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On Location Testing the Ricoh GR

I'm camping in beautiful Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park for a couple days to test the new Ricoh GR APS-C compact camera. At first I didn't think I'd like a fixed focal length lens, but as it turns out, I'm having a blast with it.

Camp Site at Sugar Loaf

Here's home sweet home for the next couple days. I'll post more when I return on Sunday. Have a great weekend!

Manfrotto QR System

Manfrotto announced that its Top Lock Quick Release System is "compatible with Arca-style quick release plates and systems." This is big news in the world of tripods. And it seems like the only remaining question is (when it comes to tripod plates): do you put the hyphen in Arca-Swiss or not?

This isn't to belittle any of the other excellent products on the market. But the fact that accessory giant Manfrotto chose Arca-Swiss for its new Top Lock product is noteworthy. I switched to Arca-Swiss a while back when I fell in love with Joby Ballhead X, and now have standardized on Arca-Swiss.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see Manfrotto go this direction. Using one style quick release plate and having many different compatible options is exactly the scenario I like.


PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

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Flickr Cover Photo

If you're maintaining a Google+, Facebook, or Flickr page, you have a cover photo that spans from one side to the other. It's an opportunity to make a positive first impression when someone visits your site.

When's the last time you refreshed this image? Or have you ever and are using the default picture that was provided for you?

Flickr was the latest to switch to this look for users' home pages. And there are still a lot of default covers out there. You might want to take a moment and refresh yours. Actually, I think it's a good idea to spruce up the page every month or so.

Here's a short video on how to update your cover photo for flickr.

While you're at it, you might want to take a look at your other pages too. Maybe you've shot something recently that would make a great cover image. It only takes a few seconds to refresh your home page. And it feels so good!


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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Canon 6D Full Frame

This week on The Digital Story: 5 surefire flash tips, Photo Help Desk question of the week, more on new Aperture courses - All of this and more in today's photography podcast.

Story #1 - Five Surefire Flash Tips - I've been shooting in all kinds of lighting conditions lately, and I thought I'd share my favorite flash tips:

  1. People shots in bright, contrasty light fare better with fill flash.
  2. In Program mode, flash exposure compensation controls the light on the subject, and exposure compensation affects the background.
  3. Carry a white business card and rubber band to create an emergency kick light for bounce flash.
  4. Indoors, try manual mode with these settings: ISO 400, 1/15th, f/5.6. Adjust as needed.
  5. Hold the flash up with your left hand, the camera in your right, and use TTL wireless for communication.

Story #2 - Photo Help Desk Question of the Week: "Why move from a cropped sensor to a full frame DSLR?" I add more detail to the answer.

Story #3 - New Aperture Training coming your way. I've just completed "Portrait Retouching with Aperture" and "Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture," and they are fun! I explain why in the third story.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast here (28 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The July 2013 photo assignment is Duality.

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.Special Summer Sale! Just add "TDS: in the comments space of your SizzlPix! order, and you will get 20 percent off the entire order. Limited time offer. Take advantage now.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

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sandisk-wireless-media

SanDisk has announced two new wireless drives aimed at tablet-toting photographers and travelers. The SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive is of particular interest. It will ship in 16 and 32GB capacities and features:

  • Store, share, and stream files across multiple mobile devices
  • 8 simultaneous device connections, 3 media streams
  • Works with iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle Fire and Androidâ„¢ devices
  • No cables, router, or Internet connection needed
  • Provides up to 4 hours of wireless streaming per charge
  • Wi-Fi Password Protection (WPA2)
  • Download the SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive app for easy access

Looks fantastic, especially for iPad photographers who need additional storage. I plan on testing one myself. And the first thing I'll be examining is speed. My experience with wireless transfer in general with an iPad is pedestrian read/write rates (that is, assuming as @MyDarkroom pointed out on Twitter, that you can even write to these devices from a tablet). Those slower speeds are tolerable in a Jpeg workflow with a handful of pictures.

But if you have 600 shots from a full day of shooting, and if those are Raw files, then you're probably going to reach for the laptop instead of the tablet. We'll see after some real world use. It's promising news indeed, but don't get too excited quite yet.


iPad for Digital Photographers

This is the kind of stuff I write about in iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks format.

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Five years ago when writing Digital Photography Companion, I recommended staying away from the digital zoom setting on a compact camera. My feeling was that it's better to rely on the optics of your lens, then crop as needed. So if you have a 28-105mm optical zoom, use 105mm, and stay away from adding on focal length by turning on the digital zoom function for that camera.

Landing Sea birds in Santa Barbara with a Canon PowerShot N and digital zoom.

But with today's cameras, should you really avoid the digital zoom? Every now and then I like to revisit my opinions to see if they still apply in the face of changing technology.

To test my digital zoom opinion, I photographed sea birds in Santa Barbara with a Canon PowerShot N that has an 8X optical lens plus a 32X digital zoom. I normally stay away from anything over 8X. But this evening, I shot with wild abandon using 12X, 24X, and sometimes even more.

Heron

I worked with these 12 MP Jpegs just as I would normally edit any other picture in Aperture. I cropped as needed, adjusted color, tweaked exposure, etc. I didn't add any sharpening, however, because I didn't want the image to fall apart.

Birds and Boats Birds and Boats with a Canon PowerShot N using the digital zoom.

So after reviewing these images on my MacBook Pro Retina display, have I changed my opinion about the digital zoom function? Not entirely.

But I'm certainly softening my stance about using digital zoom. For highest quality, I still shy away from letting the camera play with my image. But in certain situations, I'll consider it, especially if the images are being captured for web publishing.


I used Flickr to publish these images. If you want to learn more about Flickr, check out my Flickr Essential Training on lynda.com.

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fujifilm-x20-with-lenshood.jpg

Both TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) and EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) have announced their Best Cameras and Lenses of 2013. There are not many surprises in the respective lists. But what's interesting are the differences.

For example, in the DSLR categories, Canon fared better with TIPA (EOS Rebel SL1 and 6D), while in Europe, Nikon had the stronger showing with the D800 and the D4. In the expert compact category, TIPA like the Fujifilm X20 while EISA preferred the Sony RX100. And for best mirrorless body? TIPA selected the Panasonic GH3 while EISA choose the Samsung NX20 (EISA awarded the OM-D top honors in a different category).

Bottom line is, it's pretty much what I've been saying all along: there are so many great cameras out there. It's a matter of which one is the best fit for you. You can see the entire list at dphotojournal.com.

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PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

BW Scooter with BW Lab

Photographers who love black and white imagery should consider the iPad among their editing options. For far less money than computer hardware/software, you can create outstanding monochrome and duotone images. Two of my favorite apps for this work are B&W Lab ($1.99) and Snapseed (free), which I cover in Chapter 3 of iPad for Digital Photographers.


Woman on Scooter by Derrick Story, edited in B&W Lab on an iPad mini.


Either app lets you import an image from your Camera Roll, Photo Stream, or any album on your iPad. Once the image is loaded, you can view variations via a collection of built-in presets. B&W Lab includes 15 presets and 5 film emulsions: Fuji Neopan, Ilford Pan, Kodak Tmax, Agfa, and Newpan. Snapseed features 6 presets. Each app allows you to fine tune the image with exposure controls, color filters, grain, and more. Once you've finished editing, save the B&W photo back to your Camera Roll or publish online.

As I illustrate in iPad for Digital Photographers, serious artists can use these affordable tools to create compelling works. Open one of your favorite photographs in B&W Lab or Snapseed, and see what inspires you.

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DSLR Camera Question on Photo Help Desk

This week on The Digital Story: Photography Q&A, some of your favorite questions answered, smoke gets in my lens at the BBQ competition, and guess what I'm working on at lynda.com? (hint: Aperture titles.) - All of this and more in today's photography podcast.

Story #1 - I cover three questions from the Photo Help Desk - Histograms and exposure compensation, software plug-ins for Aperture and Lightroom, and the new iMac as an image editing machine. All three queries have interesting answers.

Story #2 - Smoke gets in my lens. We had a great time covering the Wine Country Big-Q BBQ competition in Santa Rosa, CA. Our advanced workshop team (Rebecca, Craig, and Ken) captured hundreds of frames, ate more BBQ than they could imagine, and had very interesting conversations with the competitors. This is a colorful crew (and so are the photographers). I recap the event and talk about advanced workshops in general.

Story #3 - New Aperture training videos. No, it's not version 4. But I am recording two new Aperture titles this week: Portrait Retouching, and Enhancing Product Photography. These are focused tutorials that will show you exactly how to create professional results using Aperture's image editing tools.

Reminder! - If you're going to purchase gear through Amazon or B&H Photo, please stop by the TDS home page first. Look for the "Products" box about half way down the page in the second column. There you will see display tiles for Amazon, lynda.com, and B&H Photo, in that order. By entering those sites through those display tiles, you help support The Digital Story.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast here (26 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The July 2013 photo assignment is Duality.

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special Summer Sale! Just add "TDS: in the comments space of your SizzlPix! order, and you will get 20 percent off the entire order. Limited time offer. Take advantage now.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

How to Make a Postcard in Flickr

Flickr Postcard

Sharing travel adventures via postcards are as old as vacations themselves. You can keep this tradition alive using Flickr on your mobile device or computer. Its editing application enables you to add frames, type, and effects.

Start with a photo that represents your current activity. If you're using your iPhone, access the Camera Roll via the camera function in Flickr for iOS. Once you select the image, tap on the pencil icon in the upper right corner. Here you can choose a frame and add type. Once you apply that, you can also select a filter.

Upload the image to your Flickr account. I also save a version to my Camera Roll (this is an option in Settings). From either location, I can send my postcard to friends and family.

This process is even easier on your computer. Watch this short movie from my Flickr Essential Training title on lynda.com to see how to use the online photo editor to create postcards.

Adding Text and Frames
Flickr Essential Training | by Derrick Story

Regardless if you use your mobile device or computer, you can create memorabilia from your images that will delight your friends this summer, and for years to come.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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