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When we think of "back up," we're usually visualizing hard drives and computers. But what about your "Plan B" for a photo shoot? Things don't always go the way we planned. What's your back up plan for mis-behaving lighting while you have subjects staring at you? In this week's podcast, I have a great back up strategy for you. In fact, you might like it so much that it becomes your first choice. Tune in to find out.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (31 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

Rule of Thirds is the Feb. 2012 Photo Assignment. Entries must be adhere to a Rule of Thirds composition. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Feb. 29, 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.

You might also want to check out my article, Artistic Gifts You Can Make in an Hour.

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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The love affair with mobile cameras enters a new chapter with Nokia announcing PureView Pro.

Nokia PureView

They write, "The Nokia PureView Pro imaging technology is the combination of a large, super high resolution 41Mpix with high performance Carl Zeiss optics. The large sensor enables pixel oversampling, which means the combination of many pixels into one perfect pixel. PureView imaging technology is the result of many years of research and development and the tangible fruits of this work are amazing image quality, lossless zoom, and superior low light performance."

We're already at the point where the term, "mobile phone" doesn't really describe the device we carry in our pockets. High resolution cameras with computing capability and connected to the Internet and cellular network is not just a mobile phone. As image quality continues to improve, it's going to be interesting to see the shifts in the photography market this creates.


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


Catch Those In-Between Moments

Ed Shields Portrait of Ashley

Keep your camera at the ready during a portrait shoot. You may just capture an in-between moment.

Photographer Ed Shields talked about this with our group during the TDS Off-Camera Flash Workshop this past weekend during our shoot review. Even though Ed had many wonderful shots of model Ashley Tuttle, he included this image as part of his "6 for review."

Ed kept his camera poised during the session, and when another photographer said something that made Ashley laugh, Ed got the shot. "I've heard other photographers talk about this technique before," Ed said, "and keep it in the back of my mind."

I thought it was a good discussion during our review session, and wanted to share Ed's tip with you here.


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


To celebrate our first TDS Off-Camera Flash Workshop this weekend, I thought I'd share a favorite tip: how to photograph reflective artwork with two flashes. This video is part of my Off Camera Flash training title on lynda.com.

The technique is simple. Set up two equal-powered off-camera flashes at 45 degree angles from the art. They will cancel out each other's reflections, but still illuminate the artwork. You can see the results of this configuration in this video from the course. Give it a try!

More Off Camera Flash Tutorials

Off Camera Flash - Basic Techniques for Pro Results

"More Off Camera Flash" - Digital Photography Podcast 233


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


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Lowel Ego Lights are affordable soft lights that can be used for portrait and product photography, as well as video recording. Each lighting unit consists of two custom 27W screw-in compact daylight fluorescent lamps that are balanced at 5000 degrees color temperature.

The design of the soft box is clever. A piece of translucent plastic is riveted to a black plastic back. You "bow" them to create the opening for the light fixture that hooks into place. You can set the soft boxes on a flat surface for table top photography or mount them on a light stand via the threaded socket on the bottom. At first you may say to yourself, "I could have made that!" But you didn't. Lowel did, and they are fun to use in practice.

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Turn on the lights via the rocker switch on the power cord. At first, the twin fluorescent lamps won't seem that bright. Don't worry. Do something else for a few minutes, and when you look up again they will be much more intense. I've found they need a good 5 minutes to reach peak output.

Once they do, you'll notice that the light is soft and pleasing. I used two Ego lights to produce this video for Lowepro. For table top photography you can also use the included white reflector for additional fill lighting.

The Lowel Ego Light kit sells for $215. It includes 2 soft boxes with mounts, 4 bulbs, 2 reflectors, and a small sweep for tabletop photography. Don't get excited about the sweep - that, you could make yourself.

I like this set up. There are times when I prefer continuous lighting to off-camera flash. I just flip the switch, position, and shoot. For video they are a true blessing. And unlike "hot lights," the fluorescent lamps stay cool - particularly nice for portrait sessions.


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B&W in Sin City

The City Entertain Long exposure helps create the ghostly effect against a brightly lit background.

When you think about photographing Las Vegas, you probably see bright colors against a dark background. Right? Well, not necessarily. Whether it's Sin City or The City by the Bay, don't forget B&W. By removing color from the composition, you reveal a different place - the city behind the glaring lights.

Night Walk NY NY The wispy effect is created by moving people during a long exposure. Photos by Derrick Story.

My favorite approach is to shoot in Raw, leaving all of my options available. Then, as I review the work on my Mac, I look for compositions than lend themselves to B&W. I test those candidates in Silver Efex Pro by Nik Software. And I always seem to come away with a handful that I like.

Rooftop LV Twilight lighting converts well to B&W too...

So yes, Las Vegas is colorful. But it's also rich with interesting lighting and structures, which is perfect for B&W shooting.


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


I'm working this week at WPPI held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. As you might expect, there's lots of energy, and a few new things to investigate. For this week's show, I highlight 5 noteworthy or entertaining aspects from the show that I think you might be interested in. Recorded on location.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (28 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.

Waiting to Enter the Show Waiting to enter the expo hall on day 1 of the WPPI show in Las Vegas.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Rule of Thirds is the Feb. 2012 Photo Assignment. Entries must be adhere to a Rule of Thirds composition. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Feb. 29, 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.

You might also want to check out my article, Artistic Gifts You Can Make in an Hour.

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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ICE Light Makes the Rounds at WPPI

One of the more interesting WPPI debuts was ICE Light, a hand-holdable daylight LED wand that makes it easier for the portrait photographer to hold the light source and shoot at the same time. The ICE Light is the result of a big name partnership: Designed by photographer Jerry Ghionis, and manufactured and distributed by Westcott lighting.

IceLight in Action Two women holding ICE Lights making the rounds through the expo hall area at WPPI.

When set to full output, this device delivers 150 watts at 5200~5400k. It is bright indeed. It is also expensive. If you buy online, the kit sells for $499.


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You hear video shooters say time after time, the best way to get great audio for your movies is to record it with a separate device, then sync it with the video in post. But sometimes that's easier said than done. Now, thanks to Dual Eyes by Singular Software, this process is easy.


For this video, I recorded audio with both my Rode VideoMic Pro mounted on a Canon 60D, and with a lapel mic connected to my M-Audio Microtrack recorder. I then used Dual Eyes to substitute the M-Audio track for the onboard recording. The sound was very much improved.

I learned about Dual Eyes during our recent recording of TWiP where Frederick Van Johnson remarked that he likes it. Since I had to shoot a video for Lowepro that next morning, I thought this would be the perfect test for it. The improvement was quite noticeable.

Basically, you record audio with both your camera and the separate recorder. Then, you use Dual Eyes as a standalone app to replace the audio tracks before importing into Final Cut Pro (or your favorite editor). The application compares waveforms of the two audio tracks and is able to sync perfectly.

I have to shoot in a very noisy expo hall this week for my WPPI assignment in Las Vegas. I'm certainly going to be using the separate recorder and Dual Eyes to milk the best sound possible from my interviews.

Dual Eyes isn't cheap: $150. But they do offer a 30-day free trial to give you a chance to test the software. If it works for me this week in Las Vegas that way it did for the Pro Messenger video I initially tested it with, I'm darn sure I'm going to buy it.


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Twilight in Vegas - WPPI

I touched down in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon to cover WPPI 2012 at the MGM Grand.

MGM Grand at Dusk, Las Vegas An Olympus E-PL2 set to 1/2 second at f/16 at dusk. I wanted the traffic in the foreground to add motion to the image.

The Wedding & Portrait Photographers International event is enjoyable because of the stars it attracts and the energy generated by its youthful audience. In addition to blog posts and photos, I'll also record this week's TDS Podcast here in Las Vegas and share some of that great energy to those of you who are back home.

Conference Center, MGM Grand Las Vegas Attendees leaving class up the escalators from the Conference Center. I set the Olympus E-PL2 to f/8 at 1 second, ISO 200.

So, stay tuned. There's more to come.


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