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Why I Don't Drive in Germany

german_parking.jpg

As much as I would love to put an Audi on the Autobahn, I usually resist the urge to drive in Europe. And if I did, I would need to have a clearer understanding of signs like these. At first, I had no idea what these meant.

Fortunately, I had a chance to ask my friend Oliver what they meant. If I remember correctly, the top sign with the X means no parking at all in the direction of the arrow. The lower sign with just the single slash, means you can stop there for a moment, but don't wander off. Perfect for dropping off a friend at work.

The bottom line is, when traveling, don't forget to photograph signs. They can be an interesting point of conversation, as well as informative.


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Inside the Dom, Cologne, Germany

When you get off the train in Cologne, Germany, the first thing you see is the massive exterior of the Dom. But to truly appreciate its grandure, you have to go inside. Believe me, it's worth it.

Image captured with a Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105 mm L f/4 lens at 24mm. Handheld, but leaning against a wall. I processed the photo on the iPad using Photogene.

Traveling to Munich on a High Speed Train

Faster than a speeding bullet. At least that's the way it feels when traveling on the train between Cologne and Munich, Germany. As a photographer, I much prefer it to flying for a few reasons. First, it's more comfortable. You can ride in First Class on the train for about the same price as economy on a cramped plane. Second, you get to keep all of your luggage with you. No messing around with check-in or weight limitations. And third, it's an amazing view out the window.

High Speed Train Through the window of a high speed train on the DB Bahn traveling from Cologne to Munich. Click on image for larger version.

I particularly like it when I enter Bavaria coming from Cologne. The countryside is just beautiful. I captured this fun image through the window using my Olympus E-P1 with the 17mm f/2.8 Lens.

About 3.5 hours later, I was in Munich feeling great and ready for action. Oh, and how fast is fast? Well, the train reached speeds of 180 MPH. That's fast!


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One of the best parts of photokina is that it's in Germany. During my stay here, I've had the opportunity to visit with many German photographers, artists, and businessmen. In this week's podcast, recorded in Cologne and Munich, I visit with two very interesting people.

Photokina 2010

First, we hang out in Munich at the Boinx Software headquarters and visit with my friend Oliver Breidenbach. Oliver started this software company for creatives back in the mid 1990s. And they've created great tools such as Fotomagico. They also created BoinxTV that powered the FotoTV production at photokina. I visit with Oliver and we talk about Germany, business, and software for photographers.

Next on the show is an interview from the show floor at photokina. There I talk to photographer Guido Seitz. He specializes in wedding and engagement portraits. Our conversation focuses on the art of effective wedding photography and the business differences between Germany and North America. I think you'll enjoy.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (43 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

guidoseitzphotography.jpg Guido Seitz Photography

Monthly Photo Assignment

Saturation is the September 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2010.

TDS Autumn 2010 Photography Workshop

The next TDS Photography Workshop will be Oct. 16-18, 2010. The event is sold out. But, you can place your name on the reserve list for the next workshop. Just drop me a line.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

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I've been using the same disc reflectors for years, and they are still one of my favorite ways to light outdoor portraits. But while wandering the halls of photokina, I came across California Sunbounce. They've added some innovation to the traditional design.

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My favorite models were the ones that were rectangle with light aluminum frames and handles. They were very easy to hold, even in the awkward positions that you find yourself in at times while bouncing light. They also had an excellent collection of disc models.

If you like to bounce, you might want to take a look. After visiting the booth, I was all ready to find a model and go shoot some portraits.


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Photokina Comes to a Close

Sunday is the last day of photokina here in Cologne, Germany. Tomorrow, I get on the train and head back to Munich for a few days. I will have more reporting on Oktoberfest, so keep an eye out for that.

Also, this week's podcast includes reporting on photokina featuring an interview with a German wedding photographer. You won't want to miss that. It should be live Tuesday at its normal time.

A big part of my assignment here at photokina is to create and publish short videos for Lowepro. My basic rig is the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS zoom lens and an external lapel mic. With this setup, I can record good video on the noisy, artificially lit, trade floor at photokina. Here's an example. This is a guided tour of the Lowepro Pro Roller Attache x50 narrated by Tim Grimmer.



I used an 77mm ExpoDisc to fine tune the color using the Custom White Balance setting on the 5D Mark II. With video, it really helps minimize post production by getting the sound and color right at capture. Then I can upload the content, along with the stills into Aperture for trimming and assembly.

As you can see from the illustration, this short production consists of two still photos and the HD video clip. Very simple. But often simple is good for YouTube productions, especially if they are clean.


aperture3_video_editing.jpg Video production in Aperture 3. Click on image for full size version.


I then export a 720p HD version directly out of Aperture and upload to YouTube. Streamlining this workflow allows me to get the sleep I need to be strong the next day, yet produce the content quickly.

And BTW... photokina is a blast!

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

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



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The Stunning Fuji FinePix X100


Fuji FinePix X100, originally uploaded by The Digital Story.

Awarded a photokina STAR award, the FinePix X100 reminds me of the finely machined cameras of the 1970s. The top level dials are all metal, the body is constructed of magnesium alloy, and the trim is leather. The camera features an APS-C CMOS sensor, 23mm (35mm equiv) f/2 Fujinon lens, and the hybrid viewfinder can switch from optical to EVF mode. Very innovative.

Fuji reps said we should see the camera in the Spring of 2011, probably for a hair less than 1000 Euros. It's a beauty.

Showcase Standouts at Photokina 2010

Overall quality of product and displays has been top notch at photokina 2010. But these five items were my standouts for today. You'll notice that no prices are listed here. For some of the items, not all, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford... unfortunately that includes me too.

You can click on any of the images to view a larger version. All shots were captured with my Canon S90.


sigma_150mm_f2_8_macro.jpg Sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO Macro DG HSM prime lens. This is a beautiful lens for portraits and close up work. It focused smoothly, felt great, and has image stabilization.


leica_m9_titanium.jpg Normally I like black camera bodies. But this Leica M9 Titanium looks amazing. I think this is equipment artwork.


giant_zeiss_lens.jpg This giant Zeiss Lens barrel was one of the most clever displays I saw today. Inside was a mini museum. I thought it added fun touch to Hall 2.1, which was already one of my favorite locations.


panasonic_152_inch_tv.jpg Panasonic 152 inch Plasma Display with HDTV and 3D. It was gigantic and crystal clear. If you watched 3D programming with the special glasses, it was better than your average movie theater.


canon_300mm_f2_8.jpg The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS zoom is the telephoto I want. It's fast, hefty but not too big, and very sharp.



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Don't Forget the Little Things

Beer Service

It's easy to get caught up with the "big shots": grand architecture and beautiful landscapes. But don't forget to mix in the little things too -- items such as the dinner presentation, interesting signs, and in this case, a style of beer service that I had never seen before.

I really like the straight cylinder glasses that beer is often served in here in Cologne, Germany. So when I spotted this waitperson navigating a crowd with 11 full glasses, I just had to ask for a shot (and then a beer, of course!). Maybe it was the intoxicating goodness of the delicious brew, but this turned out to be one of my favorite images of the night.


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