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This is The Digital Story Podcast #707, Oct. 1, 2019. Today's theme is "The TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Maybe it's because I'm still riding a high from our recent Humboldt Redwoods workshop, but I am so excited to be sharing our 2020 event lineup with you today. We have 4 physical events, and everyone of them could be a flagship workshop any other year. In other words, we have four all stars on the same team. Get your calendars out and join me for a very special podcast.

The TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

What makes these events so special? It's the magic blend of fellowship, location, inspiration, and focus. You can actually be single-minded about your craft. I'll take care of everything else.

When I was discussing this on our Patreon site, one Inner Circle member raised a concern about the class presentation on the final day. I'm going to tell you what I say at every workshop. This is not a competition. It is the most supportive creative environment that you will ever share your work with. And no matter your skill level, the floor is yours to discuss your experience and share a few images. I promise you, you will love it.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

HKT_Workshop_002.jpg Photo from the Humboldt Redwoods Workshop by participant Harry Telegadas.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Autumn 2020 - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

New Course Offering: Podcast Skills

A course on podcasting has been the number 1 request for new workshop topics. And after some time thinking about the best way to make this happen, I've come up with a one day skills course that you can attend from home, or wherever you have an Internet connection.

This one day event will cover the following topics:

  • Recording Hardware
  • Editing Software
  • Concept and Creation
  • Essential Storytelling Techniques
  • Show Notes
  • Syndication and RSS Feeds
  • Getting Your Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and More
  • Adding Music to Your Show (and Where to Get It)
  • Editing Workflow
  • Promoting Your Podcast
  • The Ins and Outs of Advertising and Sponsorships

The topics will be divided into modules and presented live, and they will be recorded as movies as well. Each participant will receive the catalog of HD movies from the day as part of their tuition.

The course will include insider tips, best practice techniques, and multiple Q&A sessions. Each participant is also entitled to one follow up one-on-one session after the workshop to address questions unique to his or her goals.

The live course, set of recorded videos, and the follow up one-on-one session costs only $249. Inner Circle Members get a 10 percent discount on tuition.

The Podcasting Skills Course is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Participation is limited to 10 people per course, first come, first served. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

Updates and Such

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

Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

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.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Using Files and Flash Drives with iPadOS

I was keenly interested in how the enhanced Files app would work on my Apple iPad Mini 5 with removable storage. It's not a function that I need often because of cloud storage. But it's one of those things - when you need it, you need it.

IMG_0040.jpg Browsing my photos from a removable drive in the Files app on an iPad mini 5

Using the Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader

apple-card-reader.jpg

First, I went the path of least resistance. I pulled out my Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, formatted a 32 GB SD card on the Mac (using the Disk Utility app), inserted it in the reader, then plugged the Lightning cable into the iPad mini.

The Files app in Browse mode had no problem identifying the Flash memory. I could create folders, move files around, and take care of any business that I needed. This is a simple workflow that most photographers can tap right now. And practically speaking, most could stop right here and be just fine.

USB Flash Drives

I was curious, however, about using a standard USB Flash drive. So I ordered a Male to Female USB Adapter and grabbed one of the many USB memory sticks I had scattered about the studio.

I was a little surprised to see this message: "Cannot Use Accessory - USB Flash Drive: This accessory requires too much power." There could be a number reasons for this, such as the iPad mini itself compared to an iPad Pro, my adapter, or something else that I'm not thinking of. Regardless, it would not work. I tried a handful of others with the same result.

On to the next thing.

Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Kingston-Drive.jpg

I figured that since this device was already designed for iOS use, that maybe it would work in this scenario. The Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 Flash drive comes in 32 GB or 64 GB flavors, and has a Lightning connector on one end and a USB on the other. Previously, you had to use it with the Bolt app. At the time, it was a blessing. But compared to the new flexibility of Files, it isn't as convenient to use the Kingston app.

I plugged the Bolt into my new adapter, and plugged the tandem into the iPad mini. Presto! No error message. Files read the USB end of the drive, and I could use it just like any other Flash memory stick. I could copy files from my Mac to the Bolt, then browse them in Files.

IMG_0039.jpg Using the Kingston Bolt for my removable storage. I created those 3 folders in the Files app on the iPad.

Plus, if I wanted to, I could still use the Bolt app as well. Overall, this turned out to be my most flexible solution. And the Bolt is compact, nicely designed, and quite rugged.

The Bottom Line

The improved Files app in iPadOS is a welcome step forward in terms of flexibility. I must admit that I was a little surprised when my Lexar USB Flash drive didn't work. But, there could be many reasons for that, and your mileage may vary, especially with a higher end iPad. (One reader suggested that Apple's USB 3 Camera Dongle would solve the Flash drive problem.)

But rediscovering the Kingston Bolt was a pleasant surprise, and it's a solution that works quite well for me.

I'd like to hear your experiences too. Please share them on our TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

First Look at Editing Photos in iPadOS

One of the reasons that I upgraded from the iPad mini 2 to the 2019 version was to be ready for iPadOS and the redesigned Photos app. And after my preliminary testing, I can tell you that I'm not disappointed.

IMG_0033.jpg Highlights adjustment in iPadOS

There's a lot to unpack in iPadOS, and even the Photos app is worth a few articles itself. But I thought that I should start with the new editing tools, since that's what many of us have been waiting for.

New Adjustment Sliders

The interface is redesigned. It's clean and easy to navigate. When you enter Edit mode, you have adjustment categories on the left side: Adjustments, Filters, and Cropping. When you click on a category, the tools appear on the right side. Click on Adjustments, for example, the the following tools are available:

  • Auto
  • Exposure
  • Brilliance
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Black Point
  • Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Warmth
  • Tint
  • Sharpness
  • Definition
  • Noise Reduction
  • Vignette

Next to each tool, there's an adjustable scale that allows you to apply the effect in the desired amount. With Auto, you can move the scale up and down to fine tune the appearance of the image. So it's no more "all or nothing" for Auto.

Having the additional adjustments are welcomed. I can perform many of the basic edits that I need in the Photos app, which wasn't the case before. And the quality of the adjustments are quite good.

A Few Missing Pieces

There are still a few missing pieces, however. I would love a Retouch brush for simple spot removal. I'm happy to have Vignette, but I wish I could control its shape as well as the amount applied. At the moment, it's just amount. And Apple has abandoned the B&W tools. I loved those.

There is some compensation for taking away the B&W panel by making the Filters amount adjustable. So I'm no longer stuck with just Mono, for example, I can apply the filter at different percentages. But it's still not the same as the excellent B&W panel that we once had. Gone are Intensity, Neutrals, Tone, and Grain. Maybe they will come back some day.

Beefed Up Cropping Tool

IMG_0034.jpg The Crop tool in iPadOS Photos.

The Crop tool now supports vertical and horizontal transform tools. We have flip and rotate. And the Auto correct is now an option and isn't automatically applied.

Filters Are Now Adjustable

Apple didn't add any additional filters. But as I mentioned earlier, all of the existing ones are now adjustable from 0 percent to 100 percent. This definitely makes them more useful.

Edits Saved to iCloud

Once I tapped the Done button in Photos, my edited image was uploaded to iCloud and shared across my devices, including the Mac that is running Mojave. On the iPhone running iOS 13.1, I could see the individual edits in the Photos app. On the Mac, the picture had been enhanced, but no sliders we modified. I'm guessing that that will change with Catalina.

Bottom Line

The new Photos app on iPadOS is a substantial improvement over its predecessor. I really like it now. And I hope Apple continues with its evolution.

I will cover more aspects of Photos and iPadOS in upcoming articles.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #706, Sept. 24, 2019. Today's theme is "The Good Shot, Plus the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario once said, "With photography, I always think that it's not good enough." And she's not alone in this belief. But there's a wide chasm between good and good enough. And understanding the difference between the two is the top story of today's TDS Photography Podcast. Plus, we've finally got a date for the release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. I hope you enjoy the show.

The Good Shot

Road-through-the-forest.jpg

Last week, our workshop crew push the limits of their creativity in the redwood groves of Humboldt County. Their challenge was to produce eight images for our class presentation on the final day. And I'm sure that each of them was wondering, "How do I distinguish my work from the efforts of others?"

To help them with this challenge, one of the things that I talked about was the virtue of the good shot. These images tend to be simple in composition, technically solid, and understandable by a broad audience that includes non-photographers as well.

The good shot may at first appear to be basic in design, but it strikes an emotional chord with its viewer. Photographers may think that, "I could have made that picture," yet, they don't have it in their library.

As an example of what I was talking about, I posted a good shot on Instagram. It had twice as many likes as anything else I published that week.

I go into greater depth about this type of photograph in the first segment of today's show.

E-M5III will be announced on October 17 and feature the "same" 20 MP sensor

You can read the entire post on 4/3 Rumors. They report:

I now have learned that the E-M5 III will be announced on October 17 and feature the "same" 20 MP sensor of the predecessor. Of course there will be a new processor that will improve the IQ. But it definitely sounds like this camera is going to be an incremental evolution of the current E-M5 II model.

And unlike what reported by some [that] the E-M5 III has not a "surprise" new feature. Don't trust those sites :)

E-M5 III rumor summary:

  • Announcement on October 17 (99% certain)
  • Same E-M1II sensor with 121 cross-type phase detection pixels. (80% certain)
  • New processing engine (90% certain)
  • Lighter, more plasticky but still weather sealed body (60% certain)
  • Same BLS-50 battery of the PEN and E-M10 camera series (60% certain)

TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season to be Announced on October 1

Next year's workshop lineup will include 4 physical events plus online classes as well. My goal is to make it hard to you to decide which workshop you want to attend.

On next week's podcast, I'll unveil the new schedule and share the locations that we will be exploring. You do not want to miss this podcast.

TDS listeners can reserve a spot on the event of their choice with only a $100 deposit that applies to workshop fees. Those on the reserve list are guaranteed the opportunity to register for their favorite event. Participation is limited to 9 for each physical event.

The ultra-wide camera in the iPhone 11 models is fixed-focus, doesn't support Raw capture

You can read the entire post on DP Review. They report:

Last week, Apple debuted its new iPhone 11 devices, all three of which feature an ultra-wide camera module. This marks the first time Apple has put an ultra-wide camera in an iOS device and with the new camera comes all-new capabilities and shooting modes.

Not all of the cameras are made equal though. In addition to not having optical image stabilization, it's been revealed the ultra-wide camera unit on all three models isn't yet capable of capturing Raw image data or manual focus, unlike the wide-angle camera (and telephoto camera on the iPhone 11 Pro models).

Revealed by Halide developer Ben Sandofsky, the ultra-wide camera has a fixed-focus lens and doesn't offer any Raw photo output. The reasoning isn't yet known, but as noted by a number of responses to Sandofsky's tweet, it's possible the reason for not offering Raw output from the ultra-wide camera is due to the barrel distortion present in the uncorrected images from the ultra-wide camera. If not corrected, the distortion would be dramatic considering the 13mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, and without having iOS apps with that correction built-in it would result in rather distorted images.

Updates and Such

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

Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com. Click on the Workshops tab.

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.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

A Stroll Along the Eel River

There were a many moments during last week's TDS Photography Workshop that stay with me. One of my favorites was the walk at twilight along the Eel River.

P9190496-Fortuna-Luminar.jpg Barn and Cattle at Twilight - Olympus PEN-F with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, 30 seconds at f/11 using a fence post for a tripod. Captured at the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Photography Workshop. Photo by Derrick Story.

Each day during the workshop is a busy one. We start with breakfast at 7am. This is another enjoyable gathering as each photographer wanders in the dining room at his or her own pace. Folks sit around tables in small groups and talk shop before class begins.

By 8am, we're in the meeting room that serves as our lab. I go over the day's assignments, we discuss the activities ahead, and I answer any questions that participants might have as they prepare for the upcoming shoot.

Once we leave the classroom, we usually stay in the field until around 2pm. I have the locations scouted, and we move from one place to another over the course of the morning. When we arrive at a site, photographers have the freedom to explore the areas that interest them. We don't march around the forest in a group.

When we return to the classroom, about 3pm, it's time to work on the images that we captured earlier. This is another time that I like. During the course of uploading, sorting, and refining, we can talk about the day, or just about anything else that comes up.

By 5:30pm, it's time to break for dinner. People can break off on their own, or join others for a bite to eat. And this brings us to the twilight walk.

For those who wish to, because this is optional, we gather in the parking lot around 7:15pm for a walk along the Eel River. It's right there in our backyard. We all bring cameras, but there is no assignment. It's just an opportunity for us to close out the day together.

DSCF1696-Humboldt-C1P.jpg Eel River at Twilight - Fujifilm XF10, ISO 200, f/2.8 at 1/20th. From the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Workshop. Photo by Derrick Story.

On one side of the path we have the river, bending gracefully off into the horizon. On the other side is pasture land with cattle, barns, and Highway 101 in the background. This is our opportunity to squeeze one final image from the day. But that's not the real purpose here.

These are the moments that stay with me from our workshops. I remember having beers at Mono Lake at sunset, wandering as a group through the French Quarter as the lights came on, standing together at the shore of Lake Almanor, and this time, chatting with my friends as we stroll along the Eel River.

There's a good feeling that comes from knowing that you've put in a solid day's work. And being able to share it with others afterward just makes it all the better. This is one of the many reasons why I love spending time with members of our photography community.

Note: The 2020 TDS Workshop Season will be announced in early October. We're having four events next year, each in a fantastic location at a very affordable price.

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

5 Roadside Motel Hacks for Photographers

Backroad explorers often find themselves in quaint, but aging motels. My motto is, "If it's clean, comfortable, and affordable, I'm fine." That being said, adding a little photographer ingenuity can help make your stay more pleasurable. Here are five of my favorites.

Fresh Water Meltdown

Tepid motel tap water can discourage even the thirstiest traveler from staying hydrated. Sooth that parched throat by hitting the ice machine right away and filling up your bucket.

IMG_5235.jpg

Those clear ice cubes will meltdown into delicious purified drinking water that you can fill your water bottle with and enjoy. I typically go through a bucket a day when I'm on the road.

Tripod Window Stop

Generally speaking, the doors are secure at just about every establishment. But I can't always say the same about flimsy aluminum-framed windows with wobbly locks.

IMG_5234.jpg

Use your tripod (or better yet monopod) as a window stop to help secure your room. Adjust the leg to the proper length then tighten the locks for added window security. If you like fresh air while you sleep, readjust the leg to allow for a 6" opening in the window.

If someone were foolish enough to attempt to further open your window from the outside, they would be met with the resistance of your tripod leg. It ain't gonna happen, and if they persisted, it would awaken the deepest of sleepers.

Ironing Board Workbench

I don't iron many shirts when I'm exploring the backroads, but that folding ironing board makes a great workbench in my room. It's a nice height for working while standing, it's padded to protect your camera gear, and it folds away neatly when you're not using it.

Some ironing boards even have adjustable heights so you can use it as a deluxe TV tray for enjoying a meal while watching the evening news. Just remember to put a towel over the top first to serve as a makeshift placemat.

Sipping in Style

I'm not a huge fan of sipping my favorite whiskey from a motel paper cup. So I pack two inexpensive glasses in a cardboard cylinder (I think mine once contained Almond Roca) and add a bit of civilization to the evening cocktail hour.

IMG_5240.jpg

The cardboard cylinder is padded with paper towels (which also seem to come in handy) and both glasses fit snugly inside. They also bring a bit of elegance to sipping chilled fresh water from the ice cube bucket.

I also pack my own durable coffee cup. Drinking coffee from a paper cup isn't nearly as bad as whiskey, but my morning brew somehow tastes just a bit better from my travel mug.

Encrypted Room Number

When you first get your room keycard, it's handy to have that paper sleeve with the number on it. But once you're set up in the room, leave the sleeve behind.

I recommend taking a picture with your smartphone camera of the room number (just in case you have a rocking wild night). That way, your motel and room number remain private.

Plus, if you do accidentally lose your keycard, whoever finds it won't have a map leading back to your hotel and room.

Final Thoughts

With a little bit of preparation, we can make ourselves comfortable just about anywhere. I hope these motel hacks enhance your next overnight adventure.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #705, Sept. 17, 2019. Today's theme is "Time for a New Bag and Triple Cam Trippin'." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Sometimes you open up the closet, peruse your options, and mumble to yourself, "I just don't have anything to wear." In this case, I'm talking about camera bags. I have all of these great adventures lined up, and none of my existing carrying solutions feel right. So I did something about it. Also this week, I take a peek at the new triple camera trend in smartphones. Maybe we don't need a bag after all? Today, on the TDS Photography Podcast.

Time for a New Bag

Nobody wants to explore the magnificent Redwoods with a suitcase in hand. Now, I wasn't planning on doing that, but my existing urban gear just didn't feel appropriate, and my current backpacks look like they have thousands of dollars of gear inside.

I wanted something that was more like the Big Lebowski and less like Wall Street goes to the forest. So I made a checklist of features that I wanted, starting with "casual vibe," and began nosing around on the Internet. When I found the Vanguard Havana 48 ($103), my first impression was that I had hit pay dirt.

But how would the pack hold up during testing? Was it all looks and no brains? Here are the features that are important to me:

  • Lots of room to serve as my Point-A to Point-B gear bag. (This is the bag that goes from the house to the hotel, with everything in it. I can then switch to a smaller bag for the field once I'm there.)
  • Looks more like a regular backpack than a photo bag. (I have a couple nice backpacks already, but they scream: "Lots of expensive equipment in here!")
  • Removable inserts allow me to convert it to a regular backpack. (Versatility is important. Maybe needs a change-up for a particular outing, and lunch and clothing are required instead of gear.)
  • Comfortable harness system so I can wear it for extended periods of time if necessary. (You never know when suddenly you have to hoof it for a distance.)
  • Plus it has to have:

  • Rain cover
  • Trolly sleeve
  • Fast laptop access
  • Easy iPad access
  • Dual water bottle pockets
  • Affordable

The bottom line. I like the Vanguard Havana 48. I really do feel like the dude with just a regular backpack. It does a good job of helping me organize my gear. And the extra room is really handy. I have a feeling that I will be using the Havana 48 for some time to come.

If you want to learn more about it, and see my pictures of the backpack, check out my review on The Digital Story.

Thoughts on the New Triple Camera iPhone

triple-camera-iphone.jpg

Last week Apple announced the iPhone 11 Pro with a triple camera setup. This is part of a trend that we are seeing by other manufacturers as well. What exactly is the triple camera?

It is exactly what it sounds like - 3 separate cameras integrated into one device. The cameras themselves are interesting.

  • The Ultra Wide - 13mm focal length with an f/2.4 aperture. It features a 5-element lens with a 120 degree field of view and a 12MP sensor.
  • The Wide Camera - Most of us are already familiar with this 26mm focal length with a f/1.8 aperture. This is the workhorse camera on top tier smartphones. Apple's has a 6-element lens with optical stabilization and a 12MP sensor.
  • The Telephoto Camera - This is a bit of a misnomer in that it's a 52mm lens at f/2.0. (My iPhone X is f/2.4.) It also has optical stabilization and a 12MP sensor.

The iPhone 11 Pro provides a 4X optical zoom range. This is different, and better, than digital zoom which is based on electronics and not actual lenses.

You start adding other features, such as Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Smart HDR, and you can see why many people consider Apple a camera company as well as computers and tablets. They've also brightened the flash by 36 percent, which is think is very important. And the display is improved as well.

Humboldt Redwoods Workshop This Week

I'm thrilled that our Humboldt Redwoods Workshop is finally here. There's a little rain in Northern CA right now, which is going to make the redwoods this wonderful, mystical, fragrant environment for our photography.

I'm working on next year's workshop schedule, and I'll be announcing the line up in October. Stay tuned for more information.

Updates and Such

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

Podcasting Skills Course - The first two course dates are scheduled for October 12 and November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com. Click on the Workshops tab.

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.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

I have some wonderful outdoor adventures this Fall, including the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Photo Workshop that I'm preparing for right now. And as I was thinking about these trips, I decided that I wanted a new photo backpack. And the one that caught my eye was the Vanguard Havana 48 ($103). Here's what I wanted, and what I got.

IMG_5208.jpg

The features that I was looking for included:

  • Lots of room to serve as my Point-A to Point-B gear bag. (This is the bag that goes from the house to the hotel, with everything in it. I can then switch to a smaller bag for the field once I'm there.)
  • Looks more like a regular backpack than a photo bag. (I have a couple nice backpacks already, but they scream: "Lots of expensive equipment in here!")
  • Removable inserts allow me to convert it to a regular backpack. (Versatility is important. Maybe needs a change-up for a particular outing, and lunch and clothing are required instead of gear.)
  • Comfortable harness system so I can wear it for extended periods of time if necessary. (You never know when suddenly you have to hoof it for a distance.)
  • Plus it has to have:

  • Rain cover
  • Trolly sleeve
  • Fast laptop access
  • Easy iPad access
  • Dual water bottle pockets
  • Affordable

The Vanguard Havana 48 met every item on my wish list. Its attractive design looks like something I'd toss some clothes and a toothbrush in for a weekend trip. It doesn't scream photo bag. But the lower compartment features a removable insert that protects my camera gear. And it accommodates my laptop as well.

P9128142.jpg Plenty of room for my camera, lenses, and accessory pouch in the lower compartment.

I can remove the camera insert, stash it in a hotel safe, and use the Havana 48 for a regular hiking bag. The divider that separates the top and bottom compartments is secured by velcro, so you can open it up if you need the entire 48 liters as open space.

The top compartment can be used for clothes and accessories. Most of the time I keep a Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 shoulder bag in the top with a camera and extra lens. This allows me to leave my bigger bag (the Havana 48) behind when I go out exploring and want to travel light with smaller shoulder bag.

P9128147.jpg I keep a smaller shoulder bag in the top compartment.

The front zippered pocket provides fast access to my iPad mini, and my 13" MacBook Pro fits in the back compartment. You can easily fit a 15" laptop in this backpack as well.

P9128145.jpg iPad mini 5 with case and Apple Pencil fit snugly in the front pocket.

The harness system is comfortable. The shoulder straps adjust easily ensuring a good fit. A "tuck away" waist belt helps stabilize the load for long walks. And there's even an adjustable breast strap (not shown) to further enhance stability. The trolly sleeve stays snug against the back padding using velcro, and when you need to slip your Havana over a suitcase handle, it just pulls out. Very nice.

P9128140.jpg Excellent harness system with trolly sleeve.

If you wish, you can secure a tripod on one side and a water bottle on the other. Or you can go with two water bottles. Either way, I like the roomy drawstring pockets on both sides. They are easy to use, and I think they look cool.

P9128154.jpg Roomy side pockets. You can use the strap above the pocket to secure a tripod is you wish. (The blue snap hook is mine and not included.)

There are plenty of other goodies included with the bag, such as a detachable rain cover, memory card pocket (that I use for batteries), mesh pockets that I use for hard drives, and a comfy top handle.

After a month of use, I'm very happy with the Vanguard Havana 48. I think it's a great value for $103. And I feel more like a dude with a VW van than a working photographer when I'm on the road with it. Two thumbs up.

Next stop... the Humboldt Redwoods!

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

I have a traditional lightbox anchored at the studio that I use for viewing slides and negatives, and sometimes product photography as well. It's big, bulky and works great. But sometimes I want to work in other places as well. And in those instances, the iPad makes a great light source.

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There are several apps you can use to enhance this experience. I like Light Box - Illuminator Viewer that I bought a while back for 99 cents. It keeps the screen lit without the iPad going to sleep, and makes it easy to adjust brightness. Plus it has some cool grids available as well that I've used for product shots.

IMG_0029.jpg The 99-cent app, Light Box - Illuminator Viewer

Different iPad Resolutions

I have the original iPad that was released in 2010. And yes, it still works great. I use it for sleeving negatives and organizing slides. Because it isn't a retina display - only 1,024 x 768 pixel at 132 ppi - it isn't as good for critical viewing of negatives and slides via a loupe because you can see the pixels of the screen itself when magnified.

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It's great for sleeving negatives, however, because the illuminated surface is the exact width of 5 frames, which is the length that I cut my negative strips. And if I want a closer look with a loupe, I can certainly do that as well.

If you're going to spend a lot of time with the loupe, then you'll probably want to use a tablet with a higher resolution screen. My iPad mini 5 display has 2048 x 1536 resolution at 326 ppi, and it's great for examining image detail with a magnifier. The pixels aren't an issue.

So it really depends on what you're going to do and the needs you have. I actually use both devices for my work, and I have the Light Box app on each iPad.

Other Illuminating Uses

The iPads also make great light sources for product photography. And because we're just talking about continuous light output, the resolution doesn't really make a difference. Just position the iPad like you would any softbox and fire away. You can even use your smartphone as the camera (why not?) to complete the super mobile studio.

I also use the older first gen iPad as an illuminated platform for product work. For a high tech look, I sometimes use the Grid 1 in Light Box. It looks pretty cool.

Bottom Line

The continuous, adjustable illumination from a tablet can be used in many ways. I find it interesting that I leverage the iPad for traditional film work all the way to a modern photo studio. And the fact that a 9-year-old device is still productive today just makes it all the better.

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

By the time Tim Cook and Phil Schiller took the stage on Sept. 10, 2019, most of us knew that the latest iPhone wouldn't support 5G connectivity. We had seen the pictures of the third camera, however, so it was time to learn about some of the details. And for the most part, they were quite good.

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The bottom line is, if you like smartphone photography and videography, then you're probably going to love the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. They are computational photography beasts. Starting with the A13 Bionic processor, adding a third camera that covers ultra wide (13mm equivalent f/2.4 5-element optic that provides a 120 degree field of view), and topping it off with a beautiful Super Retina XDR screen, iPhone 11 Pro has some serious game for picture lovers.

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Other noteworthy enhancements include night mode, beefed up battery life, and a few imaging tricks including Deep Fusion, which Phil Schiller gushed as, "computational photography mad science."

As Macworld more calmly described it: "It's Night Mode on steroids. When snapping pics in low to medium light, the AI engine will snap 9 images - 8 images before the shutter is snapped and then a long exposure shot when the button is pressed - to get every possible exposure. Deep Fusion will then examine every pixel to optimize the shot for detail and noise, creating the best possible photo."

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Pricing is about what one would expect, with iPhone Pro starting at $999, and iPhone ProMax weighing in at $1,099. If you're fine with just two cameras and more modest features (probably not many in this audience), then the regular iPhone 11 starts at just $699.

The big question for many of us is: do we want to hitch our wagon for the next 2-3 years to a smartphone without 5G? Unless you're the type to upgrade every year, the prospects of entering 2021 without a 5G phone that you're still paying for is worth thinking about.

If 5G isn't an issue for you, however, and you just love the thrill of computational photography, then the iPhone 11 Pro is a tempting device for sure. And I'm sure the images it produces will look great on that new Super Retina XDR screen.

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