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The Evolution of Camera WiFi


Built-in camera WiFi has evolved from novelty to useful.

Two factors have improved this experience. First, cameras are able to establish their own hotspots and not depend on an existing WiFi networks. This provides much more flexibility. And second, companion apps that run on mobile devices now interact more smoothly with the cameras and provide a variety of functions.

In my latest Macworld Magazine article, How to use Wi-Fi for an expert photo workflow, I detail the workflow I used to cover CES in Las Vegas, using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Canon 70D with their respective iOS apps running on an iPhone 5S and iPad mini with Retina Display.

A few years ago, I would gather information and photos during the day, then go back to my hotel room at night to process and publish. Now, the expectation is to publish over the course of the day. Camera WiFi and improved mobile hardware and software make realtime reporting feasible.

Show organizers and cellular providers also helped our cause by improving the networks at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As a result, I was able to shoot, edit, and publish at the event.

If you find this stuff interesting, then take a look at How to use Wi-Fi for an expert photo workflow and see what you think.

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

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The folks over at In My Bag wanted to know what I wast packing in my Urban Reporter 150. So I laid it out for them, and added a new entry to the Nimble Photographer Fit Kit page.


Fit Kit 12 - Everyday Work Bag

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

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Yes, you can spend thousands upon thousands for a new Apple Mac Pro. But once you've finished the fun of seeing how high you can go, what's a reasonable configuration for working photographers?

I spent some time with the configurator and designed a system for less than $5,000. Yes, that's a lot of money. But I also included a new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display, thinking that most of us have outdated displays right now.

I started with the Quad-Core option (3.7GHz quad-core with 10MB of L3 cache). I increased the RAM memory from 12 to 16GBs. For storage, an upgrade was definitely needed since the default is only 256 GBs. (This is even the case if you start with the more expensive 6-Core and Dual GPU.) So I upgraded to 1TB of PCIe-based Flash storage. That costs $800 right there.

I left the graphics card alone - Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM - but did add the 27-inch Thunderbolt Display for $999. This raised the total price for the setup to $4,898.00.

Now it's true that you could buy the base unit for $2,999 with the 27" display for $999 and provide the upgrades yourself. In that case, your initial order is $3,998... with more expenditures to come.

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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

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 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 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 - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at

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 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

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 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 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

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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