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There's always more to learn in Photoshop. I just came across a terrific article on Virtual Photography Studio titled, 21 Photoshop Tutorials And Resources. They provide links to excellent articles that show you how to create HDR images, build effects, make stunning backgrounds, retouch portraits, create 3D effects, and more. If you're looking to improve your Photoshop chops, you may want to keep this resource in your back pocket.

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Drobo Field Test - 18 Months Later


I've been using a Drobo for about a year and a half, and it's worked wonderfully. So I was interested to see this published report on Photography Gadgets titled, Drobo Experience Report: Going strong after 18 months. This post covers the setup, usage, pros, and cons. If you've been considering a Drobo as a backup for your media, I think you'll find this report useful.

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I was reading news stories online and stumbled across this photo. What's wrong with it? I'm sure the photographer didn't notice that the subject is lined up with the background so it appears he has Martian antenna.

But, then, as you look closer, it gets even more interesting. Is this a Photoshop job? The lighting on the subject is coming from both sides. It doesn't look the same as the lighting on the background. If that's the case, then someone actually placed the subject there... on purpose? Hmmm... Figure that one out. Looks a little passive aggressive to me.

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One of the types of photography that definitely became more accessible with the digital age is infrared. Now you can modify an old DSLR, or simple add an IR filter to an unmodified version, and experiment with this dramatic style of capture.

In the article 20 Stunning Infrared Photographs, Nate Jelovich shows us examples that can be used for inspiration. Even if you're not considering trying your own hand at this approach, I'm sure you'll enjoy these images.

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Good Tutorial on Slow Sync Flash


Taking control of your flash changes your images from ho-hum snapshots to works of art. I just found a solid tutorial that covers different methods for balancing flash output with ambient light. In the article, How to Use Flash With a Slow Shutter to Create Motion and Ghosts by Cameron Knight on PhotoTuts, you'll learn how to adjust your lighting to create far more interesting effects than you would ever get in auto-everything mode. It's definitely worth a read.

And don't forget, this week's TDS podcast is on Backlit Portraits.

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.

Tripod Adapter for your iPhone

Now you can steady those videos and group shots captured with your iPhone thanks to the Blur Tripod for the iPhone. For only $14.99 US (plus $5 shipping and handling), you get the adapter that enables you to mount the iPhone on any tripod. They also provide a mini tripod that fits easily in your pocket.

The Blur tripod itself is 5" long (6.5" extended) and 3⁄4" in diameter. The tripod adapter is 2" wide, 1.5" tall, and 0.8" thick weighing in at about 2 ounces (60 grams). The adapter works on any standard tripod. The pads on the inner surface of the Blur adapter cushion the iPhone, yet provide a snug and secure fit. Blur states that the pads will not scratch the screen.

You can order the kit directly from the Blur site.

iPhone App Reviews and Camera Phone Tips

Yahoo! Releases Official Flickr App for iPhone

A Look Inside Shutterfly for iPhone

Flickr Tip: Manage Permissions During Mobile Workflow

Cropulater Brings Picture Cropping to the iPhone

Panorama 2.1 for the iPhone

FotoTimer Provides Self-Timer for the iPhone

HP iPrint App Makes Printing Easy from iPhone or iPod touch

True Photo App for iPhone: CameraBag

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Backlit portraits can be dramatic and beautiful, especially if you know how to set up your camera. In this show, I explain three sure-fire techniques for great backlit portraits.

The normal progression I go through when working outside with these types of shots is this:

  • First, I position the model with the sun shining on her hair, then take a few test shots. This helps me evaluate the lighting.
  • Then I switch to spot meter mode and take an exposure reading off her face.
  • I'll often try adding light via reflectors or using natural reflection from the surroundings.
  • If none of these techniques work the way I want, I'll then use fill flash. I might use fill flash also if I'm covering an event and have to work quickly.

The sample you see here uses the walkway to bounce light up into the model's face. She is kneeling down to be closer to the reflected surface, and to add variety to the poses we experimented with during the shoot.

Photo by Derrick Story using a Canon 5D Mark II with a 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS zoom lens.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (21 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Simple is the Sept. 2009 Photo Assignment. My original thought was the power that comes from a simple composition, with as few elements as possible. But you might find another twist on this month's theme. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2009.

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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Podcast Sponsors

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Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.

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Final versions of Photoshop Camera Raw 5.5, Photoshop Lightroom 2.5 and DNG Converter 5.5 are available for download at The updates add Raw file support for five new camera models: the Nikon D300s, Nikon D3000, Olympus E-P1, Panasonic DMC-FZ35, and Panasonic DMC-GF1.

The updates are also available using the Adobe Updater that's under the Help menu in Bridge or Photoshop. Camera Raw 5.5 update is available as a free download for existing customers of Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Elements 7, Premiere Elements 7 and Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac. Lightroom users only have to launch Lightroom 2.4, and it will let you know that 2.5 is available with a link to the Adobe Downloads page where you can grab it for free.

Other Articles on Photoshop CS4

30 Days of Free Photoshop CS4 - Here's What to Explore

"Top 10 Photoshop CS4 Features" - Digital Photography Podcast 144

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Learn what photographers need to know to organize and edit their images with Photoshop CS4. Take a look at The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers. It fits in your laptop bag and is very easy on your wallet.

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"Wrigley Field" - Grab Shot 185

"On our way to the Chicago Diner for dinner," writes Rick Brandt, "we happened to get off at the Wrigley Field stop on Chicago's CTA line. Being a baseball fan and this being the first time I ever saw Wrigley in-person, I was compelled to walk the perimeter of the ballpark and take a few shots. This was several hours after a Saturday afternoon game had ended and there wasn't a whole lot going on. The shots I was getting reflected such--very tourist-like."

"Then I saw this group of sailors heading for the corner. I backed up a bit to frame up the famous sign and leave room for the sailors to walk through the frame, and made the photograph. I recorded the shot with a Canon G9. Post-processed it with Aperture and Nik Software's Viveza and Color Efex Pro."

Photo by Rick Brandt. Click on image to zoom to larger size.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.

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It's Time for Aperture 3


On Feb. 12, 2008, Apple released Aperture 2. Now, more than a year and a half later, it's time for Aperture 3. Here's why I think we'll see the next generation by the end of 2009.

  • iLife 09, which was a massive undertaking by Apple, is now signed, sealed, and delivered. There are shared resources within Apple for iPhoto and Aperture, so it's difficult for them to release both products within a short time span.
  • Snow Leopard is already at 10.6.1. You can bet that Aperture 3 is going to leverage technologies within the latest operating system. So, Snow Leopard had to hit the streets before Aperture 3. Now that it's on the prowl, the cage door is swinging open.
  • Lightroom 3 is around the corner. Chances are good that we'll see Lightroom 3 in the not-too-distant future. You just know that Apple wants to have Aperture 3 out first.
  • The grumble effect. Once we get deep into the product cycle, users start grumbling about an update. Whether it's coincidence or not, when the complaining reaches a certain pitch, we usually see a release. Not sure if this is chicken or egg, but the grumble effect is in force right now.

So, assuming that I'm right and we'll see Aperture 3 by the end of the year, what's it going to have? I wish I knew. My guess is that we'll see some of the technologies introduced in iPhoto '09, plus some new things that we aren't even imagining right now. I'm assuming we'll have more localized edits, better speed, and continued integration with other Apple technologies. I'm confident that it will be a solid release.

And I can't wait to try it.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

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