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Both the just-announced PowerShot G11 and the PowerShot S90 only capture in Standard Definition video (640x480). What? In the whacky world of hardware engineering, where we gain a high-sensitivity 10 MP sensor with DIGIC 4 image processing providing better noise reduction, being referred to as a "Dual Anti-Noise System," we don't get what Canon is pushing everywhere else: HD video.

It reminds me of the time a few years back when RAW was the premium feature photographers sought. Suddenly we saw RAW support dropped from high-end compacts, such as the Canon G series, and only available in DSLRs. Now we have RAW in the S90 and G11 (RAW returned to the G series with the G9), but HD video is omitted... even though we get HDMI output on the G11, not to mention the Vari-angle LCD that's perfect for video capture.

There might be an overriding technical reason for no HD video on these new cameras. And I would love to hear it. Because right now it feels a little like a sales and marketing decision. I hope it isn't.


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Want to create professional looking art notecards from your own images? In this podcast I explain the techniques I wrote about in the article Professional Photo Art Notecards Using Aperture and Red River Paper. These products, based on your photography, look great. I hope you give them a try.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Transport is the August 2009 Photo Assignment. Think both literally (car, bike, bus, etc) and figuratively. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is August 31, 2009.

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!


Sample notecard before folding. Red River paper is scored in the middle so it's easy to fold and get a professional looking card. Click to enlarge image.


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Podcast Sponsors

SiteGrinder lets you take ownership of your websites. Effortlessly output pages right from Photoshop.

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

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.


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I've been testing the new Eye-Fi Pro card (and will report on it soon), but I still have an older Eye-Fi Explore card too. For those of you who also have older cards, I want to remind you that there's probably a firmware update waiting (especially if you haven't used the card in a while). For my Explore card, the update provided me with "selective transfer," a function I had wanted for a long time.

Basically it works like this: After the firmware update, leave the card connected to the computer and go to the Settings tab in Eye-Fi Manager. Click on Upload Settings, and change the preference from Automatic to Upload Selected. Save your settings and unmount the card. Now, with the card back in the camera, initiate uploads by marking the images you want to transfer with the Protect key. Only those photos will be transferred via Eye-Fi Manager.

After you're done with the Eye-Fi transfers, you may want to Unprotect your pictures. Some photo applications won't let you image edit protected pictures...


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Want to view your Flickr images a new way? Check out Flickroom. This Adobe AIR application not only provides that beautiful charcoal colored interface that makes your photos pop, the Flickroom team has also included a host of useful features such as instant notifications for any activity on your photostream, upload photos by just drag-and-drop, add comments, mark faves, add notes, tweet about your photos, and chat with other Flickroom users.

I haven't replaced viewing Flickr with their traditional browser, but I do like Flickroom for "really looking at my photos online." The cleaner interface lets me see my shots differently than I do on Flickr. I also use Flickroom for looking at my site the way the public sees it since it doesn't display images I mark as private.

There wasn't much information about the folks behind Flickroom on their site, so I wrote them and asked about their story. They replied:

Flickr Essential Training

"Ours is a small startup company which has some very talented Flash/Flex/AIR developers and testers. We have decent experience in creating applications (for clients) based on these technologies. Some of the members of our team are photographers and share their pictures on Flickr. Sometime back they felt that the user interface of Flickr could be enhanced immensely if it were made a desktop application using a technology like Adobe AIR. So that led to the whole idea, and we started working on it. Although the current beta version that is available provides limited functionality, we are working on a lot of desktop-integration features that would make the Flickr experience really seamless. With every update of this application, we hope that the experience of Flickr users would get better and better."

Just in the short time I've been following this story, I have noticed remarkable improvements in the application. So much so, I now feel comfortable recommending it for others too. I have a feeling that within another few updates, Flickroom will become a favorite application among many Flickr users.


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"Ready, Set... Go!" Grab Shot 182

"The picture was taken at our son's school fete back in June," writes Michael Haley. "It's a very English kind of event -- a great fund raising event for the school put on by the parents. All funds from the event are used to fund school outings for the children."

Michael used a Canon 450D with a Canon EF-S 55mm to 250mm F4 - 5.6 IS lens, ISO 200, f5.6, 1/1250, colourspace RGB Adobe 1998.

Photo by Michael Haley. Click on image to zoom to larger size.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.


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On June 22, 2009, Kodak published A Tribute to KODACHROME: A Photography Icon. The initial idea for the page was a good one: have top photographers Steve McCurry, Eric Meola, and Peter Guttman share their thoughts and images about the world's most famous film. But now, weeks later, there are also dozens of anecdotes, tributes, and frustrations contributed by photographers who had an affinity for Kodachrome.

It's quite an interesting read. And combined with the great slideshow of Kodachrome images, you really get a sense of this product's place in photographic history.

Here's my own flashback photo: Birthday party in Southern California. I'm the one in the red shirt. Click photo to enlarge.


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You can make photo art notecards that won't be just good; they'll be professional too. And I'll show you how. This workflow uses Aperture software, an Epson printer, and Red River paper. It's fast, efficient, and archival. Once you're set up, you can print just a few cards whenever you need them, or for larger runs, spend a rainy afternoon creating entire sets of cards to sell or give as presents. Of course you can make substitutions to this workflow, but if you have the tools listed here, that's where I'd start.

Equipment

  • Quality ink jet printer. I'm using the Epson R2400 for this project.
  • Red River notecard stock. For glossy surface, use 60lb. Pecos River Gloss (#8451) and for matt surface, I recommend Premium Matte C2S (#1567). Both stocks are 7" x 10" and fold down to a 7" x 5" note card.
  • Photo software. I highly recommend Aperture 2 (or later) for this project. Why? Because I create the notecards using Aperture's book making tool. This allows me to design everything precisely as I like, and then it remembers all my settings so I can revisit the project at any time and print more cards that look *exactly* like the original set.
  • Envelopes. You can use what ever you want here, I found Darice 5" x 7" envelopes at the craft store for about 10 cents each.

Designing Your Card

Since I'm using Aperture, all of my images were already organized. I decided to make a themed set of cards featuring my recent shoot at Bodie State Historical Park in Northern California. I highlighted half a dozen shots for this project, then clicked on File > New from Selection > Book. This is the first step to opening the layout tool. Next, in the following dialog box, choose "Custom" from the "Book Type" popup menu. We won't be using any predesigned templates for this project. Click the New Theme button, give it a name, such as "5 x 7 Notecard," and enter the following information:

Page Size - Width: 7", Height: 10", Margins - Top: 5.5", Bottom: 0.5", Inside: 0.5", Outside: 0.5". Then click OK.


The Aperture layout tool. It was originally designed for books, but it's great for notecards too. Click to enlarge image.


Your selected images will be added to the new project you just created, and you'll be greeted with the layout tool interface. Open up Master Pages (Gear icon > Show Master Pages), and click on the 1-up template. Go back to the Gear icon and choose "Show Layout Options." You'll see new dialog boxes appear above the Master pages that allow you to specify settings.

Go back to the Gear menu, choose Add > Photo Box. A placeholder box will appear on your 1-Up Master page. Click on it to select, then add these numbers to the Size & Position box that's above the Master Pages box:

X: 0.50, Y: 0.65, Width: 6.00", Height 4.00", Angle: 0°. You can adjust these settings later to your particular tastes, but this will get you started. Then right-click on the photo placeholder and choose from the popup menu: Photo Box Alignment > Scale to Fit Centered. You've now set up your template. You can add text by choosing Gear > Add > Text box. Type your text in it, then click on the "T" at the top of the interface to format it. You'll probably have to rotate it 180° if you want it to print correctly on the back of the card.

Now go to the Pages box (below Master Pages) click on the 1-Up thumbnail, and drag a photo from the Filmstrip to the empty placeholder in the big browser window. To make sure your Master Page settings are honored, I recommend going back to the Gear icon and choosing: Reapply Master. You've now designed your first notecard. You can add more notecards by going to the + icon and selecting "Add New Page" from its popup menu. I created eight of these 1-Up pages for my Bodie notecard set.

Get Ready to Print

As with any big printing project, make sure your screen is calibrated and your printer is full of ink and ready to go. I choose the R2400 for this project because it handles card stock easily, plus it seems to like Red River paper. To avoid paper feed problems however, I only load one sheet at a time for notecards.

For notecards using the 60lb. Pecos River Gloss, use the following settings in Aperture.


The Aperture Print Dialog. You can save your settings as presets so it's easy to print the job later on. Click to enlarge image.


Select the notecard you want to print, then click the "Print" button in the lower right corner of the Aperture interface. A dialog box will appear with "Custom Book Preset" selected in the left hand column. Make a test printing one card, so I recommend that you use the "From X to X" setting instead of Print All. Next, select your printer from the popup menu. And for paper size, I've had great luck with 8" x 10" sheet fed (even though the paper is really 7" x 10"). I set the ColorSync profile for Epson glossy paper (in this case, SPR2400 PremGlsy Photo.icc), then click the Save As button in the lower left corner to save this preset. Give the preset a descriptive name, such as "R2400 7x10 Notecard Glossy," click OK, then print. Aperture will remember this preset, and you can use over and over again.


Sample notecard before folding. Red River paper is scored in the middle so it's easy to fold and get a professional looking card. Click to enlarge image.

You have other options in this dialog box too, such as setting Black Point (which opens up the shadow areas) or increasing gamma (which brightens up midtones). The nice thing about these adjustments is that you can tweak your output without having to mess with the picture itself. If I do make print adjustments, I note those settings in the description area of the photo so I can use them again next time.

To print matte surfaced cards, I swap out the black cartridges in the R2400, then create a new preset in the Aperture Print dialog box that uses the Enhanced Matte Paper ICC profile. I then load up a sheet of Premium Matte C2S and make a test print. If I'm not satisfied with the initial output, such as the shadow areas rendering just a little too dark, I make a "New Version from Version" by right-clicking on the image. Now I can adjust the image for the matte surface and try another print.

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Since all of my print settings are saved as presets, and my card layouts are saved as templates, I can come back to this project when ever I want to print additional cards. If you use Aperture's Vault, it will save your settings to a backup drive.

Final Touches

Once all the printing was done, it was fun to spread out the cards and choose my favorites. Some images looked better with the glossy surface while others were really nice on matte. I carefully folded the cards along the score, then bundled each one with its matching envelope. I even found 5" x 7" cardboard boxes at the craft store that I could use for packaging sets of notecards.

Obviously there are variations to just about every step in this process. You can use other photo applications or printers. The tools I chose were the result of testing, with these being the easiest and most efficient.

And I have to say, now that the project is over, making custom notecards from my own pictures is very satisfying.


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Our own Stephanie Scheetz attended the CHA Summer Convention and Tradeshow in Orlando, Florida, and sits down with Derrick to report on interesting things there for photographers and creatives looking for new opportunities. We talk about trends, specific products, and business endeavors that you might be interested in.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (25 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Transport is the August 2009 Photo Assignment. Think both literally (car, bike, bus, etc) and figuratively. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is August 31, 2009.

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!


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Podcast Sponsors

SiteGrinder lets you take ownership of your websites. Effortlessly output pages right from Photoshop.

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

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.


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Backing up your pictures is much easier when you know where they all are. But as I've discovered over the years of teaching photography, students aren't always sure about the locations of their images. Verbatim might be able to help. Their PhotoSave DVDs are preloaded with Windows software that scours your hard drive, finds all of the pictures on it, then gives you the option of burning the entire collection on to one or more DVDs -- depending on how many photos we're talking about. This could be particularly handy if you're about to wipe Mom's PC hard drive and want to make sure you don't lose any stray pictures in the process.

Since PhotoSave is Windows only, Mac users have to run VMware Fusion or a comparable virtual machine to use PhotoSave. But you can do that. I tried it on a MacBook running Vista, and it worked.

After you insert the PhotoSave disc, its built-in software launches and you have the option of automatically scanning your hard drive for photos, reading images off an attached memory card, or manually picking the folders you want backed up. Since you can manually burn images with any writable DVD (that costs less than $3 each), that doesn't seem like the best use for this product, so I imagine most folks with choose to have PhotoSave autoscan their computer or a large directory.

If you have more pictures than will fit on a single disc, PhotoSave will burn to multiple discs for you. Once you put it in motion, it seems to work fairly quickly gathering the images and placing them on the disc in their originally named folders.

Once the disc is burned, it is recognizable by both Windows and Mac computers (running Leopard) -- although very slow on a Mac. On my MacBook, it shows up with the burn date as the name of the disc, and inside are my file folders full of pictures. I was able to browse the DVD using Adobe Bridge 5. But this requires patience since DVDs read much slower than hard drives. And it seemed to me there was extra work involved creating the thumbnails than with a standard DVD full of photos. Nontheless, it did work. On Windows, the experience was more pleasant.

I could see using Verbatim PhotoSave DVDs for special situations, such as backing up images from an unorganized amateur photographer who had hundreds of photos, but not thousands. But impatient photographers who have lots of big images should stick to hard drives and other speedier backup systems. And even though you can use a Mac, I would say that PhotoSave DVDs are best left to Windows computers (unless you have *a lot* of time on your hands). Verbatim PhotoSave DVDs are available on Amazon.com for $15.64 for a five pack.


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It's official -- the iPhone is now my compact camera. This dawned on me yesterday while I was documenting my garage clean-up project with my iPhone 3GS, then actually uploading a picture of the completed work to my Flickr and Facebook pages. It's the image capture device that's always in my pocket.

A few things have led to this change:

  • Tap Focus: This has been the single biggest improvement for me with the iPhone camera. Being able to control the area of the composition where the camera focuses -- and sets the exposure -- is huge. I now feel like I have the essential control that was lacking in previous versions.
  • Improved Low Light Performance: Let's face it, most of the shots we take on the fly are not in full sunlight. I've found that if I steady the iPhone and use my "hold the finger on the shutter button then softly release it" method for shooting, I can work in low light environments surprisingly well.
  • Video: I was just showing a movie to a friend that would have been far less illustrative as a still photograph. The video feature is huge for telling a story.

And then you have all of the connectivity options that you don't have with most cameras. Using an application such as Pixelpipe or Flickr Mobile, I can post images for others almost immediately. Add the variety of image editing tools available on the iPhone itself, and the options grow even more.

This doesn't mean that I'm shooting less with the Olympus E-P1, Canon 5D Mark II, or Canon T1i. What the iPhone means to me is that I'm capturing more of my life, images that I would have missed otherwise. And I'm just thrilled about that.

More on the iPhone 3GS

DIY Copy Stand for the iPhone 3GS

iPhone 3GS Movie Making Basics - Video for All

"iPhone 3G S from Photographer's POV" - Digital Photography Podcast 180

Flickr and iPhone 3GS are Great Companions


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