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Mac Raw Updates Continue to Roll In


I was happy to see Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.3 posted last week, adding Aperture and iPhoto Raw support for these cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot SX1 IS
  • Olympus E-PL1
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10
  • Samsung NX10
  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A390
  • Sony Alpha NEX-3
  • Sony Alpha NEX-5

Another good sign is the timely support of the mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, such as the E-PL1, NX10, NEX-3, and NEX-5. This is a hot category right now, and Apple appears to be on top of it. I would have liked to seen the Panasonic DMC-LX5 on this list, but I'm hoping that it will be included in Update 3.4

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If you don't think you can edit your photos on a portable device, then you haven't worked yet with Photogene for iPad, a surprisingly powerful editor that you can buy in the iTunes store for $3.99.

San Francisco, Fort Point

This image for example, was captured with an Olympus PEN and a 17mm f/2.8 lens at Fort Point in San Francisco. I then went to a coffee shop and transferred the images to the iPad using the Camera Connection Kit. To create the cool look in the photo, I applied the "bleach" preset in Photogene, then uploaded to Flickr directly from the iPad.

In my spare moments, I've found myself playing with images in Photogene, just to get an idea of what's possible. It's a great creative process... in addition to getting your work done when you have to post a photo quickly.

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DIY LCD Magnifier for 5D Mark II

For me "do it yourself" is usually a short term solution that solves an immediate problem. Up the road, as time and finances allow, I can purchase "the real thing" if it turns out that I actually need it. In this week's show, I talk about some DIY projects that provided temporary fixes. In part, I'm able to do this because I hang on to much of my old photography gear, parts of which that can be repurposed for new projects.

We have lots of fun do it yourself ideas in the DIY Section of the Digital Story.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (27 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

Tandem is the August 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Aug. 30, 2010.

TDS Autumn 2010 Photography Workshop

The next TDS Photography Workshop will be Oct. 16-18, 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!

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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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Over on Blurb on The Digital Story, I just posted "How to Make a Gorgeous Photo Book" for Pro Publishing Tips. I highlighted this guide because it is brimming with professional techniques for making stunning books. The kicker is, you can win this hardcover book by participating in our Blurb Book Page of the Month feature.


Either way, if you're interested in creating, publishing, and selling your own books, you should definitely explore Blurb on The Digital Story. We'll get you headed in the right direction.

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Someday I will pay $400 for Z-Finder Pro because they are clear, secure, and adjustable. But today isn't that day. Budget is too tight at the moment. But I do need a bright, crisp LCD magnifier for some upcoming video projects. So for the time being, I'll do it myself.

LCD Magnifier for Canon 5D Mark II DIY LCD magnifier uses a 50mm f/1.7 Zeiss lens extended by using a Rayqual adapter. The mount is built around a Canon 70-200mm f/4 Tripod Collar.

Figuring Out the Optics

I went upstairs into my mad scientist lab and started playing with lenses and mounts. My magnifier is based on the old "reverse lens trick" to increase magnification. I chose a Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 lens because of its wide opening. To get the right viewing distance from the LCD screen, I needed to add a couple spacers. I used my Rayqual Micro 4/3 adapter because it also had a large diameter opening. It was close to the right distance, but just a tad short. So I took a real lens cap, cut a large diameter hold in it, and mounted it to the Rayqual adapter. Perfect!

I added a little gaffers tape to the open end as to not scratch the LCD on the Canon. On the other end, I screwed in a rubber lens hood to serve as my eyepiece. That way I can use the rig in bright light.

Designing the Mount

I wanted something solid that didn't look too cobbled together. It dawned on me that the tripod collar for my 70-200mm f/4 Canon lens might work. You can get these cheap, BTW -- $12.99 from Meritline. For the bottom plate, I repurposed a flash bracket that had two tripod screws. One for the camera and the other for the Canon ring mount. The only problem was, it sat a little high. So I found a brass spacer in my lighting bag that lined everything up nicely. It doesn't look too bad, does it?

Pros and Cons for this Set Up

Cons: The image is beautifully crisp, but it doesn't cover the entire LCD, only the central area. This isn't a problem when the camera is tripod mounted because I can set up the shot, then remove the magnifier. But for action shooting this would be a problem.

Pros: Aside from being very sharp, I can fine tune the focus via the lens focusing ring. Also, I used stuff I already had (no cash outlay!). And, when I want to use the 50mm on my Olympus PEN camera, I just remove the bottom lens cap (that has a hole in it) and mount the lens to my micro 4/3s camera. So I can get double use out of this set up. (Since the PEN doubles the focal length, that means I have a 100mm f/1.7 lens for my E-PL1. Tell me that isn't useful at times.)

Final Thoughts

At some point this DIY rig will drive me crazy. Hopefully by then I'll have the money to buy a real LCD magnifier. Until then, however, I'm in business.

If you like do it yourself gear, be sure to check out our DIY Section here on The Digital Story. Lots of great ideas there.

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Image Editing Tips for iPhoto 09

iPhoto 09 is deceptively adept at image editing. Yes, it looks simple, but the essential tools are there for both Raw and Jpeg adjustments. Some of the best goodies, however, are tucked away out of site.

In my recent Macworld article, Six essential iPhoto editing tricks, I show you some of my favorite iPhoto maneuvers. A few are simple, such as holding down the Shift key to view "before and after" versions of an adjusted picture. Others are less obvious, such as seeing the readouts for the Enhance tool, as shown below.

iPhoto Adjust Panel Before and after views of the Adjust panel when the Enhance Tool has been applied to an image.

And there's more. So if you want to improve your iPhoto 09 image editing chops, take a look at Six essential iPhoto editing tricks.

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Many photographers believe that they need an entire suitcase full of lights to create a professional looking portrait. In this video, I show you how to use one light, a stand, and an umbrella to capture a portrait that looks absolutely great.

This movie is from my training series, Off Camera Flash. By spending just an hour with this course, you can dramatically improve your indoor portrait photography, whether you're on location or in your own environment.

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Many of the specialty apps for the iPad transform once-difficult manipulations into simple fun. Such is the case for TiltShift Generator for iPad. You can create radial and linear blurs, plus add vignetting for any image on your iPad. And the final product can change your image into something quite special.

Maria Sharapova by Derrick Story Linear blur applied to top and bottom of this image of Maria Sharapova. Click for larger view.

When it's time to export, you have options that include: 480x640, 600x800, 768x1024, 900x1200, 1200x1600, and original size. You can send the edited version as an email attachment or upload to twitpic, twitgoo, or yfrog. If you just want to save the edited version to your iPad, you can do that too. It will be placed in your Saved Photos album, while the original remains intact in its original album.

Maria Sharapova Serve by Derrick Story Radial blur applied to this image of Maria Sharapova serving. Click for larger view.

TiltShift Generator for iPad is available for $2.99 in the iTunes App Store. It feels like Photoshop made easy... and a lot cheaper too.

If you enjoy women's tennis, you may want to visit my Maria Sharapova & Elena Dementieva gallery from the Bank of the West Classic, 2010.

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Raw files and video clips really pile up the gigabytes when I'm on the road. I've been testing hard drives that have both speed and capacity, and my latest favorite is the OWC 500GB Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini.

OWC 500GB Hard Drive

It spins at a speedy 7200 RPMs, holds 500GBs of data, allows for both FireWire 800 or USB2 connectivity (eSATA too if you need it), includes an on/off switch, and it *does not* require external power for FireWire and USB connections. It's a little bigger -- 5.5in(L) x 3.8in(W) x 1.1in(H) -- than the LaCie Rugged that it replaces. But it also feels more solid and looks beautiful. Cables and plenty of software are included with the drive.

The OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini isn't the lightest drive I've carried recently, but it performs well and inspires confidence. And at $149, it's a good value too.

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Once you move the flash off the camera, you might want to soften the quality of its output. Here's a brief tour of light modifiers to consider for your off camera flash work.

This movie is from my training series, Off Camera Flash. By spending just an hour with this course, you can dramatically improve your indoor portrait photography, whether you're on location or in your own environment.

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