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The Nimble Photographer has had a fast start to 2014. Here are some of the latest posts on The Nimble Journal.

This Could Change Our World - The possibilities of 3D printing. (The Lux camera shown here was output by a 3D printer, designed by Kevin Kadooka.)

It's Still Work if Your Don't Get Paid - The endless opportunity to apply your craft for free.

The Shakedown - Yes, the ongoing battle between Las Vegas and your wallet.

Assignment Gear - What I pack for a light-footed event job.


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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Since light meters built in to our cameras are so good, why would we even bother with an external tool? A few reasons come to mind, most of them after spending some time with the Lumu light meter for the iPhone.

This small accessory plugs in to the headphone jack of the iPhone or iPad. And when used with its free iOS app, the Lumu measures the ambient lighting to help you determine an excellent starting point for exposure.

Here's a quick look at why I like using the Lumu.

Excellent Starting Exposure

Why not test the Lumu's capability while photographing the actual device in a mini popup studio with natural light? Take a look at the comparison.

Unedited exposure established by the Lumu in my mini studio. lumu-exposure.jpg

Unedited exposure determined by the camera. camera-exposure.jpg

As expected, the camera's patterned metering system under-exposed the shot (lower photo). This can be easily corrected with exposure compensation, of course. The Luma, however, nailed the exposure. When using the Lumu, I shot in manual mode and set the f/stop and shutter speed to the readout on the iPhone.

Manual Exposure Made Fun

Dialing in my own settings is now a snap. I use the readout displayed on the iPhone. That's it. Start taking pictures. I can ignore all of the blinking lights in the camera and focus on the composition.

Feels Artistic

Your photo subjects will be impressed as you take a light meter reading with your iPhone before the shoot. You may want to dress in all black and wear a beret to enhance the effect.

Great for Video

Video shoots are easy to set up using the Luma. You need to be in manual exposure anyway for video, so this accessory makes that process even easier.

Bottom Line

Not everyone will want to spend $129 for an external light meter. But those who appreciate this type of photo tool will most likely love it. I bought my Lumu as a Kickstarter project and am very pleased with the investment. If you want to learn more about Lumu, visit the Lumu home page.


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

This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: 5 Top Photo Picks from CES; From the Screening Room: Ben Long: Foundations of Photography: Flash - On the Nimbleosity Report - 5 Things I Hate About Travel - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - 5 Top Photo Picks from CES: As it turned out, CES was more photo gear rich than I had anticipated. Here are my 5 top picks from the show.

Story #2 - From the Screening Room - Ben Long: Foundations of Photography: Flash. This week's featured artist is all around great guy Ben Long. His introductory movie shows you the variety of flash techniques that he'll demonstrate, including fill flash, slow synchro, and off-camera.

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 Erin's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #3 - The Nimbleosity Report - "5 things I hate about travel."

  • Setting my bag on the restroom floor - This is why I go with shoulder bags in airports instead of rollers whenever possible.
  • The middle seat - There's no delicate way to get around this: the middle seat sucks.
  • Overhead compartments - They were designed in the day when people didn't have to pay to check their luggage. Now everything from rolling trunks to grand pianos are tried to squeeze in overhead.
  • Overpriced everything - I went to buy a pack of gum at the airport concession, until I saw it was $3. Water is even a bigger rip off because you're not allowed to bring your own with you.
  • Unsavory cab drivers - The hell doesn't end once you arrive at your destination. The second wave of torment awaits you outside.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for January 2014 is White.

There's still a seat open for the Fine Art Photography Workshop, Feb. 28-March 1, 2014 .

Artisan Cheese Festival: March 21-23, 2014 - This advanced workshop puts you on assignment to cover Artisan Cheese Festival. You'll experience a complex event assignment from the inside out, learning about client relations, shot list preparation, lighting techniques, post production, and more. Three days - $250

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.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 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! - For The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club members ... if you'd like additional copies of for gifts, or SizzlPix! of any other of your images to make spectacular, amazing holiday gifts, order any two SizzlPix! to be shipped together, and we'll give you 25% off on the second one! Order any size up to a mind-boggling 48 by 72" Imagine -- six feet! and no sacrifice in resolution, luminance, and impact. Just put "TDS " in the comments space on the sizzlpix.com order page. Of course, you may apply the discount to any number of pairs. And free shipping to any US mainland address.

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Sports photography is a test for any camera. It needs to react quickly and produce excellent images at high ISO settings. I've been using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 to cover high school basketball. Here are five tips to help you get the most from this camera.

Driving to the Basket by Derrick Story

  • Choose Fast Glass - You need every drop of light to reach the sensor, plus you want to be able to soften the background. Fast glass is the answer. I've been using the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens for this task. Stick with native micro four thirds lenses for fast moving sports.
  • Embrace High ISO - Freezing the action is important. You need fast shutter speeds to accomplish this. For the image here, I shot at ISO 3200 to get a shutter speed of 1/640th of a second.
  • Use Aperture Priority Mode - You can lock down the maximum aperture, in this case f/1.8, by choosing Aperture Priority mode.
  • Capture in RAW - The E-M1 has robust electronics that will allow you to shoot RAW and handle burst mode at the same time. This makes it much easier to fine tune your best photos later.
  • Stalk Your Subject - Watch who is performing well that night and follow that player through the viewfinder. Basketball, as with most sports, moves quickly. Isolate and stalk hot players for your high impact images.

I'm very much enjoying the E-M1 with the 75mm for basketball photography. This camera gets the job done. And if you embrace these tips, you'll be rewarded with terrific shots.


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The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Aperture for Portrait Retouching? Yes!

Not only can you retouch your people shots in Aperture... it's easy. In my latest article for Macworld Magazine titled, Portrait retouching in five easy steps, I explain how to not only work artistically, but quickly too.

Portrait Retouching in Aperture

If you like the techniques outlined in the article, then you may want to watch my lynda.com training video, Portrait Retouching with Aperture. It's a deeper dive into using these tools to make your subjects look like they had the best day ever when you photographed them.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Derrick Airport Restroom

The Nimble Photographer is back from Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show. No more public restrooms, crowded restaurants, or smoky casinos (at least for now...).

I discussed this assignment in The Nimble Photographer Journal with entries including Las Vegas and Assignment Gear. So how did it all work out? Quite well, actually.

I carried the Lowepro Urban Reporter 150 (shown in the picture) with me all day, everyday. I relied primarily on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom for my picture work.

If I went out for a stroll and casual shooting in the evening, I switched to the lighter Walking Man Shoulder Bag that's easier on my back and more discreet.

The images were transferred to either my iPad mini (with Verizon cellular) or the iPhone 5S (with AT&T cellular) depending on which device was getting the best reception. I used the WiFi capability of the E-M1 to copy images directly from the camera to the mobile devices that were running the Olympus O.I. Share iOS app.

If there was time, I would fine-tune the pictures using Snapseed or iPhoto for iOS before pushing them up to the c't Digital Photography Facebook page, The Digital Story or the Lowepro social site.

The organizers at CES made reporting a bit easier by beefing up the cellular networks at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This was much appreciated. It allowed me to post 3-4 times a day on the various sites while still on location.

For my luggage, I used the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible along with the Urban Reporter. Why don't I use a roller? They're too cumbersome when you're in nimble mode.

For example, I checked out of my room yesterday morning and had to bring my luggage on assignment at the Convention Center. I then caught a cab from CES to the airport. I can wear the eBag on my back during all of this moving around. (I actually have the eBag on too in the above photo.) A roller just wouldn't work.

Now that I'm home, I'm definitely tired. But my gear worked flawlessly while I was on the road. And my clients seem happy with the timely reporting from Las Vegas.


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

CES is an over-the-top event to begin with. It dominates Las Vegas, jams the monorail, and creates lines at every turn. But if you really want to witness a sea of technology humanity, go to the Samsung booth in the Central Hall.

Samsung Booth Entrance CES 2014 Samsung Booth Entrance CES 2014 - Photo by Derrick Story

In part, the enthusiasm is generated by the sheer variety of technological items offered by Samsung. Mobile devices, cameras, laptops, TVs, and on and on are displayed with flare and precision. Plus, Samsung is on a roll. And it's clear they intend to keep it going.

Booth Pano, Samsung CES 2014

Between my meeting with their PR folks, and my own personal exploration, I probably spent close to an hour in the Samsung area today. How many trade show booths can you say that about?

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It's the modern day View Master. The Poppy turns your iPhone into a 3D creator and viewing device. And the best part? It's only $59.

Poppy 3D

Poppy works with iPhone 4, 4S, iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and the fifth generation iPod Touch. You put your phone in and Poppy's mirrors capture two stereographic images using your iPhone's single camera.

When you look in the viewfinder, Poppy's lenses combine the two video streams into a single, crisp, 3D video. It's beautiful, and really hard to describe or show in two dimensions.

It doesn't need batteries and there are no electronics. It's just optics and your iPhone's camera and screen, so we can keep the price low without sacrificing quality.

The images I created and viewed with the Poppy were great. And it works for video too.

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Join me on my Instagram site as I explore Las Vegas during the CES show

5 Tips for Framing Your Prints

Adding mattes and frames to your prints provide the finishing touches. Here are five tips to keep in mind while preparing for this project.

Print Light Table

  • Buy frames and mattes that fit your output. For example, I like to create 13"x19" prints, so I buy frames and precut mattes to fit those dimensions. This saves time and makes the process much more pleasurable.
  • Clear off a large table and cover it with large towels. This provides you with a big work area that's frame and glass friendly.
  • Find your bulb blower and a lint free cloth. These are handy for wiping down the glass, blowing off paper particles, and keeping all the components smudge and dust free.
  • Print more than you need. When it's time to start framing, you want the freedom to design groupings. Plus, if you make a mistake with a print, it's good to know you have another at hand.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for frame and matte sales. Buy these items when they are affordable and stash them for when you're ready to work.

Hanging your art on the wall is wildly satisfying. Handsone frames and mattes make your pieces look even more impressive.

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Very few of my cameras have built-in geotagging. And the ones that do, are sometimes inconsistent in their application of the data.

The good news is that it's easy enough to apply location information in post production with Aperture. It's not a regular part of my workflow. But for certain shots, such as this image of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, I like to do it.

Since I've added the GPS data, file sharing apps like Flickr with display it. Photo by Derrick Story.

The steps in Aperture are easy.

  • After you've finished editing the image, go to View > Places.
  • In the "Search the Map" box in the upper right, begin typing the location. Aperture will provide you with location options based on what you enter.
  • Click on the best option to choose it, then click on the Assign Location button. A red pin will be added to your photo to indicate that it's been geotagged.
  • Go to Preferences > Export and make sure that the box next to "Include location info in exported photos" is checked.
  • Close Preferences and export your photo.

Assign GPS Data in Aperture Adding location data using Places in Aperture 3.

After you've exported your image from Aperture, you can check your work by opening it in Preview. Go to Tools > Show Inspector. Click on the "i" tab, and you should see a GPS option. Click on it. The location information will be displayed.

Checking Data in Preview

You have now successfully geotagged your image. When it's shared on Flickr and elsewhere, viewers can see exactly where the subject is located. They might want to go there themselves.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!