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This is The Digital Story Podcast #525, March 29, 2016. Today's theme is "Becoming Software Independent." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Aperture, iPhoto, Carousel, and a slew of online apps that are too many to mention: they will not be moving forward into our futures. So how does a photographer protect oneself from the seemingly capricious actions of software providers? I'll address that in today's top story.

Becoming Software Independent

This is a phenomenon new to the digital age. With film, you get it developed, store it in a safe place, and retrieve the images as needed. But with software, the game has changed. You can invest time and money into an application that may be gone tomorrow. How should you address this issue?

  • Don't Give Up. Nobody likes disruptive change. But the potential of it shouldn't dissuade you from using the best software available at the time.
  • Create a system independent of the application itself. For example, I do like the managed library approach in Capture One Pro. But during import I can also backup those original files to a separate hard drive. Lightroom and Aperture provide for this too. Think about how you can take advantage of this functionality.
  • Create 4 Star Smart Albums and export those images as Tiffs. Catalog them using a simple folder system.
  • Create an Universal Referenced File System. Using a referenced file system with Lightroom, Capture One, and Aperture allows your masters to be organized and available for other apps up the road.
  • To DNG or Note. Personally, I don't convert my RAW files to DNG. But you may feel differently.
  • Create a robust backup and archiving system.

The best approach is to stay ahead of the curve if you can. You may have to dedicate a computer to the transition process while in-between applications.

In the News

Nik Collection Now Free from Google - covered by The Digital Story.

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities - from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images. And you now can download them for free.

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Member Quotes of the Week

Intelligent comments culled from The Digital Story Facebook page.

In regard to last week's Facebook Post: "Nik Collection Now Free from Google" we had some terrific comments, and I want to share them with you now.

Jerry wrote: "Great news, but sadly if you don't use Adobe software, you're limited to using it with the unsupported Aperture on a Mac. It would be nice if they came either as standalone apps or Extensions for the Photos App, and personally I don't see that happening, as Google's got such a reputation for killing good software."

Bud added: "This is bad news. In typical Google fashion, I expect the product to die a slow death with non-development and will ultimately be just another example of a failed Google project, like other software companies they have purchased. It's a shame as I own the whole suite of NIK products and their U-point technology is awesome."

And Bill wrapped up: "I think that, ultimately, this may be bad news. you have to wonder if development will cease."

Post your thoughts on our Facebook page. Believe me, I read them. Also, we have a question going on Facebook right now: "If you had to pick one film camera from the past, that you craved, but couldn't afford, what would it be?"

Ready to Photograph Cuba?

If you're contemplating a trip, I have some excellent resources for you.

Updates and Such

In Aperture Exile? Easing the change to Capture One, with guest Derrick Story - I'll be the special guest on an upcoming Capture One Pro webinar on April 13 at 9:00 AM PDT. The webinar is free, and you can sign up here.

Eastern Sierra Reservation Forms Went Out - I sent out the workshop reservation forms to the Reserve List this weekend. If you were on the list and didn't get a form, please send me an email. The Eastern Sierra photography workshop begins Thursday evening, Oct. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23rd. If you want to get on the next round reserve list, then go to the TDS Workshops page and use the Send Me Info form to get on the list.

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

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

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

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.

One of the most handsome contact sheet tools I've ever seen was right beneath my nose in Capture One Pro. There are a variety of styles to choose from, and the functionality is smooth and professional looking.

In this short video, I show you exactly how it works and how good looking the final product is.

There are a variety of applications for this tool, including publishing on your web site, creating smart-looking Flash drive galleries, or for client presentations on your laptop. Plus, you can include clickable links to your website and brand the galleries specifically for your business. And they won't look like the stuff that everyone else is creating.

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More Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

Improve your skills by watching Capture One Pro Essential Training now available on lynda.com. More than 5 hours of tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus many free movies using advanced techniques.

I've also created a dedicated Capture One Pro Training page on The Digital Story. You can follow all of the tips and techniques that I publish in one convenient place.

Thinking About Making the Transition from Aperture or Lightroom? - Download my free eBook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Moving to Capture One Pro. I show you the steps to create a test library, then build the foundation for a smooth transition to Capture One Pro.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Nik Collection Now Free from Google

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities - from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images. And you now can download them for free.

google-free.jpg

The system requirements and compatibility for Mac and Windows platforms are as follows.

  • Mac OS X 10.7.5 through 10.10
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 (CS5 for HDR Efex Pro 2) through CC 2015
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 through 13 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 through 6/CC
  • Apple Aperture 3.1 or later
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 through CC 2015
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 through 13 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 through 6/CC

This is great software that I've used for years. But there is some question that this might signal the end of cycle for the Nik suite. We'll know when we know. But for now, enjoy the download.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Review: 3Pod Orbit Aluminum Tripod

I've always been fascinated by tripods where the shaft can rotate outward from the legs providing for additional shooting angles. The 3Pod Orbit 3-Section Aluminum Tripod is my first hands-on experience with this type, and I must admit, I like the options it presents.

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I've been testing the Orbit in the studio, primarily for product shots. It's ideal for this situation because of all the odd angles I need to use. By pulling the center shaft all the way to its maximum height, I can then change its angle from straight up and down to a variety of horizontal configurations. I think this ability would also be very handy for macro and close up photography in nature.

Combined with the 3 different leg positions - 85, 60, and 35 degree angles - and the retractable foot spikes, this set of sticks seems equally useful indoors and out. Other features include:

  • Quick adjustment flip locks
  • Padded grip on one leg for cold weather work
  • Reversible 3/8 and 1/4-20 mounting screw
  • Bubble level on top plate
  • Maximum height of 69.15", collapsable to 28.45", weighs in at 5.71 pounds (without head)

You can purchase the tripod without head for $139.95 that includes a carrying case and wrench set. The case is fine, but it doesn't allow room for the tripod with a head mounted on it, so you might need something different up the road. Kits with a variety of heads are also available ranging from $149 to $289. I haven't tested any of those, so I don't know about the heads or the cases included in those configurations.

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Overall, the 3Pod Orbit is a good value at $139. The components work well together, and it has good looks with the red metallic trim at the top of the legs. But the real selling point is the Overhead Shot System that allows the shaft to pivot away from the tripod body. With it, low angle, overhead, and close-up shots are easier than with traditional tripods. Plus, the shaft can be rotated independent of the tripod head, which could be handy for video work and panoramas.

If you've been interested in this style of tripod, I think the 3Pod Orbit deserves a place on your list of top candidates.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Ready to Photograph Cuba?

Traveling to Cuba is becoming much easier this year. And if you're considering a trip, I have some excellent resources for you.

cuba-tourists.jpg

A Photographer in Cuba - lynda.com

After my assignment in January of 2015, I came home and finished the lynda.com title, A Photographer in Cuba. With lots of footage and images from Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad, and more, I share tips for safely exploring and photographing this beautiful country.

You'll learn how to effectively pack your gear, interact with locals, understand the monetary system, find great images, and learn about the recent history of Cuba. Once you depart for your own adventure, you'll be prepared for the trip of a lifetime.

red-car-cuba.jpg

Rocky Nook's Guide to Photographing Cuba!

You can also download my free eBook, Rocky Nook's Guide to Photographing Cuba!. Brimming with photographs and tips from the January 2015 trip, this guide fits nicely on a tablet or smartphone. So you can enjoy now and while on the go. Lots of great resources to help you make the most of your photography adventure.

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.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #524, March 22, 2016. Today's theme is "The HDR Dilemma." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

The biggest frustration I've had with photography has been the disconnect between what I see with my eyes and what the camera records. Even with today's technologically advanced machines, my pictures don't always turn out as I envisioned. So what are the techniques we can use to tip the scales in our favor? RAW capture is certainly a good start. But High Dynamic Range photography elevates the possibilities to a new height. And that's the first topic of today's show.

The HDR Dilemma

I call this the HDR Dilemma for good reason. Because it seems like every time I consider this shooting technique, I have an internal conversation about the pros and cons.

Marina-at-Dusk-web.jpg

On the plus side, HDR photography can capture the images we envision in our minds: shadowy textures and highlight details coexisting in one image. So what's not to like? Well, not everything is in the plus column here. For example:

  • More post processing than with other images. I've been using Aurora HDR Pro lately, and I like it. But I find myself investing a sizable amount of time editing the image, before I even know if I'm going to like it. And half the time, I don't.
  • Finding the right HDR processor. There is a wide spectrum spanning from Lightroom's built-in HDR editor to Aurora's wild ride. It takes time, and sometimes money, to find the right fit.
  • Knowing when to stop. HDR creates the classic trap that if a little is good, a lot is better. Showing some discipline with HDR editing is often easier said than done.
  • Avoiding the HDR stigma. Seems to me that if others know that you used HDR processing, they instantly discount your work as amateur. No serious photography would stoop to this, right?
  • Fighting laziness. I could spend the mental and creative energy trying to figure out how to best capture this landscape, or I could simply record it as an HDR and let the software figure it out later.

All of that being said, I still like High Dynamic Range photography. When I do properly analyze the scene and show restraint in its production on the computer, I can do things never imagined before. And those pictures can be artistic and respectable.

So how do you handle the HDR Dilemma?

In the News

Apple Announces New 9.7" iPad Pro - covered by The Digital Story.

The 9.7 inch iPad Pro will be available March 31 in 3 configurations: 32GB@$599, 128GB@$749, and 256GB@$899 and 4 different colors including Rose Gold.

This is a powerful tool for nimble photographers, especially the 256GB model combined with an SD card reader and Apple Pencil. The ability to work practically anywhere without the bulk of a computer can lighten the load, improve productivity, and add a dash of fun to the photography experience. And for those using the Photos ecosystem (Photos for iOS and Photos for OS X), the imaging pipeline from camera to editing to output will be extremely smooth.

Autumn in The Eastern Sierra - Oct. 21-23, 2016

Within the next week, I'll be sending invitations to the TDS Autumn in The Eastern Sierra photography workshop that begins Thursday evening, Oct. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23rd. If you want to get on the reservation list, then go to the TDS Workshops page and use the Send Me Info form to get on the list.

Tell Us Your Film Story

Within the next month, I'm going to launch www.theanalogstory.com featuring images, articles, tips, workflows, and a used camera store. I know that many members of our TDS community already shoot film. If you'd like to share your story describing why you like analog photography and the gear you use, send me 500 words or less (and no more!) plus a half dozen images. Send your content to theAnalogStory@gmail.com

Updates and Such

In Aperture Exile? Easing the change to Capture One, with guest Derrick Story - I'll be the special guest on an upcoming Capture One Pro webinar on April 13 at 9:00 AM PDT. The webinar is free, and you can sign up here.

Out of Chicago Update - The debut of The Nimble Photographer Workshop sold out on Friday, June 24. Because there is a wait list, we've added a second workshop on Thursday June 23. I hope you can join me in Chicago this coming June. There's still time for Early Bird pricing.

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

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

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

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.

Apple Announces New 9.7" iPad Pro

During this morning's special event, Apple announced the new iPhone SE, iOS 9.3, and the 9.7" iPad Pro. This tablet brings the power and versatility of the current Pro model to the classic 9.7" form factor.

IMG_0894.jpg

The list of features is impressive, including:

  • 64-bit A9x Chip
  • Always-on Hey Siri
  • 25% brighter display
  • Lowest reflectivity in an iPad ever
  • Wide color gamut Retina display
  • True Tone display (that matches ambient light like paper does)
  • Four speaker audio
  • 12 MP iSight camera
  • True Tone flash
  • 5 MP FaceTime camera
  • Live Photos
  • 4K Vido
  • Retina flash
  • Apple Pencil compatible

IMG_0913.jpg

The 9.7 inch iPad Pro will be available March 31 in 3 configurations: 32GB@$599, 128GB@$749, and 256GB@$899 and 4 different colors including Rose Gold.

This is a powerful tool for nimble photographers, especially the 256GB model combined with an SD card reader and Apple Pencil. The ability to work practically anywhere without the bulk of a computer can lighten the load, improve productivity, and add a dash of fun to the photography experience. And for those using the Photos ecosystem (Photos for iOS and Photos for OS X), the imaging pipeline from camera to editing to output will be extremely smooth.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

The latest release of Capture One Pro includes RAW support for seven new cameras:

  • Olympus Pen-F
  • Olympus Olympus Om-D E-M10 Mk II
  • Olympus Sony A68
  • Olympus Sony a6300
  • Olympus Sony RX1R Mk II (revised implementation) • Ricoh GR II
  • Olympus Pentax K-S2

I've been anxious to see how C1 would handle the images from one of my current favorite street cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. So I cruised Market St. last night to record some RAW for a test. I was not disappointed.

capture-one-9pt1.jpg

This shot was captured at ISO 1250 at f/1.7 with the Panasonic 20mm mounted on the E-M10 Mark II. Shutter speed was 1/40th with exposure compensation at +0.3 and auto white balance. The RAW file rendered in Capture One beautifully. The colors, right out of the camera were rich and saturated. I didn't make any color adjustments at all... just a little contrast and clarity. You can see (and download) a standalone version of the shot on my Flickr account.

This is going to be a wonderful combination, both with the E-M10 Mark II and the PEN-F. I also can't wait to see some shots from the Sony cameras that were added to the list.

More Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

Improve your skills by watching Capture One Pro Essential Training now available on lynda.com. More than 5 hours of tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus many free movies using advanced techniques.

Thinking About Making the Transition from Aperture or Lightroom? - Download my free eBook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Moving to Capture One Pro. I show you the steps to create a test library, then build the foundation for a smooth transition to Capture One Pro.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

pixelmator-ext.png

One of the goodies included with Pixelmator 3.4 Twist is the new Photos Editing Extension that includes some terrific creative tools.

You can download the full version of Pixelmator in the Mac App Store for $29.99. With it you get a wide variety of painting, drawing, and retouching tools that has made this app famous among Mac creatives.

But now, as part of that download, you also get the editing extension that adds Warp, Bump, Pinch, and Twirl to Photos for OS X. And just like all the editing extensions, the workflow is non-destructive.

You can watch an informative video that walks you through its features. Pixelmator is an excellent addition to the growing library of editing extensions available for Photos. And if you have version 3.4.2 of Pixelmator, the editing extension is already on your Mac.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #523, March 15, 2016. Today's theme is "Are You Really Seeing Light?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

When you're standing in the snow and the sun breaks through the clouds, what do you think about? For me it usually goes something like this... "Where are my sunglasses? Followed by, "This is at least +1.5 EV." Seriously. Evaluating the light is an ongoing dialog in my head. It's the only way I could really improve my skills with exposure. In today's show, I'm going to talk about seeing light and using that skill to improve our photographs.

Are You Really Seeing Light?

IMG_0419.jpg

My internal dialog, as it relates to light, usually concentrates on three things:

  • Do I have enough ISO? Bright sunny days are no problem. Auto ISO and you're done. But when the light goes down, I get more particular about controlling ISO. I want enough to get the shot. But I don't raise it beyond what I need to preserve image quality. And when shooting film, I really have to think about this. Maybe switch to a faster lens?
  • How much latitude do I have? RAW files are more forgiving than Jpegs; negative film more so than slides. What's my margin for error?
  • Tapping Exposure Compensation. When I sit down with a new camera, the first thing I practice is using exposure compensation. Knowing how the camera is seeing the scene, then learning how to adjust the device to render the image the way you see it in your head is an important skill.

In the News

Apple: FBI Could Force Us to Turn On iPhone Cameras for Spying - covered by Petapixel

Apple has been in a highly publicized legal battle with the FBI, which is demanding that Apple help bypass the security features of the iPhone 5C that was owned by the gunman in the 2015 San Bernardino attack. Apple has refused, saying that complying would set a dangerous precedent that could open up back doors into its popular smartphones. In addition to permanently reducing the security of phones, it would only be a matter of time before the government forces Apple to turn on iPhone cameras and microphones to spy on people, Apple says.

"Someday they will want [Apple] to turn on [a user's] camera or microphone," says Apple head of services Eddy Cue in an interview with Univision. "We can't do that now, but what if we're forced to do that? Where will this stop? In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case? Some day, someone will be able to turn on a phone's microphone. That should not happen in this country."

Capture One Pro Essential Training

This journey began more than a year ago. And now I'm happy to announce that Capture One Pro Essential Training is now available on lynda.com. Here's more about it.

Member Quotes of the Week

Intelligent comments culled from The Digital Story Facebook page.

In regard to last week's Facebook Post: "Canon T6 announcement" we had some terrific comments, and I want to share one with you now.

Phil wrote: "I can't afford a 1Dx Mk2 but if I'd ordered one I think I'd be a little miffed that the new entry level offering has features that I won't get on the flagship model costing in the region of ten times more. Nice to see wifi and nfs on this camera but commiserations to 1DxMk2 buyers."

Post your thoughts on our Facebook page. Believe me, I read them. Also, we have a question going on Facebook right now: "If you had to pick one film camera from the past, that you craved, but couldn't afford, what would it be?"

Do You Follow the "TDS Member Photo of the Day?"

Here's why you should...

Updates and Such

Pt. Reyes Photography Workshop - We have one room open at the Pt. Reyes Photography Workshop, Aug. 19-21 2016. If you want to hang out with us at Straus Ranch House and explore some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, visit the TDS Workshops page and put yourself on the reserve list.

Out of Chicago Update - The debut of The Nimble Photographer Workshop sold out on Friday, June 24. Because there is a wait list, we've added a second workshop on Thursday June 23. I hope you can join me in Chicago this coming June. There's still time for Early Bird pricing.

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

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

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

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.