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One lens I definitely never leave home without is the $89 Olympus 9mm fisheye body cap lens. It occupies virtually no space in my camera bag (or better yet, pocket), yet takes big beautiful pictures.

Ocean Drive during Art Deco Weekend

I mounted this cookie on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 during Art Deco Weekend on Ocean Drive in South Beach Miami. When you have conditions such as these, capturing the vibe of the moment is a blast with the fisheye. Try doing this with your standard zoom.

Ocean Drive during Art Deco Weekend

With a maximum aperture of f/8, you're not going to do much work with this optic at night. But during daylight hours, set the focus lever to infinity, and fire away.

Ocean Drive during Art Deco Weekend

And image quality? Well, it's just fine. (In fact, my RAW files look great!) I say this lens is the best deal in Micro Four Thirds photography.

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The Art of Airplane Window Photography

Now with eased rules about electronic devices during takeoff and landing, our opportunities for airplane window photography are better than ever. Here are a few points to consider before you lift off from the tarmac.

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Seat Location

As logic would dictate, a window seat is required. There are obstacles that come with this position, especially on long trips when it's time for a bathroom run. But these are the sacrifices we make for our art.

I also prefer a seat that's not over the wing. This is easier said than done, especially if you're tall. The more roomy Exit Row seats are great for comfort, but not so good for picture taking... unless you're in to wings and jet engines.

Take these issues in to consideration when booking your reservation.

Up Against the Glass

I still see photographers position the front of their lenses too far away from the window. You need to get your lens as close as possible to the surface. (And try to find a clean spot while you're at it.) This helps eliminate reflections. Notice that I say, "helps"? That's because unlike most windows in the world, these are twin panes with lots of space in-between. So you still have to keep an eye on reflections. But a good start begins on your side of the window.

No Flash

Again, I shouldn't have to say this: no flash!

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Exposure Compensation

High altitude photography is hell for camera meters. Once you compose your shot, use exposure compensation to adjust the lighting. Even with iPhones this is easy. If you have the current iOS 8, launch the Camera app, then tap on the phone screen to focus. When the sun icon appears, slide you finger along the yellow line. One direction makes the scene brighter, and the other darker. Do it!

Post Production

Generally speaking, the original images will look a little flat. I like to spice them up before posting.

Since I'm usually shooting window shots with my iPhone, it's easy to fire up Snapseed (or your favorite image editor) to adjust color and contrast. It only takes a minute or two, but makes a big difference. I usually have the image ready to go before the drink cart arrives.

When you touch down at your destination, cellular activity is allowed again, and you can post your prize-winning shot.


More Help on Managing Your Mobile Photos

In my lynda.com title, Managing Your Mobile Photos, I cover a variety of backup solutions for both iOS and Android users. These tutorials will help you build the perfect backup solution for you, so that you never lose a single memory (especially those cool shots from the air).


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Portable RAID Drives, the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO zoom lens, Shooting and Processing Black-and-White Film - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Snapshot - "Castles, Las Vegas" - I had walked by this pool of water twice a day going back and forth to work during a recent stint in Las Vegas. It seemed too good to pass up, but I couldn't figure out the shot I wanted. Finally, in the late afternoon on the third day, I saw this composition. Sometimes you just have to stick with it.

Weekly Update - "Nikon's D5500 is its newest entry-level DSLR" - Nikon's D5500 features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter, aka OLPF, which is great for producing high-quality, sharper images. To tie it all together, there's a 3.2-inch, adjustable LCD touchscreen on the back -- an upgrade from the D5300. Nikon says the D5500 can handle up to 820 shots per charge with 60 percent flash usage, or 3200 without any at all. While it may look very similar to the D5300 from the outside, the D5500 is a definite improvement over its predecessor. It'll be available for $900 next month (body-only), and you'll have the option to choose between the traditional black hue or a spicier red. (Source: Engadget)

Story #1 - "Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Premium Optic for Micro Four Thirds" Designed for Micro Four Thirds cameras, it provides a 35mm equivalent of 80-300mm focal length in a package that's only 6" long and weights 31 ounces. We recommend only using this zoom on Olympus bodies because it doesn't include optical stabilization. Instead, it depends on sensor-based IS that's built-in to Olympus bodies. I discuss the notable features in this pro grade lens. (Source: ct-digiphoto)

Olympus 40-150mm PRO Optic

Story #2 - From the Screening Room - Shooting and Processing Black-and-White Film with Konrad Eek. This is just flat-out cool. Konrad takes you on a soup to nuts journey with film capture, processing, scanning, and printing in a chemical darkroom.

You can watch Konrad in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Konrad's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

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Story #3 - "Portable RAID Drives" - I recently had a peek at two impressive RAID hard drives: the LaCie Rugged RAID and the WD My Passport Pro. I talk about them in the third segment of today's show.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for January 2015 is "Backlighting".

News from SizzlPix: Have your SizzlPix now, and with PayPal Credit, make no payment until July. Great for selling SizzlPix of your photography and collecting your profit even before you pay. Also helpful for any photographer with an opportunity for gallery showings.

Red River Paper - Save 10 percent off your next order of inkjet paper and greeting cards. Good one per customer. Use discount code STORY10X - Ends 1/15/15.

And Finally...

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (34 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

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What's in My Bag for Cuba

I've completed the final packing of my Lowepro Pro Tactic 350AW for Cuba. I can bring onboard a total of 20 pounds for the flight from Miami to Havana. This kit has everything I need and weighs-in at 17 pounds. It will fit easily in a small overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me.

What Is In My Bag for Cuba

Highlights of this kit include:

Lowepro-Pro-Tactic-350.jpg

  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 14-42mm pancake zoom
  • Samsung NX3000 with 30mm f/2.0 lens
  • Samsung 16-50mm power zoom OIS lens
  • Olympus 17mm f/1.8, 9mm f/8, 75mm f/1.8 primes
  • Panasonic 35-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens
  • Two iPhones, one is unlocked with an international SIM card
  • MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display laptop
  • iPad mini with Retina Display
  • WD My Passport Wireless 1 TB HD
  • Lexar 256GB SSD drive
  • Waka Waka Solar Panel with USB charging
  • Zoom Q2 HD Audio and Video Recorder
  • Olympus compact flash unit
  • Joby GorillaPod Micros compact tripods
  • Small accessories, memory cards, and batteries

I'll keep you posted on how the trip unfolds, and if indeed I chose the right gear for the adventure.

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And on the Third Day

The image that I posted on Ello today was the result of two days of stewing.

Castles.jpg

I had walked by this pool of water twice a day going back and forth to work during a recent stint in Las Vegas. It seemed too good to pass up, but I couldn't figure out the shot I wanted. Finally, in the late afternoon on the third day, I saw this composition.

Sometimes you just have to stick with it.

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I was happy to see that my Night in Las Vegas photo was picked up on Flickr Explore. It was one of those late night projects when I probably should have been working on something else (or sleeping!). But that's what a grande Americano and a nice hotel room will lead to.

"Night in Las Vegas" by Derrick Story. Samsung NX3000, 30mm f/2 prime lens, ISO 100, 10 seconds, f/14.

When scouting the photograph, I wanted an interesting traffic pattern. I knew I was going to be working with long exposures, so the shape of the light streams were important.

Setting Up the Shot

Once I found the spot, I set up the NX3000 with 30mm lens on a Joby GorillPod Micro and chose the Light Trace scene mode. I've had good luck with this function on Samsung cameras in the past, and it proved to be a winner once again. Light Trace takes a lot of the guesswork out of streaming light photography.

I studied the flow of traffic for a while, then timed the shot so I had cars going away from me, both straight and turning left, while those facing the camera were in a stationary formation. I liked this juxtaposition. How the MGM Grand was framed in the background was also important. Once I captured the composition I wanted, I stopped for a coffee and headed up to my room at NYNY.

Processing the Image

I loaded the Jpeg into Lightroom and applied the Cross Process 2 preset. If you've read about my night shooting before, you know that I rarely go with the original color scheme. I'm usually looking for something a little less yellow. The lighting on the hotel influenced my choice for this image.

Lightroom-proc-lv.jpg

Cross Process created an interesting effect on the buildings, yet left the car lights alone (more or less). So all that was left to do was adjust the shadows - highlights - sharpening, etc. I then exported the image and uploaded it to Flickr.

Final Thought

The more I practice with night photography, the easier it is for me to visualize the final shot. This is helpful when scouting. Yes, you could set everything up, then look at a few exposures on the LCD. But that can be pretty slow going over the course of a chilly night. And a photographer can only drink so much coffee.

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Today at the Western Digital booth I learned about the WD My Passport Pro 2TB portable RAID storage with integrated Thunderbolt cable that feels as robust as any portable hard drive I've handled.

my-passport-pro.jpg

Its highlights include:

  • Dual-drive RAID storage
  • Up to 233 MB/s data transfer rates
  • Integrated Thunderbolt cable
  • No AC adapter required
  • Durable aluminum enclosure
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Massive capacity - 2 TB or 4 TB
  • User-selectable RAID 0/1 or JBOD

If you're in the market for a portable Thunderbolt hard drive that can also provide RAID backup, I'd throw this one in to the mix.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Photo Gear at CES, Backlighting techniques, Samsung NX3000 APS-C Mirrorless camera kit, Selfies Get a Bad Rap - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Derrick-Vegas.jpg

Snapshot - "Selfies Get a Bad Rap" For years, photographers were absent from family photo albums. So once they finally turn the camera towards themselves, they're suddenly narcissistic? I discuss on the first segment of today's show.

CES--0296.jpg

Weekly Update - CES Report. Plenty of news about connected devices and wearables. But what about photography? I provide some insights on announcements such as the Canon Connect Station CS100, the iCamPRO HD, the Inspire 1 Camera Mount, Panasonic's trio of superzooms, 5 new Canon compacts with emphasis on connectivity, and the Segate Seven 500 GB USB3.0 hard drive that's only 7mm thick.

Story #1 - Bargain or Bust? Trying out the Samsung NX3000 with 16-50mm power zoom lens. This kit is selling for around $400, includes a 21MP APS-C sensor, 16-50mm power zoom lens, and excellent WiFi and NFC connectivity.

Story #2 - From the Screening Room - Exploring Photography: Backlighting with Ben Long. This week's featured artist is teacher fantastic Ben Long. He tackles the universal challenge of backlighting, a demon that has overcome us all at one time or another.

You can watch Ben in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Ben's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #3 - "How Much Faith Should I Put in DxO Numbers?" Robert Perrin asks, "And all the DxO numbers favor the Nikon/Sony over Canon.  So my real questions are, am I putting too much into the DxO numbers?  Do you think Canon is going to address their disadvantage in high ISO noise, dynamic range, picture quality and color depth or are they going to focus more on the ability of their cameras to do video better?  Knowing that I want to shoot low light, am I looking at the right attributes of camera performance to get better quality pictures?"

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for January 2015 is "Backlighting". (You might want to check out our Screening Room selection first :-)

News from SizzlPix: Have your SizzlPix now, and with PayPal Credit, make no payment until July. Great for selling SizzlPix of your photography and collecting your profit even before you pay. Also helpful for any photographer with an opportunity for gallery showings.

Red River Paper - Save 10 percent off your next order of inkjet paper and greeting cards. Good one per customer. Use discount code STORY10X - Ends 1/15/15.

Oh, and Another Thing...

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (34 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

cannon-connect.jpg

When I first heard about the Canon Connect Station CS100, I thought, "that's cool." But the devil is in the details.

It's a $299 media hub with a 1TB hard drive that enables photographers with 2015 Canon cameras to quickly transfer images and video via an "NFC tap" to the device. Once the content is copied to the Connect Station, it can be viewed on an HDTV, shared with mobile devices via a web browser, or sent to PictBridge compatible printers.

The part that's neat is that you don't need a computer to manage your digital images. Great for some non-techy folks I know. If you have a spare HDMI port on your HDTV, then you can navigate the CS100's menu system to sort and view the pictures. The device also includes a USB port and CF and SD card slots for input.

On the downside, you need a 2015 Canon camera to use the Connect Station's wireless transfer, and it only accepts Canon's CR2vii RAW format. So, if you're Canon-only and buy a new NFC enabled camera this year, great. Otherwise, it's a $299 media server with a SD card slot for your Jpegs.

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Samsung NX3000 with 16-50mm Power Zoom

There are some great deals with quality cameras right now, and one of the best is the Samsung NX3000 camera with 16-50mm OIS power zoom for about $409 (and as low as $369 if you don't mind the white lens/body combination).

For your hard-earned money, you'll receive a good-looking mirrorless body (offered in a variety of colors) that houses a 20.3MP CMOS APS-C sensor, 3" upward tilting LCD, WiFi, NFC, external flash, and a 16-50mm OIS power zoom lens with i-Function button. The NX 3000, captures RAW, Jpeg, and HD video. There's a free mobile app for both iOS and Android that allows for remote control of the camera and easy picture sharing.

A perfect complement to this kit is the super-sharp Samsung 30mm NX Pancake lens ($234) that gives you a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture and an equivalent 46.2mm focal length, all in a package that weighs less than 3 ounces.

Samsung NX 3000 with 30mm Prime Lens

The zoom lens (top photo) provides an equivalent of 24.6-77mm and includes image stabilization. It's a quality optic with a precise stepping motor and seven-blade circular diaphragm. Zooming is easy via the buttons on the lens barrel. Plus there's the clever i-Function button that you can configure for quick camera adjustments, such as exposure compensation. When you need a bit more speed, switch to the accessory 30mm compact prime (second illustration) and shoot wide open at f/2.0. Both optics provide excellent contrast and sharpness.

12310170Rudi-Shot-fb.jpg Captured with the 30mm on the NX3000 - f/2.0, 1/400th, +2/3 exposure compensation, ISO 1600. Photos by Derrick Story.

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Noteworthy Features

The 3" 460,000-dot LCD tilts all the up for self-portraits. Selfies are made even easier with compatible features such as smile and wink modes that couple with face detection. If you're in a hurry, you don't even have to turn on the camera. Just flip up the LCD and the lens sets itself to 16mm and the power goes on, ready for that quick memento.

The NX3000 is a good low light shooter with an ISO range of 100-25600. I didn't think twice about jacking up the setting to 1600 or 3200. Images looked great.

Video is also quite good with full HD capture at 30fps using H.264 format and AAC for audio. Samsung has also tossed in a few goodies such as fade-in and fade-out controls to make it easy to post directly to socials without post production.

The kit includes a full working copy of Adobe Lightroom 5 with RAW compatibility for the NX3000. Lightroom is your best option for RAW processing, since neither Apple nor DxO support RAW decoding for the NX3000.

NX3000-in-Lightroom.jpg A full working copy of Lightroom 5 is included in the NX3000 kit.

Integration with smart devices is easy thanks to the Mobile button on the top deck of the camera. Once you've downloaded the respective free app for your smartphone or tablet, simply press the button, choose the function, and connect. I like the Android version of Smart Camera better than what's available for iOS. But I guess that's to be expected with Samsung.

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Things to Be Aware of

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The NX3000 is an LCD-only camera with no options for an electronic viewfinder. This can present problems in bright, contrasty lighting conditions, making it difficult to compose on the screen. For those situations, I've repurposed my Olympus optical viewfinder for the 30mm lens on the Samsung, as shown in the illustration here. Since the NX3000 does have a hot shoe, DIY options can help overcome the lack of electronic viewfinder.

The NX3000 kit does not include a separate battery charger. The default method is to connect the camera directly to the included USB power brick. This is both a pro and a con. USB charging is ideal for solar units and other alternative methods. The downside is that if you want to refresh batteries while using the camera, you'll have to spring for the accessory charger.

P1025168.jpg Back panel of the NX3000 is clean and straight-forward. The 3" LCD is not a touchscreen. The fn button brings up the quick menu, as shown in the illustration.

And finally, it's worth noting that the NX3000 is a fairly simple camera to operate. There are not a lot of dials and customizable buttons. So if you want a more complicated picture-taker, this might not be the camera for you. For me, there was plenty of control. And I've been just fine using the basic controls that photographers depend on 95 percent of the time.

Bottom Line

For about $400, Samsung NX3000 owners get a power zoom lens with one ED and four aspherical elements that sells for over $300 by itself. They also get a full copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, worth at least $100. And, as a bonus, have an APS-C sensor camera to use them with. And a handsome device at that.

In case you were wondering, the grip is not genuine leather (rather its textured plastic). But everything else about this camera is the real deal. Add one of the affordable prime lenses, and you have a light, compact, quality picture-taker that has good looks too.

The Samsung NX3000 camera with 16-50mm OIS power zoom indeed has a high nimblesoity rating.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Samsung NX3000 has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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