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Luminar is an excellent portrait retouching tool thanks to its variety of adjustment filers and easy to use layer control. Here's a free video showing you how to quickly improve a portrait with this application.

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Notice in the movie how easy it is to work with layers during the editing process. This is one of most outstanding features of Luminar

You can download a free trial of Luminar and see for yourself.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

Huge Olympus Sale plus Trade In Event

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Olympus and B&H Photo have teamed up for a big sale and trade in event. Here are the discounted items with their URLs and promo codes.

Olympus E-M1 Mark II for $1,799

Olympus E-M1 Mark II for $1,799

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

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Olympus E-M1 II Digital Camera with12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens for $2,498

Olympus E-M1 II with 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Lens for $2,498

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

==============

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Lens $1,099

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Lens $1,099

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

==============

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens $899

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens $899

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

===============

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-40mm f/2.8 Lens $1,598

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with 12-40mm f/2.8 Lens $1,598

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

===============

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Olympus PEN-F Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) $999

Olympus PEN-F for $999

Use Promo Code: TRADENTIME

===============

At the same time, they are running a special event. Trade in any camera and/or lens and get up to an $800 bonus (offer valid 2/26 - 5/6/17). You can get an overview of the event and see all of the specials here.

I've you've been thinking about the amazing E-M1 Mark II or the street savvy PEN-F, now is a great time to pull the trigger.

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

Working with Layers in Luminar

If you've been frustrated by layers in other image editing apps, maybe it's time to take a look at them in Luminar. It's a whole different ballgame there, and a much more enjoyable one too.

luminar-layers.jpg

The first thing that I noticed when learning about layers in Luminar, is that they work intuitively. In other words, If I guess that I can reposition a layer by clicking and dragging, it actually performs that way. So using these tools evolved from being the "L Word" to something that I truly like. Here's a movie that provides you with a nice overview of their functionality.

If you want to learn more about working with Luminar as an editing extension for Photos for macOS, I have a terrific resource for you: Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions, on lynda.com. And if you haven't downloaded Luminar yet, you can get it here.

Imagine having powerful layers controls built right into Photos for macOS. Who would of thought? Or, if you wish, you can use Luminar as a plugin for Lightroom, or as a standalone app. It's certainly changed my opinion about this type of editing.

Learn How to Streamline Your Image Editing

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #572, Feb. 21, 2017. Today's theme is "1Frame4Nature with Alexandra Garcia ." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

After the WildSpeak Conference last November in Washington D.C., I had quite a few inquires about the best ways to get involved with conservation photography. I guess I wasn't the only one. So the folks at ILCP came up with 1Frame4Nature, and it's the perfect way to have your images published right alongside pro conservation photographers. And that's the lead story in today's TDS podcast.

1Frame4Nature with Alexandra Garcia

I met Alex Garcia last summer during her visit to California. During our interview, I was excited to learn just how accessible conservation photography can be. And as a result, I traveled to Washington D.C. in the Fall to cover the WildSpeak Conference.

PB165461-Washington-DCWildspeak-tds.jpg Conservation photographer Lucas Bustamonte presenting at WildSpeak 2016.

That event generated a lot of interest among those who want to use their photography skills to help protect our planet. And as a result, the 1Frame4Nature was conceived.

So Alex and I decided to team up for another interview to provide you with the inside scoop about this project. I hope you enjoy, and think about, what she has to say.

In the News

Canon debuts EOS M6 mirrorless with optional EVF (via DPReview):

Canon's newest mirrorless camera, the EOS M6, is a replacement for the entry-level EOS M3 and slides in directly under the enthusiast M5 (confused yet?).

It shares essentially all of the M5's internal components, including the 24MP APS-C sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Digic 7 processor and 3" touchscreen. It's also capable of 1080/60p video capture and has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth.

Differentiating factors between are limited to the built-in EVF on the M5 and the flip-up selfie screen on the M6. The M6 gains an additional top plate control dial compared to the M3, which should improve handling.

Canon also announced an optional EVF (the EVF-DC2) for use with the M6. This 2.36M-dot EVF is smaller and lighter than the EVF-DC1 used by the M3, but do note that it does not tilt upward.

The Canon EOS M6 will go on sale in April 2017 in both black and silver. It will sell for $780 body-only, with the EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM for $900 or with the EF-M 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM for $1280. The EVF-DC2 is priced at $250 and also comes in black and silver.

Speaking of Canon...

Yesterday on The Nimble Photographer, I posted Canon: It's been a Good Run, the story about my selling the 5D Mark II and replacing it with then brand new Pentax KP DSLR with a Pentax DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR zoom lens. It's the end of an era for me...

Dates Set for the Northern CA Coast Tour Workshop

Good news for those wishing to join us for a tour up the Northern CA Coast. We've set the dates for this event: May 18-20th, 2017. Originally, we were planning this as a summer workshop. But after working with experts who actually live in the areas that we'll be working, we moved the event to late May. This provides us with Spring weather and far cheaper room accommodations.

Those of you on the Reserve List will receive your personal invites later this week. You will have 10 days to secure your spot before we open up the event to the general public. If you're not on the reserve list, and would like to be, please visit the TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info form.

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.

pentaxistdl.jpeg

As photographers continue to pour over spec sheets and feature sets for the latest high tech cameras, it's interesting to note that a fair amount of time has passed in this digital evolution. For most of us, it's been well over a decade since we depended on film as our primary capture medium.

Have we evolved as artists too? Who knows? My pictures aren't necessarily better today than in 2006, although I do think it's easier to capture a technically clean shot. And the envelope can certainly be pushed farther now.

So I began wondering what I could do with 2005 digital camera. To satisfy my curiosity, I purchased a Pentax *ist DL on eBay for $51. It had just been reconditioned, and included the latest firmware that was available (which means that I was no longer limited to 2GB SD cards... whew!).

For a week, the Pentax *ist was my go-to digital camera. I used a variety of lenses with it, including the Pentax-F 35mm f/2.0, Pentax-DL 21mm f/3.4, and Pentax-F 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom.

IMGP8997.jpg Pentax *ist DL with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited, ISO 200, f/6.7. Photo by Derrick Story

To give myself every editing opportunity, I captured in RAW format, mostly in Program mode with occasional exposure compensation. I uploaded the photos to and processed them in Photos for macOS, that had no problem decoding the files. They also looked quite good in Capture One Pro.

IMGP8965.jpg Pentax *ist DL with smc PENTAX-FA 35mm F2 AL, ISO 400, f/2.0, 1/15th. Photo by Derrick Story

The 6MP sensor produced native file sizes of 3008 × 2008 (11.4 MB for RAWs). There weren't many spare pixels for cropping, but 3008 pixels on the long side wasn't terrible either. The RAW files responded well to editing as long as I didn't push the envelope too far. I could recover shadow and highlight detail, and the noise was well controlled at the lower ISOs (200-800).

IMGP8991.jpg Pentax *ist DL with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited, ISO 200, f/6.7. Photo by Derrick Story

As far as the shooting experience itself, I was surprised at how much fun I had using the Pentax DL. The ergonomics were terrific, with the camera fitting nicely in my right hand. The function button allowed me to quickly change ISO, WB, drive mode, and flash. I set up the OK button to switch to 1-point AF from 3-point AF, plus I had buttons for exposure compensation and exposure lock.

IMG_2974.jpg Pentax *ist DL with smc PENTAX-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5, ISO 200, f/5.6. Photo by Derrick Story

The back LCD is 2.5 inches, generous by 2005 standards. The autofocus was pretty good in a variety of lighting conditions... actually better than I had anticipated. And one of my favorite features is that the *ist DL is powered by rechargeable CR-V3 NiMH or standard AA batteries. Battery life has been great with the CR-V3, and my AA rechargeables even gave me a couple days worth of shooting. So no proprietary battery issues with this camera.

After-the-Rain-Web.jpg Pentax *ist DL with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited, ISO 200, f/6.7. RAW file processing with the Luminar editing extension via Photos for macOS. Photo by Derrick Story

So, am I going to toss aside my micro four thirds kit and return to the days of yesteryear? Certainly not. But I enjoyed the creative experiment. In a lot of ways, as with my experiences with shooting film, it reaffirmed my skill as a photographer, regardless of the camera that I may be using at moment. In other words, I feel like I can make good pictures with any camera, even a 2005, 6MP DSLR that I bought on eBay for $51.

IMGP9010.jpg Pentax *ist DL with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited, ISO 800, f/3.2, 1/20th. Photo by Derrick Story

PS: I'm keeping the camera. It's a blast!

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

Capture One Pro is one of the most powerful, flexible, photo management applications available. So powerful, in fact, that you may get lost configuring your catalog for optimal organization. If that's been the case for you, I can bring some clarity to your life, or at least to your photo management.

capture-1-library-mgmt-web.jpg

My latest lynda.com title, Advanced Capture One Pro: Library Management, shows you how to organize like a pro, covering techniques for referenced and managed catalogs, plus integrating sessions, backing up masters, and configuring your Capture One environment specifically to your needs. Take a look at this 1-minute introductory video for the course.

These techniques work for photographers using Capture One 8, 9, and 10. I have testing these approaches with my own Capture One catalog that manages my professional photography business. And I think that it will help you tame yours.

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 spot.

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.

canon-77D-front.png

At first, you may be wondering why Canon would create a DSLR that sits between their Rebel and the 80D. And it's a great question. The best answer appears to be its super-charged autofocusing technology. Here's how Canon puts it:

The EOS 77D features an optical viewfinder with a 45-point All Cross-type AF system to help enable more precise focusing. In live view mode, the camera utilizes Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF to deliver the world's fastest AF focusing speed of 0.03 seconds. This technical achievement allows users to find their subject, focus accurately, and capture the shot more quickly than ever before.

Then add these highlight specifications:

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 7 Image Processor
  • 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Up to 6 fps Shooting and ISO 51200
  • Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC, Bluetooth
  • RGB+IR 7560-Pixel Metering Sensor

So, you have a high performance DSLR that will be available for $899 - a good price for these specs.

The EOS 77D should be a tempting choice for weekend sports shooters who need this type of accuracy and responsiveness to capture the action.

You can preorder the Canon EOS 77D now. Expected availability is March 30, 2017.

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 #571, Feb. 14, 2017. Today's theme is "The Home Studio: Easier than You Think." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

As much as I love outdoor portraiture, some shoots are just better inside. Wardrobe changes are easier, lighting is controllable, and the temperature is far more comfortable. And if you do product photography too, a home studio becomes a necessity. But how much room and equipment do you need to have a functional workspace? Probably less than you realize. And that's what I'm going to discuss in today's show.

P2106268-Brittney-orginal.jpg "Brittney" by Derrick Story. Unretouched portrait (no image editing other than a crop) captured at Sunleaf Studio with OM-D E-M5 Mark II and Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

The Home Studio: Easier than You Think

One of the aspects of having a studio workspace is that it's there waiting for you whenever inspiration strikes. And when you're finished shooting, you can just close the door and tidy up later. Half of my photography happens in this environment.

A lot of folks believe that such a space is expensive. And that the room needs a lot of modification. But this just hasn't been the case for me. And to help you with your considerations about such an endeavor, I'm going to take you behind the scenes of my shooting room. Here's a photo of my working space.

  • How Much Space? - The room I use is a standard bedroom that measures 11'x10', with a north facing window. I did swap out the sliding closet doors with mirror door, which photo subjects really like because they can follow how they look during the shoot. The walls are painted flat white, providing me with a bright, airy feeling. If I want to change the mood, I can always close the blinds and work with just supplemental lighting.
  • What About Backdrops? - When I first set up the studio, I constructed my backdrop frame out of PVC pipe. Later, I bought a backdrop stand for less than $75, and it's great. I use muslin and roll paper for my backdrops. And with the stand system, it's easy to change the backdrop during the shoot if I want.
  • Do I Need Expensive Lights? - I started with simple off-camera speedlights. But when the price of LED lighting dropped, I switched completely to those. I love LEDs because I can control both the intensity and color temperature. Plus, the constant light makes exposure and composition very easy. And they are cool too.
  • What Type of Modifiers Work Best? Since I have a north facing window, sometimes I just that light only with a couple reflectors. This is one of my favorite lighting schemes because it's so beautiful and natural. But I also use inexpensive soft boxes and umbrellas.
  • Do I Need a Lot of Hardware? - Light stands are essential to help you position the lights exactly where you want them. And the good news is, they last forever. You'll also need a variety of clamps and light holders. Most of use just start with the basics, then add on over time. I've been adding to my collection for more than 20 years.

If you can't swing a dedicated room for your studio work, a shared space can work quite well. The main thing to consider is, can you keep the clutter in check? I have tables and cabinets around the edges of the room. But the central area remains open, providing enough space for my shoots.

In the News

Nikon reports "extraordinary loss", "fundamental company-wide restructuring" (via NikonRumors):

In addition to canceling the DL line of premium compact cameras, Nikon also issued several statements describing "extraordinary loss", "fundamental company-wide restructuring" and a revision of their last financial forecast.

  • Nikon Corp. reported a net loss to owners of the parent of 831 million yen or 2.10 yen per share for the nine months ended December 31, 2016 compared to profit of 18.71 billion yen or 47.08 yen per share, previous year.
  • In accordance with the restructuring announced on November 8, 2016, the Group recorded extraordinary loss of 29.79 billion yen, mainly incurred from inventory write-downs/write-off in Semiconductor Lithography Business, as restructuring expenses for the nine months ended December 31, 2016.
  • Nine-month operating income increased by 67.1% year on year to 42.18 billion yen, and ordinary income increased by 42.5% year on year to 44.79 billion yen.
  • Nine-month net sales were 565.89 billion yen compared to 616.50 billion yen, a year ago.

Dates Set for the Northern CA Coast Tour Workshop

Good news for those wishing to join us for a tour up the Northern CA Coast. We've set the dates for this event: May 18-20th, 2017. Originally, we were planning this as a summer workshop. But after working with experts who actually live in the areas that we'll be working, we moved the event to late May. This provides us with Spring weather and far cheaper room accommodations.

Those of you on the Reserve List will receive your personal invites later this week. You will have 10 days to secure your spot before we open up the event to the general public. If you're not on the reserve list, and would like to be, please visit the TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info form.

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. You can learn more here.

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.

The path to my affection for Pentax cameras has been a windy one. In my 35mm film days, round 1, I shot Canon, Contax, and Yashica. Canon made the transition to autofocus and has flourished. Contax and Yashica never really established themselves in the digital age. Meanwhile, Pentax quietly evolved to autofocus, and then to digital, with far less fanfare than Canon and Nikon.

P2093725-etsy-program-plus.jpg Pentax Program Plus with 50mm Pentax-A manual focus lens.

When I would write reviews about the latest crop of cameras, however, I knew that I had better included a Pentax in the lineup, or I would hear about it from a small, but vocal community of photographers. And now, years later, I know why.

The genius of Pentax boils down to two core standards that they have maintained throughout the years.

  • Pack as much functionality as possible into a compact form factor. The minute you pick up a ME Super, Program Plus, ZX-5n, or the latest KP, you'll notice that the camera fits nicely in your hands and takes up less room in your bag. Yet, everyone of those bodies were or are as fully featured as their peers of the time. My Canon EOS Elan II feels huge compared to its competitor at that time, the Pentax ZX-5n. Both take great shots.
  • If you buy a Pentax lens, it should work on their bayonet-mount cameras regardless of when they were made. Pentax protects your lens investment. Their bayonet mount, starting with the Pentax-M, then the Pentax-A, Pentax-F, Pentax-FA and onward are compatible across their line of analog and digital cameras. Yes, their are minor exceptions here and there, but overall it's impressive. I mix and match glass daily on bodies that span decades of design.

P2093712-etsy-zx5n.jpg Top deck of the Pentax ZX-5n 35mm film camera.

Currently, my favorite lenses are the Pentax-F 35mm f/2.0 (the ultimate street prime), Pentax-F 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (super compact zoom with macro), Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 (just freakin' beautiful), and the Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 (very compact with built-in lens hood). They are a mix of autofocus mounts (F) and manual focus (A and M) that work on all of my Pentax bodies, including my upcoming test of the Pentax KP.

My current favorite 35mm Pentax bodies are the manual-focusing Super Program (tons of features with a classic SLR design), its handsome little brother the Pentax Program Plus, and the autofocus ZX-5n (Pop Photo called it "retro" when it came out in the mid 1980s). I have a digital *ist DL that's a total blast. I shot with (and loved) a Pentax K5 for years. And now I can't wait to get my hands on the new KP.

PC083213-Analog-Store-zx5n-with-lens.jpg Pentax ZX-5n with Pentax-F 35-80mm autofocus zoom lens

Those of you who frequent my TheFilmCameraShop on Etsy know that it is stocked with Pentax gear. That's because those lenses and bodies are high value/low cost items. Pentax owners tend to take good care of their gear, it is well made, and you can get great deals on the used stuff. To that point, my 35mm f/2.0 autofocus lens that I bought for $219 in pristine shape, provides great images on every Pentax body I own, or will ever own.

Why did it take me so long to figure this all out?

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

My Studio Before a Portrait Shoot

I have a portrait shoot scheduled for later this morning, and I thought that you might like a peek inside my nimble studio.

Sunleaf-Studio.jpg

Those of you who have been here for a shoot or for a workshop, know that I bought a townhouse a while back and converted it into TDS headquarters. The downstairs is where I meet clients and conduct classroom sessions.

There are two rooms upstairs. On the south side is the recording room for all of my lynda.com work. It is relatively sound quiet, and a great place to conduct my screen casting and podcast taping. On the north side is the shooting room, as shown above. Here I have a backdrop stand, reflectors, lighting, and a product shooting box for the items that I sell on TheFilmCameraShop. This is where I'll be working later this morning.

You don't need a lot of room for a functional portrait studio. Mine is only 10' x 11', yet it works great for both people and products. The hardest part is keeping it from getting too cluttered with lighting, stands, tripods, and modifiers.

Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

I'll be using Capture One Pro to work on the images that I make this morning in the studio. You can learn more about this great app 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 spot.

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.