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It's easy to create your own image effects in Aperture, complete with previews. Think of them as recipes that you can replicate time and time again "This is delicious! Can you make this again?" "Indeed I can!" Here's a "vintage look" that I use to soften the color and create a more timeless rendering.


The settings are easy: Set Vibrancy to -1, Saturation to 0.72, and Sepia Tone to .13 - plus I like to add a little Devignette too. Use the "Add Adjustment" popup menu to include any of these settings that might not already appear in your Adjustments Inspector.

Then go to the Effects popup menu, to the right of Add Adjustment, and select Save as Effect from the menu. By doing so, you'll jump over to the Edit menu with an "Untitled Effect" added to the list (that is holding the image adjustments you've used for the photo). Give your new effect a name and hit Return. Then drag it to the group of effects where you'd like it to reside.


In my case, I called this effect "Vintage 2" and added it to my Color set. I can now preview this effect on any image by simply mousing over its name to generate a smaller popup with the effect applied. If I like the way it looks on a different photo, I simply click on the effect name, and presto!

You can create as many effects as you wish. So, if you stumble up a good look while image editing, save it as an effect. You can then apply it to other images up the road.

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.

Canon PowerShot N to the Rescue?

In my recent TechHive article titled, Can Canon save the point and shoot?, I noted that compact camera sales have languished over the last two years.

Canon PowerShot N Canon aims to shake up the point and shoot market with a truly unique camera.

I think there are three primary reasons for the doldrums.

  • Money is tight and consumers probably already have an older camera around the house.
  • Tantalizing smart phones such as the iPhone and Galaxy S have terrific cameras; good enough to be seen as replacements for aging compacts.
  • Point and Shoots were not innovating. This year's model looked just like last year's.

My guess is that Canon started working on the PowerShot N a couple years ago when the decline began. What they came up with is innovative, attractive, functional, and refreshing. The PowerShot N complements your mobile photography; it doesn't compete with it.

It features a powerful 28-224mm optical zoom, 12 MP sensor, touchscreen LCD that flips open, one button WiFi connectivity to your mobile device, stunning creative filters that can automatically be applied, and it's "shirt pocket" small.

It looks different than every other compact on the planet, and once paired with the Canon CameraWindow app for iOS or Android, will help you post more impressive images on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter.

I've already preordered the PowerShot N in black for $299 to use for my mobile photography. I'll let you know when I receive it, hopefully in April as planned.

For more details about the camera itself, check out my TechHive article.

Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography.


My MacBook Pro Retina Display screen didn't like my existing cleaning cloths. All I would get smear instead of clear. In fact the only thing that worked at all was the small cloth Apple included in the kit. So my quest began for a nice, large microfiber cloth that worked on all of my Retina displays, including the MacBook Pro.

My salvation was realized at CES. Over at the Klear Screen booth they introduced me to the Klear Screen DMT Antimicrobial Microfiber Cloth for $9.95. Unlike my existing Klear Screen cloths, this one has two distinct textures. That extra "tooth" is what I needed to get the gunk off my super glossy MacBook Pro screen. And the big size is much easier to work with than the small Apple cleaning cloth.

The DMT works great on the iPad and iPhone too. As a bonus, the antimicrobial treated cloth is designed to eliminate up to 99 percent of the bacteria inside the cloth after cleaning a surface. I'll take it!

I keep the Klear Screen DMT Microfiber Cloth in my backpack and now have shiny, clean screens on all my devices. It's the small things in life that make it better.

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Fujifilm has tempted me since initially releasing the X10. Now they've done it again with the X20.

DPReview just published their Fujifilm X20 hands-on preview, and it looks like my temptation will become even more intense.

I spent some time with the Fujifilm X20 at CES and was reminded of just how handsome and capable this compact camera is. Inside its die-cast magnesium body is a new 12MP 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor coupled to a Fujinon 28-112mm f/2-2.8 zoom lens. Fuji's sensor is larger than much of its competition, including the Canon G15 and Panasonic LX7 that both use 1/1.7" chips.

In terms of use, the X20 now features an advanced optical zooming viewfinder that has an information overlay so you can see the current exposure settings while composing the shot. This is well implemented, and a welcome upgrade to the x10's viewfinder, which was good to begin with.

But what really brings all of these specs to life is the look and feel of the camera. It is flat-out handsome, and feels solid and competent in the hand. This quality comes at a price. You can preorder either the black, or the new silver and black model pictured here, for $599 at B&H Photo. Considering the specs I mentioned earlier, plus the Intelligent Hybrid AF System, full HD 1080 video at 60fps, RAW capture, built-in film filters, and more, this camera is a quality investment for photographers looking for a capable all-in-one camera to complement their DSLR kit.

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Micro Four Thirds Lenses on Display

I found this display of micro four thirds lenses by a variety of manufacturers in the Panasonic booth at CES, and I thought that some of you would appreciate how this catalog of glass has grown recently.


How many of these do you have?

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Polaroid was showing off their new Android-based camera at the Pepcom Digital Experience on the eve of CES 2013. Aimed at snapshooters, this CSC features a 10-30mm zoom with a 3.4" touchscreen LCD, powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.

Polaroid Android Camera

Yes, you can load apps and access the Internet via the camera's built-in WiFi radio. The performance for the demo model, however, was a bit sluggish. And it did crash once during testing.

Android Based Polaroid

A very unique feature is the location of the sensor: it's in the lens. No need to worry about dust and contaminates because the sensor is never exposed.

CPU in the Lens

Estimated price will be $349. Based on what I saw, I can't recommend it, even though it costs less than other system cameras. The fit and finish of the components was less than stellar, the OS felt unstable, and I'm just not sure about the lens design.

We'll see what others report. But for the time being, this seems more like a novelty item rather than a legitimate photographic tool.

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We're seeing WiFi in our cameras more and more. The new Samsung NX300 and Canon PowerShot N are two recent examples. Then we jump over to the mirrorless bandwagon, which is getting quite crowded. I then wrap up with my preparations for CES 2013 in Las Vegas.

Story #1 - WiFi in Your Camera. One of the trends that we will see in 2013 is that more cameras will have Wi-Fi built-in. We've seen it at the DSLR level, with the Canon 6D and others, and now we're going to see it more at The compact system camera level and even compacts.

A current example is the Samsung NX300, a 3-D capable 20 megapixel mirrorless camera that also has dual-channel Wi-Fi built-in.

Why would you want this? Well, yes, you can connect directly to online sharing sites. But this could still be easier. I think the real use for Wi-Fi in our cameras will be to connect with our other devices, actually. You can share pictures with your smart phone or your computer or your tablet, do your editing, and then upload from there.

Story #2 - Acceptance of Mirrorless Cameras. The bandwagon is starting to get a little crowded. More and more big-name photographers are suddenly stating their love for Compact System Cameras and saying that DSLRs are on their way out.

And even though it's great to see my philosophy that's over two years old finally being accepted, I can tell you right now that DSLRs are here to stay also. It's not a matter of one type of camera replacing another. It's more about having a greater variety of tools for the different situations we face.

So if you're thinking about embracing mirrorless cameras in 2013, that's great! I love them so much. But at the same time, please keep your current to DSLR system. Don't sell it. There's a place in your photography for both types of cameras.

Story #3 - Packing for CES. Speaking of Compact System Cameras, for CES I am taking a Lowepro Photo Hatchback with my Olympus OM-D and Olympus Pen mini with five lenses. I'll also have a full size iPad and an iPad mini. And to make typing easier, I'll be using the Brydge Bluetooth Keyboard for the full-size iPad. All of this fits easily and my Lowepro Photo Hatchback bag: two camera bodies, two iPads, five lenses, a flash headphones, and a few personal items. I'm looking forward to reporting on the event from Las Vegas.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (26 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

The January 2013 photo assignment is Self Timer.

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.

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.

During the first day of press events at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, we're seeing a number of gadget mashups. A primary ingredient is mobility. It seems to spice up to everything from cameras to laptops to cars.

A good example on display at the CES Unvieled event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel is the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix that represents the fusion of laptop and tablet.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix being demonstrated at CES Unveiled.

The device is built around an 11.6" touchscreen tablet with 1080p resolution, Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of solid state storage. Lenovo chose to use Windows 8 Pro as the OS rather than the mobile version of the operating system. And when you dock the tablet to the keyboard, it both charges (via the second battery) and supercharges (via overclocking the processor) the tablet. The Helix can be used in a variety of configurations for work, display, and portability.

KickStarter Projects on Display The Urban Hello needs your support...

Another area of convergence is how we're doing business. KickStarter projects such as the Urban Hello phone that connects itself instantly to any internet gateway for home phone service. What's interesting to me is that the Urban Hello won a CES Innovations award, yet the fundraising has just begun to actually produce it.

There's going to be lots more to report around these themes, including the convergence of mobile technologies and photography. So stay tuned...

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Shooting video is a lot more fun than editing it. If you're one of those photographers who never took the iMovie dive, you might want to get your feet wet with iMovie for iOS and an iPad.

"Surfacing" was edited, produced, and shared solely on an iPad 3 running iMovie for iOS.

The $4.99 app available in the iTunes App Store is a great introduction to the power of non-linear video editing. You can trim, add transitions, move clips, add titles, manage sound tracks, and share your finished product online. By way of example, here's a short movie titled Surfacing, where all post production work was accomplished on an iPad 3 running iMovie.

I recommend that you use the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit to copy digital camera video to the iPad, then spend 30 minutes or so playing with it in iMovie. Apple provides a comprehensive Help Site to get you up to speed quickly.

Who ever thought that getting an iPad would finally get you into movie editing?

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For the Nov. 2012 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters shined a light on their favorite subjects. See for yourself in our gallery, Flash. And which one will be the SizzlPix Photo Assignment Pick of the Month?


"I was so excited when you announced flash was the contest for this month. As wedding photographers, we often shoot in low light and rely on flash to capture spectacular images, including light paintings," wrote Jennifer Rhoades. "This was shot in pitch black. Laurie and Blake wanted a shot in front of the Memphis Zoo, but it was 9pm! I put two SB-910s behind them pointing left and right, and my assistant held a 24 inch softbox above their heads. The image was shot with a D800 and a 16-35 f4 VR." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Flash gallery page.

Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Jan. 2013 assignment is "Self Timer." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2012.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Jan 2013." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting Nov. 2012 at the end of Dec., the Dec. gallery will be posted at the end of Jan., and on and on.

Good luck with your Jan. assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for November.

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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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