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I've experimented with many apps to display pictures on the iPad. It's a perfect device for showing off your work. But finding the right software can be a challenge. Portfolio Pro for iPad builds a strong case to be that app.

portfolio_pro_home.png Branded overview page on Portfolio Pro displaying my logo and available galleries.

One of its best features is the ability to create different galleries of my images. I've found this helpful because different clients are interested in different subjects. I've always had a hard time creating just one portfolio for everyone.

You can control which galleries are visible, and for that fact, which images in those galleries can be viewed, by going into edit mode (triple tap) and clicking on the "eye" icon. This allows you to quickly customize the experience for the viewer without having to delete and add photographs.

As you'd expect, you can move pictures around to display in the order you want. The viewer can swipe to go from image to image, or play a slideshow. Portfolio Pro also accommodates video allowing you to stay in the same app for both stills and movies.

portfolio_pro_gallery.png Thumbnail view inside a gallery.

You can populate your portfolio from the iPad's camera roll, Flickr, or Dropbox. If you have a lot of images on Flickr, you'll be able to build a variety of galleries quickly. The Dropbox connectivity is good too.

Despite claims for "ease of use," on the site, give yourself some time to learn how to work the application. The creators provide some helpful movies to get you started. I recommend watching them.

The current price for Portfolio for iPad is $9.99, expensive by iOS standards. But you'd pay more for a binder to house your prints, and this app is far more flexible. If you want to get serious about a digital portfolio, then I would consider this software.


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My recent webinar, A Fresh Look at Familiar Subjects in B&W is now available online.

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This recorded version of last week's webinar, sponsored by Nik Software and Lowepro, has two main parts. I begin by demonstrating how B&W can sometimes tell a story better than color images. I then move into Silver Efex Pro 2 itself and show my workflow.

If you missed the live event, but are interested in seeing the presentation, you can watch it now on Vimeo.


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Updates to the Flickr interface seem to be gaining momentum with the latest being justified view for groups. To experience this, click on the "more photos" link on any public group home page.

Flickr Justified View

In addition to the improved presentation for the thumbnails, you can click on the magnifying glass icon in the lower right corner of each image to get a lightbox view. When you close the lightbox, you're returned to the justified view interface.

To get to a photographer's photostream, click on the thumbnail itself. The image will be opened on the photographer's page. Hit the browser back button to return to the justified view of the group thumbnails.

We have a Digital Story Public Group with over 2,000 members and some amazing imagery. The Digital Story Member Photo of the Day is selected from this pool. Plus the TDS Member Gallery on the site pulls from our public group.


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What goes on behind the scenes at Leo Laporte's TWiT studio in Petaluma, CA? I recently spent an afternoon there recording scenes with a 3rd generation iPad to create the time lapse movie, TWiG in 60 Seconds. The process was as interesting as the activity I recorded.

Set Up at TWiT Studio Screen grab from the time lapse movie "TWiG in 60 Seconds" (This Week in Google) recorded at the TWiT Brick House Studio with a 3rd generation iPad.

Why iPad?

The latest iPad features a 5-megapixel iSight camera that records 1080p video at 30fps. Its low light performance is much improved over the 2nd generation model. Combine that hardware with iStopMotion for iPad, and I have a complete solution in a very portable package.

TWiG in 60 Seconds, the movie

How Did You Record the Panning Scenes?

One of the impressive features of the TWiT Brick House Studio is how big the facility is. In order to convey that sense of space, I wanted to pan during the movie. To accomplish this, I used the StarLapse camera motion system made by Losmandy. The basic system sells for $575, and it includes camera mounting plates, battery-powered controller, interconnecting cable, and a 12-volt cigarette lighter power cord.

How Did You Mount the iPad to the Rig?

Makayama makes a clever accessory called the Movie Mount for iPad. Not only can you attach your iPad to a tripod or motion system, but the mount also accommodates accessory lenses and includes a shoe mount (for microphones, etc.). By using the Makayama, I was able to attach a wide angle lens to the iPad so I could capture more of the Brick House Studio environment.

The Workflow

Once I had all of the hardware in place, I launched iStopMotion and set it to record a frame every 3 seconds. I captured a variety of scenes, some with panning, and others without.

I then used the DropBox feature in iStopMotion to upload the raw footage to my online storage. By doing so, I could access the files from my MacBook Air, and assemble the movie using Final Cut X. I uploaded the finished file directly to YouTube from Final Cut.

In the past, I've also done the editing right there on the iPad using iMovie, such as in this title, The Overlook.

Final Thoughts

When Oliver from Boinx Software came to me with the idea for this movie, I wanted to do it right away. What a great opportunity! And thanks to the support from Leo and his crew, plus the great guys at Losmandy and Makayama, we were able to take you behind the scenes at the TWiT studio for a glimpse of how Leo Laporte informs and entertains us on a daily basis.


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Black and White Vegas

Subjects that we normally think of in color can often resonate without it too. That's the premise for my project, B&W Vegas. This is also the focus of today's webinar, A Fresh Look at Familiar Subjects in Black and White.

For those who attended my online talk, here are some of the featured photos. All of the processing was handled by Aperture 3 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2for the B&W conversion.

Morning Sky, Las Vegas

Morning Sky, Las Vegas

Street Man

Street Man

Treasure Island

Treasure Island

Casino at Midnight

Casino at midnight.

Escalator, MGM Grand

Escalator, MGM Grand, Las Vegas

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training 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.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


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Pentax Refines Its DSLR Lineup

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I became a Pentax fan (again!) when I reviewed the Pentax K-5 for Macworld Magazine. In addition to its outstanding image quality, the K-5 felt like a camera designed by photographers. I now use it as my "hiking camera" because it's compact, weather resistant, and accepts affordable zoom lenses that are designed for the outdoors.

Now, we have more goodness coming our way with the just-announced K-30 and the 50mm f/1.8 prime. Both have reasonable price tags of $899 (K-30 with kit zoom) and $299 (50mm) respectively.

In addition to being great image making machines, I like the value that Pentax offers. For example, for $900 you'll be able to buy the K-30 with 18-55mm zoom (which is excellent). You can expand your capability by adding the Pentax DA 50-200mm zoomthat's also weather resistant for $215. Then, for your prime lens, get the new 50mm f/1.8 for (my guess) around $250. You have an excellent all weather kit with 3 lenses for a total investment of $1,365.

And if you're worried that because Pentax isn't part of the big 2, your investment might be at risk. Forget that. On the business side they have been making smart moves too.

So if you're a photographer that enjoys taking pictures in the great outdoors, I would definitely keep an eye on Pentax. They certainly have their eye on the ball.


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LED lighting for photographers has evolved from exotic to affordable. No better case in point than the Neewer Ring Light for $30. I talk about the joys of using LEDs, and how we're never going back.

Then we take a look at the new Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 pro zoom for micro four-thirds. One report says it's tack sharp wide open, then another says it's soft. Which is it?

After sharing a favorite image editing tip, I wrap up with an inside peek at the upcoming Sonoma Coast workshop in August. Yes, we're returning to the Bodega Bay Lodge, (yaay!) but this year we'll have the VW Vanagon parked at the beach as a field station. It's going to be so cool! All this and more on the TDS podcast.

Would you like to improve your B&W photography? I have a webinar coming up on May 23, "A Fresh Look at Familiar Subjects in B&W." It's free, but you have to reserve your seat in advance.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (34 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

Action is the May 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is May 31, 2012.

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

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 saven 20% at check out.




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panasonic_12-35_zoom.jpg

I just read a review of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH zoom lens on PhotographyBLOG that helped me understand more about this promising fast aperture zoom lens. As continue to depend on micro four thirds cameras for some of my work, I'm looking for a zoom I can use for existing light assignments.

Based on the review, this looks like a finely constructed lens with excellent mechanical performance. I could use it on my Olympus bodies by simply turning off the optical stabilization on the Panasonic lens (Olympus builds IS into the body).

But the problem is that the center sharpness at all focal lengths is soft with the aperture wide open. PhotographyBLOG writes, "It is a little soft at F2.8 though, so it's best used stopped down to F4 for the best results..." And their test images clearly bear that out.

I don't want to spend good money ($999 in this case) for a fast lens, just to stop it down. If I have a f/2.8 zoom, chances are that I'm shooting wide open most of the time.

So, for the time being, looks like I have to stick to prime lenses in low light situations. Too bad. That Panasonic zoom looks like a great lens at f/4 and beyond.

I've been fascinated with B&W photos from the moment I saw my first Life Magazine. Even today I have prints by Eisenstaedt and Bresson hanging in my studio. And currently I'm working with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2to explore subjects that we commonly think of in color, to see how they might appear otherwise.

If you too are interested in seeing the world in black and white, join me for this week's webinar titled, A Fresh Look at Familiar Subjects in B&W, Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 10am PDT/1pm EDT.

stratosphere_bw.jpg Night scene from my series "Las Vegas in B&W." This will be one of the images I discuss during the webinar.

Together, we'll examine a series of photos and see how the experience changes when we take away the color. I'll then show you my easy, but effective workflow using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2in conjunction with Aperture. This same approach works with Lightroom too.

The webinar is free, but you do have to reserve a spot. Hope you can join me Wednesday.


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Macworld Magazine has published my full review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, including lab test scores from the PC Mag lab. The camera earned 4.5 mice, the highest rating for a camera I've personally reviewed.

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In short, my pros and cons are:

Pros

  • Outstanding image quality
  • Highly customizable feature set
  • Compact design
  • Wide selection of accessories and lenses
  • Weather resistant body
  • Art Filters add fun factor
  • Good macro mode on 12-50mm zoom
  • Fast autofocus and burst mode
  • Cons

  • Menu system can be daunting
  • No built-in mic adapter
  • Small buttons can be difficult for large fingers
  • Soft humming noise when powered up

Price when rated: $1000 (body only); $1300 with 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 zoom lens

Now, if I could only get my hands on one for personal use...


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