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This is The Digital Story Podcast #767, Dec. 1, 2020. Today's theme is "5 Great Printing Projects for Creative Photographers." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

What a lot of photographers don't realize is that they've already done half the work toward completing a satisfying print project. What I'm going to suggest to you today are 5 options to finish them off. And believe me, you will be tempted by at least one of these (and probably more). I hope you enjoy the show.

5 Great Printing Projects for Creative Photographers

Today, you'll really want to visit the show notes because I have a link to a free eBook titled, Creative Printing. This 32-page guide includes the item numbers and specific paper stocks for the projects I discuss, plus include links to other helpful items. You can view it on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad running the free Books app.

As for the projects themselves, there are some good ones. Let's get started.

print-project.jpg

  • Framed Instagram Prints- Many photographers choose Instagram as a primary platform for sharing their images. And rightly so. Its toolbox of filters and adjustments are the perfect creative complement for smartphone snap-shooters. But what some photographers don't realize is that their images can have far more creative impact than what's displayed on their mobile devices. I didn't realize this myself until I started making prints from my Instagram captures. And my guess is that you will feel the same way.
    Share the IG picture to your computer (I use AirDrop), print 4x6, get an 8"x8" square frame with a 3.5"x3.5" opening, and mount.
  • Postcards from the Edge, People love to receive postcards. And with just your iPhone and a printer, you can easily create your own unique mailable art that will blow the doors off mass market souvenir shop rivals. There are two standard postcard sizes: 4"x6" and 5"x7". Fortunately, those are also common dimensions for printing paper. But this is the part you might not know - you can affordably purchase heavy card stock that allows for image printing on one side and graphics on the other. Load these blanks into your printer and marvel at what shoots out minutes later.
    In the eBook I have all of the paper stocks that I recommend. And here are the back templates for a 5"x7" size and for the 4"x6" size. My favorite stock is RRP 88lb. Polar Matte Card Stock 5x7 60 Sheets - Item Number: 1732.
  • Passport Photos at Home - "You can save yourself both time and money by creating your own passport photos at home. And they are legit!
    For this project, I used my iPhone, Canon wireless printer, and a few sheets of Red River Paper 4"x6" glossy stock. And with these simple tools, I have a set of passport photos in 20 minutes. (It takes longer than that to drive to the local drugstore.)
    Step one is to download the Biometric Passport Photo app for the iPhone. The download is free, but you'll have to pony up $1.99 to unlock the different print output sizes, including the 4"x6" dimensions that we're going to use.
  • Square Greeting Cards - "What's more impressive than showing off the latest Instagram shot on your iPhone? How about creating a square fine art greeting card directly from your mobile device? By using this Pages template that I've designed, you can do just that.
    Square greeting cards are always attention getters. We're so accustomed to the standard rectangular card format, that when someone hands us a square envelope, we think, "Hmmm, this is cool. I wonder what's inside?"
    In this case, it can be one of your Instagram shots brought to artistic life on fine art paper. And the best part is, you can create this card on your iPhone and send it directly to the printer. Once again, no computer required.
    I recommend Red River's 60lb. Polar Matte Greeting Card stock, 5.25" x 10.5" (Item #1892) and a box of 5.25"x5.25" square white envelopes (Item #7170). Polar Matte is one of my favorite printing surfaces. And you can download my Square Card Template.
  • Printing a Panorama Card - You don't have to shoot a panorama to make a panorama card. Just about any shot will work. And you'll be amazed at how different it looks in this printed format. Think of it as your own wide screen theater.
    Panorama cards bring your big scenes to life. Instead of being boxed-in on your mobile device, they are set free in full 9" wide glory. And if all of that wasn't good enough, you can use everyday #10 envelopes to send them in.
    Just like the other projects in this eBook, all the work can be done with your iPhone and a wireless printer. And just like most of these projects, we'll once again fool the printer into outputting something that isn't in its normal menu of choices.
    For this work of art, we're going to use Red River's 8"x9" Greeting Card, 60lb Premium Matte Plus (#1083).

Final Thought (from the book)

Recently, I celebrated a birthday with friends and family. We had a BBQ, music, and refreshments. A few gifts found they way to the event as well.

The next day, I wanted to thank everyone who had brought presents. So I pulled out my iPhone, found a party picture that I liked, turned on my Canon printer, and created a small stack of 5.25"x5.25" fine art square cards.

I produced them all in about 10 minutes, using the template from Chapter 5. It actually took me longer to address them than it did to print.

I'm sharing this story because it's a real life example of why I love being a photographer who prints. I could have sent a thank you email to everyone - sometimes I do. But for this occasion, I wanted to go the extra mile. And personalized greeting cards seemed like the right move. I would have loved to be there when each person opened theirs.

One Degree of Separation and the Appeal of Mirrorless Cameras

Derrick reads his latest post soon to be published on Medium.com

The New Donation Kit for Carefree Shipping of Found Film Cameras

We have more time around the house than ever. And you finally dove into that bedroom closet that's been begging for some organization.

If you found a film camera that you're no longer using, our new Donation Kit makes it easy to pack and ship. Just visit the Contact Form on thenimblephotographer.com, click the box next to Donating a Film Camera, and let me know what you have. In your note, be sure to include your shipping address.

If it's a camera we can use for the shop, I'll send you a Donation Kit that includes a USPS Priority Mail shipping box and prepaid label. All you have to do is tape it up, insert the camera, and add the label. USPS will pick up your shipment from the front door of your house during their regular mail delivery. It's that simple!

Your donation help get analog gear in the hands of aspiring fine art photographers, and the proceeds help support this podcast.

Updates and Such

The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop Second Session Sold Out

The first session sold out in two days. So I've added a second session of the The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment and check-in on Dec. 22 and builds to our class presentation on Saturday Jan. 16, 2021. It is now sold out as well.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #766, Nov. 24, 2020. Today's theme is "The Anti-Black-Friday Gift Guide for Photographers." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Over the next several days, you're going to hear the BF term many, many times - even after the actual day has passed. The truth of the matter is that you will be able to get decent deals on just about anything you set your sights on, so let's focus on quality gear with lots of appeal. I hope you enjoy these gift ideas.

The Anti-Black-Friday Gift Guide for Photographers

Lens-Duo.jpg

  • Think Tank Photo Lens Case Duo 15 (Green) $19 ($8 savings) And the Think Tank Photo Lens Case Duo 30 (Green) $20 ($8 savings)- Keep your lens protected while maintaining access with the green Lens Case Duo 15 or 30 from Think Tank. With multiple carrying options like a grab handle and belt loop, this case adapts to your carrying equipment. Its water-resistant nylon exterior keeps moisture away from your sensitive lens. Two zippered openings allow for quick access to your equipment. Additionally, stretchy front pockets can hold a variety of accessories like lens caps and memory cards. 6.7" Interior height.
  • Kingston DataTraveler Duo ($9.99) - I can't be the only guy who has a USB-C laptop and a USB-A desktop. The world of technology is always in transition, and the different USB connectors are one of the more aggravating side effects. Fortunately, Kingston is helping out with their Kingston DataTraveler Duo ($9.99), and I couldn't be happier. One flash drive that works with all of my computers.
  • LED-Panel.jpg

  • PL-190R Photography LED Light 5000mah on-Camera Video Light, 2500K-8500K RGB Full Color Fill Light $49 - PL-190R Photography LED Light 5000mah on-Camera Video Light, 2500K-8500K RGB Full color Fill Light Features: 5000mAh, Extra-large capacity battery gorgeous sufficient charge. Small and exquisite, easy to carry. 12 ounces. 6"x4".
  • Lowepro Photo Hatchback Series BP 250 AW II Backpack (Midnight Blue/Gray) $56 ($56 savings) - Designed to hold a DSLR with attached lens, two extra lenses, related accessories, and personal gear. On the front of the pack is a zippered storage area for personal items, accessory pockets, key fob, and a CradleFit pocket for your tablet. Camera equipment is stored inside the removable, padded insert, which is accessed through the back of the pack. Padded, touch-fastening dividers are helpful for organizing gear to your liking. A versatile pack, the insert seals at the top and features two carry handles for storing separately when converting the pack to general usage.
  • Rode-Mic.jpg

  • Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount $59 - The VideoMicro is a compact microphone designed to improve the audio quality of your videos. It incorporates a high-quality cardioid condenser microphone capsule for great quality audio recordings when used with a wide range of cameras. A directional microphone, the VideoMicro reduces distracting peripheral sounds and focusses on the audio in front of the camera. Its pickup is more forgiving than RØDE's other on-camera microphones providing a more natural sound when recording indoors. Perfect for capturing incredible audio to accompany inspiring vision. The microphone body is made from aluminum, giving it a high level of RF rejection, and is finished in RØDE's high-grade ceramic anti-glare black coating. Included with the VideoMicro is a camera shoe mount featuring a Rycote Lyre shock mount. No Battery Required. 3.5mm mini-jack.

  • Ruggard Electronic Dry Cabinet (30L) $119 ($30 savings) - The cabinet's fast-acting TE Cooling Wafer regulates the interior's relative humidity from 60 to 35% to help prevent fungus and corrosion that can damage your gear. Humidity adjustments take place over a 1- to 3-hour period.
    The cabinet features a keyed door with a plastic front handle built into the gasket-sealed glass door. A large, dimmable LCD displays ambient temperature (in Fahrenheit or Celsius), relative humidity, and other settings. Interior LED lights make viewing and finding gear easier. Both the base and the adjustable plastic shelf are padded to help guard against scratches, and the shelf's padding is contoured to accommodate lenses.
  • Panasonic-14mm.jpg

  • Panasonic LUMIX G 14mm f/2.5 ASPH II Lens $197 ($100 savings) - Assuming a truly thin profile of just 0.8"-thick, the Panasonic LUMIX G 14mm f/2.5 ASPH II Lens is a sleek wide-angle prime designed for Micro Four Thirds system cameras. Offering a 28mm-equivalent focal length, this lens takes on a wider-than-normal perspective to benefit its use in a broad variety of shooting situations. A stepping motor provides quick, quiet autofocus performance that is beneficial to both movie and still recording and an inner focusing system maintains the overall lens length during operation for greater responsiveness. This compact and versatile lens is an ideal option for everyday use.
  • Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Lens for Micro Four Thirds $249 ($150 savings) - Providing a 24mm effective focal length and a broad 83° angle of view, this lens is perfect to working in low-light conditions.
    Three extra-low dispersion elements and two aspherical elements have been incorporated into the optical design to minimize chromatic aberrations and distortion in order to produce sharper images. Additionally, a Nano Coating System (NCS) has been applied to the lens elements in order to reduce surface reflections and prevent lens flare and ghosting for improved light transmission and more contrast-rich imagery
  • Olympus-TG6.jpg

  • Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof $349 ($100 savings) - You live for the outdoors. Hiking steep mountain trails. Backpacking through a desert Canyon. Skiing in the wilderness. The tough tg-6 is ready for adventure. It's built to endure all the extreme environments you love exploring. You can drop it. Step on it. Go deep underwater or out into a freezing blizzard. It just keeps on shooting awesome stills and video. Packed with pro features, you'll nail difficult shots -- even in low light. Shoot intricately detailed macro photos and unique shots underwater with vivid color. The lightweight, compact tough tg-6. Engineered to survive the world's toughest places.

Kodak to Release '70s-Inspired Metal Film Cases in Six Colors

You can read the entire article here on PetaPixel.

Kodak-canister.jpg

A new product bearing the Kodak name seems to ask, "If you're shooting film, why not immerse yourself in the experience?" The company is releasing metal film canisters commonly used in the 1970s brand new for 2020. Groovy.

Retopro is a brand licensee of Eastman Kodak Company and has emblazoned the iconic photography brand's logo on metal canisters designed to hold film rolls. The body is made of aluminum and the cap is made of steel, a design popular in the 1970s before the industry made the switch to plastic.

"We are inspired by the selection of materials and colours, and wish to recreate a new version of the Kodak Film Case, only to make it even more practical and stylish," the company writes.

You can order now for $25 each.

The New Donation Kit for Carefree Shipping of Found Film Cameras

We have more time around the house than ever. And you finally dove into that bedroom closet that's been begging for some organization.

If you found a film camera that you're no longer using, our new Donation Kit makes it easy to pack and ship. Just visit the Contact Form on thenimblephotographer.com, click the box next to Donating a Film Camera, and let me know what you have. In your note, be sure to include your shipping address.

If it's a camera we can use for the shop, I'll send you a Donation Kit that includes a USPS Priority Mail shipping box and prepaid label. All you have to do is tape it up, insert the camera, and add the label. USPS will pick up your shipment from the front door of your house during their regular mail delivery. It's that simple!

Your donation help get analog gear in the hands of aspiring fine art photographers, and the proceeds help support this podcast.

Updates and Such

The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop Now Has a Second Session

The first session sold out in two days. So I've added a second session of the The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment and check-in on Dec. 22 and builds to our class presentation on Saturday Jan. 16, 2021. We currently have 2 seats open for the second session.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

When I'm out exploring urban settings at night with my Fujifilm X100V, I often encounter mixed lighting situations. Because different types of bulbs are used, they are hard to tame with a single white balance adjustment.

Mixed-Lighting-AS-Is.jpg I applied a White Balance adjustment to this image, but still wasn't happy with the overall color.

In Capture One Pro 20, my next step is to look at the color curve options. I like these because they address the overall appearance of the photograph so the look hangs together as much as possible. One of my favorites for this type of challenge is the Classic Chrome curve available for Fujifilm cameras. (Depending on your camera, the available options will be different in this menu.)

Color-Curve-Classic-Chrome.jpg Applying the Classic Chrome curve helped substantially. Getting better!

I still wanted to tone down that odd yellowish color a bit more. So I went to the Color Editor panel, enabled the Color Picker, and selected that yellow. I decreased the saturation and increased the lightness for that hue.

Color-Editor.jpg The Color Editor helped me tone down and brighten up that yellowish hue.

All of these corrections only take a minute or two, but they make a world of difference.

Corrected-DSCF2094-Road-Trip.jpg Finished image: Fujifilm X100V, ISO 1600, 1/15th, f/2.0, RAW. Photo by Derrick Story.

Learn Capture One Pro 20 Quickly

If you're new to Capture One Pro, you may want to check out my latest online class, Capture One Pro 20 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning, or, if you're a lynda.com subscriber, you can watch it there as well. It will get you up and running in no time at all.

If you don't have Capture One Pro yet, you can download the 30-day free trial (Mac/Win). No credit card is required, and it's a fully functioning version.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

The Canon RP with its 24-105mm zoom is a heck of a deal at $1,299. You get a full frame sensor and a nice 24mm-105mm optically stabilized zoom lens. During testing, I was impressed with the results, and the clever way some of them were achieved.

015.jpeg The Canon EOS RP with 24mm-105mm zoom lens.

A good example is how in-camera optical correction fixes the vignetting and distortion of the optic at the wide end. This can also be achieved in Adobe Lightroom with the RAW files, which is the method I prefer because more of the original image area is retained.

Let's take a look.

Before-Optical-Correction-1600.jpg Before Optical Correction - EOS RP with 24mm-105mm at 24mm. RAW file without lens correction applied.

Optical-Correction-On-1600.jpg Adjusted RAW file in Lightroom - EOS RP with 24mm-105mm at 24mm. RAW file with lens correction applied.

The second image is close to what the camera can produce with its Jpegs. You can really see the difference if you shoot RAW+Jpeg and look at the unedited images side by side.

The vignetting is eliminated and the distortion is mitigated nicely. Amazing that these are the same captures.

Personally, I don't see this approach as cutting corners. It's an efficient way to build lenses and cameras affordably that produce good results.

But it is interesting to see the big impact that software has, even when it isn't machine learning.

More About the Canon EOS RP

For more about this compact full frame mirrorless camera, be sure to tune in to the TDS Podcast, Canon EOS RP - The Affordable Full Frame Mirrorless.

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #765, Nov. 17, 2020. Today's theme is "Canon EOS RP - The Affordable Full Frame Mirrorless." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

At only $1,300 with a kit 24-105mm zoom lens, the Canon RP packs a lot of full frame value into a likable compact design. After spending a month with the RP, I'm ready to share my both my likes and disappointments with this breakthrough camera.

Canon EOS RP - The Affordable Full Frame Mirrorless

If you didn't already know and were asked to guess the price of the Canon RP with its 24-105mm zoom, I'm pretty sure that you would say it costs more than $1,299. I would. You get a lot of spec for that humble price tag. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

IMG_0024-1024.jpg Christmas Cactus - Canon RP, 24-105mm zoom, ISO 8000, f/7.1, 105mm - Photo by Derrick Story.

Features Overview

  • 26.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor with DIGIC 8 Image Processor - The EOS RP has a wide native sensitivity range from ISO 100-40000 for working in a variety of lighting conditions. (6240 x 4160 resolution)
  • Integrated 2.36m-dot OLED EVF and Rear 3.0" 1.04m-dot LCD with vari-angle design - It is also a touchscreen for intuitive control over shooting, playback, and menu navigation controls.
  • UHD 4K Video Recording - UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution recording at up to 23.98 fps at 120 Mb/s, along with Full HD 1080p and HD 720p at 60 fps for slow motion playback. When recording in-camera, 4K video has 4:2:0 sampling and 8-bit color depth, and 4:2:2 8-bit output is possible when using an external recorder.
  • Recording Extras - Audio can be recorded using the on-board stereo microphone or an optional external mic can also be used via the 3.5mm mic jack. Headphone jack is also included. Plus, 5-axis Dual Sensing IS can be used when recording video to electronically reduce the appearance of camera shake for sharper, smoother recording.
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF - Offers smooth and fast focusing performance in a similar manner to how a camcorder acquires focus. This system integrates two separate photodiodes within each pixel to provide a broad and dense network phase-detection gathering elements across a majority of the image sensor to reduce focus hunting for faster, more direct control of focus placement.

Compromises

But there are compromises as well. The digital, 5-axis image stabilization is for video only. If you want IS for still photography, you'll need a lens with optical stabilization.

This is not a customizable camera either. There's one function button with limited options. Some of the controls that we take for granted on other mirrorless cameras, such as exposure compensation aren't as easy on the RP.

One SD card, which I expected. But it's on the bottom of the camera in the battery compartment. It is however, a UHS-II slot.

And finally, there's not pop-up flash, which is something that I always like on consumer/enthusiast models. So you're going to have to purchase and carry a flash if you want that capability.

Image Quality

I was very pleased with the Jpegs that the camera produced. The colors were pleasing and the detail was sharp. Comparing the Jpegs to the RAWs I noticed that Canon does a nice job of applying optical corrections as well, including distortion and vignetting at the 24mm focal length of the lens.

The RAWs were nicely workable and looked good after applying Lens Corrections in Adobe Lightroom. After just a little work, I did prefer the RAW versions. But that's no knock on the excellent Jpegs.

The RF 24mm-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM Zoom

I'm of two minds when it comes to this lens. On one hand, it's a great value for a Canon IS zoom. The image quality is quite good and the optical IS is solid.

But it's also bulky and very slow at the telephoto end. If I were to buy this camera, I would get the kit with the lens as well because it is versatile and affordable.

As soon as I was able however, I would also spend the dollars to get the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens for $199 or the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS macro STM lens for $499. Either would provide a more compact, faster option for those times I don't want to lug the 24mm-105mm around.

Bottom Line

The Canon RP with its 24-105mm zoom is a great value at $1,299. The image quality is excellent, even at high ISO settings. It's light and adds great movie options as well.

As long as you can live with its constraints such as 5 fps frame bursts and limited customization, it's a solid choice into full frame photography and puts you in a system with lots of room to grow.

Google Photos will end its free unlimited storage on June 1st, 2021

You can read the entire article here on The Verge.

After five years of offering unlimited free photo backups at "high quality," Google Photos will start charging for storage once more than 15 gigs on the account have been used. The change will happen on June 1st, 2021, and it comes with other Google Drive policy changes like counting Google Workspace documents and spreadsheets against the same cap. Google is also introducing a new policy of deleting data from inactive accounts that haven't been logged in to for at least two years.

All photos and documents uploaded before June 1st will not count against that 15GB cap, so you have plenty of time to decide whether to continue using Google Photos or switching to another cloud storage provider for your photos. Only photos uploaded after June 1st will begin counting against the cap.

Google already counts "original quality" photo uploads against a storage cap in Google Photos. However, taking away unlimited backup for "high quality" photos and video (which are automatically compressed for more efficient storage) also takes away one of the service's biggest selling points. It was the photo service where you just didn't have to worry about how much storage you had.

Google points out that it offers more free storage than others -- you get 15GB instead of the paltry 5GB that Apple's iCloud gives you -- and it also claims that 80 percent of Google Photos users won't hit that 15GB cap for at least three years.

The New Donation Kit for Carefree Shipping of Found Film Cameras

We have more time around the house than ever. And you finally dove into that bedroom closet that's been begging for some organization.

If you found a film camera that you're no longer using, our new Donation Kit makes it easy to pack and ship. Just visit the Contact Form on thenimblephotographer.com, click the box next to Donating a Film Camera, and let me know what you have. In your note, be sure to include your shipping address.

If it's a camera we can use for the shop, I'll send you a Donation Kit that includes a USPS Priority Mail shipping box and prepaid label. All you have to do is tape it up, insert the camera, and add the label. USPS will pick up your shipment from the front door of your house during their regular mail delivery. It's that simple!

Your donation help get analog gear in the hands of aspiring fine art photographers, and the proceeds help support this podcast.

Updates and Such

The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop Now Has a Second Session

The first session sold out in two days. So I've added a second session of the The Ultimate B&W Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment and check-in on Dec. 22 and builds to our class presentation on Saturday Jan. 16, 2021. We currently have 2 seats open for the second session.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

OWC USB-C Travel Dock Review

The OWC USB-C Travel Dock is a handy accessory for laptop-toting creatives and well-suited for desktop use as well.

owc-travel-dock.jpg

With its tuck-away USB-C cable, it adds two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Standard-A) ports, USB-C auxiliary power port (up to 100W), SD card reader (UHS-II), HDMI 2.0 port - all in a brick-sized form factor that's about the size of of a MacBook power adapter. It also includes a nifty piece of software (downloadable) called the Dock Ejector (Mac/Windows) that enables you to eject all connected drives at once.

dock-ejector.jpg

This feature would be particularly handy in a shared work environment when you want to move the Travel Dock from one computer to another with active multiple drives. Just eject the dock, unplug it with drives still attached, then move it to the next computer. Everything pops up on the new screen. Very convenient!

If you have a shortage of USB-C ports on your computer/tablet, you can use the 100W power pass through port. It allows you to use the Travel Dock and power your computer through the same USB-C port. You may also want to add power to the dock if you're connecting USB devices that draw a lot of juice.

For Flash drives and SD cards, I had no problem using the power from the computer's port. But for more demanding devices, you also have the option of using the power pass through port for more juice.

Having 4K HDMI (4096 x 2160 at 30Hz, Up to 24-bit color depth) is also convenient, especially considering you only have to use one port for HDMI and power. This could be a big deal during long presentations.

The SD card reader is fast and is compatible with speedy UHS-II cards enabling maximum transfer speeds. I also played 4K movies directly from a UHS-II SD card without any issue.

Pros

  • Tuck-away USB-C cable insures that you're always ready to connect.
  • Fast SD card reader is a plus for serious photographers.
  • Included Dock Ejector software works great and is quite handy.
  • Pass through power saves ports.
  • Solid construction and attractive design.

Cons

  • Is a bit heavy and bulky for a travel dock.
  • At $54.99, it's a true investment.
  • Would be nice to have a USB-C port for drives as well.

Bottom Line

The OWC USB-C Travel Dock ($54.99) is a rugged, well-designed accessory that provides both convenience (built-in cord and ejector software) with good specification (4K HDMI and UHS-II SD card reader).

It's not the slimmest kid on the block, nor the least expensive. But it performs well and should last for years.

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #764, Nov. 10, 2020. Today's theme is "Inside a Workshop Photo Critique." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Our first online workshop wrapped up this weekend. It was the culmination of two weeks of photo projects where everyone brought their images to the table to share on Friday and Saturday. I find these discussions fascinating. And I thought you might want to sit in on three short critiques to get a feel for what happens at these events. I hope you enjoy the show.

Inside a Workshop Photo Critique

Derrick opens this segment talking a bit about the Eastern Sierra Online Photography Workshop.

 Travis-Waldrip-Thirds.jpg Photo by Travis Waldrip, workshop participant.

Session #1 - Travis shares one of his images from the Rule of Thirds assignment.

Session #2 - Richard also discusses Rule of Thirds, but with a bit of a surprise.

Session #3 - Peter came across an interesting photo subject that fascinated all of us.

Announcing the Ultimate Black & White Photography Workshop

If you love Black and White photography and want to explore the creation of stunning monochrome and duotone images, then this event is for you.

Tutorials and assignments begin on Dec. 16, 2020 with the culmination of our work coming together for an all-day online event on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.

Workshop participants will have access to our new virtual workroom, DerrickStoryOnline. This is the platform that we used to run the Eastern Sierra Online Photography Workshop. It will feature tutorials, photo sharing, assignments, chats, and event scheduling. Plus you'll get to meet the participants from the Eastern Sierra event who are actively working there.

The Ultimate Black & White Photography Workshop will feature:

  • How to see and capture great B&W with your digital camera.
  • Post processing techniques to elevate your work to the highest level.
  • Tips and techniques for printing your images for archival endurance that will last generations.
  • A look at B&W film photography with the simplest way to process at home without a darkroom.
  • Specialized software that helps you explore new looks for your B&W photography.

This event is limited to 10 participants. It includes the all day presentations on January 9 with feedback on your images, 3 photo assignments with tutorials to help you prepare for each, online chats and checkins with the group, and unlimited access to DerrickStoryOnline before, during, and after the event.

Reservations are open now on a first-come, first served basis. Tuition is only $150 for the entire course. You can sign up now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

123 Sony announces it's getting into the drone game with its new 'Airpeak' brand

You can read the entire article here on DP Review.

Watch out, DJI. Sony Corporation announced today it is getting into the drone market under the brand name 'Airpeak.'

In a short press release, accompanied by the above teaser video, Sony says the Airpeak brand will 'reflect its aspiration to contribute to the further evolvement and the creation of the unprecedented value through its imaging and sensing technology.'

While Sony does hint at industrial purposes for its drones, the company specifically says the Airpeak brand 'will support the creativity of video creators to the fullest extent possible.'

Sony says the project will launch in spring of 2021. In the meantime, it will share information along the way and work on partnerships to test their products and get feedback from drone users. You can keep up with the latest updates on Sony's new Airpeak website.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

The Best Lenses for Videoconferencing

One of the problems with FaceTime cameras and some webcams is that the lenses are too wide. This forces the online participant to deal with lots of background, which isn't always easy in home environments. But thanks to new (and often free) webcam software from camera makers, we now have more lens options for our Zoom calls.

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After a great deal of testing, my conclusion is that lenses with the 35mm-40mm focal length are ideal for videoconference calls. They are wide enough to accommodate two people if necessary, they are not too tight on a single participant, yet they aren't too wide either, forcing one to clean an entire room.

Because of the crop factor for Micro Four Thirds, a 17mm-20mm optic is ideal, for APS-C cameras 20mm to 22mm are terrific, and for full frame bodies 35mm-40mm work great.

I recommend prime lenses whenever possible, enabling you to take advantage of their faster apertures. For example, my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 used wide open for videoconferencing work softens the background nicely, even if it's only a few feet behind me.

The faster aperture also makes it easier to deal with diffused lighting that's more flattering to the subject, but maybe not as bright.

One tip, regardless of which lens you use, is to put it in manual focus mode and leave it there. This enables you to adjust it for your face, preventing it from accidentally focusing on the background when you move around in the frame.

Using your digital camera for video conferencing has many advantages, and being able to choose a more manageable lens is at the top of the list.

The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing

If you want to learn more about looking and sounding great for your next online interaction, then I think you'll very much enjoy my online workshop, The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing.

This 1-hour deep dive focuses on the three major areas of successful online interaction: Audio, Video, and Environment. During the course, I walk you through a variety of techniques that range from using gear that you already have, to improving your chops through a few inexpensive purchases.

The course is available on our Nimble Photographer Workshop Page for $14.95.

I have tons of great tips and techniques waiting for you there. If you want to get serious about how you appear during online meetings, classes, interviews, and family interactions, then you definitely will want to watch this course.

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #763, Nov. 3, 2020. Today's theme is "An Illuminating Look at Lighting." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

How to adjust lighting for a person's face, whether it's yours or someone else's, is probably the single most important factor in determining success. In today's podcast, I'll cover techniques for both video and stills photography, to help us all present the best versions of one another. I hope you enjoy the show.

An Illuminating Look at Lighting

I think videoconferencing has prompted me to revisit a discussion about lighting. In a way, the last 6 months has been a tour de force in what not to do when lighting faces.

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I've seen a lot of harsh backlighting, unflattering side lighting without fill, and lights with no diffusion what so ever. Since many of the same rules for lighting people for video apply to still photography as well, I thought this would be a good time to review 5 techniques for better portraits, both online and otherwise.

  • Side Lighting vs Front Lighting - Light from the side increases texture while light from the front smooths it.
  • The Size of the Light Source Matters - Why are cloudy days better for portraits than laser beam sunshine? Because the clouds create a large light source compared to a pinpoint sun.
  • Distance Matters as Well - As the saying goes, the larger the light source the closer to the subject, the more flattering the rendering.
  • If You Can't Avoid Backlighting, Compensate for It - Your two best options are via exposure compensation or fill lighting.
  • Good Lighting Technique Reduces Post Production Time - If you're someone that likes to get it right in the camera, then these portrait techniques will save you tons of time in post.

One of my favorite questions during portrait shoots is, "Do you retouch the pictures as well?" My response is a confident, "We won't need to do that, just you wait and see." The subjects would be amazed at how good the pictures looked on the back of the camera. And the reason for that? Good lighting technique.

The Most Stress-Free and Straightforward Place to Sell Your Used Gear

You can read the entire article here on f-Stoppers.

Selling gear always makes me feel more nervous than buying it for some reason. It is also more of a hassle, not just because I have to pack and ship all the gear (that is generally unavoidable), but because I have to deal with things like increasing commission fees and the like. eBay has gotten ridiculous, in my opinion, as their final value fee now stands at 10%, meaning if I sell a lens for $2,000, $200 goes out the door to eBay. Sure, eBay should get some kind of commission, whether that is a flat fee or a percentage, but I personally feel that 10% is quite exorbitant for the service provided.

So, I started looking for alternative places to sell gear. There are a lot of dedicated groups for this sort of thing on Facebook, some particularly large. The one thing eBay always had going for it that Facebook does not, however, is a robust feedback system. This made it a bit easier to trust the process of selling to strangers, as I could immediately see if I was working with a trustworthy person.

So, what do I prefer? I use Fred Miranda's buy and sell forums. The site was founded in 2000 and features an extensive forum network, including a very active buy and sell forum. So, why do I like it over other options?

First, it is a buy and sell forum by photographers, for photographers. This means that as a buyer, you can find pretty much any bizarre, esoteric body or lens you want, along with the more standard fare, which is great for gear nerds and working professionals alike. And with hundreds of new posts a day, there is a steady flow of options. And thanks to the feedback system, it is easy to trust who you are dealing with. Sellers also generally do a good job of conservatively rating the quality of their gear so you know exactly what you are getting.

The best part, though, is the price. As I mentioned earlier, I left eBay because the commission fees had gotten out of control. Fred Miranda, on the other hand, does not charge any commissions for selling gear, only a flat fee to be a member of the buy and sell forum. The current price is $15 for 30 days, $29 for 3 months, $59 for a year, or $99 for two years, though you can buy things for free; only those who want to post items for sale need to pay for a membership. To me, it is easily worth what I save in commission fees alone, but the added bonuses of a robust community of professionals and dedicated amateurs looking to buy, sell, and trade equipment with other photographers make it, in my opinion, the most enjoyable and easy place to sell gear. I have personally never had a bad experience on the forum either as a buyer or a seller, and I have saved a lot of money by getting used gear I know I can trust when I need something.

The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing

If you want to learn more about looking and sounding great for your next online interaction, then I think you'll very much enjoy my online workshop, The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing.

This 1-hour deep dive focuses on the three major areas of successful online interaction: Audio, Video, and Environment. During the course, I walk you through a variety of techniques that range from using gear that you already have, to improving your chops through a few inexpensive purchases.

The course is available on our Nimble Photographer Workshop Page for $14.95.

I have tons of great tips and techniques waiting for you there. If you want to get serious about how you appear during online meetings, classes, interviews, and family interactions, then you definitely will want to watch this course.

This is what photos from a $6000 compact camera look like

You can read the entire article here on Digital Camera World.

After two years of waiting the Zeiss ZX1 compact camera is now available to pre-order. Costing $6,000 this camera with its fixed 35mm f/2 wide-angle lens justifies it high price tag with its designer looks, precision engineering, and its full-frame sensor. The camera also has a built-in Android computer operating system, which means it has Lightroom built in. But what do pictures taken with this luxury compact look like?

We have yet to get this camera for review, and we suspect that given the Zeiss ZX1 is only going on sale in Germany and the USA, that this unusual camera may be hard to find on sale when it actually goes on sale in November. But to give a taste of what this camera can do, Zeiss has handily provided sample images from three professional photographers who have been using the 37-megapixel Zeiss ZX1.

Featured are the images provided Swedish photographer Hans Strand, Hungarian born Csaba Desvari, and LA-based music shooter Greg Watermann

Updates and Such

The Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop Begins Its Second Week

Our sold out Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment this week.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community. Soon, I will announce our next event. If you want to be a part of this, keep your eye peeled.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

It's more important now than ever - presenting the best version of yourself online has become an essential skill of 2020 (and beyond). And I can help you with that: The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing.

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In this 1-hour instructional movie, I cover three important aspects of videoconferencing: audio, video, and environment. I show you a variety of techniques to up your game, often using tools that you already have. If you want to be more effective in your next team meeting, online, class, job interview, or family gathering, then spend an hour with me learning these essential steps.

The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing is available for $14.95. After purchase, you will receive the download link and password for the online tutorial. You can watch it as many times as you wish, for as long as you wish.

Improve your online presence today!

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