and choose the appropriate accessory for the lighting I'm configuring.

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And because this is a bag from yesteryear, I can set it down anywhere and not worry. It's like having an old car to park at the airport for a week while traveling. You just don't worry about it.

Old camera bags also make excellent storage units at home. You can organize gear by brand or type, and have everything at your fingertips when needed.

Do you have an empty camera bag or two in your closet? Think about reenlisting it into your workforce. You'd be surprised at how useful your old friend can be.

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Over the years, we don't realize that one of our best picture archives is our email account. Numerous images are sent and received, and are still available... if there was only an easy way to retrieve them.

The Mac app, Lost Photos does exactly that. It's like a time machine for imagery. And the best part is that it's on $2.99.

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You can download Lost Photos from the Mac App Store for free and give it a spin. Just point it to one of your email accounts, and it will retrieve images that you've forgotten you have, and place them all in a folder.

If you go past the 100 mark, it will prompt you to upgrade to the unlimited version for $2.99. From this point on, you can merrily take a trip back in time with each of your email accounts.

After Lost Photos has gathered all of your pictures, it will move them to iPhoto if you wish. Or you can leave them in the organized folders. Either way, I'm sure you'll discover many snapshot gems that you had forgotten about.

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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.