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fotodiox-edge-light.jpg

I ran a test today in the Fotodiox booth at PhotoPlus Expo. I asked Vanessa if I could take 3 pictures of her. The first with ambient expo hall lighting. Next, with a hotshoe flash mounted on the Olympus OM-D E-M1. And the third with me holding a Fotodiox Pro FlapJack LED Edge Light C-200R - 7-Inch Round light for illumination.

The Flapjacks have a glow that's excellent for portraiture, and I wanted to see how they compare to typical journalism lighting. Instead of forward-facing LEDs like in a conventional panel, the FlapJack's LEDs are mounted around the outer edge, aimed inward at layers of diffusion material. The FlapJack's bounced light produces a soft, even glow with no hotspots. All of this within a portable unit that's less than 1/2" at its thinnest point.

Thanks to its 5500k daylight color temperature rating, skin tones look great, even using auto white balance on the camera. The dimmer control provides adjustment from 10 percent to full power. The kit comes with everything you need including rechargeable battery, power supply cable, light stand mounting bracket with ball joint - all fitted neatly within a custom case. And since the battery is a standard Sony model, additional units are readily available.

So, let's take a look at that test shoot I mentioned. These shots have not been adjusted.

Existing light portrait with ambient illumination only. existing-light-vanessa.jpg

Fill flash. fill-flash-vanessa.jpg

Fotodiox Pro Flapjack 7-inch round handheld fotodiox-led-vanessa.jpg

In addition to not needing any light modifiers for the flattering glow, I'm also impressed with the excellent color balance. Portrait photographers on-the-go will appreciate the fast setup and ease of use.

The 7" Fotodiox Pro FlapJack LED Edge Light C-200R kit sells for $299.95 and the 10" model is $399.95. By using coupon code FJOL18 at checkout, you can save a whopping 18% (through the end of October.)


Nimble Photographer Logo

This Fotodiox LED Flapjack has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Ramin-Hamedani-sept-2014-pa.jpg

For the September 2014 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters opened a rear window to the world. See for yourself in our gallery, Shot from Behind. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?


Photo by Ramin Hamedani. Ramin writes, "On a nice summer day, I decided to sit by the lake on a dock. Using my iPhone, I took this image of myself staring into the peaceful surroundings. It was quiet except with the sound of water gently hitting the rocks beneath me. I did have my DSLR as well, but the wide angle of view on iPhone was tempting, and I did not want to change the lens on the DSLR anyway." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Shot from Behind.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The November 2014 assignment is "Layers." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is November 30, 2014. No limit on image size submitted.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Nov. 2014." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting September 2014 gallery at the end of October, the October gallery will be posted at the end of November, and on and on.

Good luck with your November assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for September.


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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: 5 Landscape Photography Tips, Speed Sorting Your Images, Photo Plus Expo Week - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Budget Mitakon 42.5mm f/1.2 offered by ZY optics for M43, Sony E and Fuji X systems - Priced $359, and available initially in the Micro Four Thirds mount, the Mitakon 42.5mm f/1.2 appears to be aimed squarely at competing with Panasonic's Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 for its Lumix G bodies, which delivers a similar angle of view to an 85mm focal length on full frame cameras. It's manual focus. (Source: DP Review).

In other news, Photo Plus Expo begins this week on Thursday in NYC.

And finally, Canon 6D and Sony RX1 Listed as Discontinued by Some Online Retailers. Preview of things to come? (Source: Petapixel).

Sunrise in Fog

Story #2 - 5 Landscape Tips from Our Fall Photography Workshop:

  • Be Daring with the Sun - Having it at your back is safe, but often boring.
  • Fight Lens Flare - When shooting backlit subjects, remember to shield your lens from the sun.
  • Find a Main Subject - A bucolic hillside is lovely, but find a starting point for the viewer's eye. Often a foreground element will do the trick.
  • Look for Layers of Light and Dark - This is composition style perfected by Ansel Adams, and it creates visual interest.
  • Don't Forget to Reset Your Settings to Default - Adjusting exposure compensation, ISO and white balance is great, but set it back to default after getting shot.

Story #3 - Speed Sorting: How to Rate a Large Batch of Photos Quickly. Nothing like coming home with 1,500 exposures. Here's how to prevent them from languishing on your hard drive.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for October 2014 is "Water".

New Paper from Red River

This new stock looks great: 66lb. Palo Duro Satin features a subtle surface texture and elegant warm tone, because it contains minimal optical brighteners in the base stock and none in the coating. The warmth of this product is great for portraits, naturescapes, and black & white prints with just a hint of sepia. If you want that fine art pro lab photo finisher look, check out this new stock.

A Note from SizzlPix

They've ramped up their capacity, so we can go for volume for the holidays.

Special for TDS listeners, a 20% discount on all SizzlPix ordered, now through end of November! For orders placed by October 31, there should still be time for free mini-samples prior to production.

Using the comment space on the newly streamlined SizzlPix order page, write "TDS 20 percent discount," and if a free mini-proof is wanted prior to production, "free proof first," and your mailing address.

And Finally...

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story Podcast in iTunes.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (31 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until January!

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

I've been to Safari West many times, and always with a DSLR and 300mm lens. But for my most recent visit, I decided to shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 ($799) and the super compact Olympus 75-300mm zoom lens ($549) that provided a reach up to 600mm compared to my Canon 5D Mark II.

Blue-Crowned-Pigeon Blue Crowned Pigeon - 150mm, f/5.6, 1/125th, ISO 1600, handheld. Photos by Derrick Story.

How did it go? I had a blast and loved the photos I came home with. I've never had this much reach before (600mm essentially), and it allowed me to compose tighter than ever before. Here's a portrait of a Southern White Rhinoceros at 300mm (600mm essentially) at f/7.1, 1/500th, ISO 1600, handheld.

Southern White Rhinoceros

I could even reach this Acorn Woodpecker high in a tree.

Acorn Woodpecker

And my rig was a fraction of the weight and size (and cost) of my counterparts in our Safari truck. If you mixed my images in with theirs, you's have a hard time distinguishing a quality difference, especially around 150mm with the Micro Four Thirds rig. Bottom line: yes, you can shoot wildlife with mirrorless.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Olympus 75-300mm zoom lens has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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

Mac OS X Yosemite builds upon photo browsing improvements we saw in earlier versions, creating a terrific working environment for photographers. And the best part is, you never have to leave the Finder.

Here are a few basic buttons to click to supercharge your photo browsing experience in Yosemite.

Turn On Finder Preview

finder-preview-list.jpg Finder Preview on in Yosemite

With Finder Preview turned on, you can work in List View and still get a good look at your images. It's easy to activate. In the Finder, go to View > Show Preview. Most photographers will want to use the shortcut: Shift-Command-P.

Bonus Tip: You can add Tags directly from the Finder Preview window by clicking on the blue "Add Tags" link.

Even a Bigger View with Quick Look

quick-preview-yosemite.jpg Quick Look for even a better view.

We had Quick Look in Mac OS X Mavericks, but it seems more useable now in concert with Finder Preview. With a file highlighted, click on the "eye" icon in the Finder Toolbar to open a larger version of the photo. If you like keyboard shortcuts, Command-Y will enable Quick Look, or even faster, just tap the spacebar (thanks Scott Stuart).

Bonus Tip: You can "pinch to zoom" on a trackpad for a more detailed look at your photo.

Share from Quick Look

share-from-quick-look copy.jpg It's easy to share the image directly from Quick Look.

Once you're in Quick Look, you have a variety of sharing options. We had a more basic version of this in Mavericks, but Yosemite adds "Share Extensions," which enable you to customize this menu. You can build a sweet workflow, starting with the Finder.

More to Come

I have more Yosemite gems for photographers coming in future posts. Try these out, and see what you think.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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PhotoPlus Expo

PhotoPlus is right around the corner with the Expo opening on Oct. 30 at the Javits Convention Center in New York. If you're attending, I'd like to meet you. Here's my schedule.

I'm in the c't Digital Photography/Rocky Nook booth every day for 2 hours. Visit me there, then, and mention "The Nimble Photographer" or "The Digital Story Podcast," and I'll have a gift for you from The Nimble Photographer Store.

Speaking Itinerary for Derrick Story

Thursday, Oct. 30

  • 1:00 to 3:00 PM - "Mirrorless Cameras" - c't Digital Photography Magazine Booth 6.
  • Friday, Oct. 31

  • 12:00 to 12:20 PM - "The Nimble Photographer" - lynda.com Booth 267.
  • 12:30 to 12:50 PM - "Portrait Tips" - lynda.com Booth 267.
  • 1:00 to 3:00 PM - "What's in My Bag" - c't Digital Photography Magazine Booth 6.
  • Saturday, Nov. 1

  • 11:30 to 11:50 AM - "Social Media for Photographers" - lynda.com Booth 267.
  • 2:00 to 2:30 PM - "The Nimble Photographer" - Panasonic Booth 837.
  • 3:00 to 3:20 PM - "Lightweight Backup and Storage for Traveling Photographers" - lynda.com Booth 267.

I hope you have a chance to stop by and say hello.

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Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

Long Telephoto for Landscape Work

I don't photograph much wildlife, but I always pack a long zoom lens for my outdoor work. Why? Because it affords me higher angles on subjects that often require my positioning a bit farther from them.

Mono Lake - North Shote Mono Lake, North Shore - photo by Derrick Story.

I photographed this image on the North Shore of Mono Lake with an Olympus ED-M 75 to 300mm II f4.8-6.7 zoom lens at an distance up the hill. I didn't like the angle from the water's edge, so I went back up the road for a higher perspective.

The other advantage of a telephoto for landscape work is that it compresses the scene. This is often flattering to the subject. Plus, it allows me to group together the elements that I think are important in the composition.

Image captured with an Olympus 75-300mm zoom lens mounted on an Olympus OM-D E-M10. ISO 250, f/8, -1/3 EV, hand held.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Mac OS X Yosemite for Photographers, Shooting Fall Color in the Eastern Sierra, iPhone Digital Back for Older Hasselblads - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Adobe Provides Detailed Instructions for Migrating from Aperture to Lightroom. Yes, your get star ratings and most metadata. No, you don't get image adjustments. (Source: F-Stoppers).

In other news, iMac with Retina 5K display. Here's how I would configure it: 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GBs RAM, 3TB Fusion Drive (Upgrade), AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5 (Upgrade) Price: $2,899 (Source: Apple.com).

And finally, Flickr version 3.2 with upgrade for iPad viewing is terrific. (Source: TheDigitalStory.com).

iCloud Drive on Yosemite

Story #2 - Mac OS X Yosemite for Photographers - Here are a few items you should be aware of:

  • AirDrop between iOS device and your Mac - Make sure you're both on the same network, enable AirDrop on both devices, and files can be shared between them.
  • Drag and drop to iCloud Drive - I created a My Photos folder on iCloud Drive where I can backup photos by dragging and dropping in the Finder.
  • Aperture and iPhoto Updates - After updating both applications, they run wonderfully in Yosemite.
  • Photos.app - Coming in early 2015, we'll see the next generation photo management software from Apple for the Mac.

June Lake Loop

Story #3 - Fall Color in the Eastern Sierra - Spent a few glorious days in Mono Lake County last week. The color around Bridgeport, Lee Vining, and June Lake was impressive. Here's a report with a few Fall color photography tips. Plus, I include a field report on the Western Digital My Passport Wireless hard drive. To see some of the pictures, take a look at my article, A Drive Through Eastern Sierra Fall Color.

Story #4 - Hasselnuts iPhone Adapter for Older Hasselblads - This is a crazy device that I tested on my last road trip. Essentially, I can attach a handsome adapter that looks just like a film magazine for my Hasselblad 500C, but it allows me to use an iPhone as a digitizer. In my opinion, the resulting images are half Holga, half Polaroid transfer. I talk more about it in the fourth segment of today's show.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for October 2014 is "Water".

New Paper from Red River

This new stock looks great: 66lb. Palo Duro Satin features a subtle surface texture and elegant warm tone, because it contains minimal optical brighteners in the base stock and none in the coating. The warmth of this product is great for portraits, naturescapes, and black & white prints with just a hint of sepia. If you want that fine art pro lab photo finisher look, check out this new stock.

A Note from SizzlPix

They've ramped up their capacity, so we can go for volume for the holidays.

Special for TDS listeners, a 20% discount on all SizzlPix ordered, now through end of November! For orders placed by October 31, there should still be time for free mini-samples prior to production.

Using the comment space on the newly streamlined SizzlPix order page, write "TDS 20 percent discount," and if a free mini-proof is wanted prior to production, "free proof first," and your mailing address.

And Finally...

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story Podcast in iTunes.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (35 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until April!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Flickr Ups Its Game on the iPad

The updated Flickr iOS app for the iPad looks so nice that you could almost say it was worth the wait. But what a wait it's been.

Like many other users of the online photo sharing service, I wasn't enjoying the beautiful work by those I followed often enough. In large part, it was because Flickr for iOS just wasn't compelling on my iPad mini.

new-flickr-on-ipad.jpg Flickr 3.2 on an iPad mini.

That's changed now. Both the presentation of my photos, and browsing those of others, is greatly improved. In short, Flickr on an iPad now looks like an iPad app, not an iPhone program stretched 2X for a tablet.

Other goodies include improved organization tools, integration with iOS 8 Share Extension capability, and a bump in performance.

If you already have Flickr on your iPad, the app will automatically update. If you've held off on using Flickr on your tablet, you should give this a look.

Better late than never.

Flickr 3.2 requires iOS8 and is available for free in the iTunes App Store. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.


Flickr Essential Training 2013 - I explore the entire Flickr universe, mobile and computer, in my lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and take a look.

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hassnuts-on-500c.jpg

My 30-year-old Hasselblad hasn't seen much action over the last decade. That's changing now thanks to the Hasselnuts iPhone Digital Back that I received recently as part of my support for their Kickstarter project.

With the adapter, I can attach an iPhone 4S, 5, or 5S to the handsome "film back" (that's really the adapter) and capture images that I call, "half Holga/half Polaroid transfer." I talk about the setup process in my latest article for c't Digital Photography Magazine, Hasselnuts iPhone Digital Back for Older Hasselblads. I've also included a gallery of images captured with my 500C, Zeiss 80mm lens, and an iPhone 4S.

Here's a couple shots from that gallery to whet your appetite...

Bed in Boarding House Bed in Boarding House - This existing light shot was captured at f/2.8 using the waist-level finder for a low angle. Photos by Derrick Story


Silver Maple Motel - Bridgeport I took the Hasselblad out for a late afternoon walk around Bridgeport, CA. I noticed that I was working at a more relaxed pace than normally.

These types of images are not for everyone, for sure. But I'm going to make some prints on Red River Polar Matte paper. I think they'll have that Polaroid transfer feel that I enjoy.

If you want to learn more about the Hasselnuts adapter, take a look at my article. In the meantime, I'm going to keep experimenting with it.

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