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Antonin Kratochvil at LOOK3

Antonin Kratochvil Portrait

I had my best conversation with Antonin Kratochvil in New York last year after he had been mildly reprimanded for swearing during his presentation in the Canon booth at PhotoPlus Expo. I thought to myself at the time, "Well, then, why the hell did they put Antonin up there in the first place?" Anyone who knows this gritty photographer is aware that he is going to say what he thinks.

Antonin has a gallery here at the LOOK3 Festival, and was the featured speaker last night at the Paramount Theater. If you haven't seen his work, or know the story of this tough, emotional photographer, then you owe it to yourself to find out more.

Couple interacts with an Antonin Kratochvil portrait at the LOOK3 Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Derrick Story.


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


As part of my coverage of the LOOK3 Festival for Lowepro, I attended a presentation by George Steinmetz last night at the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.

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To see these amazing images on a theater screen, captured from a motorized paraglider that Steinmetz navigates while managing the camera, was impressive. If you're not familiar with the work of George Steinmetz, I recommend that you visit his web site.


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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One of the joys of looking through the optical viewfinder on your DSLR is seeing the world with crystal clarity. Thanks to the diopter adjustment for the camera's eyepiece, most of us can enjoy this experience even though our eyesight varies in strength.

The diopter wheel is usually located near the optical viewfinder eyepiece. You can see it in this image just above the optic and to the right.

I check this setting regularly by having the camera focus on a scene at infinity, then rotating the diopter dial until the image looks as sharp and clear as possible. I talked about this during a recent episode of This Week in Photo, which prompted this follow up information from a listener, Kevin Miller, who is an ophthalmologist.

I thought you might enjoy Kevin's observations, so I've included them here.

"You mentioned that setting the diopter adjustment on our cameras by looking at infinity and making the adjustment. Just my input as an ophthalmologist. I think that seems right as well.

One other nuance that should help give the best endpoint on the diopter adjustment is to not only view at infinity, but start with the diopter setting all the way toward the "+" side. Then slowly move toward the "-" side of the adjustment until the focus just becomes clear.

As you click past that first clear setting, you may still see clear options for another few clicks especially for those who are younger with some accommodative muscle strength left (not needing bifocals yet). Yet, the cleanest endpoint should be the first click that shows a clear image coming from the most "+" side of the dial. (Hope that is not too confusing.)

One other point that I know you understand. The built-in diopter adjustment has limitations. Those with higher powers of near sightedness of far sightedness can order dioptric adjustment lenses that fit into the eyepiece of the camera that extend the adjustment options beyond that of the standard dioptric adjustment in the camera. Here is a link to some eyepieces from Canon.

I don't know if there are any commercially available options for adding a dioptric adjustment lens for those with significant astigmatism in their correction. Those with significant astigmatism may not find a clear option among the various options mentioned above. In these cases, the photographer would need to wear his/her own glasses or contacts, and then the above diopter adjustment technique can be used to further fine tune the view through the viewfinder."

Thanks Kevin for adding clarity to using the diopter setting on our cameras. As you may have guessed, this is for your consideration only, and it does not constitute medical advice. I think it's interesting.


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


"Classic Cameras" - Cool Mac App

If the words "Zeiss Ikon Contarex" or "Minolta SR-1" bring a smile to your face, then I think you'll enjoy "Classic Cameras," a treasure that I found in the Mac App Store for $2.99. It catalogs over 500 images of classic cameras from 1905 to 1985, plus includes magazine ads, brochures, and reviews.

Classic Cameras

The application is actually an interface for content that Marc Rochkind has organized online. So you need an Internet connection to access the information. So all of the joys and delays that come with the Internet come with this app too. But what a wealth of information it is. I spent an hour last night learning about the original Olympus PEN, Nikon F, Canon III and more.

I hope Marc Rochkind improves that backend of this application to ensure a smooth user experience. It would be a shame to let all of this wonderful research go to waste.


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


I saw an interview with a photography professor who commented that many of today's memories are being recorded on mobile phones, and those images often aren't downloaded off the device. That got me thinking about the challenge of preserving our important moments and best work. In a sense, this week's episode is Part 2 to the Dealing with My Past show. I have an idea about how we can preserve our best work, and that's what I talk about today.

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

True Grit is the June 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is June 30, 2011.

TDS Oct. Photography Workshop and Nov. Aperture Workshop

We're making plans now for the Fall 2011 TDS Photography Workshop. I'm also considering adding an Aperture Workshop in Nov. or Dec. 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 -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

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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Flash Triggers on the Cheap

Cowboystudio Flash Trigger Set

If you want to work with off-camera flash, but don't have a built-in system like with the Canon T3i, there are affordable alternatives to expensive systems. A poplar choice on the cheap is the Cowboystudio 4-Channel Radio Remote Trigger and 2 Receivers Set($37). I've heard consistently good comments about Cowboystudio gear. One thing to keep in mind, if you go this route, is to properly set your expectations.

To help you with that, here's a good article, A Guide to Buying Cheap Wireless Flash Triggers, that lists key differences between expensive sets and their low-price counterparts.

Regardless of the gear you employ, off-camera flash is an important technique that's perfect for many portrait situations.


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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It's Free Bag Friday on the Lowepro Blog. This week you have a chance to win a Flipside 400 AW (use Code LP20 for a 20 percent discount if you want to buy it after the giveaway is over). All you have to do is add a comment to the Free Bag Friday post on the Lowepro Blog about how you'd use the Flipside.

On Monday morning (June 6), Lowepro will randomly select one winning comment from their blog and announce the winner there and on their Facebook Fan Page. The Flipside 400 AW is a terrific bag that holds lots of gear, has secure backside access, and includes an All Weather cover.

Check it out!


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


Using the "Places" project in Flickr, you can type in a location and see interesting photos from that area. It's a great way to explore the world from the comfort of your own home. And the page itself is well-designed, giving you a feel for life there.

To see how this works, plus more tips, take a look at this movie from my Flickr Essential Training title, and see what you think.

More Training Available

We have many more informative movies available in the lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and learn how to get the most from your favorite photo sharing application.

Previously on The Digital Story

Become Your Own Museum Curator with "Galleries" on Flickr

Using Google to Search Within Flickr

Flickr Keyboard Shortcuts

Flickr Updates Share Tools for Facebook, Twitter

Introduction to Flickr Essential Training


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


Christine McAuley

For the April'11 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters searched for the imperfect to create this gallery titled Broken. Fractured? Yes. But often beautiful too. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

The June 2011 assignment is "True Grit." Start working on your contribution now. Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Submit your photo assignment picture 800 pixels in the widest direction. Deadline is June 30, 2011.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: June 2011." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.


Photo by Christine McAuley. (Click on it to see enlarged version.) You can read more about how Christine captured this shot, plus see all of the other great images on the April 2011 Gallery page.


Good luck with your June assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for April.


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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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Those of us who were photographers in the Analog Age (pre-2000), have an inventory of 4x6 prints, negatives, slides, and enlargements. For months I've been thinking about what to do with all of these boxes I've been lugging around for years.

Finally, this past weekend, I set a course of action. I hadn't really planned on making such dramatic decisions. Actually, it all started with a garage sale. And as often happens in life... one thing led to another.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 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

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

TDS Oct. Photography Workshop and Nov. Aperture Workshop

We're making plans now for the Fall 2011 TDS Photography Workshop. I'm also considering adding an Aperture Workshop in Nov. or Dec. 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 -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

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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