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Lowepro is sponsoring a 1-Day Photo Workshop with SF Giants Staff Photographer Andy Kuno and yours truly on Dec. 28, 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

This event was designed to be offered only to Lowepro Preferred Photographers, but since I'm the Evangelist, I can share the news with a few of my friends (which happens to be our virtual camera club). All you have to do is sign up as a Lowepro Preferred Photographer, which is free and has great benefits anyway. Once you do that, you can reserve a spot for the workshop. Here's the official scoop from Lowepro:

We start the day with two morning sessions that will be one-hour classroom style.

Derrick will teach Environmental Portraiture. There are backdrops and settings in the city that you could never emulate in the studio. The trick is knowing how to work efficiently with your lighting and your subject. In this class we'll review techniques for environmental portraiture and then hit the streets with a professional model to test those ideas.

Andy will speak about the 2010 World Series experience, some of his favorite sports images over the years, as well as action photography shooting techniques.

After lunch, which is included, you'll head out into the field with each photographer doing hands on photography of what was just covered in the classroom.

So you get one shoot with me, then we switch groups, and you get the second shoot with Andy. We have some great spots scouted out in SF. The class itself will be at Joby headquarters. And, if all that wasn't good enough, lunch is included.

To register, go to the sign up page, pay your $27.37, and make plans to hang out with me, Andy Kuno, and the Lowepro staff on Dec. 28. Limited to 25 seats. It's going to rock. Seriously.

Once you begin to take notice of time lapse photography, you see it everywhere. And for good reason. This style of video adds spice to existing movie productions, or can stand on its own two feet. This week I explain how to record and polish time lapse with just an iPhone or iPad 2. It's easy, fun, and will add impact to your photography.

To learn more about the specific tools I discuss in the podcast, check out these articles:

Nimble Time Lapse Photography with iStopMotion for iPad

How to Mount an iPad 2 to a Tripod

"Nimble Movie Making" - Digital Photography Podcast 304

Listen to the Podcast

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You can also download the podcast here (37 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

Family is the Dec. 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Dec. 31, 2011.

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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How to Mount an iPad 2 to a Tripod

Tripod Mounted iPad 2

You can securely mount an iPad 2 to your favorite tripod for movie recording and time lapse photography. All you need are a few standard studio hardware items that may already exist in your lighting kit. If not, this article lists what to get and where to find it.

If you haven't considered actually taking pictures with an iPad 2, you might want to read Nimble Time Lapse Photography with iStopMotion for iPad, where I share examples of time lapse movies that were recorded, edited, and published using only the iPad 2 with iStopMotion for the iPad and iMovie for iOS. (This is fun stuff!)

Hardware List

OK, back to the hardware you'll need to make this happen.

Flashpoint Clamp with 1/4-20 Stud ($9.95) - This clamp securely holds the iPad 2. Make sure the rubber grips are in place so you don't scratch the screen.

flashpoint_clamp.jpg

Chimera Single Axis Stand Adapter ($38.90) -- You put the Flashpoint Clamp in the top of the Chimera, then mount the entire rig to your tripod using the included threaded adapters. You can use other brands too, but make sure they include, or you already have, the adapters to connect to your tripod.

chimera_adapter

This rig will work with any tripod. And the best part is, you can also use these pieces for off-camera flash and studio lighting.

studio_clamp_mount_for_ipad My personal rig that I used for shooting The Overlook time lapse movie.


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Earlier in my career, I used to shoot a lot of physician portraits. And it seemed that I was constantly dealing with reflections in eyeglasses. In this helpful video produced by Adorama TV, there are some excellent tips for coping with the situation during portrait sessions.

But like most things in photography, you usually have to give up one thing to get another. For subjects with very curved eyeglasses lenses, I often find that raising the off-camera flash does get rid of the reflection, but then creates a lighting effect that I'm not thrilled about for portraiture. The next step usually requires additional fill cards and reflectors.

In other words, there are no pat answers when battling unwanted reflections. But this video does provide a good starting point.


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Kindle Fire

If you've purchased a Kindle Fireas a gift, and want to set it up before the official unwrapping, I have a few tips for you. These are just for consideration, not necessarily recommendations. Peruse and see if anything seems interesting to you.

Preloading Content

Wouldn't it be terrific for the recipient to already have a few well-chosen books and maybe a dozen songs when they first power up? You can do this, but there are a couple of considerations. First, the Kindle Fire is tied to the account you establish when you set it up. It's easy enough to change accounts, but by doing so, you also lose any content you've purchased. (You don't really lose it; it's just not on that particular Kindle anymore.) So it's best to set up the Kindle with an Amazon account that belongs to its eventual owner.

You could get the eventual owner's information, but then when you purchase stuff, they will be charged. Ho Ho Ho! Another route to consider is setting up a new Amazon account in the eventual owner's name. I did this with a shared email address we have with our cable company. She never checks that email, so it was perfect for this use. I wrote her log-in information on the instruction card that came with the device.

More Content Via a Gift Card

If you don't think that preloading content is a practical idea, you can get an Amazon downloadable gift cardand include it with the Kindle Fire. You choose the amount, pick the style of card, then Amazon sends you a PDF that you can print out and fold. It's personalized, looks great, and is a nice touch to the already thoughtful Fire.

A Home for the Kindle

Since the device doesn't come with a case, you may want to purchase one. This makes a great add-on gift that others can give. You provide the Fire, they add the steak sauce.

Get to Know the Device

If you spend an hour or so getting familiar with the Kindle Fire, then you can help the recipient get up to speed quickly after the unwrapping. Plus, there might be software updates that need to be installed. Why not take care of that beforehand?

Fully Charged and Ready for Action

The Kindle Fire ships with a decently charged battery. But you can top it off and have the device ready for a full day of action.

Hands Off; It's for Her

Once you give the gift, let her enjoy it. It's not your toy. Hands off unless she offers to let you play with it.


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Artistic Gifts You Can Make in an Hour

You want to give something special to your close friends and family, but you don't have a lot of time. Sound familiar? Here's an idea that just might save the day. Print your own fine art greeting card, then put a holiday gift certificate inside.

holiday_greeting_cards Fine art greeting cards that I printed myself, with Amazon downloadable gift cards that can be output with any inkjet printer.

There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. I'll explain what I use, then you can tailor to your own tastes. This year I started with Red River Linin 60lb card stock. It's beautiful high quality paper, scored, and folds to a 5"x7" fine art card. I choose a favorite image, then make a print run of about 30 cards. I like to have a few extras.

Red River has a Card Help Center that provides you with tips, templates, and more. I use Aperture for my fine art cards because I can create a template then drop in the photo. But you can use Photoshop, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements too.

I then add a holiday gift certificate. This year I chose Downloadable Amazon Gift Cardsthat let me set the amount and choose the design. They then send me a PDF of the gift that I can print out and include in my fine art greeting card.

Put everything in a 5"x7" envelope, add a holiday sticker or two, and you're set. You may have heard me mention before that people love these fine art cards. I've had many recipients tell me that they've framed them so they can enjoy year round.


Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.


Accessible time lapse photography is a gift of the digital age. And now, thanks to Boinx Software, it's easier than ever to create stop motion and time lapse video with just an iPad 2. I've been testing the beta version of iStopMotion for iPad ($4.99 in the App Store), and I can tell you right now... it's a blast.

"The Overlook" - recorded with the camera on an iPad 2 with iStopMotion, then finishing touches added in iMovie for iOS. No additional cameras or computers used. By Derrick Story.

To test the nimbleosity of this app, I set out to record, edit, and publish a time lapse movie using just the iPad 2. I put the iPad in a studio clamp with rubber protectors, then mounted it on a Joby Gorillapod Focuswith Ball Head X and launched iStopMotion.

iStopMotion Recording at the Golden Gate Bridge iPad 2 rig for recording "The Overlook."

The excellent battery life for the iPad, and iStopMotion's judicial use of it, allowed me to record over the course of an entire afternoon, into twilight, without having to recharge.

You have three shooting options with the software: front iPad camera, back camera, or via WiFi with the iPhone 4S (using the free companion app, iStopCamera.) I used the back camera for recording "The Overlook," but also tested the iPhone 4S camera via WiFi for making this stop motion movie. I typically shot one frame every 3 seconds when using just the iPad 2, or switched to one frame every 6 seconds when using the iPhone 4S on WiFi. You have control with the duration using this software.

Once you've recorded your images, you can play them back at a variety of frame rates. I typically watched the movies at 12, 15, 24, or 30 fps. If you notice a few images you don't want in there, they can be deleted individually by tapping on the wrench icon.

istopmotion_interface The iStopMotion interface

Other helpful features include onion skinning, exposure setting, and grid lines. Once you have the movie to your liking, you can add a soundtrack from your music library and upload it to your Camera Roll, YouTube account, or share via email. There are three resolution options for export, including HD.

For "The Overlook," I saved scenes to my Camera Roll, then opened them in iMovie for iOS to stitch them together and add the finishing touches. I'm going to discuss this process more in next week's TDS Podcast.

The Bottom Line

iStopMotion for iPad earns a Nimbleosity Rating of 4. That's impressive considering this is the first release of this ambitious app, and we should see further enhancements up the road. Used by itself, you can create simple, but impressive stop motion or time-lapse movies, enhanced by the ability to delete frames and control frame rate. When used in combination with iMovie for iOS, iStopMotion becomes even more powerful. You have an entire recording, editing, and publishing environment, right there on your iPad.


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When we're very busy (as most are this time of year), it can be difficult to adhere to your formal archiving plan. Even I struggle at times with this (it's true!). But I do have a Plan B in force that keeps me protected.

I call it the "Mini 2-Drive Approach with Color Labels." I keep one WD My Passport 750 GB portable hard drivein my backpack and another at the studio. After I upload a shoot to an Aperture library on my MacBook Air (but before I erase the memory card), I copy that project to both external hard drives. It only takes a few minutes. Now I have my photos, plus any work I've done to them, in at least two different places.

Pictures Folder

But here's the real trick: keeping track of the "workflow state" of each library. When looking in the Pictures folder on my MacBook Air, I might forget what I've done, or not done, to each library in there. Has a library been backed up on external drives? Has it been incorporated into my main Aperture library? How do I know?

I use color labels to keep track of these libraries. A yellow color label means the library has been backed up, but not incorporated into my main Aperture system. A blue color label means it's been incorporated into the main Aperture library on my desktop computer. And so I don't forget what's what, I create two empty folders titled "Blue Means Copied to Master Aperture Library" and "Yellow Means Backed Up." That way, I always immediately know the state of any given library on any device.

As for creating the master system itself, take a look at Organizing and Archiving Digital Photos for some new ideas. If you start building your plan now, you should be ready to implement it on Jan. 1, 2012. And if you want to learn more about Aperture itself, such as how to merge libraries as I do here, I have a few titles on lynda.com for that too.

More on Organizing and Archiving Digital Photos

Prepare Your Photo Archiving Plan for 2012

Organizing and Archiving Overview Movie

Choosing the Right Hard Drive for Your Photo Backup

Roundtripping from Lightroom to Photoshop

"Organizing and Archiving Your Photos" - Digital Photography Podcast 290

Quick Keywording Tips in Lightroom 3

Backing Up Aperture 3 Via My Local Network


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


Nimble photography isn't just for still photos. Our nimbleosity can extend to movie making too. This week I cover iMovie for the iPad and discuss an easy to adopt workflow. Even though the tools are simple, you'll become comfortable with filmmaking concepts that could prove very handy up the road. All of this, plus a Denny's waitress anecdote, and a whole lot of fun.

iMovie for the iPad 2

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 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

Family is the Dec. 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Dec. 31, 2011.

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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When in Doubt - Use Burst Mode

I like to set the Drive Mode to "continuous" when shooting animals, children, and people in general. Yes, you take up a bit more space on your memory card. But you also increase the odds of getting the best pose possible. Once you have your favorite shot, you can delete the others if you wish.

To replay the above sequence, I've had the best luck by refreshing the web page.

All you have to do is find Drive Mode on your camera. It's usually represented by clock-like symbol (representing self timer) or a series of squares that illustrate a sequence. In the menu, choose the series of squares. Then start shooting. This setting is particularly good for natural light portraits.


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