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Interesting piece on mediabistro.com about what buyers want (and don't want) when searching for stock photography. They gleaned these tips from PhotoShelter's School of Stock. Here's a nice snippet from the story:

"Survey respondents indicated the worst categories in stock photography, in terms of quality and breadth of available imagery, were healthcare (88%), multicultural and diversity lifestyle (86%), senior citizens lifestyle (86%), and consumer technology and products (84%). And don't even get them started on the dearth of photos of multi-ethnic senior citizens in hospital settings playing video games."

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"It was late on a stormy afternoon in Everglades City, Florida," said Jim Austin. "The wind was howling, and a storm was on the way. Raindrops kissed the hot metal of a car nearby."

"I crouched down. The fins of the car, a 1957 Chevy BelAir, towered above my Canon EF 10-22 lens like a skyscraper. Resting on my stomach so I could gaze upwards, I made three bracketed exposures in color with a Canon DSLR."

"All three shots looked well-exposed in the viewfinder. By now the sky had opened and lighting and thunder were rolling in. The image title, "Chevy Above the Levy," goes all the way back to Don McLean's hit song, American Pie."

The Tools

The three framed were shot with a Canon Digital Rebel and 10-22 mm EFS Canon Canon lens (written up in My Favorite Lens on The Digital Story). Processing was done with Photomatix Pro software, available at www.hdrsoft.com. After tone mapping in Photomatix, Photoshop CS 3 and its channel mixer were used to create a high dynamic range of tones for black and white.

Visual Elements

In the process of making this image, I asked myself what visual elements made for interesting black and white HDR. I came up with shape, and symbolism. Where visual elements of design support a photograph, they expand its symbolic components, and this goes for high dynamic range pictures just as well.

For instance, a photograph can act as an analogy. The brilliant photography critic Susan Sontag pointed this out: “what makes something interesting is that it can be seen to be like, or analogous to, something else.” For example, at first glimpse, the fins of the Chevy Bel Air reminded me of a large modern building.

Photo by Jim Austin.

More Tips from The Digital Photography Companion

"How I Did It" is a new feature of The Digital Story featured on The Digital Photography Companion mini site. These are techniques from virtual camera club members who have built upon information in The Digital Photography Companion, or have come up with new tips altogether.

We're building a living library of knowledge for everyone to use (and contribute to). If you have a "How I Did It" tip to share, just send it to me with the sample photo, and put "How I Did It" in the email subject.


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Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances, including my Beginning Workflow with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on June 22-28, 2008 in Sante Fe, New Mexico.


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FotoMagico was just honored with "Best Mac OS X Leopard Graphics and Media Application Runner-up" at the prestigious Apple Design Awards that recognize technical excellence and outstanding achievement in Mac OS X software design and development. This was FotoMagico's second trip to the podium. In 2006 it received the "Best Mac OS X User Experience Runner-up" award.

In its current version 2.2, FotoMagico supports powerful Mac OS X Leopard technologies such as Quick Look and iChat Theater, and it sports a brand-new Sharing Assistant that makes it easy to produce stunning slideshows optimized for DVD, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and other media devices.

Boinx Software, the creators of FotoMagico, are longtime sponsors of The Digital Story. I'm thrilled for them (once again) for this award. Well deserved indeed!


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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Have you been thinking about buying the Canon Digital Rebel XSi, but can't quite come up with the $850 US? Well, you can save a couple hundred bucks and go with the just-announced Canon Rebel XS/1000D DSLR.

After taking a look at Rob Galbraith's post, I must say that there doesn't seem to be a huge amount difference betweek the XS and the XSi. Basically, it's 12 MPs vs 10 MPs, 14 bits vs 12 bits, no spot meter, 3" LCD vs 2.5", and a few other differences. You can dig deeper into the specs by perusing this DP Review Preview. We should see the camera in early July. I still like the XSi a tad better.

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Audio Only, or Movies Too?

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I have a question for you. I'm running into more opportunities to capture video when I interview people or am on location. My query is, when I have good video to share, do you want that instead of the weekly audio podcast, or in addition to it?

Many people in the publishing business feel that video is a superior medium, or at least cooler, than straight audio. I'm not totally convinced about this. I think consumers use the two different formats different ways. For example, you can listen to a podcast while commuting to work. But it's dangerous to watch video while driving (and not recommended!). On the other hand, I can convey more information via video than audio.

This is top of mind for me because I have a good video interview with Photoshop artist Bert Monroy recorded in his studio. I was toying with the idea of publishing it as next week's podcast. Before I do that, however, I wanted to check in with you.

So, what's your vote? Video pieces separate from the podcasts, or occasionally instead of? And as always, thanks for your participation!

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.


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I just read in the Lynda.com newsletter that they released a new installment in their Creative Inspiration series: a profile of Douglas Kirkland.

Lynda Weinman writes, "This series of videos features Douglas Kirkland’s photography, from his early career at Look magazine during the golden age of photojournalism in the 60s and 70s to his transition from analog to digital photography in the 90s. His iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Nicole Kidman, among others, are known all over the world. The piece is 1.25 hours long, and features movies on Douglas’s work, his studio, and his on-location photo shoots. It also includes a presentation showcasing his body of work, a discussion with a group of high school photography students, an interview with Douglas and me, and more."

You can watch the 12 movies that comprise the profile for no charge. But your do have to register on the site providing your name and email address. Lynda doesn't share this information with other companies. As part of the bargain, you will receive her excellent monthly newsletter. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)

It's a real treat to spend some time with this legendary photographer. I hope you enjoy the videos. While you're there, you may want to check out the free movies for my Digital Photography Principles title.

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Virtual camera club member Jeramy sent along a tip that the Sitepoint book, The Photoshop Anthology: 101 Web Design Tips, Tricks & Techniques written by Corrie Haffly, can be downloaded for free. I gave it a spin. I had to provide an email address, and then was sent a link. The download was about 63 MBs. The books itself was written in the Photoshop CS2 era, so it doesn't include some of the latest tools.

That being said, Photoshop Anthology does a good job of covering basic adjustments and techniques, and has lots of goodies for publishing graphics on the Web. The tips are solid and based on good use of layers and other Photoshop standard practices. The layout is attractive and easy to read, even in PDF format. And you certainly can't argue with the price!

Thanks Jeramy for the lead.

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Still Time for Santa Fe

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There's still time to join me in the great Southwest. From June 22 to June 28, 2008, I'll be facilitating a Digital Lab at Santa Fe Workshops titled, Beginning Workflow with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I'm very excited about having the opportunity to teach this lab, not just because I'll be working in Santa Fe for a week (although, not bad either), but because I'll be able to share one of my favorite workflows for photographers who want to work efficiently.

The basic approach is to use Adobe tools to identify your best shots quickly, then perfect and move along without getting bogged down in Photoshop. I have lots of great techniques that empower you to be in control or your workflow, and shift your focus back to capturing great shots.

Part of this formula is keeping a few tips in mind while shooting your Raw images. If you know how you want to work on the back-end, then you can capture to optimize that process. I think this approach makes us better craftsmen, and it builds confidence while working in the field.

Plus, we'll all be in Santa Fe. What a great location to share our thoughts and improve our photography. You can register online here, or call (505) 983-1400. If you download the Summer Catalog, (7.5 MBs) you can peruse all the great opportunities available in Santa Fe this coming year.


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Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances, including my Beginning Workflow with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on June 22-28, 2008 in Sante Fe, New Mexico.


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Apple recent posted Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update that includes the new Canon Digital Rebel (and others listed to the left). This is news because Apple has responded much faster this time around than with the Canon 40D and Nikon D3 and D300.

If you're a Leopard user, you can also get the new Raw profiles via the Mac OS X 10.5.3 update. You can read about the Leopard update on this Knowledgebase document If you're not ready for all of that, but want the profiles, then just go with the Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update. Both are available via the Software Update menu on your Mac.

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For quite sometime, the Epson R2400 inkjet printer has been the standard for photo enthusiasts, especially those who enjoyed B&W output. Even though it produced great images, the R2400 did have its shortcomings. Its nozzle management system sometimes didn't manage very well resulting in clogged jets at worse, or lots of ink flushed to clear them at best. Plus, having to swap cartridges for matt and glossy surfaces was a pain, resulting in more flushed ink.

Epson has addressed many of these issues with the release of the R2880, as reviewed by the smart folks over at Printerville, who write:

"In the short time we’ve had our R2880, what has impressed us most though is its ink efficiency. The printer’s ink cartridges are the same capacity (between 13 ml and 15 ml, depending upon the source) and price ($13.99) as those of the R2400, which works out to between $0.82 and $1.08 per ml, better than HP’s Photosmart Pro B9180 and B8850 and Epson’s R1900 (but still considerably higher than the Stylus Pro 3800). After two complete ink changes and some careful comparison with our in-house R2400, the advancements Epson has made in the R2880 were readily apparent. Unlike the R2400, ink life was fairly consistent across all of the colors, and even with extremely low ink levels, we didn’t have to replace cartridges when swapping between photo and matte black inks."

I know this printer will continue to be put through its paces. But out of the gate, it's looking like a winner in the sub-$1,000 derby.


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Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances, including my Beginning Workflow with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on June 22-28, 2008 in Sante Fe, New Mexico.


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