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Portrait of an Ostrich

During the first day of the TDS Fall Photography Workshop, we loaded up our cameras and went shooting at Safari West. We had our own off-road vehicle with a pro photographer as the driver. As the afternoon sun began to set, the images took on a new life. This is one of many favorite portraits from the shoot.

Portrait of an Ostrich Portrait of an Ostrich by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

I captured the image with a Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/2.8 L zoom with the 1.4x tele extender. The ISO was 800 with a shutter speed of 1/125 and f/4 aperture.

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It's that time again!

Tonight is the launch of the TDS Fall Photography Workshop. The highlight of this evening's festivities is the Lowepro Bag Grab.

lowpro_bag_grab_fall2010.jpg Here's what's up for grabs tonight. Click on image for larger version.

Each of the 8 workshop participants gets to choose a Lowepro bag from the heap. The order is determined by a drawing of name tags. I have extra bags in the pile so everyone has a chance to get a preferred choice. The selected bag goes home with the participant.

Red River Paper and SizzlPix Too

But wait, there's more... Each workshop attendee gets a prize package from Red River Paper. Tonight's package includes:

  • Pigment Ink Sample Pack (#9995)
  • UltraPro Satin Pack
  • Printer Cleaning Sheets Pack (#6371)

And on top of all of that, SizzlPix is offering each participant a 20 percent discount.

Upcoming Workshops

If you're interested in attending one of the TDS Photography Workshops for 2011, just drop me a note with the Subject Line: "TDS Workshop Reserve List" and ask that I add you. You'll get first crack at the workshops before the announcement goes out to the general public.

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I am Tempted by the Canon 60D

After playing with one at photokina, then continuing to study the specs, I have become quite tempted by the Canon EOS 60DDSLR body.


It all started with looking for a replacement for my Canon T1i. It's a great body, and I've enjoyed shooting with it, but there are some new features that I want for my work, primarily better video controls and an external mic jack. Initially, I was looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T2i upgrade, but the 60D gives me a swing out LCD, faster burst rate, in-camera Raw processing, image resizing, creative filters, and more.

Seems like for an extra couple hundred dollars, it's a better complement to my 5D Mark II. I'll let you know if I take the leap. As I said, I am very tempted.

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Adding a vignette in post production is one of those love/hate techniques. Some photographers think it's a powerful tool to move the viewer's eye to the most important part of the composition. Others think it is overused.

I think how it is used is the most important factor. If you go to the fx tab in Adobe Camera Raw 6, you'll find a very flexible post crop vignetting tool that gives you the controls you need for an elegant application of this technique.

Post  Crop Vignetting Post Crop Vignetting applied in Adobe Camera Raw 6.1. Click on image for full size version.

You have three styles to choose from: highlight priority, color priority, and paint overlay. I prefer the look of color priority for most images. Then you have five sliders: amount, midpoint, roundness, feather, and highlights. These give you the control you need to apply an artistic vignette.

The approach I recommend in the beginning, is to move the amount slider all the way to the left. That allows you to clearly see how the other sliders work. This is especially helpful for the roundness slider -- that actually changes the shape of the vignette -- and the feather slider that applies a subtle graduation. Once you have those adjustments set, then back off the amount slider to the appropriate level.

no_vignetting.jpg The Christmas Cactus without Post Crop Vignetting (preview is turned off). Click on image for full size version.

As you can see, there is quite a difference between the two versions. And there are countless variations to what I've done here. Keep in mind that when you work in Adobe Camera Raw, all of your edits are non-destructive. The original image is left unharmed, and you can go back and adjust the effect any time you want.

Adobe Camera Raw 6 is part of the Adobe Photoshop CS5 Upgradealong with Adobe Bridge CS5, which is included in the package too.

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Double Shot Podcasts Today: TWiP Too


Not one, but two podcasts for you today. I join Frederick, Steve, and Ron for This Week in Photo. We talk about travel (photokina, Germany, Oktoberfest), the new Nikon D7000, compact cameras, and color calibration. It's a good discussion that I think you'll enjoy.

Then, on TDS Podcast 244, I tackle printing resolution. If you've wondered exactly how many pixels you need for various sized prints, this is a show you won't want to miss.

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Printing resolution can be confusing if you don't have a few guidelines to steer you in the right direction. In this week's episode, I'll take the mystery out of printing resolution, pixel dimensions, and file sizes.

Here are some of the guidelines I discussed in the podcast:

    Dimensions based on printing at 240 ppi

  • Print size: 16.5" --> Longest side pixels: 4,000
  • Print size: 12" --> Longest side pixels: 2,900
  • Print size: 10" --> Longest side pixels: 2,400
  • Print size: 8" --> Longest side pixels: 2,000
  • Print size: 7" --> Longest side pixels: 1,700
  • Print size: 6" --> Longest side pixels: 1,500
  • Print size: 5" --> Longest side pixels: 1,200
  • --------------

  • 13" x 19" Print --> 3,200 x 4,600 pixels
  • 8.5" x 11" Print --> 2,100 x 2,700 pixels
  • 5" x 7" Print --> 1,200 x 1,700 pixels
  • 4" x 6" Print --> 960 x 1,450 pixels

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (36 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

Fall is the October 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31, 2010.

TDS Autumn 2010 Photography Workshop

The next TDS Photography Workshop will be Oct. 15-17, 2010. The event is sold out. But, you can place your name on the reserve list for the next workshop. Just drop me a line.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Blurb believes passionately in the joy of books - reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them. Learn more by visiting Blurb on The Digital Story.

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SizzlPix, the Perfect Gift

In preparation for this weekend's TDS Fall Photography Workshop, I was hanging a few new SizzlPix on the classroom wall. I want workshop attendees to be able to experience these images firsthand.

As I was looking at the shots, I thought what perfect gifts they would make this coming holiday season. I'm mentioning this now in case you think so too, so you'll have plenty of time to get your shots together.


Imagine the double-delight when the recipient opens the box. First, they will see a handpicked image that you have been thoughtful enough to print for them. Then, they notice how the picture "jumps" out of the box. (If you have a SizzlPix, you know what I mean.

You can also share the following points to further impress your friend:

  • Waterproof photo prints? (dye-infused aluminum!)
  • Environmentally friendly? (no paper, wood, nor glass - no noxious fumes while manufacturing!)
  • Archival? (rated for a 50-year life; stain proof and scratch resistant!)
  • Economical? (The same or less cost than pro-quality matted, framed under glass!)

OK, maybe not the last point. We want them to think that you paid a lot for their gift. Anyway, this is something that occurred to me, and I wanted to share with you... before I forgot all together ;)

And if you didn't know this already... SizzlPix is a sponsor of The Digital Story. So we have that to thank them for too!

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Take the Camera, You Won't Be Sorry

I continue to advocate that photographers have a camera with them when they walk out the door. It can be any type of device, as long as it's capable of taking the types of pictures that fit your style.

As an example of this, here's a self-portrait I shot while waiting for a train in Munich with my friend Oliver. I had a Canon S90in my pocket (which has been recently updated to the Canon S95), and when I looked up, I saw this great reflective surface on the roof. Using the S90, I was able to frame one of my favorite portraits of Oliver and me in Munich.

Self Portrait, Munich Self-Portrait in Munich. Click on image for a larger version. Photo by Derrick Story with a Canon S90.

The thing is, whether I'm in Munich, San Francisco, New York, or at home in Santa Rosa, I have either the Canon S90 or the Olympus E-P1 1 with the 17mm f/2.8 Lens in my pocket or in my messenger bag that also holds the iPad.

When we had a recent discussion about this on the TWiP podcast, some folks commented that they didn't want to be in "photographer mode" all of the time. I agree. There are many moments in life that I just want to enjoy without a camera in my hand. The thing is, there are also other moments when I really want to take pictures. And I don't know ahead of time what the day has in store.

So I stand by my recommendation for photographers of all types. Have a camera with you, even if it's your smartphone. Because you don't know when a wonderful opportunity will present itself.

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I've talked a lot about hitting the road with only an iPad and some of the challenges involved with lightweight mobile computing. For example, how can photographers increase storage for their hi-rez images? Another concern in the field is replenishing the iPad's hefty battery after hours of use.

Mophie -- the makers of the Juice Pack Reserve-- have come up with a new device: the juice pack power station. The $99 device has enough capacity (3600 mAh) to charge your iPad, iPhone and iPod. Its 2.1 amps of high-density, high-output charging has the horsepower required to replenish that thirsty iPad battery. It also has many helpful features such as LED status lights and pass though charging (you can charge the powerstation and your device at the same time) while remaining quite compact.

I think backpackers and photographers working in the field for extended periods might find the powerstation a real blessing.

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The updated Lowepro S&F Series will be officially launched in the US at PhotoPlus Expo on October 28. There are many innovative components in this system, but the one that I think will thrill just about every shooter is the new Lens Exchange Case 200 AW.

Lowepro S&F Lens Exchange Case 200 AW The Lowepro S&F Lens Exchange Case 200 AW. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

Not only does the case fit securely on the belt of the S&F Series, you can use it on a regular belt too. It has an All Weather cover to protect your glass in the harshest of environments. But the real treat is that it also serves as a second pair of hands. The case actually has two compartments that compress into one case. When you take the lens off your camera, simply put it in the open compartment. Then take the lens you want to mount out of the other compartment. Pull the case closed with one hand, and you're shooting before you know it. Here's a video demo of how that works.

The Lowepro S&F Lens Exchange Case 200 AW should be available in November 2010. If you really want to "wow" your favorite photographer with a great gift during the holidays, this affordable item is the ticket.

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