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This is The Digital Story Podcast #606, Oct. 24, 2017. Today's theme is "The Cloud's Silver Lining." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

We learned last week that Lightroom becomes a cloud based app with the end of the perpetual license. I was also part of a story where cloud-based backup saved a photo library in the face of disaster. This week we look at both the dark side and silver lining of cloud-based photography.

The Cloud's Silver Lining


As Adobe moves Lightroom into the cloud, there's a fair amount of confusion about the options available to photographers. The bottom line is, that Adobe believes that cloud computing is the future, and they are embracing it.

And to some degree, I agree. I love Photos for macOS because of its seamless connectivity with iCloud. And the Luminar DAM will definitely have a cloud component.

And by the same token, the one shortcoming for Capture One Pro is its lack of cloud connectivity. Those catalogs are landlocked on hard drives. And I think they will soon have to make a move toward more fluid management of those files.

The challenge as I see it, is how do you manage the balance between files stored locally and online? Adobe and Apple seem to be doing a good job in this regard by providing us enough options to craft a workflow that suits our needs.

But this is a moving target. It's something that we have to think about and adjust as variables change. The dark side of cloud computing is often the fees and subscriptions that we have to maintain. And the silver lining can be when the cloud saves all of our work that would otherwise be lost. I have one such story to share in the next segment of the show.

iCloud and the Forever Lost Computer

As I mentioned in the previous episode of The Digital Story, my brother in law lost his house during the firestorms that hit Santa Rosa. All of his possessions were suddenly vaporized, including his Mac and iPad. His belief was that many of his important files were forever gone as well.

But there was a silver lining to this dark cloud. And Pat agreed to come on the show to discuss how cloud computing provided a ray of sunshine at the bleakest of times.

The Digital Story - Digital Photography Public Group on Flickr

We have more than 3,000 members and 73,000 photos on TDS Flickr Public Group. This is the gallery that I peruse on a daily basis. It's also the source for The TDS Member Photo of the Day on our Facebook page and displayed in the Member Gallery on the TDS site.

Share your favorite images there so others in our community can see them. Plus, you never know, you may be selected for the TDS Member Photo of the Day!

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

Texas-based Red River Paper recently announced a new fine art paper, Palo Duro Etching. The new paper is a 100 percent cotton rag paper and is free of optical brightener additives. The paper is designed to offer warm white tones, deep blacks and a subtle texture to accurately recreate traditional darkroom fine art prints.

See you next week!

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.

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

Macphun was working on their DAM module long before Adobe's recent announcement that Lightroom's perpetual license was ending. But they decided to tip their hand now in light of the news.

Gallery Views_preview.png A sneak peek at Luminar's digital asset manager module coming in 2018.

For those tired of Adobe's "business first" attitude, or who don't need the more complicated approach presented by Capture One Pro, Luminar 2018 offers a very tempting alternative.

Luminar is already an amazing image editor - one of my favorites of all time. Later this year, it will run on both Mac and Windows platforms. Following that, it adds a beautiful, easy to use asset manager module. All of this for an affordable price with no monthly subscription fees.

If you're ready for a change, I would hang on to see what Macphun does with this new feature. There may be joy again in the world of photo management and editing.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

Great New Screenshot Tool in iOS 11

iOS 11 is a robust update for iPhone and iPad users. One of my favorite surprises is the improved screenshot tool.


The capture process is still the same: you simultaneously press the power and home buttons to record a screen. But now, instead of sending the image directly to your Camera Roll, a mini-thumbnail appears in the lower left corner.

Tap on the thumbnail, and the image appears with cropping guides around it, plus a markup toolbox below it. You can choose from a variety of writing and highlight instruments with some basic ink colors to annotate the screenshot. When finished, tap Done to send it to your Camera Roll.

But wait, there's more! In the upper right corner is an Undo command. Lower right has a + symbol, that tapped on, reveals a text tool, signature option, magnifier, and more. You can go crazy adding callout arrows, text and even cartoon dialog bubbles. The Share button in the lower left lets you send the image off to a friend directly from this screen.

If you have iCloud sharing on, the image will appear on all of your connected devices inside the automated Screenshots album in Photos for iOS and Photos for macOS.

If you haven't checked out the new screenshot function in iOS 11, do so now. Become familiar with the tools. That way, you'll put it to use. It's another great way to document our world and catalog the information.

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

iPhone Only Street Shooting

Zach and I caught the E Train last night from Queens to Midtown so I could introduce him to Times Square. He's never been to Midtown before, and I thought 42nd Street would be a good place to start.

times-square-liberty.jpg The Characters of Times Square - Photo by Derrick Story.

Since my focus was on being a tour guide and not a photographer, I decided to leave my gear back in the room and just pack the iPhone. It was an interesting exercise. Normally, my street shooting is a mix of smartphone, mirrorless, and film.

What I liked was the portability. It was easy to keep track of my phone and wallet in the hustle bustle of busy Manhattan. I could shoot RAW when I wanted to, and I didn't draw any extra attention since I was just like the other 10,000 tourists hanging out that night.

What I missed were my lenses. Back in the room I had a 45mm f/2.8 Zeiss Tessar and a 17mm f/1.8 Olympus Zuiko. And there were moments when I was craving focusing with those optics. The other thing I missed was looking through a viewfinder. I don't mind capturing off an LCD screen, and sometimes I need to for a particular angle. But I love the "isolation booth" sensation of composing with a viewfinder. I can really get into the shot that way.

I was looking at the images on our subway return trip and thinking about how the night went. I had made the right call. I was focused on Zach and not my cameras. We had a great time. And some of the iPhone pictures were pretty good.

So, apparently, I did choose the right tool for the job at hand.

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

A free app for both Windows and Mac computers enables direct uploading of images to Instagram, as well as browsing photos posted by others.

windowed-posting.jpg The Windowed browser with a new posting to my Instagram account.

Windowed acts like a mobile browser so Instagram will allow connectivity. if you're a Mac user, you'll have to approve opening Windowed via the Security Preference because it's not an Apple approved app. Depending on how you feel about operating outside the Apple walled garden, Windowed may or may not be an app that you want to try. And for that matter, I'm guessing that it violates the Instagram user agreement as well. Be sure to consider all of these factors before downloading.

If you do decide to give it a spin, it's fairly intuitive to operate. When you click on the camera button, you're prompted to select an image from your computer. You might want to square crop it first, because you don't have any cropping ability within Windowed. IG filters are not available either. What you upload is what you get.

That being said, in my test, the picture did appear in my feed, and the caption was included. So Windowed appears to be a useful option for posts directly from the desktop. Plus, you can manage multiple Instagram accounts with this app. That's a real plus.

We've seen these types of apps come and go. The Windowed developer has already made improvements to the software, so many this one will stick around for a while... that is, if Instagram doesn't clip its wings.

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

One of the more popular 35mm film cameras on the second hand market is the adorable Contax Aria. It is the lightest Contax SLR ever designed, and one of the last film cameras produced by the company before closing its doors. It is a truly nimble SLR that accepts the full line of Carl Zeiss lenses. And the funny thing is, its design intentions were driven by female appeal.

contax-aria-front.jpg Contax Aria with Zeiss 45mm f/2.8 Tessar pancake lens. Photo by Derrick Story.

Contax cameras were known for their robust design and heft. I have a Contax ST that I just love. And if I need to, I can pound nails with it as well. It is solid.

But, back in the 1990s, women were't going for the large, somewhat heavy design. So Contax started from the ground floor and created a camera that was smaller, lighter, and well specified, but not overly so. And they even gave it a pretty name: The Aria. Then to sweeten the pot, they cut the price in half as well.

The upshot was that men, not women, loved the camera. It packed all the features they wanted in a more nimble package. And it remains popular to the day. Generally speaking, Contax Arias sell for about the same price now as they did decades ago at introduction.

Nobody owns the crystal ball for consumer electronics. But I find it interesting that photographers craved nimbleosity long before I launched my campaign. And thanks to the effort to appeal to female aesthetics, we still have one cool film camera available these days that packs lots of power into a compact, portable package.

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

I've received a few notes from workshop attendees wondering if we're still having the TDS Fall Color event scheduled for October 26. The answer is yes. And I'm moving forward with everything else we've planned for the remainder of the year and in to 2018. There's no reason not to.

west-county.jpg Off Eastside Road, Sonoma Country, Oct. 12, 2017 - Photo by Derrick Story

Anyone who has lived in Sonoma County for any period of time knows that we're already putting the pieces back together. True, the fires are not over yet. But we don't really have time to wait around for the all clear signal to get to work.

Many of us haven't had a home to go to since 1 AM Monday morning. And true, our productivity right now isn't what it will be soon. We have to spend big chunks of our day helping others less fortunate, finding services, and dealing with rustic living conditions.

That being said, we are all working.

Yesterday, I was able chip away at projects that didn't require connectivity or electricity. I photographed new items for TheFilmCameraShop, filled a couple orders, worked on the new version of the Wine Country Workshop, published on social networks, and helped my displaced family members.

As soon as I get power back at the studio, I'll start recording again. We will have a podcast this coming Tuesday. I will be ready for everyone when they arrive for the workshop in two weeks.

We have a hashtag going around here, #SonomaStrong. That pretty much sums it up. We have a lot of work to do in the coming months. We'll get it done. That's what we do.

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

Dibs the Traveling Cat

Dogs are attached to their masters and cats connect with their homes. For Dibs the studio cat, she's going to have to think more like a dog for a while.


Dibs is on the road with us as we continue to stay one step ahead of the fires in Santa Rosa. We picked her up at the studio 1am Monday morning when we had to leave our house, thinking that my workplace in the middle of Santa Rosa would be safe. She was there waiting for us. That's her home.

An hour after we set up shop at the studio, we were notified that we had to evacuate again, and that included the cat. She hates traveling. Every car ride equates to a trip to the vet. But there was no negotiating this journey, and she seemed to know it. She sat quietly while we worked through traffic again in search of our next safe zone.

Our second stop was Theresa's Dad's place in Bennett Valley. It was up on a hill where we could see the fires down below. We all spent a night there, until another evacuation notice arrived the next afternoon. A separate fire, the Nunsvalley blaze was approaching from the east.

This evacuation was mind-numbingly slow. There are few routes out of Bennett Valley, and everyone got the notice at the same time. Once again, Dibs was riding shotgun in my car. By this point we had a caravan of family as well: Theresa, her dad, her older brother and sister in law (who had already lost their home), and her younger brother. This time we were heading to Forestville. There was enough room for us at a rustic cabin. We all found a place to sleep.

Dibs is starting to get the hang of this travel thing. Now, once introduced to her new accommodations, she calmly surveyed the scene, then looked a me as if to say, "OK, this will do."

I never thought that Dibs would become a road warrior. But she's evolved into a "have litter box will travel" kind of cat. I'm happy to have her with us. No band of gypsies is complete without a kitty or two.

PS: She may be packing her kibble again. We just heard a fire flared up West of Santa Rosa.

At the moment, our family is safe on a ridge in Bennett Valley. We're lucky in the sense that we didn't have to go to an evacuation shelter, although there were moments yesterday when we thought that might change. Meanwhile, the fires in Santa Rosa are as dangerous as ever.


I'm fairly certain that my brother-in-law (and one of my best friends) lost his house. He and his wife are staying with her mom in Forestville. They had to leave with the clothes they had on, and nothing else. They are going to need our help in the coming days.

My sister-in-law may have lost her place as well. We can't know for sure yet, because all of our places are located in a mandatory evacuation zone in the North of Santa Rosa. When the fire blazed south from Calistoga, fueled by 50 MPH winds, we were in its path. She is staying with friends right now.

We don't know about our place yet. Yesterday, we stood outside the border of the evacuation zone, patrolled by officers, and looked at the treeline and the roofs of places we knew. There's a chance that we may be the luckiest of our family. But it's too soon to tell, and the fires are still burning.

At the moment, our only connectivity is through our iPhones. Comcast has been down. And there's no power through large areas of the city. The smoke is choking, and it's unsafe outside. The air is still right now. There's no visibility.

As most of you have already figured out, there won't be a TDS Podcast this week. In so many ways, there just isn't enough bandwidth. But I'll keep you posted. Be sure to follow on TDS Facebook page and via my Twitter feed.

No one loves mobile photography more than me. But my toolset goes beyond the iPhone, even though it remains an integral part of the workflow.

olympus-PEN-F-location.jpg The Olympus PEN-F on location. Photo by Derrick Story

What I also like is the act of rotating knurled dials, pressing physical buttons, and looking through a viewfinder. I like the way a well-designed camera with a half case and wrist strap feels in my hands. It makes me want to use it.

And thanks to WiFi, I can still quickly send the picture to my iPhone and publish on Instagram in just a minute or two. The fact that maybe I can enjoy a cup of coffee during the process just makes it all the better.

I just returned from 3 days of driving around Silicon Valley covering events and taking pictures. I used my iPhone all of the time. At moments, it was my camera, and other times it was my publishing conduit.

But when I could, I also reached for the PEN-F. And in the end, I captured more images with it than my smartphone. And I love those shots.

My point is, we don't have to limit ourselves to smartphones, no matter how wonderful they are. There are moments when I want photography to be more than simply tapping a screen. And that's what keeps me enthused about this craft.

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