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Most Arca-Swiss quick release plates cost between $30-$50.The new Joby UltraPlate quick release plate that's Arca-Swiss compatible is only $19.95, plus it has a few very handy features.

Joby UltraPlate Swiss Arca Ball Head Joby UltraPlate (right) shown with compatible Ballhead X and UltraFit Sling Strap.

First, it's compatible with the affordable Joby Ballhead X. Second, the UltraPlate has sockets to accept a strap, such as the Joby UltraFit strap. And third, it only weighs 47 grams (1.67 ounces).

I have the UltraPlate mounted on my Canon 60D. When I'm on the go, I attach the new XXL UltraFit Sling. If I need to mount the 60D on the tripod, I don't have to remove the sling. I just slide the camera into the ballhead with the strap still on. Very convenient!


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

Some photographers question the ability to move content seamlessly from iPhoto to Aperture, and back again. It almost sounds too good to be true.

In this 5-minute movie that I created for the lynda.com title, Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, I compare how an iPhoto library looks in Aperture, and vice-versa. Do albums stay the same? What happens with Aperture folders in iPhoto? And will my slideshows play in either app? All of these questions, and more, are answered in this short movie.

More Aperture/iPhoto Tips and Techniques

To learn more about using Aperture and iPhoto together, visit my Using iPhoto and Aperture Together 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.

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The first shock waves have passed. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has apologized for her statement, "there's really no such thing as professional photographers anymore." Flickr Pro users can continue to renew at the current $25 a year price. And the new look, though not evenly applied throughout the site, is quite attractive.

The New Flickr Interface

In other words, it's just another week on the Internet. I suspect that over the coming months, we'll see continued refinement of the Flickr redesign. The current look was probably rolled out earlier than planned because of the improvements Google+ and 500px have recently announced.

Meanwhile, those pronouncing the death of Flickr, or its second coming, are both wrong. It will continue to roll along because of its passionate, talented users who care more about photography than Internet grandstanding.

If you don't believe me, just go to flickr.com and click on the Explore tab.

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iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Gariz Leather Metal Half Case for the Olympus OM-D Camera

I use the Olympus OM-D two distinctly different ways.

In the studio with the 12-35mm f/2.8 Panasonic zoom, I like the Olympus HLD-6 Battery Holder for a firm grip and for its vertical shutter release controls.

But when I'm traveling light and street shooting with a prime lens, I'm enjoying the Gariz Leather Metal Half Case for Olympus OM-D ($90) that's less bulky than the power grip. The half case also provides good bottom protection for the camera and allows quick access to all of the ports, including the battery.

Gariz Leather Metal Half Case for the Olympus OM-D Camera Bottom

On the left side, there's an opening to allow access to the port door. There's also a tripod socket on the right. It's not centered, but again, can be used with the case on. If you have a Black Rapid strap, you can connect it to the Gariz via the fold out Gun Shot Ring. Gariz also makes sling straps that works with the case.

After some informal testing of taking pictures with and without the half case, I figured out what makes the camera easier to hold with the case on. It's that bit of additional height the Gariz provides. That little bit of extra makes a big difference on how the OM-D sits in my hand.

So, for street shooting and light travel, I'm happy with the Gariz. In the studio and for longer shoots, the power grip is my choice. I love the versatility of this camera. It can transform from a discreet compact to a DSLR replacement in just a matter of seconds.

Thanks to Frederick Van Johnson for showing me the Gariz on his OM-D!


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

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This week on The Digital Story - "The Ultimate Podcast FAQ: Juan Pons moderates the third and final installment of our Spring Photography Mashup and asks our panel of experts a variety of questions. We discuss inspiration, overcoming challenges, equipment, how we got started in the photography business, plus much more.

Joining Juan from Digital Photo Experience are Jim and Dustin from Improve Photography, and of course, yours truly.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (87 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The May 2013 photo assignment is Food.

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

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

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Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L Camping

It's difficult to describe how an overnight hiking trip can rejuvenate the soul. So instead, I'm going to express those thoughts via a short movie that I created after my last adventure.

I packed a Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L with a Pentax K-5 DSLR, a couple of lenses, and my camping gear. With food and water, my entire kit weighed 32 pounds. That was all I needed. And I returned from the mountains a refreshed man.

I hope you enjoy the video. And maybe you'll embark upon your own adventure this summer...

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I remember this funny scene in the old sitcom Get Smart where the Don Adams character orders his robot agent, "Hymie, hop to it!" Hymie then jumps off on one leg.

Ordering your camera to be creative for you might produce similar results. "Canon PowerShot N, be artistic," as you move the slider on the side of the camera to Creative Mode. The camera then produces a series of interesting interpretations of a scene.

Canon PowerShot N Creative Mode Photography Compact Camera A variety of scene interpretations produced by the Canon PowerShot N in Creative Mode.

The trick is, as I see it, is not to view the camera's output as final product. Rather, see the images as a series of directions that I may want to follow later in post production. I don't plan to abdicate my creativity to a point and shoot. But in just a few seconds, I can let the machine show me a collage of possibilities. Maybe the faded Polaroid look is just right for that picture. I might not otherwise have thought to pursue that direction.

And in that spirit, I like some of the creative features offered by the latest batch of cameras. I look at them as suggestions. But I'm still in charge of the final product.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

As I was watching clouds pass overhead this afternoon, I started thinking about the unique X-Trans camera sensor (that doesn't require a traditional low pass filter) in the Fujifilm X20, and how it might handle infrared photography. X-Trans technology is also found in the Fuji X100S, X-E1 and X-Pro1 models. And yes, those are the sort of things I think about on beautiful spring days.

Anyway, I'm curious because I don't have any current cameras that perform well with the RM-72 Filter, and I had a good feeling about the X20.

Line of Trees Infrared Fujifilm X20 "Line of Trees" handheld with a Fujifilm X20 camera with Hoya RM72 filter. ISO 800, 1/20th at f/2.2, using the B&W simulation setting. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for a larger view.

As it turns out, my hunch was right. I used the Fujifilm Lens Hood that has a 52mm adapter to mount the RM72 filter. I fired up the LCD monitor and pointed at the sky. Jackpot. It looked fantastic.

I then fine-tuned the settings a bit. First I experimented with the different built-in B&W film simulation filters and settled on B&W w/Yellow. At ISO 800, I could handhold the camera around 1/15th of a second (the RM72 optical filter is very, very dense). I did capture in RAW + Jpeg, but actually liked the Jpegs better after reviewing them in Aperture.

Schulz Museum Infrared Fujifilm X20 "Schulz Museum" handheld with a Fujifilm X20 camera with Hoya RM72 filter. ISO 800, 1/18th at f/2.5, using the B&W simulation setting. Photo by Derrick Story.

Bottom line is, I already like the Fujifilm X20 as a B&W street shooter. But now that it has proven to be a capable infrared camera too, I'll be experimenting with it even more. Does it shoot infrared better than my other cameras because of the X-Trans sensor? I'm not sure. I'd love to get me hands on an X10 with the EXR sensor and compare the two.


iPad for Digital Photographers

This is the kind of stuff I write about in iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks format.

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iPad for Digital Photographers Book

Back in February, I recorded a movie for Wiley & Sons Publishing about my latest book, iPad for Digital Photographers. The movie is on the Amazon catalog page. But a nicer presentation of it is embedded in the official Press Release for the book.

If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to watch it just for the perky music that accompanies my words...

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I don't know about you, but I like my work area a little tidier than this.

San Francisco Street Scene Construction Fujifilm X20 Camera San Francisco construction site captured with a Fujifilm X20. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

I captured this scene with a Fujifilm X20digital camera, which is perfect for discrete street shooting. I used the standard Provia film mode, ISO 100 at f/4.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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