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I love shooting with my Olympus 75 to 300mm II f4.8-6.7 zoom lens. I've captured many beautiful images with it.

The temptation with a long lens such as this, however, is to push it beyond its capabilities. The most common scenario is at sporting events, especially indoors or at night when there isn't as much available light. In those situations, you'll have a difficult time "stopping the action" because the lens isn't "bright enough" to achieve a fast shutter speed.

Here are a few examples of what I recommend you should, and should not shoot with a consumer telephone under these conditions.

Should: Portraits and Human Interaction

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There are so many opportunities for interesting people shots, and your zoom can help you isolate them. Both the fan image at the top of the article and the portrait of Yasiel Puig were terrific long zoom opportunities. Fan Shot: Olympus E-M1, 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 zoom, set to 78mm, ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/200th. And the portrait of Puig: Olympus E-M1, 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 zoom, set to 300mm, ISO 3200, f/7.1, 1/400th.

Should Not: Action on the Field or Court

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In all honesty, it's not so much that you should not shoot these images. It's more that you should not expect them to look like a pro-caliber capture. Generally speaking, they won't.

Why? It really comes down to shutter speed. Even at a high ISO, there just isn't enough light to provide the shutter speed you need. This shot of Puig sliding back to second base was captured at 1/200th of a second. There's lots of motion blur. Plus it looks like I moved the camera a bit during the capture also. To have any hope of freezing the action, I would need at least 1/500th, and probably 1/1000th of a second.

With a pro lens I would have an aperture of f/2.8 or f/4. With this lens, I could only get f/6.7 at 270mm. That's 2.5 stops darker than f/2.8. With an f/2.8 lens, I could have had a shutter speed in the neighborhood of 1/1000th instead, and that's without raising the ISO any further.

What I'm really saying here is to manage your expectations when using consumer gear in these situations. And by adding plenty of portraits and fan moments to the mix, you'll feel that your overall shoot was more successful.

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Fall is a wonderful time of year for photographers to explore nature. And a location that's prominate in many a bucket lists is beautiful Yosemite. Maybe this is the year you finally get there?

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I just read an excellent article by Colby Brown titled, A Photographer's Guide to Visiting Yosemite. Colby covers getting there, when to visit, accommodations, places to photograph, and more. And it's all from a photographer's perspective. You might want to bookmark this article... especially if this turns out to be the year you pack your gear and visit.

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

Fujifilm X100T Makes a Good Camera Better

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The just-announced Fujifilm X100T camera ($1,299) adds a host of improvements to the very popular X100S.

Highlights include:

  • Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder (OVF/EVF) equipped with an electronic rangefinder
  • Electronic shutter option up to 1/32000 seconds (and totally silent)
  • High-definition 1.04M-dot 3" LCD (big improvement over the 460K-dot predecessor)
  • New Classic Chrome and other film simulation modes
  • Full HD video 1080p at 60fps; bit rate of 36Mbps
  • Jack for stereo microphone
  • New aperture ring that now has positive click stops in 1/3 increments
  • Interval timer shooting (1 second to 24 hours up to 999 frames)
  • Built-in WiFi with remote control capability
  • New Hand Grip MHG-X100; possible to swap the battery and media while the grip is attached to the camera

And you still get the excellent specification that has made this series so popular: 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans sensor, 35mm f/2.0 lens, and outstanding build quality.

The X100T in silver or black should be available by mid-November.


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The Fujifilm X100T has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: New Camera in iPhone 6, Apple Watch Blockbuster, Free U2 Album - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Western Digital launches My Passport Wireless hard drive ($179) with built-in SD card reader. When a memory card is inserted into the drive it can be set back up your photos or automatically ingest all images, then wipe the card clean afterwards. To view your images you can either connect the drive to a computer using USB3, or you can connect to it wirelessly using the free WD My Cloud mobile app. (Source: DP Review).

In other news, Sony QX1, QX30 debut: Transform your smartphone into an APS-C ILC or 30x superzoom - The Sony QX1 sports a large 20.1-megapixel Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor a la the Sony A5000, and a fully functional E-mount lens flange. The QX30, has a resolution of 20.4 megapixels, and it's paired to a 24-720mm-equivalent, f/3.5-6.3, 30x optical zoom lens. (Source: PhotographyBlog.com).

And finally, Lomography Unveils the LC-A 120: 'The World's Most Compact Fully-Automatic 120 Camera' ($430). Features include multiple-exposure mode, rear curtain flash sync and a four-step zone focusing system with the closest focusing distance being roughly two feet. (Source: PetaPixel).

Story #2 - iPhone 6 with New Camera is Announced by Apple. As reported by The Verge: "It has a 8-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture and 1.5µ pixels, just like the last model. But the sensor has been upgraded. The "next generation iSight sensor" has what Apple's calling "focus pixels." Those pixels offer DSLR-like phase detection autofocus, which is supposed to be twice as fast as the 5S. And now it's easier to take high-dynamic range (HDR) photos. Both iPhones can take HDR shots with a single click of the shutter, rather than a series of shots as before."

Also, a difference in image stabilization. The iPhone 6 Plus employes an optical stabilizer. And finally, "Video has also been improved across both phones. The smartphones can shoot 1080p video in 30 or 60 frames per second, and there's a fairly stunning 240fps slow-mo video mode, too. If you like taking pictures of yourself, you'll be glad to hear that the front-facing iSight camera has improved face detection and a new "burst" selfie mode to help you get the best shot."

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Story #3 - The Impressive Apple Watch and a Free U2 Album, "Songs of Innocence." Will report on all of these in segment 3 of today's show.

Story #4 - From the Screening Room - Photographing and Assembling a Lunar Eclipse Composite with Seán Duggan. Ever wonder how photographers create those cool lunar composites? Now you can get the inside scoop. Sean shows you how to capture, organize, and assemble the elements for a lunar composite.

You can watch Sean 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 other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #5 - Telezoom Test. Slide Scanners Tested, Wildlife Photo Tips, Mobile Raw Processing Apps, How the Fine Art Market Works, and more - A preview of the Fall Issue of c't Digital Photography Magazine. If you're not a subscriber yet, here's a 20 percent discount.

Virtual Camera Club News

The SizzlPix September Discount Order early, starting today, and for every day between now and the end of September, SizzlPix will subtract 1% (one-percent) from the cost of your order. Remember the rhyme, "30 days hath September ..." You can see how much you'll save! Remember to put TDS September Discount in the comments field.

Visit the Red River Paper Card Shop. You can peruse top selling cards, order the card sample kit, and read tutorials on card printing. Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper. Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for September 2014 is "Shot from Behind".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story 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 (39 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 January!

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Focus Stacking Made Easy in Photoshop

I've seen many techniques for focus stacking, but none as easy as this one demonstrated by Photoshop Principal Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes.

He's using a feature in Photoshop called focus blending, essentially the same thing, where you have multiple images of the same scene, but captured at different points of focus. The trick, is to blend or stack the images so that all parts of the scene are sharp. This is particularly useful in macro photography when the high magnification produces a very shallow depth of field.

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Adobe has included focus blending in Photoshop since CS4. So chances are good that you have this ability right now.

Leads to this story from Petapixel.com and ISO1200.com.

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All the stuff that ends up in the bottom of your camera bag - spare change, rubber bands, bandaids, pain reliever packets - and more. The problem is, you're carrying it around all the time, yet you can't find the items when you need them. It's a lose/lose situation.

My solution? The MacGyver Box for Photographers. This is just one of the weekend projects that I write about in my latest post for lynda.com Article Center, Photography Hacks: Power Charging, Repurposed Loupe, MacGyver Box.

You'll have to jump over to the lynda article to learn about the alternative charging methods for your mobile devices and how to repurpose an inexpensive loupe for field work. But I'll cover the MacGyver Box right here.

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Start with an emptied-out filter box, then assemble all the widgets that you need to have accessible in your camera bag. I use rubber bands, coins (as screwdrivers too), paper clips (SIM removal tool), Bandaids (great for emergency tape also), pain reliever, flash drive, white business card (bounce flash card and ID too), wire ties, and safety pins.

They all fit nice and neat in this box that stashes easily in your bag, yet can be located quickly. No more digging around in the depths of your kit, only to be rewarded by being pricked in the finger by an open safety pin.

More about the MacGyver Box and the other goodies at the lynda.com Article Center.

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If you haven't checked-in with Olympus OI Share (2.4) for a while, the app has evolved into a full-featured remote control for WiFi-enabled PENs and OM-Ds. I'm using it with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 ($699) with the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ zoom ($349). More on the lens choice in a moment.

OI Share works on both smartphones and tablets, and it enables you to set exposure mode, white balance, exposure compensation, drive mode, ISO, and of course, trip the shutter. The application is organized into four basic areas: Remote Control, Import Photos, Edit Photo, and Add Geotag. My focus here is the Remote Control mode.

Review Your Settings

Set up the app by tapping on the gear icon in the upper right corner to reveal Settings. Tap on Remote Control. One of the defaults that I change is Live View Quality. Out of the box, it's set for Speed Priority. But I think the image on my iPhone or iPad screen looks terrible with this selection. I recommend Image Quality Priority. Unless you're having performance problems, it makes capture far more enjoyable to view.

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When it's time to take pictures, enable WiFi on the camera and set up your mobile device by scanning the QR code on the camera's LCD screen. Keep in mind that you need to access the WiFi network that the camera creates in order use remote control. Then launch the OI Share app.

Zoom In and Out

If you have a power zoom lens (which I recommend for remote use), then you can zoom in and out by using the control that appears on the left side of the screen. This is very handy for fine-tuning your composition when you're not within reach of the camera.

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Experiment with Art Filters

Tap on the Exposure Mode Control in the upper right corner, and review your options: iAUTO, P, A, S, M, and ART. Take a look at Art Filters and experiment with your options. Some of those effects might get your creative juices flowing. If you shoot RAW+Jpeg, the RAW will remain untouched and the Jpeg will display the Art Filter effect. It's the best of both worlds.

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Drive Mode Flexibility

Not only do you have the standard single frame and burst mode options in the upper right corner, but Olympus has added some nifty self-timer settings. You can delay the shutter release in increments of 2 seconds with a range of 12 seconds to 2 seconds. As an added bonus, you can set multiple exposures and the duration between them too.

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And Plenty More

You can tap the screen to set the focus point, or initiate the shutter. And once you capture your images, save them to the Camera Roll to share online. The original photos remain on the camera's memory card.

OI Share is available as a free app in iTunes and Google Play. It is the robust remote camera control that we once dreamed about.


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Olympus OI Share has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

For the July 2014 Photo Assignment, (Our 100th!!!) TDS shooters turned up the heat to produce these smoldering shots. See for yourself in our gallery, Smokin' Hot. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

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Photo by Rodney Campbell. Rodney writes, "This final image is actually a composite of two (along with near zero photoshopping skill). One 394-second long exposure shot at f/7.1 and ISO 100 - a little lighting of the dunes with low sculpted light from the far sides (most on the right and a touch of fill from the left), and a touch of white light on the tree, some red light torch shining up into the tree from below along with a burning steel wool spin behind. Combined with a 31 second shot wide open at f/4 and ISO 6400 to capture the stars in an almost clear sky (just a few whisps of clouds left)."

"Each of the two individual shots actually look pretty good - however even the 394-second (over six minutes) long exposure shot had essentially a black sky with a few trailing stars - but together they just give you more of everything good." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Smokin' Hot.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The September 2014 assignment is "Shot from Behind." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Sept. 30, 2014. No limit on image size submitted.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Sept. 2014." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting July 2014 gallery at the end of August, the August gallery will be posted at the end of September, and on and on.

Good luck with your September assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for July.


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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Olympus PEN E-PL7, Jerry Uelsmann, DIY LCD Shade - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Very flashy: Ricoh unveils Pentax K-S1 DSLR - The K-S1 offers a 20.1MP APS-C sensor, an AA filter simulator (as seen on the Pentax K-3) and burst shooting at 5.4 fps, but none of that is quite as attention-grabbing as its headline body specification - a set of green LEDs on the camera's grip and power switch. (Source: DP Review).

In other news, Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography by J. Chris Hansen has just been published ($24.95). Topics include camera set-ups and the use of backgrounds and photo blinds, composition styles, step-by-step projects for the do-it-yourselfer and techniques to attract birds using feeders and perches. (Source: PhotographyBlog.com).

And finally, Dropbox now offers its pro users 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month. Dropbox now offers its pro users 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month. And if you sign up for a year (in the US), the price drops to $99. (Source: Imaging-Resource.com).

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Story #2 - Olympus Debuts the PEN E-PL7 Aimed at Social Media Photographers - The latest Micro Four Thirds PEN camera from Olympus takes aim at two segments of the photography community: women and online publishers.

The styling and the size of the E-PL7 is a better fit for female photographers. In addition to the design of the camera itself, Olympus has created smart looking accessories that further enhance the device's appearance.

Furthermore, Olympus has updated their O.I.Share app and created an easy-to-use wireless system that connects the E-PL7 to a smart phone or tablet. BTW: O.I.Share 2.4 is now available in the App Store. The clever "flip down" LCD screen makes it easier than ever to hold the camera for selfie capture. They've even built an entire feature set around self-portraits.

I discuss how all of this hangs together in the second segment of today's show. (And you can read my preliminary report on the E-PL7 at c't Digital Photography Magazine.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Jerry Uelsmann & Maggie Taylor: This is not photography. Jerry and Maggie are two of the best surreal, visual storytellers of our era. In this compelling documentary, the filmmakers at lynda explore their vision and technique. It's a compelling journey.

You can watch Jerry and Maggie 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 other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - Tried of Trying to Compose Photographs on an LCD in Bright Sun? I have a solution for you... and you can create it yourself in just a few minutes - Photography Hacks: Make an LCD Shade, Battery Protector, and Lighting Field Kit.

Virtual Camera Club News

The SizzlPix September Discount Order early, starting today, and for every day between now and the end of September, SizzlPix will subtract 1% (one-percent) from the cost of your order. Remember the rhyme, "30 days hath September ..." You can see how much you'll save! Remember to put TDS September Discount in the comments field.

Red River Paper just released RRP Luster Card Duo again. It's a double-sided luster paper pre-scored for cards. It is related to Arctic Polar Luster, but the surface is more pearlescent. You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/om9zapu

Visit the Red River Paper Card Shop. You can peruse top selling cards, order the card sample kit, and read tutorials on card printing. Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper. Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for September 2014 is "Shot from Behind".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story 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 (31 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 January!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Make a Shade for Your Camera's LCD

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Very few things in photography are as tough as composing on an LCD in bright conditions. It's basically "guess and shoot."

I've designed a simple solution using a cardboard jewelry box. It's easy to make, has adjustable depth, and can double as an accessory storage container. And the best part is, in bright conditions, it really works.

I explain how this gem works in my latest article for the lynda.com Article Center titled, Photography Hacks: Make an LCD Shade, Battery Protector, and Lighting Field Kit. It's the first installment of a 3-part series that I'm authoring for the site.

accessories-in-box.jpg When it's not shading your LCD screen, the shade can serve as a handy accessory box.

If you've got a little time to tinker this weekend, you might want to take a look at this post. I think you'll like what you end up with.

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