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Many of us have decisions to make about software in 2007. Are we going to continue with an existing Photoshop-based workflow and upgrade to CS3, make the switch to Lightroom, get serious with Aperture, or explore the new features in iPhoto? The tools available for photo management are better than ever. And the real trick now is finding the right match for you.

In this podcast, I take a look at the four leading contenders for your digital shoebox dollars, touch on their possible release dates, and help you figure out what's the best application for your images.

Jan. Photo Assignment

I also mention the January 2007 photo assignment, "Glimmer." You can use this theme literally -- shine faintly with a wavering of light... such as glimmer off water. Or you can go figuratively such as a glimmer of hope. There's lots to work with here. Deadline for submission is Jan. 31. You can read the details on our Submissions page.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Software for 2007." You can download the podcast here (29 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

Memory Cards

Listeners have submitted some of the things they have learned the hard way. In this episode, I tell the stories shared by Landon Michaelson, Brian Reilly, Kevin Miller, and Arnold Prasent. Their experiences hold valuable information for all of us to help us protect our images and improve our photography. It's an entertaining and informative podcast.

Jan. Photo Assignment

I also mention the January 2007 photo assignment, "Glimmer." You can use this theme literally -- shine faintly with a wavering of light... such as glimmer off water. Or you can go figuratively such as a glimmer of hope. There's lots to work with here. Deadline for submission is Jan. 31. You can read the details on our Submissions page.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "More Things I Learned the Hard Way." You can download the podcast here (29 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

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Indoor sports photography offers great opportunity to take pictures without having to venture out into the snow, rain, and cold. This type of shooting is also good practice for using your custom white balance setting, playing with ISO, and breaking out any fast glass you may have available.

In this podcast, I talk about a recent shoot inside a high school gymnasium where I use my Canon 5D, a 70-300mm IS zoom, and one of my favorite lenses, the 85mm f-1.8 Canon USM. I pulled out my ExpoDisc to help me tame the indoor lighting, and pushed the ISO to 800 or 1600 depending on which lens I had mounted.

I had lots of fun and came away with some good shots. Hopefully this show will inspire you to find some indoor sports in your neighborhood and do a little shooting yourself.

Photo by Derrick Story. Canon 5D, 70-300mm IS lens at 120mm, ISO 1600, f-5.6, 1/125th second, Raw format, Custom White Balance.

Dec. Photo Assignment

I also mention the December photo assignment, "Pool of Light." I originally got the idea for this assignment by looking at some of Steve Simon's existing light pictures when he composed the main subject in a pool of light and let everything else live in the shadows. I think this is very effective.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Indoor Sports." You can download the podcast here (26 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

Typical Scene Modes

Scene modes serve as a shortcut for a combination of camera settings tailored for a specific shooting situation, such as a night portrait where you want to retain some of the background information. When you go to a scene mode, your camera sets the shutter speed, aperture, white balance, drive mode, and sometimes even adjusts exposure compensation or metering pattern.

The trick is to learn which scene modes are useful for you, then know how to switch to them quickly when you encounter the appropriate lighting situation. In this podcast, I cover the most common scene modes available, and talk a bit about what's going on behind the "scenes" when you use them.

Dec. Photo Assignment

I also mention the December photo assignment, "Pool of Light." I originally got the idea for this assignment by looking at some of Steve Simon's existing light pictures when he composed the main subject in a pool of light and let everything else live in the shadows. I think this is very effective.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Scene Modes." You can download the podcast here (29 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.

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I keep telling people that capture devices are so much better these days, and as a result, paying attention to correct exposure and white balance pays big dividends in post production. But I hadn't really tested my theory until the other day when I pulled out an older (Nov. 2002) Olympus C-5050 Zoom, set it to Raw mode at ISO 100, and took a series of pictures. I then made A4 prints and compared them to images I'm currently capturing with my pocket-sized Canon PowerShot SD700 IS in simple Jpeg mode. The difference in quality was stunning. The compact Canon in Jpeg mode blew away the sophisticated Olympus in Raw. No knock whatsoever on the Olympus... it's just the difference that 3 years can make during our evolution in digital photography. (And what a shame... I love that Olympus camera!)

This podcast extends that discussion and even includes some remarks about film cameras, workflow, and how to best take advantage of today's excellent capture devices.

Dec. Photo Assignment

I also talk about the December photo assignment, "Pool of Light." I originally got the idea for this assignment by looking at some of Steve Simon's existing light pictures when he composed the main subject in a pool of light and let everything else live in the shadows. I think this is very effective.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Capture." You can download the podcast here (31 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.

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Automation tools can help relieve you of some of the mundane post processing work that we all endure when making adjustments to batches of images. Photoshop CS has some great built-in tools in the Actions palette (Window > Actions). You can record a series of steps, let's say converting a color image to B&W, the apply those steps to other images... while you go grab a cup of coffee.

A good article on this subject is Scott Bourne's Automate Your Favorite Photoshop Routines.

For Mac users, Automator lets you create workflows that span multiple applications. Matthew Russell has written a terrific introduction in his article, What Is Automator (and Can It Make Your Life Easier).

In the podcast, I also mentioned some upcoming speaking engagements for me. Here's a bit more information about them: Sun, Jan 7, 7 pm at The Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA
Aperture Workshop at Macworld SF, Jan 8&9, Macworld SF
Wed, Jan 10, 5pm at The Apple Store in San Francisco.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Automation." You can download the podcast here (32 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.

For extreme pictures you sometimes need extreme lenses. This week I explore the 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor and the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM. Both of these lenses can help you capture images that are outside of your normal compositions.

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8

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This photo was captured by Ben Long in the Western Caribbean. I was walking along side him while he was shooting with the Nikon 10mm, and he remarked I was getting in his shots. So I turned and waved to the camera. This lens has an incredible 180 degree field of view.

Canon 400mm f/5.6L

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This image of an American Kestrel by expert bird photographer Scott Bourne demonstrates the power of the Canon 400mm telephoto. Not only is the handheld image as sharp as a tack, Scott actually shot it through a car window after spotting the bird on a drive. Notice how silky smooth the background is.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Extreme Lenses." You can download the podcast here (25 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

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A second photographer on the scene can quietly capture the really interesting stuff while everyone is occupied with the primary photography who is checking off items on the shot list. That's one of the reasons why having two photographers for events is such a good idea. We all know that the best shots aren't always the planned ones.

But there's another variation on this theme -- you filling the role of the second shooter for any life event as it unfolds. For example, your son has picture day lined up for his basketball team. You're not the photographer who has to get the group shot, but you bring your compact camera anyway. After the "primary shoot," you start taking pictures -- candids of the kids playing around, shots with their buddies, individual portraits, and anything else that attracts you eye.

You have become the second shooter for life itself. It's a great role bursting with potential. In this week's show I talk about all the different roles of the second shooter, both formally, such as at a wedding, and informally for everyday life as it happens. I hope you'll find some tips that lead to capturing satisfying images.

About the photo -- I took this picture with a compact Canon SD700 with the fill flash turned on. I'm sure the formal team shot will be very nice, but this image of friends interacting has such nice energy...

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "The Second Shooter." You can download the podcast here (28 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

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Even though there are always great shots in your backyard, there's nothing like a road trip to challenge and invigorate your photography. In this week's podcast, I discuss coping with the elements, getting around in foreign destinations, and dealing with backing up your data while traveling.

I also talk a bit about the Nov. Photo Assignment, juxtaposition. Should be a bang-up assignment producing lots of great shots.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "More Tips from the Road" You can download the podcast here (30 minutes).

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Sponsor Note...

ExpoDisc Custom White Balance -- Simply Better Color. Simply Better Pictures. Visit www.expodisc.com

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Steve Simon has been passionate about documenting life through photography since he began taking photographs at age 12 in his home city of Montreal. He authored a column on photography and for eight years his articles appeared in The Montreal Gazette, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star and The New York Times among others. He graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a degree in Communications/Journalism.

While I was in San Francisco for some other work, I had a chance to meet Steve and learn about his new book, Heroines and Heroes. Our conversation was very interesting, so I asked him if I could pull out the microphone and record the dialogue. This is a real field interview, complete with street noise in the background and recording levels set just a bit too hot. But the information is terrific, and I wanted to share Steve's thoughts with you.

He covers his trips to Africa, the Heroines and Heroes project, traveling with photo gear, shooting technique, and a wealth of other tips. I think you'll enjoy what Steve has to say.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Steve Simon on Heroines and Heroes." You can download the podcast here (27 minutes).

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