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I always have a few model releases in my camera bag in case I capture a great portrait on the fly. One thing I've learned over the years is that you have to get the signed release on the spot. If you wait to exchange emails at a later date, the odds of you getting the release diminish substantially.

Since I always have my iPad in my camera bag, I can now use Photographers Contract Maker (for iPad and iPhone) instead. It comes with four templates: photo shoot, model release, copyright release, and 2nd shooter work for hire.

After a little practice, I was able to complete a model release in just a couple minutes, then have the PDF emailed to me and the model right on the spot. The model signs the release using the touchscreen.

Photographers Contract Maker is available in the App Store for $2.99. Don't leave home without it!


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


Adobe has created a CS5 Hidden Gems channel, hosted by Bryan O'Neil Hughes. Via a series of short videos, Bryan demonstrates helpful, interesting techniques for Photoshop.

Adobe Hidden Gems

You can learn how to straighten images with ease, restore old photographs, remove a wire, and more. Plus, Bryan will be adding more hidden gems to this channel, so you might want to subscribe to it.


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Sharing a View

Sharing a View "Sharing a View" by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

Who says that man and animal have different sensibilities? In this case, everyone seems to be enjoying a late morning view of the ocean waves.

Captured with a Canon 60D, 15-85mm E-FS zoom, polarizer, and processed in Aperture 3 with Silver Efex Pro.


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Junior Lifeguards

Junior Lifeguards "Junior Lifeguards" at San Clemente Beach, CA. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

These junior lifeguards are lining up for a run on the beach in San Clemente, CA. I love the kid with the shades near the front of the pack.


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Olympus announced today that the Olympus E-PL3 will be available in September 2011 for $699.99 (with redesigned 14-42mm zoom lens).

They also add a new accessory to its PEN Micro Four Thirds system family today with the introduction of the compact VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder. Priced at $179.99, the VF-3 attaches to any Olympus PEN model with an accessory port, as well as the Olympus XZ-1, for eye-level convenience.

I have the VF-2 viewfinder, and I love it...

Also, News About the Olympus E-P3

New 14-42mm Kit Lens

Touchscreen Photography Moves Beyond iPhone with Olympus E-P3

Olympus PEN E-P3 with 12mm f/2.0 Prime Lens


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Bee in Cactus Flower

Bee in Cactus Flower Bee in Cactus Flower: Mission San Juan Capistrano. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

This bee climbed into the cactus flower and disappeared in a pool of pollen. After a few minutes, he emerged, seemingly intoxicated. I captured him in his euphoric state with a Canon 60D, 15-85mm E-FS zoom, and a polarizer filter.

Google+ has great appeal for many photographers, and causes concern with others. After a few weeks of testing, I give my first impression on this latest social networking effort from Google. I also talk about balancing photography with community when traveling. How do you get your shots while still maintaing harmony with family and friends? And finally, SizzlPix is looking for an Evangelist. Are you the right person for the job? All this and more in this week's podcast.

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

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

TDS Nov. Aperture Workshop

I'm considering adding an Aperture Workshop on Nov. 12th and 13th. If you want your name on the reserve list, or just more information, drop me a line.

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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Kite on Doheny State Beach, CA

Doheny State Beach "Kite on Doheny State Beach" by Derrick Story. Click on image for higher quality version. Canon 60D, EF-S 15-85mm zoom, and polarizer.

When I first saw this kite dancing above the beach, I zoomed in and tried to capture a close-up with the clouds. After a few frames, I decided to zoom out for a longer view. It was by far the more interesting shot.

Just goes to show that what you initially think is going to be the best shot, isn't always.


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I've always used external hard drives to store my Aperture 3 Vaults. And even though I work with a referenced library these days instead of a managed library, I still use the vault to back up my image adjustments, ratings, and metadata. If my computer ever fails, I want to be able to restore my work as well as my master files.

But as I experimented more with personal cloud computing, I started thinking that it would be nice to have a copy of my vault on one of those network drives that has RAID1 mirroring. So I tried it.

On my local area network, I selected the Iomega ix2 storage drive that contained two 2TB hard drives that were set up to mirror one another. I opened Aperture and selected "Add Vault" from the gear menu at the bottom of the Library pane. In the dialog box that followed, I was able to choose the Iomega ix2 from the "Shared" drives. I initiated the process for creating a new Vault... and Aperture began backing up to it.

Even though my master Raw files are not contained in the Aperture library, the back up of my previews and work is still about 50 GBs. The building of the Vault for this went slowly, taking overnight to complete the job.

Subsequent updates to the Vault have gone much faster since Aperture uses incremental archiving -- it only backs up new data or data that has changed. It's still not as fast as a connected hard drive. But, I usually just work on other things during the few minutes it takes to refresh the Vault.

With this new set-up, I find that I'm running the Vault more often because it's more convenient. I doubt that I'll ever try this over the Cloud, but over my local area network, all seems well.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

My next Aperture Workshop is Nov, 12-13, 2011 in Santa Rosa, CA. Write me if you're interested in attending.

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.


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An exercise in persistence

The third gallery of TDS Member Photo of the Day images is now complete and ready for viewing. Each photo includes commentary by me discussing why I think the image is inspiring.

Each day, a new shot is featured at our community that gathers around the TDS Facebook Fan page. If you want to learn more about being a part of this terrific photography endeavor, check out the article, Why You'll Like TDS on Facebook.

Something new too... Flickr has added a Lightbox feature for viewing galleries. I highly recommend trying it for this one. You can let it autoplay, or click forward and backward manually. It's a stylish way to present these beautiful images.

Featured photo, "An exercise in persistence" by TDS Member Lynn D. Rosentrater. Click on the image to learn more about Lynn and her work.


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