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Win a Lowepro Pro Messenger 160 AW

Here's your chance to win a Lowepro Lowepro Pro Messenger Bag 160 AW.

Lowepro Pro Messenger 160 AW. You can win it!

This soft-sided bag has the feel of traditional canvas, but it's really a high-tech fabric that is more weather resistant and durable. Its handsome styling makes it the perfect urban bag for you DSLR or CSC kit. The Pro Messenger also includes a built-in All Weather cover for additional protection when the climate becomes hostile.

The rules to enter are simple. And you have three different ways to participate. (And yes, you can choose just one way, or do all three.)

Send me a tweet saying why you want this bag. Be sure to include the hashtags #ProMessenger and #Lowepro. Not on Twitter? No problem.

Share a photo of your current camera bag and why you need the Pro Messenger on Instagram. Add the hashtags #ProMessenger and #Lowepro.

Not on Twitter or Instagram? Just add a comment to this blog about how you'd use the bag if you won. I'll randomly select a winner on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The winner will be posted here and on the TDS Facebook page.

This contest is open internationally, but void where prohibited. One winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck!

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.

canon_55-250_is_zoom.jpg is offering the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens for $189.99 including filter and cleaning kit. This zoom features Canon's 4-stop compensation Image Stabilizer in a compact, lightweight package. Standard asking price is $299, so this is quite a deal.

Other features include f/4-5.6 maximum aperture, 7 diaphragm blades, one UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) lens element, and optimized Super Spectra lens coatings.

Terrific customer reviews too. It's a good choice for outdoor sports action and nature photography.

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.

The Annual Family Portrait

Having the family gather once a year for portrait is a wonderful way to record "that moment in time." When done annually, you create a historical record that documents the evolution of the family as well as a photograph that is pleasing to the eye. These images can also be used for holiday greeting cards and to hang in the wall in the gallery at home.

The Family Portrait

When children are involved, you usually have to work quickly. For this assignment, I used a Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, and a single flash fired by the CowboyStudio Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Triggerthat was hand held by one of the family members there to help.

We photographed for less than half an hour. And each "session" was just a few minutes long. Then we had to give the kids a break before regrouping. Keeping it simple is the only hope for success.

My approach is to find a great location, have an extra set of hands available, use a single fill light, and work quickly. The results? They can be quite beautiful, as well as a historical family record.

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.

Holiday photography is really just a type of event coverage, except that you usually know your subjects quite well. In this week's podcast I provide 10 tips to help you get great holiday photos while still enjoying the festivities.

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Flash is the Nov. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Nov. 30, 2012.

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

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

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Lots of good information on how to integrate all of your images, from your iOS devices to digital cameras, using Apple technology such as Photo Stream, iPhoto, and Aperture. This week, I join David Sparks and Katie Floyd on the Mac Power Users show to discuss photography workflow.

I cover iPhone photography, Photo Stream, iPhoto, Aperture, back up, and more during this 30 minute podcast. It's a good conversation with lots of tips. I think you'll enjoy it.

More 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!

The San Francisco International Auto Show features the latest cars from top manufacturers all over the world. Visitors can see 2013 models of their favorite brands, concept cars of the future, and historical classics, all under the shining lights of Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Lamborghini in Moscone Center Lamborghini in Moscone Center at SF Auto Show.

I packed my Olympus OM-D E-M5(currently $949 US) and the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 zoomto photograph these great cars and enjoy the atmosphere.

Grey Lambo Grey Lamborghini

One of the features that I really like for these types of assignments is the "live exposure compensation view" through the electronic viewfinder of the OM-D. Black cars one moment and white the next presents a real exposure challenge for capturing detail. All I have to do is rotate the top exposure compensation dial while looking the the EVF to get just the look I want. But it wasn't all cars I had to work with.

Andrew Bogut and David Lee with Boys Golden State Warriors players Andrew Bogut and David Lee signing autographs.

A guest appearance in the Kia booth by Golden State Warriors players Andrew Bogut and David Lee provided an opportunity to get both autographs and some fun portraits. Working in existing light only, the exposure compensation enabled me to capture a good rendering on their expressions.

Twilight over Yerba Buena Twilight over Yerba Buena in San Francisco.

Finally, when the day was done, I was able to get a good view of the sun setting over Yerba Buena (the area where Moscone Center is located in San Francisco) and capture a twilight shot of the city.

Just one camera and one zoom lens for an entire day of shooting.

Note: the San Francisco International Auto Show is open until 8 PM tonight if you're in the City. Admission is $9 for a single, or two for one if you have a friend.

Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.

Welcome to Black Friday: regardless of what day it is. Cyber Monday begins tomorrow, and will continue through the start of 2013. Retailers are ready for your hard-earned dollars. And it's not just the brick and mortars. We're receiving tons of promotional email. On average 5.9 offers a week from approved vendors. And it feels like more.

Building a Xmas Tree Assembling a Christmas Tree at an outdoor shopping center in Southern California.

If you think this is the point where I'm going to rant about the commercialism of the holidays, I'm not. That ship sailed long ago. In a challenging economy, everyone is trying to make a living, and the holidays are a chance for retailers to finally "run in the black" before the year is over.

That being said, I will be glad when it all settles down a bit. In the meantime, like everyone else, I'll sift through the shopping noise and try to find a few good deals for gifts.

But the real holiday treat is the increased opportunity for cultural photography -- crazed candids, radiator wreaths, decorated malls, candy cane houses, and more. There are compelling shots everywhere.

So don't be a Scrooge and miss out on the fun. Grab your camera, take some photos, and do what we do best: tell a story. My Instagram runith over.

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DP Review Picks 5 Top Compact Cameras


We were just talking about this last night at Thanksgiving with the family. Quite a few folks were asking about compact cameras and which ones I like. Well, DP Review has just made my job, and probably yours too, a lot easier.

In the article, Top 5 Compact Cameras, DP Review lists:

  • Canon PowerShot G15
  • Olympus XZ-2
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
  • Panasonic Lumix-DMC-ZS20
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100

I think these are great choices, especially the first two on the list. And if you have little ones new to your family, make sure you capture those moments. They are so very important.

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Instagram on the Web

Even though I knew about Instagram for a while, I didn't really get excited about it until I wanted to use it for sharing pictures while on my trip to Germany this past September. Once I started using it, I really got the bug.

Now the Instagram developers have made sharing images even easier by creating a web interface for each registered user of the app. So I can point anyone, even my mom, to this page so they can follow along as I document the things that catch my eye on a daily basis.

instagram_web_ds.jpg My Instagram web page automatically built for me. It's at

For me, Instagram is like a visual Twitter. I can capture one image that tells the story of something I experienced or saw that day. And like Twitter, I enjoy looking at the images by others just as much as I do creating my own.

You can download the iOS version of Instagram from the App Store for free. It's a great tool to help me keep my photo eye sharp. You can see my web page at

Excellent Review of the Pentax K-5 II

Pentax K5 II

Dollar for dollar, the Pentax K-5 II with kit zoom is a great value at $1,350. (I have a Pentax K-5 and love it.) Over at Photography Blog, they've posted a full review of the Pentax K-5 II that lets you explore all of its weather-sealed nooks and crannies.

If you're in the market for a high quality, all weather DSLR with lenses that won't break the bank, take a look. It's a gem of a camera.

The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.