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Canon PowerShot G12 is Nice, but...

Score one for Nikon. In a week where the two heavy hitters announced their premium compact cameras -- Nikon Coolpix P7000and the Canon PowerShot G12 -- Nikon upped Canon in one critical area: audio recording.

How ironic, right? These are cameras. They capture pictures. Yes, but they also record HD video (720p at 24 fps). And for many of us, having a device that doubles as a video recorder is a big deal. And everyone knows, except for Canon, maybe, that audio is half of video. So what am I talking about? Nikon included an external audio jack on the P7000 and Canon did not on the G12. If you want to use these devices to record video for publishing, one of them is going to give you a more professional product (Nikon P7000).

Canon PowerShot G12

That doesn't mean that Canon slacked on the G12. The specs look great. But without external audio, I might as well stick with the Canon PowerShot S95 and save myself a few bucks, not to mention size and weight. I'll keep recording video with the 5D Mark II... for now, anyway.


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In terms of photo assignment preparation, Germany is not a sunny beach on the Hawaiian Islands. At photokina, I have copious amounts of photos to shoot, gigabytes of video to record, hours or audio to capture, and lots of publishing. As much as I love my Canon S90 and iPad, I need the big guns for this trip. And I need to pack all that equipment wisely so I can move it from California, to Munich, to Cologne. This week I talk about DSLRs, fast lenses, and the Lowepro Pro Trekker 300 AWbackpack. I'm going to pack tight and fly right. Tune-in to find out how.

I've also published an article about bringing your gear on a plane, Make Sure Your Carry-On Gear Gets Onboard, if you want more information.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 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

Saturation is the September 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2010.

TDS Autumn 2010 Photography Workshop

The next TDS Photography Workshop will be Oct. 16-18, 2010. The event is sold out. But, you can place your name on the reserve list for the next workshop. Just 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. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- href="http://www.sizzlpix.com" target="_blank">SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Blurb believes passionately in the joy of books - reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them. Learn more by visiting Blurb on The Digital Story.




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lastolite_bracket

Wireless off-camera flash is terrific for location portraits and shooting on the go. But sometimes a single flash just doesn't have enough output. A simple solution is the Lastolite Triflash Bracket for $65. The bracket works with your existing light stands and umbrellas. But it allows you to mount up to three flashes on a single stand. There's the pop you're looking for.

I also read about a new version of this device called the Lastolite TriFlash Sync. It "features a built in sync system allowing the photographer to fire up to three flash guns from one triggering device. Featuring a built-in slave cell, the Lastolite TriFlash Sync can be adjusted to allow for none, 1, 2 or 3 pre flashes if required." But I haven't been able to find a dealer for this device yet. Will keep you posted if I do.

If you like this kind of stuff, be sure to check out my Off Camera Flash title on Lynda.com. I show you all sorts of helpful lighting techniques that are especially good for portraits.

More Off Camera Flash Tutorials

Off Camera Flash - Basic Techniques for Pro Results

Light Modifiers for Off Camera Flash

Off Camera Flash - The Single Light Portrait

"More Off Camera Flash" - Digital Photography Podcast 233


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Make Sure Your Carry-On Gear Gets Onboard

Successful air travel requires preparation. One of the most important details is your carry-on luggage. All of your camera gear must go onboard with you. A little preflight research will ensure that you and your lenses stay together.

Start by looking up the carry-one requirements for your airline. Take these numbers seriously because they represent the maximum size allowed onboard. If you have a big assignment, such as my upcoming trip to photokina in Germany, you'll need more gear than for a casual vacation in the Hawaiian islands.

Carry On Rules I checked the US Airways site for carry-on requirements, then compared them to my camera bag dimensions. Don't forget about the weight limit either!

Next, physically measure the bag you want to bring onboard. You can use the online specifications as a starting point, but not as the final word. I'll give you an example.

I'm taking a Lowepro Pro Trekker 300 AW to Germany because it's going to be a long, rugged trip, and I have to be prepared for a variety of assignments. On the product page, the dimensions are listed as 15.4 W x 14.2 D x 18.5 T inches. But, I removed the padded belly band and my physical measurements are 16 W x 9 D x 19 T. The big difference is the depth. Carry-on rules say 9", which I meet according to my measurements. So get our that ruler and confirm the dimensions.

Even with all of this preparation, you'll want to have a backup plan. Mine is to wear an empty photo vest onboard the plane. If nothing goes wrong, I simply fold it up and put it in the overhead compartment. But, if somehow I'm told I have to "check" my camera bag, I can pull out my most valuable gear and put it in my vest before I hand over the Pro Trekker 300. I also outfit my bag with TSA approved combination locks. They might prove just enough deterrent to the casual thief that my contents will still be there when I retrieve the bag off the luggage carousel.

My second carry-on is a slim laptop bag with a trolly sleeve that slides over the handle on my roller suitcase. My computer, hard drives, and cables go in here. I don't worry about this bag since I can slide it under the seat in front of me if necessary.

You can never prevent things going wrong while traveling by air. But with preparation, you can give yourself the best odds possible.

While we're waiting for iOS 4 for the iPad to bring us native WiFi printing, there's a handy free app available right now for folks who use HP printers. HP iPrint Photo 3 enables you to print photos in a variety of sizes -- from snapshots all the way up to A4. The software also includes easy wireless document sharing between your Mac and the iPad. Then, if you want, you can print those PDFs or text files directly from the iPad. Nifty stuff.

HP iPrint for iPad Wireless document sharing from my Mac to the iPad was a pleasant surprise with HP iPrint. All I had to do was drag my files to the server icon on my Desktop, and they instantly appeared on my mobile device for reading, storing, and printing.

I tested this application on my HP C6380 "All in One" and on the HP C8100, and it worked smoothly on both. I could print any photo on my iPad, or save PDF and text files from my Mac to the iPad for printing later. Once I have the documents stored in HP iPrint, I can output them to any compatible HP printer, regardless of where I happen to be at the moment. The first items I added were model releases, just in case I have to output extras on the road.

If you're curious about your printer and this app, here's the official list of compatible devices. If you have an HP e-All-in-One device, you can also scan documents and photos wirelessly from the device to your iPad.

There are a few basic editing tools too. If, for example, your photo isn't sitting on the paper the way you want, you can use the two-finger pinch, expand, or rotate to reposition the image. This is particularly handy for shots that have different dimensions than the paper you want to print them on. If you get stuck, there's a terrific Help menu available in the upper right corner of the application.


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DP Review Checks Out the Nikon P7000


Nikon 7000, originally uploaded by The Digital Story.

Out goes the built-in GPS from the P6000, in comes HD video recording (720p at 24 fps) with an external mic jack. Is Nikon ready to go head to head with Canon's G11 and Panasonic's LX5? DP Review has some good thoughts about this in their hands on preview of the Nikon P7000.

If you like what you see, you can preorder the Nikon Coolpix P7000 for $499 on Amazon.com, or from your favorite photo retailer.

How can iPad-toting photographers store large amounts of data while on the road? The folks over at HyperShop may have a solution: the HyperDrive iPad Hard Drive. About the size of a portable USB hard drive, the HyperDrive iPad is a media storage device that connects to the iPad via the Camera Connection Kit (yes, you have to have that first). Models range in capacity from 120 GBs to 750 GBs.

hyperdrive_ipad.jpg

Sanho, the makers of the product, have figured out how to work around the iPad's 32 GB size limitation of external drives. With 2 memory card slots and a 3.2" color LCD, the Hyperdrive iPad can receive and store images directly from your camera's memory card. If you want to transfer or view any of the media on your iPad, then connect the device via its USB cable the the Apple Camera Connection Kit. Suddenly the iPad becomes a long term travel device thanks to this additional storage and back up.

Prices range from $299 US to $599, and you can purchase directly from the HyperDrive site.


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Copyright Law for Photographers

In workshops, I often get at least one question about copyright, and how necessary it is to protect your images. My answer always begins with, "Well, I'm not s lawyer, but here's what I know..." Now, thanks to the folks at PhotoShelter, we have a real lawyer to dispense knowledgable advice.

"In the article, 5 Ways Photographers Can Protect Their Images Online, Carolyn Wright, the "photo attorney," lists five things photographers should do to protect their work. I will tell you up front that these are measures that many shooters do don't do, but I think they are good to know.

Here's an example of Carolyn's advice: "Register your copyrights to your photos. When a photo is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the infringement (or within three months of the first publication of the photo), a copyright owner may recover only "actual damages" for the infringement (pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 504 (b)), instead of statutory damages. Courts usually calculate actual damages based on your normal license fees and/or industry standard licensing fees. You also may recover the profits the infringer made from the infringement if they aren't too speculative. Unfortunately, actual damages usually don't amount to much so that attorneys will not take your infringement case on a contingency basis."

Take a look and see what you think.

I started using graduated filters years ago when I was shooting film, inspired to try them through the work of Galen Rowell. Graduated filters were one of his "secrets" to creating those fantastic landscape images.

These days I'm no longer putting tinted glass in front of my lenses, but I still use graduated filters. The difference is, now I apply them in post production using Adobe Camera Raw. What's interesting is that the mental process hasn't changed that much from the film days. The adjustment is that now I visualize how I'm going to apply the filter in post production rather than at capture.

In this week's episode, I talk about graduated filters, old and new, and the process of visualization that I use while shooting. If you want to see a before and after comparison, take a look at my article, Graduated Filter Adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw.

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

Saturation is the September 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2010.

TDS Autumn 2010 Photography Workshop

The next TDS Photography Workshop will be Oct. 16-18, 2010. The event is sold out. But, you can place your name on the reserve list for the next workshop. Just 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. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- href="http://www.sizzlpix.com" target="_blank">SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Blurb believes passionately in the joy of books - reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them. Learn more by visiting Blurb on The Digital Story.




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One of the most useful non-destructive editing tools in Adobe Camera Raw (as part of the Photoshop package) is the Graduated Filter. It helps us cope with contrasty scenes where we often have to choose between not blowing out our highlights or plugging up our shadows. I used the Graduated Filter on this snapshot captured in Raw with a Canon S90 compact camera.

Carmel Beach with Grad Filters Carmel River State Beach, CA. I used the Graduated Filter tool in ACR to balance the blow out highlights in the sky and water with the properly exposed landscape foreground. Click on image for larger version.

Take the above image for example. What you see here is the finished product. But what I recorded originally with the Canon S90 is below. When I took the picture, I exposed for the ice plant foreground knowing that I was going to lose highlight detail in the overcast sky and water.

Knowing this, I shot in Raw and planned on using the Graduated Filter tool in ACR to recover those highlights in post production. I used two filters, pulling one down from the top and another (less intense) filter from the bottom up. My goal was to direct the viewer's eye to the beach, water, and ice plant in the lower 40 percent of the composition. If you want to see the difference, take a look at the original photo below.

Before Grad Filter Original image with blown out highlights.

There's quite a difference.

If you want to use this tool, open your image in ACR (I usually go CMD-R from Bridge), and click on the fourth tool from the right in the upper tool bar. Drag the mouse from top to bottom, and just like that, you have a graduated filter adjustment that you can fine tune. It makes a tremendous difference, even in snapshots such as this. And not only is it good to help recover tones, but you can actually use multiple filters to shape the image in a way that highlights exactly what you want.


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