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The addition of Curves adjustment to Aperture 3 gives us powerful tonal and color correction. In this 9:00 minute video that's part of my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com, I show you how to get started with Curves in Aperture 3.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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Everyone needs water. And if you're working in the field on a photo shoot, you should have your supplies readily available. I've discovered a great water bottle for photographers who hike, camp, or who are always on the go: the GSI Infinity DukJug.

The basic specs for the DukJug are good for a container that sells for less than $9. The 1 liter capacity bottle weighs 6.6 ounces empty. It's constructed of BPA-free Polypropylene, has a quick-release cap, sip-it lid, and a very nice silicone grip. One Amazon reviewer complained that his water had a chemical odor to it. I have not had that experience at all. I washed the bottle when I first bought it, and the water has tasted great ever since.

GSI Infinity DukJug Water Bottle GSI DukJugs with gaffers tape wound around the recessed area, then the silicon grip reapplied. Click on images for larger view.

But what makes the DukJug different is that you can pull down the silicone grip, wrap gaffer's tape in the recessed area (or duct tape for non photographers who don't need a removable adhesive), and always have tape available for those 1001 situations that are hard to anticipate.

Applying Gaffers Tape

To set up your DukJug, just pull down the silicon grip, wind your gaffers tape evenly to keep the surface smooth, then reposition the grip. The tape adds very little weight to the bottle, but can be a huge lifesaver when you need to mend some fabric or hold a reflector in place. Not bad for less than $9.

Previously in Outdoor Gear for Photographers

Dependable Footwear for Photo Work in the Field

Day Tripping with the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

Shelter on Location: REI Half Dome 2

String Monopods

"The Great Outdoors" - Digital Photography Podcast 218

Portable Camera Stability

Sunset Portraits

New Series on Outdoor Gear for Photographers


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iPad toting photographers should check out the Lowepro Classified 160 AW shoulder bag. It holds your DSLR, lenses, iPad, and Bluetooth keyboard, all in a discrete, compact, stylish all weather bag that goes anywhere. Perfect for urban shooters.

More iPad Articles

Turn Your iPad into a Live Camera

Bluetooth Keyboard and iPad - A Powerful Combination

Coolest iPad Apps for Photogs? Keynote and CameraBag

"iPad for Photographers" - Digital Photography Podcast 219


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Turn Your iPad into a Live Camera

Camera Apps for iPad

There's no camera on the iPad. But, thanks to these two 99 cent applications, there's a reasonable workaround.

The latest versions of Camera for iPad and CAMERA-A let you use your iPhone's camera to record images directly to your iPad. I've bought and tested both applications, and they work as advertised. Here's a little overview of each.

Camera for iPad (Updated for Version 1.1)

I downloaded the app from iTunes and installed on both my iPad and iPhone 3GS. Launch the app on both devices (make sure that Bluetooth is on or a WiFi network is available). The apps will look for the companion device and connect. Now point your iPhone camera anywhere, and tap the "Take a Photo" button on the iPad or on the iPhone. The picture is recorded and transferred to the iPad. This process takes less time when you're using WiFi communication.

Once the processing is finished, you'll have a 2048x1536 image in your Photos App on the iPad. That's more than enough resolution for a full screen image, and the pictures actually look pretty good.

Pros: Affordable, good picture quality, easy to use, has quality settings for picture, allows either Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, can take pictures from either iPhone or iPad. Cons: Virtually none.

CAMERA-A

You pay your 99 cents and download CAMERA-A from the App Store, then download its free companion software, CAMERA-B for your iPhone. Launch both apps and they will search for each other. After a few seconds, they connect, and you tap the camera icon on the iPad to take a picture. After the photo snaps, you're asked if you want to save it. Tap "Accept" and the image is instantly added to your Photos App on the iPad.

CAMERA-A has the advantage of saving instantly compared to the transfer time with Camera for iPad. CAMERA-A also has a zoom slider on the iPad that allows you to zoom in as much a 6x. You can zoom in and out on the fly to help you compose the shot. The result is a 1004x768 image that displays nicely full screen on the iPad.

Pros: Affordable, good picture quality, easy to use, fast transfer times, zoom slider. Cons: No shutter button on the iPhone, lower resolution images than with Camera for iPad.

The Bottom Line

Both Camera for iPad and CAMERA-A work as advertised and let you record images directly to the iPad. CAMERA-A transfers faster, but provides a smaller file. Camera for iPad maximizes the resolution of your iPhone camera, and has a more advanced feature set. Both apps allow you to save the images to your iPhone too.

Since the Version 1.1 update for Camera for iPad, it is my preferred app.

More iPad Articles

Bluetooth Keyboard and iPad - A Powerful Combination

Coolest iPad Apps for Photogs? Keynote and CameraBag

"iPad for Photographers" - Digital Photography Podcast 219


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In a recent article for Macworld Magazine titled How to move from iPhoto '09 to Aperture 3, I describe how to easily transition your images and work from an iPhoto library to Aperture 3. And because the two applications talk to each other so well, you even have the option of sharing the same library of images with both. If you use iPhoto now, I encourage you to read the tutorial.

iPhoto 09 and Aperture 3 Libraries after Import to Aperture

Comparison of iPhoto 09 and Aperture 3 libraries after import from iPhoto to Aperture. Click on image for larger view.

OK, But the Real Question Is...

As often the case, showing someone how to do something invariably brings up the question: "But why should I do this in the first place?" It's a good question.

The answer depends on what you need to do with your photographs after you click the shutter. If you're a casual shooter who captures less than a thousand images a year, and shares them primarily through email, Flickr, or the occasional slideshow, then iPhoto is a good application for you. It's easy to understand, has the basic tools your need, and it is included on your Mac when you buy it.

But if you consider yourself an amateur or pro photographer, iPhoto has some real shortcomings. One area that I find particularly frustrating is how it handles metadata. I can't add standard IPTC fields such as author, copyright, etc. And keywording is less than robust. I also think image editing in iPhoto is just too limited for most passionate photographers. Yes, you get the basic tools, but really, anything beyond simple luminance and color adjustments just isn't there. And finally, iPhoto lacks the "Project based system" of organization that's the heart of Aperture 3. Having these flexible containers to organize your work is important for people who take a lot of photos.

This is not a knock on iPhoto. It does what it does well. But if you're getting better at your photography and want to see how far you can take your work, Aperture 3 is a better tool. You have control over your metadata, your image editing, organization, and output. For many photographers, the tools inside of Aperture are all they need. And most shooters don't even leverage the totality of what's available.

Here's the thing though: you're going to need a current Mac with a good graphics card and 4 GBs or RAM, plus at least one external hard drive if you're going to have a good Aperture experience. I'm using a 17" 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 4 GBs of RAM, and doing just fine with Aperture 3. Don't even try this with an early generation Intel MacBook with 2 GBs or RAM. You'll hate what happens.

The bottom line is, if you're feeling the limitations of iPhoto, and you like Apple's approach to software, then I would consider the upgrade to Aperture 3. It will give you the tools you need to take your photography to the next level.

PS: You may wonder why I didn't include Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, or other terrific software in this post. The main reason is, I'm talking about moving from iPhoto to the next level. In that case, Aperture is my recommendation. Other scenarios may lead to different applications.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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The Lowepro Versapack 200 AW combines a fast access camera compartment with a handy personal storage area into a light, all weather backpack that's perfect for an afternoon outing.

Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

My typical set up with this pack starts a 70-200mm zoom on a DSLR in the bottom, quick access area (it's quick access because you don't have to remove the pack to retrieve your camera, just reach around, unzip the pocket, and grab your camera). I keep a wide angle zoom in the top pocket, along with a jacket, protein bar, and whatever personal accessories I need. Maps and other papers store nicely in the front documents pocket. And if I'm on the trail, I hang a water bottle from the chest strap.

For such a light pack, the suspension system is very comfortable. I can literally wear it all day with no neck or shoulder strain. If rain is in the forecast, the hidden all weather cover can be pulled out to protect the entire pack. The two bottom straps work great for a tripod, ground mat, or rolled up jacket.

The internal foam protection dividers can be removed from the Versapack, allowing you to fold the entire unit flat to store in a suitcase for travel. When you get to your destination, insert the dividers, and you're ready to explore.

The Lowepro Versapack 200 AW retails for $99.95.

Previously in Outdoor Gear for Photographers

Dependable Footwear for Photo Work in the Field

Shelter on Location: REI Half Dome 2

String Monopods

"The Great Outdoors" - Digital Photography Podcast 218

Portable Camera Stability

Sunset Portraits

New Series on Outdoor Gear for Photographers


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Photoshop CS5 brings a rebuilt HDR authoring tool, 64-bit Mac compatibility, Mini Bridge, content aware fill, improved noise reduction, and a host of other interesting features for photographers. The question is, are there enough goodies to move you to spend the $199 for an upgrade?

In this week's broadcast, I dive in to what I believe are the most important new tools for photographers. And hopefully I cover enough ground to help you make the right decision for you.

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 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

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

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!


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Photoshop CS5 Hits the Streets

Adobe released Photoshop CS5 with some impressive new features for photographers. I'll cover them in more depth in tomorrow's TDS podcast. But here's a quick preview of what's hot in this latest version.

  • 64-bit support for Macs, but you need to have an Intel Mac to run CS5.
  • Paint on Sharpen tool gives you localized control.
  • Content Aware Fill - really terrific for finishing off panoramas.
  • Lens correction built in.
  • Great noise reduction.
  • Terrific new HDR Pro, really nice.
  • New processing engine for ACR.
  • Mini Bridge, provides image browsing in the Photoshop interface.

Prices for upgrade are $199 for Photoshop CS5 and $349 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

We'll dig deeper into this latest version in upcoming weeks, but it looks like a much improved application for photographers.


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When you're taking pictures in the great outdoors, your footwear is just as important as what's in your photo bag. The last thing you want is to be distracted by sore feet, or worry about your footing on uneven surfaces. I've tested some reasonably priced gear that you might want to consider for your next big outing.

Merrell Moab Ventilator Hiking Boots

Merrell Moab Hiking Boots

The Merrell Moab Ventilator boots don't feel like traditional boots in terms of weight and comfort -- they are as light as many athletic shoes and feel just as good... except they provide wonderful support and traction on the trail. I've worn these shoes with backpacks, photo packs, up hills, down hills, crossing streams, and around camp. And I'm never in a rush to take them off.

The Moabs breath well to keep your feet at a comfortable temperature. I usually wear one pair of hiking socks, and that's all I need. If you like to wear very thick socks or double pairs, I would order up a size, or at least a half size for the Moabs. Merrells do not run large for their listed size. So if you normally buy size 12 in your training shoes, you might want to try size 13 for the Moabs.

The Merrell Moabs run about $85 retail. So they are a good value as well as a comfortable, versatile boot.

Keen Newport Leather Sandals

When you want total comfort, easy on and off, yet great tread in case you have to sprint off to grab a shot, you might want to look at these Keen Newport Sandals.

Keen Newport Sandals

Typically, I wear these Keens around camp and, quite honestly, with shorts most of the summer. But I've also tested them on day hike with reasonable terrain, and they, along with my feet, have held up just fine. When I do day hike in them, however, I wear ankle socks for added comfort and to wick away moisture.

The Keen Newport Sandals run about $75 retail, but I've had a pair for well over a year, and they are definitely built to last.

Previously in Outdoor Gear for Photographers

Shelter on Location: REI Half Dome 2

String Monopods

"The Great Outdoors" - Digital Photography Podcast 218

Portable Camera Stability

Sunset Portraits

New Series on Outdoor Gear for Photographers


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

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