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This is The Digital Story Podcast #782, March 16, 2021. Today's theme is "Do I Really Need All Those Photo Subscriptions?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

A reminder for my upcoming SmugMug subscription renewal arrived yesterday saying that I could lock-in the low rate of $85 if I pay for an entire year. Since the pandemic, I haven't used SmugMug once because I'm not doing client shoots. And it got me thinking about the rest of my annual charges. I think it's time to take stock of all my photo sharing subscriptions. And that's the focus of today's TDS Photography Podcast. I hope you enjoy the show.

Tune-In Via Your Favorite Podcast App!


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Do I Really Need All Those Photo Subscriptions?

I think part of what I had to deal with concerning this project was acknowledging that I'm not the same photographer I was at the beginning of 2020. Most of my assignments are created by me for my blog posts, LinkedIn Learning trainings, Medium articles, and workshops.

Smugmug-gallery.jpg

I really don't need models anymore because I still can't interact with them, and I don't need sites to manage online galleries for those models and clients. Things have really changed. And the SmugMug renewal notice brought all of this home.

So here's what I've been working on. The subscriptions I've decided to discontinue, I've been downloading all of my content off them in preparation to end the service. I had to start this ahead of time to allow the days required to ensure I got everything.

Looking back over the last 10 years of work, I was amazed at how much content I had online. With SmugMug, for example, it was gallery after gallery that I downloaded. But I did so one at a time so I could organize the work on my backup hard drive. I just chip away at it while working on other projects.

So, what did I keep, and what did I let go? Let's take a look.

  • SmugMug - Let Go $85 a year - I really like SmugMug, and it was my go-to service for client password-protected galleries. Their organization, features list, and rendering are terrific. But I just don't do that work anymore, and it doesn't make sense to pay them $85 a year to archive that content. I've moved it all offline on to my backup hard drives.
  • Flicker Pro - Keep $59 a year - Fortunately, SmugMug bought Flickr, so they still get some of my money. I'm keeping Flickr because it's cheaper, more versatile, and I have a deeper history of images there. Plus, we have the TDS Online Community on Flickr that I love, and draw images from for the TDS Member Photo of the Day. Flickr stays. (You might want to check out The Digital Story Public Group on Flickr where we have more than 80,000 images by TDS members. It's great!)
  • Adobe Photography Plan (20GB) - Keep $9.99 a month - I like Lightroom and love having access to the latest Adobe photography features with this plan. I don't keep it for the storage, rather for the apps. And I appreciate them keeping the price stable over the years.
  • Model Mayhem - Let Go $35 every 6 months - I have met many terrific people via Model Mayhem and hundreds of wonderful photographs have resulted. But again, my life is different now. I ended my subscription.
  • Dropbox Plus 2TB - Keep $119 a year - Even though Dropbox is more than a photography plan, I use it mainly for that. And because of its versatility and popularity, it has keep its relevance even in this new chapter of my career. My online clients use it, and I need it as much as ever.
  • iCloud 2TB - Keep $9.99 a month - If I had to keep just one cloud storage service, it would be iCloud. Since I'm in the Apple ecosystem, this services manages all the work I do on my Mac, including my photos. I wish they had a level in-between 200 GB (which isn't enough) and 2 TB (which gives me lots of head room). Regardless, it's a keeper for me.

So, I've managed to trip 1/3 of my services in 2021. I'll review everything again in 2022 and go from there. Who knows what my world will be like by then?

The Vanagon is Gone!

I know this is a story near and dear to many hearts in our community, but I've sold the Vanagon that I used for workshops over the years, a vehicle filled with 20 years of fond memories.

I've been working on it since that one miserable hot summer day a few years back when I had to have it towed from SF to Santa Rosa. I had feared that she died that day. But like a Phoenix from the ashes, she came back to full functionality. Of course, this included hours of my sweat equity combined with a few trips to Hans in Sebastopol.

And on the day that I handed over the pink slip to a young German pre-med student and his girlfriend, she was running like a top. I honestly had a lump in my throat watching her drive away.

Fortunately, Vanagons retain an excellent resale value on the used market, and the cash payment for my 1990 will be a sizable part of the downpayment for my new all-electric VW ID.4 5 passenger SUV.

This begins a new chapter in my road trip adventures. I'll be using the ID.4 for upcoming workshops and my ongoing exploration of the world.

I placed my reservation back in February, and was able to place the order just last week. So the new car is currently being built, and I should be behind the wheel by late April. I'll keep you posted!

Adobe Photoshop's 'Super Resolution' Made My Jaw Hit the Floor

You can read the entire article on Petapixel.

Adobe just dropped its latest software updates via the Creative Cloud and among those updates is a new feature in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) called "Super Resolution." You can mark this day down as a major shift in the photo industry.

I have seen a bit of reporting out there on this topic from the likes of PetaPixel and Fstoppers, but other than that the ramifications of this new feature in ACR have not been widely promoted from what I can see. The new Super Resolution feature in ACR essentially upsizes the image by a factor of four using machine learning, i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What does this mean practically? Well, I immediately tested this out and was pretty shocked by the results. Though it might be hard to make out in the screenshot below, I took the surfing image shown below, which was captured a decade ago with a Nikon D700 -- a 12MP camera -- and ran the Super Resolution tool on it and the end result is a 48.2MP image that looks to be every bit as sharp (if not sharper) than the original image file. This means that I can now print that old 12MP image at significantly larger sizes than I ever could before.

What this also means is that anyone with a lower resolution camera, i.e. the current crop of 24MP cameras, can now output huge image files for prints or any other usage that requires a higher resolution image file. In the three or four images I have run through this new feature in Photoshop I have found the results to be astoundingly good.

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.

Virtual Camera Club News

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

Second Session of Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow Online Workshop - April 21 to May 15, 2021: The first session of "Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow" Online Workshop has sold out. But now I've posted a second session that begins April 21, 2021. If you're interested in attending, just go to catalog page.

My Writing on Medium.com: I now have more than 25 published articles on Medium.com. And if you haven't visited the site, and enjoy good writing on a variety of topics, I suggest that you may want to take a look. You can just go to the home page and enter "Derrick Story" in the search field. And if you like what you read, then follow me!

EV Explorers for Those Who Are Interested in Electric Cars: I've created a new group on DerrickStoryOnline titled EV Explorers. The tagline for this group is: "Bringing Curiosity and Nimbleosity to the World of Electric Vehicle Transportation." Here we can share information, tips, discoveries and more about using electric vehicles for our photography adventures. If you want to join this group, click on this link for an invite. We're going to keep this as a private group for now, but you are invited to join us.

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.

Infrared photography is a great way to see the world with new eyes. I've been having a lot of fun shooting with my Fujifilm X100V camera and the Hoya R72 Infrared Filter. The workflow is easy, and I'm going to share the steps here for an X100 or any other digital camera that passes the IR test.

C1P-DSCF2355-X100V-R72.jpeg "Palm Trees and Apartments" - Fujifilm X100V camera with Hoya R72 Infrared Filter, ISO 640 (via Auto ISO), f/2.0, 1/15th, Auto White Balance, Acros+R B&W film simulation, Jpeg mode. Photo by Derrick Story.

What Cameras Can Shoot Infrared?

One of the reasons I use the X100V is because it easily passed my IR test. Simply take your TV remote controller, point it at the camera in Live View mode, and press the power button to send an IR beam to the camera. If you digicam displays a bright dot on the LCD, then you're in business. The brighter the dot, the better.

Set the Camera to B&W Mode

Yes, you can shoot color IR, but that's a whole different ballgame. To get started, I recommend choosing a B&W mode on your camera. For the X100V, I like Acros+Red. You'll be able to preview the infrared effect in live view on the LCD or in the EVF if you have one. You can capture in Jpeg mode.

Put the Hoya R72 on the Camera

You'll want a bright day for this photo shoot. If you have clouds in the sky with blue, all the better. Set the camera on Auto ISO and let it climb as high as ISO 6400. With the R72 filter, which is quite dense, your shutter speeds will be around 1/15th at f/2, or something in that neighborhood depending on your camera's sensitivity, ISO setting, and maximum aperture. Start taking pictures! Don't hesitate to review the image after capture to help you compose the next shot.

Additional Thoughts

One of the things that I like about the X100V for this assignment is that I can switch back and forth between the optical viewfinder and the EVF. It's easier to compose with the optical when the R72 filter is attached.

Look for scenes where infrared shines. Plant foliage against a blue sky with puffy clouds are great. But I also like buildings with landscape, streets, paths, and anything that gives me the contrast that I want. It's whole new world.

There is so much more to infrared photography, including working at different parts of the spectrum with cameras that have been modified. But you don't need that to get started. If you like what you get with the R72, then you can continue your journey with additional gear.

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.

Just this morning there's an update to Capture One Pro 21 (officially 14.1) that includes a new feature called the import browser. And I love it!

C21-Import-Browser-1600.jpg

Instead of copying the contents from a memory card and thinning out the shoot afterwards, this new feature makes it easy to only choose the shots you want to bring into the application.

Just click on the Viewer icon in the upper left corner. The Import dialog screen now features a big, beautiful browser that provides a detailed look at the images on the memory card. Use the arrow keys to navigate from one image to the next, and keyboard shortcuts to mark the ones you want to bring into the app.

Importing pictures just became a lot more enjoyable (and efficient).

Capture One Pro 21.1 is a free upgrade for C1P 21 users. A free trail is available at the Capture One Pro home page.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #781, March 9, 2021. Today's theme is "A Growing Interest in Fixed-Lens Cameras" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Whether it's a super-compact Sony RX-100, a handsome Canon G5X, or a posh Leica Q2, fixed-lens cameras are more and more part of the conversation among photographers who want to combine imaging power with portability. On today's show, we'll examine some of the thinking behind their popularity and my recommendations if you're in the market for one yourself. I hope you enjoy the show.

Tune-In Via Your Favorite Podcast App!


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Apple Podcasts -- Spotify Podcasts -- Stitcher

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A Growing Interest in Fixed-Lens Cameras

One of the most popular questions during the recent iPhone Pro Workshop was inquires about great fixed lens cameras to complement an advanced smartphone (itself a fixed-lens device). The thinking being, I really like my iPhone, but I also want an excellent digital camera. And if I don't have to buy a bunch of lenses and accessories, I can spend a bit more on the camera itself.

Sony-RX1.jpg

That perfectly reasonable thinking. Another viewpoint was" "I already have an interchangeable lens system that I like. I don't plan on starting over. But I would like a more compact camera for those times I don't want to lug my system around." Yet another common sense approach.

There is something appealing about a camera that only needs a spare battery as a accessory. It's easy to grab on the way out the door, stash in your jacket pocket, and call it a day.

Plus, there are some great cameras to choose from. Here are my five favorite fixed lens models, ranging from the most expensive to downright affordable.

  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II $3,298 - The Sony RX1R gets the nod over the Leica Q2 because of its more versatile 35mm Zeiss lens (compared to 28mm), lower price tag (compared to $4,995), and tilting LCD. This is a beautiful full frame 42MP camera that will be used and cherished for years to come.
  • Fujifilm X100V $1,399 - I think Fujifilm comes closest to the Leica rangefinder look and feel of any competitor, but without the steep price tag. Start with the Hybrid 0.52x OVF with 3.69m-Dot OLED EVF, add an impressive 35mm equivalent f/2 lens, tilting LCD, and a 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 Sensor, and you have an impressive work of art that happens to take great pictures.
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII $1,298 - If you want a more versatile zoom, then the RX100 is a top quality choice. Its 24-200mm Zeiss optic has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the wide end. Plus you get a 20.1MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor, popup EVF, tilting LCD, and Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Phase-Detection Points - all packed into a compact package that you can stash in your front jeans pocket.
  • Ricoh GR III Digital Camera with GW-4 Wide Conversion Lens Kit $1,149 - This super-compact and discreet GRIII provides plenty of punch with its 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a fast f/2.8 28mm prime lens with image stabilization. You don't get a tilting LCD or integrated flash, but you do get an accessory 21mm wide lens for some very exciting imagery, especially in the urban environment.
  • Canon PowerShot G5 X $899 This handsome, compact Canon is a great deal. For $700, you get a 20.2MP 1" CMOS sensor, 24-120mm zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the wide end, terrific image stabilization, tilting LCD and pop up EVF, plus in-camera charging. -

Canon-G5X.jpg

There are other excellent contenders such as the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II ($797) that didn't make the top five for features such as a fixed LCD, that may not be an issue for you. Any of these choices would make an excellent single-camera companion to your smartphone, and provide lots of enjoyment along the way.

My Writing on Medium.com

I now have more than 25 published articles on Medium.com. And if you haven't visited the site, and enjoy good writing on a variety of topics, I suggest that you may want to take a look. You can just go to the home page and enter "Derrick Story" in the search field. And if you like what you read, then follow me!

Second Session of Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow Online Workshop - April 21 to May 15, 2021

The first session of "Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow" Online Workshop has sold out. But now I've posted a second session that begins April 21, 2021.

If you're interested in attending, just go to catalog page.

In this workshop you will explore:

  • Working with just one digital camera and an iPhone.
  • Taking advantage of a versatile fast prime lens on your digital camera and using iPhone for additional focal lengths.
  • Perfecting a RAW workflow with the iPhone.
  • Leveraging Apple ProRAW for those who have iPhone 12 Pro.
  • Building a kit that allows you to travel lighter without compromising capability.
  • Post processing tips and techniques using Photos on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Investigating other software and workflows to augment your imaging prowess.

You can sign up by visiting the workshop catalog page.

Sennheiser MKE 200 review

You can read the entire article on Digital Camera World.

The Verdict: The Sennheiser MKE 200 is an instant upgrade microphone that will level up your camera or smartphone audio recording. For novices looking to match it with their mobile, Sennheiser doesn't offer the suite of solutions Shure does with the pricier MV88+ -- a mount, mini tripod, and an app to manage audio recording. What saves the MKE 200, therefore, other than its value is that it also doubles up as a DSLR or mirrorless camera microphone, and works a treat at improving audio capture at a relatively low cost.

Pros: Instantly upgrades audio capture quality, Battery-free solution, Smartphone and camera support. Cons: Confusing front to back design, No on-body gain control.

Compact, the Sennheiser MKE 200 weighs just 48g, and measures 69 x 60 x 39mm. No batteries required, it's a plug and record solution, and it's totally fuss-free. There aren't any gain control settings on the mic, it's available in black and black alone, and the one visual flourish comes in the form of its blue coiled cables.

The Sennheiser MKE 200 attaches to a cold shoe adapter, which makes it ideal for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Smartphone users will want to pick it up with a phone mount sporting one, so factor that into the cost of your microphone setup. Alternatively, you can thread the mic onto a tripod, so if you have a dual tripod mount, you could also be sorted.

EV Explorers for Those Who Are Interested in Electric Cars

I've created a new group on DerrickStoryOnline titled EV Explorers. The tagline for this group is: "Bringing Curiosity and Nimbleosity to the World of Electric Vehicle Transportation." Here we can share information, tips, discoveries and more about using electric vehicles for our photography adventures.

If you want to join this group, click on this link for an invite. We're going to keep this as a private group for now, but you are invited to join us.

I'll be sharing my story of going through the process of buying the VW ID.4. We're also going to talk about travel tips with EVs, and the different models available in 2021 including Tesslas, the Ford Mustang Mach, the Bolt EUV, and emerging car manufacturers as well.

As the group and our knowledge grows, we'll see where this takes us. I'm sure we'll have meetups and workshops that focus both on EV travel and photography. I have secured the domain EVexplorer.com if a dedicated website seems appropriate. Really, there is no limit to this.

The bottom line is that we've been a part of the photography revolution that has moved us to smartphones and mirrorless cameras. Now it's time for the automobile revolution to get us where we want to go without killing the very planet we want to enjoy.

If this sounds appealing to you, then join us at EV Explorers.

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.

Virtual Camera Club News

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 #780, March 2, 2021. Today's theme is "My Impressions of Online Workshops" I'm Derrick Story.

Workshop-2.jpg

Opening Monologue

Having just completed my fourth online workshop since the pandemic began, I'm starting to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. In today's TDS Podcast, I share my recent experiences and look forward to the evolution of how photographers will work together in the future. I hope you enjoy the show.


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My Impressions of Online Workshops

It was 8:30 AM this past Saturday morning when I sat down at the iMac that rests on a folding table in what used to be my portrait room at the studio. Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, I began the sequence of checking network download and upload speeds, USB audio, camera settings, and Zoom itself. By 8:45 I was feeling relatively confident that I was prepared for a day of workshop presentations.

At 8:55, the first handful of participants began to appear in my Zoom window. At this point, folks are often adjusting their cameras, organizing their work surface, and preparing for the day ahead.

Like any live performance, nobody knows exactly what to expect. Each photographer has 8 images to present and discuss. But in addition to that anticipation, there are a myriad of technical considerations that have to work well for the day to be a success.

And indeed it was! By 3 PM everyone had shared their work and we settled in to a few minutes of relaxed conversation. You could tell there was a shared sense of accomplishment, not only for the presentations themselves, but for the fact that we pulled off this magical experience with participants from California, to Florida, and across the pond - all at the same time.

We talked about the nature of workshops going forward. And most of us, myself included, believe that the online experience is here to stay. Maybe it would be exactly in the form that it is right now, but there are many good takeaways that can be applied to our work going forward.

Based on those experiences, here's my impression of online workshops and the path going forward.

  • We're All Better at Zoom - One of the improvements to come out of 2020 is the higher quality of interactions online. Lighting, audio, and timing have improved greatly with Zoom meetings.
  • People Who Could Never Attend Our Workshops Before Can Now - The financial investment is radically different when you consider travel costs, lodging, and meals. And because online events are far more affordable, I'm meeting community members that I might not have otherwise.
  • More Time for Instruction and Photo Assignments - We might not be in exotic locations, but the tradeoff is we have more time to work on our assignments, and get feedback along the way.
  • Meeting People on Zoom is Different than in Person, However - On one hand, it's fun seeing the different home environments, on the other, there's still nothing like sitting around a big table and sharing a meal.
  • We Now Have an Online Space for Our Workshops - I would like to think that at some point I would have created DerrickStoryOnline, but the fact is that I had not until the Pandemic.

Moving forward, I'm really excited about our events. We now have a well-oiled machine for those topics that work great online. Plus, I can add a whole new dimension to our physical events with Zoom preparation meetings, online sharing, and post-workshop follow up.

I must admit, I'm a little surprised at this silver lining for our workshop gatherings. And I think the 2022 season is going to be fantastic as a result.

Follow Up Note: One of our recent workshop participants, William Porter, posted a review of the TDS iPhone event on his blog. If you would like a user perspective, check out IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. Cheers!

Second Session of Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow Online Workshop - April 21 to May 15, 2021

The first session of "Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow" Online Workshop has sold out. But now I've posted a second session that begins April 21, 2021.

If you're interested in attending, just go to catalog page.

In this workshop you will explore:

  • Working with just one digital camera and an iPhone.
  • Taking advantage of a versatile fast prime lens on your digital camera and using iPhone for additional focal lengths.
  • Perfecting a RAW workflow with the iPhone.
  • Leveraging Apple ProRAW for those who have iPhone 12 Pro.
  • Building a kit that allows you to travel lighter without compromising capability.
  • Post processing tips and techniques using Photos on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Investigating other software and workflows to augment your imaging prowess.

You can sign up by visiting the workshop catalog page.

The Best Cloud Storage Platforms for Photographers in 2021

You can read the entire article on Petapixel.

As another year of taking photos rolls on, having enough storage is yet another thing on every photographer's checklist. Thanks to the cloud, we can have another layer of security and enjoy the convenience of accessing our photos anywhere as long as we have an Internet connection.

Those who are frequently using free cloud storage platforms as an extra back-up may already know that they will soon have one less option. Google Photos will stop providing unlimited free photo back-ups on June 21st. Past the 15 GB mark, you'll need to pay for a Google One subscription starting at $1.99 per month for 100 GB. If you need more space, you can get 200 GB for $2.99 per month, 2 TB for $9.99 per month, and 30 TB for $149 per month.

The lowest tier doesn't sound so bad until you get to the part that apart from photos, other files like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms will also be counted in the storage caps starting on June 1st. If you're a heavy user of these platforms and frequently store your photos, or if you need them for a secure long-term backup of your entire photo archive, you will likely find yourself needing to purchase extra space through the years.

If you don't need that much space yet or just need a temporary back-up for your extra photos, of course, there are still some remaining free options. We say temporary because these free services come with caveats like file type limitations and small storage allocation. Still, a good number of these platforms also offer options for upgrades once you're ready to pay for extra space and useful features.

EV Explorers for Those Who Are Interested in Electric Cars

I've created a new group on DerrickStoryOnline titled EV Explorers. The tagline for this group is: "Bringing Curiosity and Nimbleosity to the World of Electric Vehicle Transportation." Here we can share information, tips, discoveries and more about using electric vehicles for our photography adventures.

If you want to join this group, click on this link for an invite. We're going to keep this as a private group for now, but you are invited to join us.

I'll be sharing my story of going through the process of buying the VW ID.4. We're also going to talk about travel tips with EVs, and the different models available in 2021 including Tesslas, the Ford Mustang Mach, the Bolt EUV, and emerging car manufacturers as well.

As the group and our knowledge grows, we'll see where this takes us. I'm sure we'll have meetups and workshops that focus both on EV travel and photography. I have secured the domain EVexplorer.com if a dedicated website seems appropriate. Really, there is no limit to this.

The bottom line is that we've been a part of the photography revolution that has moved us to smartphones and mirrorless cameras. Now it's time for the automobile revolution to get us where we want to go without killing the very planet we want to enjoy.

If this sounds appealing to you, then join us at EV Explorers.

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.

Virtual Camera Club News

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.

Why Olympus Matters

I just read a good post on Digital Camera World titled, 5 reasons why you should care what happens to Olympus!. The article makes some good points and is worth a read. And it got me thinking about my own experiences.

P6174170.jpeg

I've been covering photography for a long time, and I can tell you that Olympus cameras occupy a niche that would be hard to replace by another brand. If OM Digital Solutions fails, we will feel the pain, especially those who want to travel light.

The Micro Four Thirds approach to camera design is a sweet spot for travel and wildlife photography. The sensor is big enough, especially combined with today's technology, to produce stunning results. But it's also small enough to allow powerful, yet compact optics to be used.

One of my favorite examples is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO that has an equivalent focal length of 80-300mm. It is the only telephoto that I use because I can pack it anywhere, it has a fast constant aperture of f/2.8, and the images it produces are beautiful. Combine this optic with the sensor-based stabilization that's in every Olympus body, and you have an incredibly powerful package. It's affordable too.

olympus-40-150.jpg

My current Olympus that goes everywhere with me is the ultra compact OM-D E-M10 Mark III that you can get for $549. It has every feature that I need including in-body 5-axis image stabilization, 4K video, EVF, tilting LCD, and UHS-II compatibility in a camera that fits easily in my jacket pocket. If you want a real treat, add the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom.

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There are other cameras that I use and enjoy (Fujifilm, Nikon, Pentax), but none of them fill the niche that my Olympus PEN-F, E-M1 Mark II, and E-M10 Mark III do. And there are further innovations to come from OM Digital Solutions that will enhance this experience.

People ask me if I still recommend Olympus cameras. For photographers who need the features that Olympus excels at: absolutely yes. I can't image photography without them.

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 #779, Feb. 23, 2021. Today's theme is "Exploring the World of Electric Vehicles and Photography" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Going back to our roots in nimble photography, the thinking has always been, "travel lightly and take only pictures." Now, as we begin to think about post-pandemic exploration, the world of electric vehicles has become very interesting. And combining emissions-free travel with nimble photography feels like a match made in heaven. I hope you enjoy the show.

Exploring the World of Electric Vehicles and Photography

Like many of the lightening bolts that have struck me, this concept is the result of ideas and situations. Today I'm going to explain how this all came about, and where it's going from here.

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I've been interested in EV for some time. Many of you know that I'm on the notification list for the Volkswagen Buzz, their reimagined bus that's all electric.

My thinking has been that I'm going to sell my 1990 VW Vanagon to help with the down payment for the Buzz. However, due to the pandemic, VW has slowed their plans for the bus and decided to move forward with a new SUV/Crossover body design called the ID.4.

They notified me about the reservation system that was in place for the ID.4. I really liked what I saw, and have since begun the process of buying one. I should have it this year.

Next came the notion of what I'm going to do once we emerge from the pandemic. Yes, I will fly when necessary, but I'm thinking more of road tripping for my photography adventures. I've been fine-tuning my self-contained travel approach on road trips to visit my mom in Southern California. I've discovered that I can travel without interaction or physical contact with other people. I just need a bigger car than my Audi A3.

About this time, the movie Nomadland was released starring Frances McDormand. The film takes us inside the lives of those who choose to live in their tricked out vans and RVs. Even though I don't want this for my everyday life, I am interested in approach for my photography adventures.

And finally, I feel like I need to take the next step toward helping this planet survive. My brother-in-law is about to embark on a home solar project that I'm going to shadow to absorb as much knowledge as possible. If I could install a smaller version of his project for charging the EV, then my transportation would be totally green.

This brings us to a new group that I've opened up at DerrickStoryOnline titled EV Explorers. The tagline for this group is: "Bringing Curiosity and Nimbleosity to the World of Electric Vehicle Transportation." Here we can share information, tips, discoveries and more about using electric vehicles for our photography adventures.

If you want to join this group, click on this link for an invite. We're going to keep this as a private group for now, but you are invited to join us.

I'll be sharing my story of going through the process of buying the VW ID.4. We're also going to talk about travel tips with EVs, and the different models available in 2021 including Tesslas, the Ford Mustang Mach, the Bolt EUV, and emerging car manufacturers as well.

As the group and our knowledge grows, we'll see where this takes us. I'm sure we'll have meetups and workshops that focus both on EV travel and photography. I have secured the domain EVexplorer.com if a dedicated website seems appropriate. Really, there is no limit to this.

The bottom line is that we've been a part of the photography revolution that has moved us to smartphones and mirrorless cameras. Now it's time for the automobile revolution to get us where we want to go without killing the very planet we want to enjoy.

If this sounds appealing to you, then join us at EV Explorers.

Second Session of Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow Online Workshop - April 21 to May 15, 2021

The first session of "Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow" Online Workshop has sold out. But now I've posted a second session that begins April 21, 2021.

If you're interested in attending, just go to catalog page.

In this workshop you will explore:

  • Working with just one digital camera and an iPhone.
  • Taking advantage of a versatile fast prime lens on your digital camera and using iPhone for additional focal lengths.
  • Perfecting a RAW workflow with the iPhone.
  • Leveraging Apple ProRAW for those who have iPhone 12 Pro.
  • Building a kit that allows you to travel lighter without compromising capability.
  • Post processing tips and techniques using Photos on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Investigating other software and workflows to augment your imaging prowess.

You can sign up by visiting the workshop catalog page.

Huawei announces foldable Mate X2 smartphone with Leica-branded cameras

You can read the entire article on Petapixel.

The Huawei Mate X2 is co-engineered with Leica, building upon an existing relationship between the two companies. The rear of the device features a Leica-branded camera array. The smartphone includes a 50MP Ultra Vision Camera, RYYB telephoto, 100x digital zoom, and a 2.5cm macro lens. The Ultra Vision camera is wide-angle, includes optical image stabilization, and has a maximum aperture of F1.9. The 16MP Cine Camera (ultra-wide angle) has an F2.4 aperture and includes OIS. The 3x camera has a 12MP sensor, an F2.4 aperture, and OIS. The 10x optical zoom camera, dubbed SuperZoom, has an F4.4 aperture, OIS, and additional support autofocus.

In terms of additional features, there is 100x digital zoom and hybrid zoom. Autofocus is phase focus and contrast focus. The camera includes numerous photography modes, such as Night, Macro, Portrait, Pro, Slow-Mo, Panorama, Light painting, HDR, and much more. The Mate X2 records 4K UHD video. The device can also record Full HD video at up to 960 frames per second.

The Huawei Mate X2 will go on sale in China later this week. The 256GB model will cost 17,999 yuan (which is just under $2,800 USD). The 512GB version will cost 18,999 yuan (around $2,950). The Mate X2 will be available in black, white, blue and pink color options. There's no word yet on availability outside of China. To learn more about the Mate X2, visit Huawei.

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.

Virtual Camera Club News

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.

There are many features in Photos for Mac and iOS that I like, but until now, Filters was not one of them. My complaint was that there weren't many to choose from, and they often didn't look that great when applied full force. That's changed.

IMG_0192.jpeg Tapping Filters in Photos for iOS

The Filters in Photos for both iOS and macOS Big Sur are now adjustable. And that's a whole new ballgame. For example, I applied Vivid Warm to this historic building in Santa Rosa, CA. At full force, the filter was just too strong and was not the effect that I was looking for.

IMG_0193.jpeg

In the past, this was the "take it or leave it" choice I faced. So I often left it. But now, once I tap on a specific filter, a slider appears next to it that allows me to adjust the intensity of the effect.

IMG_0194.jpeg Adjusting the intensity of the applied filter.

For this image, 25 percent was the look I wanted. And that is a completely different result than 100 percent.

Adjustable Filters is just one of the refinements in Photos for macOS Big Sur and iOS. At last, I can actually use this feature of the software... and like it!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn more about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

I'm currently working on an updated title that covers the latest iPhones, Big Sur, and more. Stay tuned for its release date.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #778, Feb. 16, 2021. Today's theme is "Tapping iPhone Video and the Settings You Need to Know" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

As good as the pictures are from the latest iPhones, you could argue that the video is even more impressive. But those files also have a greater impact on your device than stills. Today we take a look at the marvelous movies we can capture, and how to do so creatively and wisely. I hope you enjoy the show.

Tapping iPhone Video and the Settings You Need to Know

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If you're primarily a stills photographer, it's easy to overlook Video and SLO-MO in your camera app. Part of the reluctance could be that you don't really know what you're going to get when you tap the record button.

And to tell you the truth, if you haven't explored the Camera Settings, you're right. You could be recording a whole bunch of stuff that is way beyond what you need or could easily use. So let's take a closer look at the Camera Settings to ensure that you're ready to go the next time a great movie opportunity presents itself.

Settings to Note on an iPhone 12 Pro

Let's start with the iPhone 12 Pro because it's the latest and most capable movie making device. First go to Settings > Camera, and let's review the top section.

  • Record Video - There are 6 options here ranging from 720p at 30 fps to 4K at 60 fps. Apple also lists how much space a minute of video will require at each setting, ranging from 45 MB per minute at 720p to 440 MB per minute at 4K 60fps. For most applications, I recommend a middle ground of 1080p at 30 fps, which gives you great quality at only 65 MBs per minute.
  • Record Slo-Mo - There are two options here: 120 fps or 240 fps. And again, the file sizes differ substantially with 120 fps using 170 MBs per minute vs 480 MBs per minute for 240p. Plus, I think 240p is too slow for many uses. Set your default to 120p.
  • Record Stereo Sound - Yes. The file size difference isn't that great, but the stereo audio can be far more interesting.
  • Preserve Settings - If you know you're going to be shooting video primarily that day, I would turn this on so the Camera app returns automatically to video.

Techniques to Keep in Mind

Be methodical in your camera movements while recording. In movie making, you want the action to provide the movement, not the camera man. If you do need to pan, do so slowly and gracefully.

Capture vertically and horizontally when possible. We tend to prefer one orientation over the other, but unless you know exactly how the video will be used, it's good to record both ways.

You can change video recording rates on the fly by tapping in the upper righthand corner. So even if your default is HD at 30 fps, but there will be lots of action in that clip, then you can switch to HD at 60 fps just by tapping.

The video light can be very helpful. I use it as both a fill light and a main light, depending on the situation. I prefer it greatly as a fill light, however. You can turn it on and off by tapping in the upper left corner.

You can switch cameras while recording, but keep in mind that these are cuts without any transitions as you move from camera to camera. But this technique can be useful if used properly.

Once you start recording, a "stills button" appears on the screen that allows you to take full resolution pictures without disrupting the video capture.

You can now edit your movies in Photos for macOS Big Sur without having to launch a separate movie editing app. If you are using iCloud, they will automatically show up there. You can also adjust them in Photos for iOS on your iPhone.

Becoming familiar with these settings and techniques will help you be more confident recording movies with your iPhone. And as you gain confidence, your creativity will grow as well.

Happy movie making!

Second Session of Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow Online Workshop - April 21 to May 15, 2021

The first session of "Integrating iPhone into a Pro Photography Workflow" Online Workshop has sold out. But now I've posted a second session that begins April 21, 2021.

If you're interested in attending, just go to catalog page.

In this workshop you will explore:

  • Working with just one digital camera and an iPhone.
  • Taking advantage of a versatile fast prime lens on your digital camera and using iPhone for additional focal lengths.
  • Perfecting a RAW workflow with the iPhone.
  • Leveraging Apple ProRAW for those who have iPhone 12 Pro.
  • Building a kit that allows you to travel lighter without compromising capability.
  • Post processing tips and techniques using Photos on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Investigating other software and workflows to augment your imaging prowess.

You can sign up by visiting the workshop catalog page.

Apple M1 Mac mini Review: The Best Mac for Most Photographers

You can read the entire article on Petapixel.

Apple Silicon is the future of Mac computers, and the M1 Mac mini already delivers enough graphics and CPU performance for the majority of photographers. Here are the Pros.

  • Fastest Apple Silicon Mac (as of this writing)
  • Cheapest Apple Silicon Mac (as of this writing)
  • Full speed Thunderbolt/USB-4
  • Can power a 6K display at 10-bit color and 60Hz
  • Minimalist, out-of-the-way design

On the downside...

  • Not portable
  • Peripherals not included
  • Middling GPU performance
  • Only two TB4 and USB Type-A ports
  • HDMI 2.0 (not 2.1)

There's an elephant in the room at every M1 Mac review, and it's the fact that these are 1st generation devices. The M1X or M2 or whatever comes next will be better, and Apple will definitely put more GPU performance into the rumored Apple Silicon iMac, 14-inch MacBook Pro, and 16-inch MacBook Pro. But here's the thing: for photographers and photo editing, these things will suffer from the law of diminishing returns.

Additional GPU performance costs money, a nice iMac or MacBook Pro display costs money, and the additional CPU performance or RAM baked into the next generation Apple Silicon will also probably cost you some extra money.

If you're running a professional studio, that might be an investment worth making. But for the rest of us, for most of us, if you want to do your photo editing in the Apple ecosystem, the M1 Mac mini hits that sweet spot of price-to-performance that is so rare for Apple computers.

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.

Virtual Camera Club News

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.

I've always been fond of the iPad mini. But my affection grew deeper when Apple released iPadOS that opened the door to more capability. Now, a year later, I can't imagine work without it.

Derrick-Story-DSCF2410-iPad-mini-1024.jpg

Even though I use this tablet for everything from reading the NY Times, to checking email, to running TheFilmCameraShop, my focus for this post is its usefulness for photography. Considering that this device fits just about anywhere, I'm impressed with how versatile it is.

Powerful Imaging Apps

Here are my "go to" imaging apps that I use with the mini.

  • Photos for iPadOS - Photos is one of those apps that I think photographers don't take seriously enough. The editing tools are solid, and if you shoot with a modern iPhone, there are amazing things you can do with this app, such as changing the depth of field of your portrait shots in post production.
  • RAW Power - Not only can it tap right in to your Photos library, once you're there, RAW Power puts an incredible set of editing tools at your fingertips. Whether the images are imported from a digital camera, or captured with an iPhone, you can get the most out of them with this app. It even has Depth Effect adjustments for iPhone portraits. (I also use it regularly for my infrared work because it has a channel mixer and LUT capability.)
  • Pixelmator Photo - Like RAW Power, Pixelmator lets me tap your Photos library, or work at the file level, and can easily switch back and forth. If there's a picture I want to edit on your iPad, Pixelmator can get to it. Plus it has fantastic tools including a Retouch Brush and Channel Mixer. Lots of creative filters to experiment with are included in the app. And Pixelmator has incorporated Machine Learning into the software for excellent automated results. I can even "sample up" my 12MP iPhone files to higher resolution. All of this on an iPad mini that goes just about anywhere.
  • Lightroom Mobile - For those in the Adobe ecosystem, Lightroom Mobile is the perfect addition to the iPad workflow. This app has continued to evolve intelligently, and add to the mix its big brother, Photoshop for iPad, and that's a powerful tandem. All of your work can be stored in Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can pick up right where you left off when you return to the computer (if you ever do...).

Apple Pencil

When Apple refreshed the iPad Mini, they added Apple Pencil capability. This is a feature that I wanted, but I wasn't sure how much I would use in day to day life.

As is turns out, the pencil is in my hand quite a bit. I particularly like it for marking up photographic illustrations when I'm trying to explain how to do something. But I also like it for image editing and making handwritten notes. It's as fun as it is useful.

A Real Web Browser

There are so many things about iPad OS that I like. But the most important is a real web browsing experience that allows me to use the device for administrating my blog and managing the store. I can now do anything on the tablet that once required a laptop. Fold in the touch screen and Apple Pencil, and it's an enjoyable tool for real work.

Related to this are its connectivity options. I do use WiFi when I can, but the cellular expands its boundaries. Since I use AT&T for the iPhone, I opted for Verizon with the iPad. Rarely am I unable to connect to get work done, regardless of my location.

For this photographer/writer, it's vital that I am able to work from anywhere. Combine the real web browser with outstanding connectivity options, and I can.

Final Thoughts

Nimble photography has been a mantra of mine for years. But that practice isn't limited to my camera gear. Everything has to work together for me to be truly agile in this world.

Last night, I transferred an IR shot from my Olympus E-M10 Mark III to the iPad mini via WiFi. I edited the image in RAW Power, then published it online.

Fantastic tools that fit in my jacket pocket. That's what Nimble Photography is to me.

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