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When I use my smartphone and Dropbox mobile to scan a document, the entire process only takes seconds, and the digital file is instantly available across all of my devices. The funny thing about this is, I don't think a lot of Dropbox users are aware of this functionality.

scan-in-dropbox.png

When you tap the + button in the Dropbox mobile app, a popup menu with three options appears: Scan Document, Upload Photos, Create or Upload File. Tap Scan Document, and you're directed to the scanning interface, which is designed specifically for documents and pictures. Here's a short video from Dropbox for Photographers that shows how it works.

Now I can access my new scan from any Dropbox-connected device: phone, tablet, or computer. And since Dropbox is platform agnostic, that means iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.

See What Else Dropbox Can Do for You

Take a look at my lynda.com training, Dropbox for Photographers to see how this multi-platform service can easily integrate into your photography workflow.

Impressive RAW Power App for Photos

One of the features that I miss from Aperture is the ability to customize the decoding of my RAW files. Now, thanks to the $10 editing extension (and standalone app) RAW Power, I have those tools again. And they are wonderful.

001-RAW-Process.jpg The key to this app is the RAW Processing panel, that gives me control over the actual decoding of the RAW file.

the-raw-process-panel.png

I purchased RAW Power from the Mac App Store, then tried it as a standalone. I usually do that first with editing extensions to make sure everything works OK. And indeed it does. I so enjoy having control again on how software interprets my RAW files.

The key to this editing extension is the RAW Processing panel that contains all the sliders you need to customize the file's decoding, including the ultra-cool boost sliders. Getting these adjustments just right makes everything that follows so much more effective.

I then fired up Photos for macOS and used RAW Power as an editing extension. Same controls, same wonderful results. This file, for example, was captured in existing light with an Olympus TG-4 compact camera. Yet, I was able to take that RAW file and make it shine. Compare the decoded top image to the original (without RAW Power processing) below.

002-Original.jpg Original file before decoding with RAW Power.

RAW Power does include plenty of adjustment tools too, such as shadows/highlights, curves, white balance, and sharpen, just to name a few. So after you decode the file, you can spruce it up a bit too.

But my workflow has been to get the basic image in good shape, then return to Photos for finishing touches such as color cast, vignette, definition, and sharpening.

003-Finishing-Touch.jpg Now for the finishing touches in Photos for macOS.

RAW Power is a wonderful addition to Photos, as well as a strong standalone app. Most of the files that circulate through Photos for macOS are Jpegs from my iPhone shooting. But I do have a surprising number of RAWs also, especially from the Olympus TG-4. How wonderful to finally have a set of pro tools to work on them, and have the results automatically shared across all of my devices.

Master Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #564, Dec. 27, 2016. Today's theme is "Two Near Misses and a Hit." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

The funny thing about life is that you can be rolling along just fine, then out of nowhere, everything is turned upside down. This week's show features two such incidents that result in a happy ending, plus one case where a good situation was made even better, thanks to technology. I hope you enjoy the show.

Two Near Misses and a Hit

Most of the time we're complaining about technology. The crashing computer that loses an hour's worth of work, dreadfully slow WiFi at a hotel, and dropped calls in the middle of an important conversation are all frustrating examples.

But sometimes our robotic companions can save the day, or at least vastly improve it. And I have three such stories that have happened to me recently.

  • Drobo to the Rescue - I was riding back to the studio on my bike when the phone rang. I wasn't able to answer it in time, but the ensuing voicemail became the cry for help. A client needed a high rez version of an image I had shot for them two years ago, and they needed it in an hour. Here's how my backup drive saved the day.
  • venice-beach.jpg

  • Exit Now! - We were driving on the 405 in Southern California one evening when our navigation unexpected urged us to exit on Harbor Blvd., even though that was a few miles from our destination. In a split second I decided to obey. And what followed saved our entire evening.
  • Family Bonding - Large family gatherings during the holidays are unpredictable events at best. Every person that walks through the front door has a year's worth of ups and downs resting on their shoulders. And you just never know how the batter is going to bake. But this year, thanks to my Olympus camera, WiFi, and the iPhone, we were all able to share a moment that made everything else pale in comparison.

In the News

Why I'm Starting a 365 Day Project in 2017. I strongly encourage everyone to give a 365 project a try. Even if you aren't in a rut creatively, it'll help you explore new avenues for your work. I also recommend having some sort of theme to give direction. For instance, I've decided that the final images will be in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio to aid my composition in my short film work, even though I'm shooting a still photography camera. My photography, editing, and filmmaking will all see something from this project. Have you tried a 365 project? I'd love to hear from your experiences. Thanks to FStoppers.com.

Review The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

I have two more review copies of The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, and if you'd like to be a reviewer, drop me a note at derrick@thedigitalstory.com. First come, first served.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

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

MindShift Gear - MindShift Gear is a group of committed professional photographers and product designers who support conservation and protection of our natural resources and planet.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

What a great time of year for creating slideshows to share with others. Whether it's a wrap-up of the holidays, or the entire year, these short videos are a perfect way to tell your story.

If you're an iPhone shooter, you have a robust slideshow editor on your laptop that can tap into all of those great images on your phone. Photos for macOS makes it easy to author and share these presentations. And if you want to take your movie to the next level, customize your title screens using this simple tip. Here's a video that walks you through the steps.

That's right - the greeting card tool in Photos for macOS can also be used for creating professional title screens for your slideshows. And everything you need is right there under one roof.

Instead of printing the card, you output it to digital and add it to your presentation. The look absolutely great because you have all of the high-end design tools in the greeting card creator at your disposal.

digital-output.png Output to digital to use your design in a slideshow.

A few of these handsome titles will make your video shine. Also, keep the overall presentation short - about 1.5 to 2 minutes - and add some audio as appropriate. Your fans will love it.

But Wait, There's More!

If you'd like to cozy up to more helpful videos, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training. Tons of tips to help you bring out your inner artist.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Like a lot of MacBook Pro users, I was curious about how some of my favorite apps implemented Touchbar support. But I'm happy with my current laptop (and having it paid for), so a new MacBook Pro isn't in the cards for me at the moment.

Luminar-on-ipad.jpg Luminar displayed on my iPad mini, complete with Touchbar, using Duet.

Enter Duet Display ($9.99), the clever dual monitor app for iOS that allows you to use your iPad as a second display. And with the latest version, it adds Touchbar support.

You'll need macOS 10.12.2 running on the computer, and the latest version of Duet Display. There's also a free companion app for the Mac that needs to be installed (requiring a restart). Once you have everything loaded up, connect the iPad to the Mac via its USB cable, and go to Duet's preferences on the Mac. Here you can configure the device, including enabling the Touchbar.

Duet-Preferences.jpg

Now the fun begins. I used Duet during a WebEx meeting, moving my Twitter and Messages apps over to the iPad while the meeting occupied the main screen of my Mac. I then tested the Touchbar on various apps, including Luminar. It worked great, and I found it quite interesting.

I then moved the Luminar window from the main screen of my Mac to the iPad, and worked on an image. Not only did the touch screen work for the Touchbar, but for the other functions too. Way too much fun.

I have an iPad case that doubles as a stand, and that's perfect for using Duet Display. Now I can have a mini production studio anywhere, even Starbucks. Make sure you have a USB cable with you at all times, and that's it. Performance is excellent, as is the resolution. And I'm loving the extra screen real estate. Duet Display is highly recommended.


Nimble Photographer Logo

Duet Display has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Dehaze and Golden Hour Added to Luminar

Luminar Pluto features the new Dehaze and the Golden Hour filters, plus it adds batch processing. I loaded up a holiday photo to take a look at these new features.

santa-claus-before.jpg In the original shot, Santa indeed looks jolly. But he lacks that little extra warmth.

santa-claus-after.jpg Santa after Dehaze, Golden Hour, and Polarizer filters in Luminar.

I edited the photo in both the standalone version and the editing extension for Photos for macOS version of Luminar, and they worked equally well in both. Very nice additions to an already powerful image editor.

Luminar Pluto is a free upgrade for existing users. If you haven't secured your own copy of Luminar yet, there is a terrific holiday offer that gets you a full copy of Luminar for $59 (with all plugins and the editing extension), plus four bonuses, including 373 Sky Overlays (perfect for the Image Layer function in Luminar) and a Creative Portraits Preset Pack. All four bonuses are included with Luminar at the $59 price.

Want to Use Luminar as an Editing Extension for Photos for macOS?

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations, including ample coverage of its robust editing extensions.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #563, Dec. 20, 2016. Today's theme is "My Attack on 2017." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I was sipping whiskey with a friend last night, and he said to me, "I'm so sick of scandals, politics, and power plays. I'm going to forget about all of that and focus on my family, craft, and self improvement in 2017. Afterwards, I was thinking, you know, that's not a bad idea. And so I've begun my attack on 2017.

My Attack on 2017

IMG_2830.jpg

Maybe I was too distracted by external events in 2016. The topsy turvy stock market, an agonizing presidential race, Brexit, race tensions, middle east bloodshed, and a general lack of appreciation in the workplace.

As a result, I think it's time for a little recalibration. And the adjustments that I'm going to focus on are going to be putting more energy into those closest to me, and into my craft.

I might not be able to influence our dealings with Russia, but I sure as heck have a say in how I approach the things and people I love. And if you feel the same way, here's a starting checklist for working on upping your photography game.

  • Photo Management Software - There are some great choices out there, and that's right, none of them are perfect. Lightroom is at the top of the heap, Capture One has serious asset management chops, Photos for macOS is deceptively clever, and OnOne RAW is the newcomer. Decide which ones of these come closest to meeting your needs, set up your library, and move forward.
  • Back it Up - If you do not have every single photo you captured in 2016 backed up, you're playing with fire. I'm using iCloud and a pair of Drobo 5Ds for my work. The system is running, working, and allows me to keep my eyes focused forward instead of worrying about what's in the rear view mirror.
  • Nail Down Your Kit - I'm a mirrorless photographer who also likes to shoot 35mm film. So when I pack for a trip, I know the bag I need, pick the right lenses, and go shoot pictures. I don't really need any new gear in 2017. I'm pretty happy with what I have. If something new comes out that fits within mirrorless or film, I'll consider it. But I'm probably not going to spend a lot of time thinking about equipment.
  • Put More Energy into Personal Projects - One of my best lessons from 2016 was the value of personal projects. In my case, the rediscovery of film has energized all of my shooting. And I plan on allocating my time in 2017 for my personal work.
  • Start Something New- As you heard last week, not every new idea is successful. But even the failures are satisfying in the sense that I go to sleep at night feeling like I'm in the game; I'm creating new stuff; and I'm not going to let myself be put in a box. If your day job sucks, then this becomes even more important.

In the News

Fast, flexible and powerful RAW editor: ON1 Photo RAW 2017 launches, available now. " "ON1 Photo RAW 2017 is tuned for today's sensors and graphics chips. It opens 50-megapixel images in a fraction of a second on a standard PC or Mac, and performs edits in real-time, without slider lag or frustrating waits for redraw." The software is built around ON1 Browse, the company's photo browser. Similarly, Photo RAW does not require users to build a library or catalog of their images, but instead integrates ON1 Browse, allowing fast tagging, rating and adjusting. Without relying on a local catalog, photographers can edit photos that are stored in the cloud or on external servers and the software even allows for colleagues to pick up where you left off, or vice versa." Thanks to Imaging-Resource.com.

San Francisco Street Photography Workshop

April 6-9, 2017 - We'll work entirely on location in San Francisco. We'll book a hotel in picturesque Union Square that will serve as our headquarters during the event. No rental car will be necessary. We'll explore the City's hidden treasures and capture them through our lenses. And we're adding new shooting locations again this year, including twilight assignments. This is San Francisco like you've never seen it before. And as a bonus, Olympus Trailblazer Mike Boening will be joining the teaching staff and leading sessions on street shooting and night photography. Two instructors, three days, and all for just $695. (That's right, it's 3 full days in one of the most photogenic cities in the U.S.)

Visit the TDS Workshops page for more information and to get on the reserve list.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

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

MindShift Gear - MindShift Gear is a group of committed professional photographers and product designers who support conservation and protection of our natural resources and planet.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

pedco-clamp.png

Want to surprise the photographer in your life with a super-handy gift (that will only set you back $20)? The Pedco UltraClamp is one of the most useful tools in my nimble bag of tricks.

This lightweight, but very durable clamp attaches easily to tables, chairs, poles, branches, doors, and a variety of other stable surfaces, and allows you to position cameras and lights in otherwise hard to reach places. I also use them to hang stuff off while working on location, such as with a reflector when not in use (to keep it off the ground).

The Pedco UltraClamp doesn't take up much room in a camera bag, and weighs only a few ounces. Yet, it can double as a tripod when traveling light, especially for urban shooters who can attach it to a variety of surfaces in the city.

You can wrap it as a gift, or slide it into a stocking. Either way, photographers will absolutely love it.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Pedco UltraClamp has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Three Great Year-End Lens Deals

canon-85mm.png

December is always a great month to buy lenses, and this year is no different. Here are three great deals on optics that I can easily vouch for, having used them extensively.

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Prime for $319

Even though this optic has been around for years, it's still a top performer for me. It focuses fast, takes great pictures wide open, and isn't too hefty. It looks great on any Canon DSLR, and for the great price of $319, it is a steal. Highlights include:

  • Aperture Range: f/1.8-22
  • Ultrasonic Focus Motor
  • Internal, Rear Focusing System
  • Distance Scale
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 2.8'
  • 58mm Filter Thread Diameter

Offer ends: Dec 17, 2016 at 11:59 PM.

The Olympus ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens for $699

olympus-12-40.png

This is the best price ($300 savings) that I've ever seen on this outstanding, pro caliber, zoom. Its fast, constant aperture and pin-sharp focusing lives up to the pro branding. Plus, it's weather resistant. Highlights include:

  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 24-80mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • 1 Aspherical ED & 2 Aspherical Elements
  • 1 DSA, 2 ED, 1 HD, 2 HR Lens Elements
  • High-Speed Imager AF with MSC
  • Linear Motor Drive System
  • Manual Focus Clutch
  • Dust, Freeze and Drip-Proof Construction
  • 7-Blade Circular Diaphragm

This special $699 price is available right now.

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph. Zoom for $698

panasonic-zoom.png

If you prefer the Panasonic pro zoom with optical image stabilization built in, it is also available right now for $300 off. This has been my go-to pro zoom for photojournalism and event coverage, and it's never let me down. Highlights include:

  • 12-35mm Zoom (Equivalent to 24-70mm)
  • Micro 4/3 Mount
  • Nano Surface Coating Reduces Flare/Ghost
  • POWER O.I.S. Image Stabilization
  • Splash- and Dust-Proof Design
  • UED Lens Minimizes Chromatic Aberration
  • Circular Aperture Diaphragm
  • Constant f/2.8 Maximum Aperture
  • Lightweight--10.8 oz
  • Compact--2.9x2.7"

This special $698 price is available right now.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #562, Dec. 13, 2016. Today's theme is "My Best (and Worst) Decisions in 2016." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

They are no cookbooks for entrepreneurs. Our recipes for survival consist or an alchemic mixture of ideas, guesses, bandwidth, finances, and luck. Over a 12-month period, I typically have two bad ideas to every good one... and that's a good year. So here's how I fared in 2016.

My Best (and Worst) Decisions in 2016

2016 was a challenge on many fronts. In addition to our cultural turmoil, business was nearly as volatile. In January, c't Digital Photography Magazine closed operations in North America, costing me my editor job. In September, Rocky Nook eliminated my contract position, all against the backdrop of change in my world of photography and writing.

I pride myself in reinvention before the fall. And I had already started working on new projects to shore up the losses. But like the Titanic itself, it takes time to turn these things around.

Here's a review of my ideas that worked, and of course, those that didn't.

the-film-project.jpg

  • Good Idea: TheFilmCameraShop on Etsy - I was accumulating a lot of analog gear as part of The Film Project (book to come in 2017). And although I liked it all, it was practical to keep everything. So I built TheFilmCameraShop to pass on quality gear those who have an interest in analog photography. The shop is both efficient and it helps offset the costs of my projects related to film photography.
  • Bad Idea: The Nimble Photographer 1-Day Workshops - After having a great success in June as part of Out of Chicago, I thought we could take our nimble show on the road. The problem is, it's hard to find dependable partners on the road. After a couple months of struggling, I decided to stroll off into the sunset with this idea.
  • Good Idea: The Apple Photos Book for Photographers - Despite the momentum against this app by older photographers, younger shooters seem to appreciate the value of the cloud-integrated application. I too see the promise in Photos and have jumped in with both feet, writing this book for Rocky Nook Publishing, and creating in-depth video training for lynda.com. Currently Photos is responsible for my most popular titles on lynda, and the book is off to a solid launch.
  • Bad Idea: Reinvent the Wedding - I closed down this website in 2016, and no one noticed. I thought wedding photography was primed for a new, more nimble approach. I couldn't be more wrong. What people really want is free wedding photography. And you don't need a website to give away your work.
  • Good Idea: Patreon and the Inner Circle - I love this podcast and want it to have a long, creative future. And for those of us who have share this sense of community, Patreon has proved to be a win/win way to help keep the show on the air. The service is run professionally, it has lots of features for both patrons and artists, and most important, we have a water cooler now to gather around.
  • Bad Idea: Partnering with Other Podcast Networks - Generally speaking, I think business partnerships can help you get to the next level, provided they are prepared to be a fully functioning, committed partner. I was approached on two occasions to move The Digital Story to a new home. One I considered (and did due diligence) and the other I didn't. As it turned out, both were bad ideas. I learned that no one cares about your creations as much as you do. I'm better off to go it alone with this show.
  • Good Idea: Increase My Photography Assignments - Shooting my commercially and for personal projects is still the bedrock of my business. Not only does it produce a revenue stream, it is the source of ideas for my other projects. When photography is my focus, good things seem to happen in my life.
  • Bad Idea: Looking for Work via Online Services - It's so tempting trying to find a good part time gig to supplement the other projects. But the problem is, most available work these days in my world is entry level and low paying. And the fact of the matter is, just one new good idea can generate as much revenue as a year of soul-crushing part time work for an uncaring employer.

In the News

Lightroom Gets an Update - There are two main new features in the Dec. 2016 update: (1) Some things are now faster (sweet!). According to Adobe, "...You should notice improvements in image editing responsiveness when background tasks (such as Preview Generation) are running, moving files between folders, running catalog backups." (2) The ability to choose any image as a "Reference Image" (an image that you need to post process to look like a another image). Then, you can open an unprocessed image right beside it, so you can edit this photo live while using the other photo as a reference. This will make more sense when you see it (below). Thanks to Scott Kelby's Lightroom Killer Tips.

Recipients of the Signed Copy of the Apple Photos Book for Photographers

I have 3 signed copies of The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that I will send to the following virtual camera club members who tweeted about the book: Scott Katzenoff, Mark Malter, and John Davis (ladies, where were you?!)

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

The 2017 Workshop Season is posted. I've sent responses to those who signed up on the reserve list. If you haven't received a confirmation yet, please send me mail at derrick@thedigitalstory.com. Reservation forms for the SF Workshop are going out soon.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

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

MindShift Gear - MindShift Gear is a group of committed professional photographers and product designers who support conservation and protection of our natural resources and planet.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.