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This is The Digital Story Podcast #609, Nov. 14, 2017. Today's theme is "Back into the Unfriendly Skies." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

By the time you hear this podcast, I'll either be in Washington D.C. covering the WildSpeak Conference, or stranded somewhere in between. It's really weird these days to get on a plane without knowing when you will actually reach your intended destination. But that is the reality of air travel in these United States. And what I'm doing to prepare for this journey is the topic of today's TDS podcast.

Venturing Back into the Unfriendly Skies

IMG_5165.jpg

I remember it was a very hot afternoon when I found my way to the TSA trailer parked at the Sonoma County Airport. I had a 3 pm appointment to interview for my KTN, Known Traveler Number. This would give me access to TSA Pre for the next two years.

The big moment was when the TSA staffer scanned my passport and we waited together for the results. "You're clean!" she exclaimed. We can finish off your application. I wondered at the time what would happen if I didn't come back clean. Would they arrest me on the spot?

I received my KTN about a week later, and I've only had to fly once since then - to retrieve my son Zach from New York right after the Santa Rosa firestorm. But now I have two big business trips where I'm packing all my gear. So these will be the first real test of traveling under the KTN umbrella.

I'm leaving nothing to chance, however. So here's how this photographer is preparing for his journey from San Francisco to Washington D.C.

  • Pack Light and Keep it with Me - I have a pilot's roller bag that fits easily in any overhead bin. I would like to have more packing space for a business trip to a cold weather destination, but I have to survive a connection at Dallas Fort Worth. So everything goes in either the roller or my Think Tank Retrospective 7. And it all stays with me.
  • Packing Cubes-One of the reasons that I can get all of my big clothes in that pilot's roller is thanks to my set of Packing Cubes. They keep my bag organized and make it each to compress my clothes into a small space. If you've never used packing cubes before. Treat yourself.
  • Portable Power - Many airports are better than they used to be for providing power outlets in waiting areas, that is, until you really need one. Same goes for on the planes themselves. I carried a OUTXE 16000mAh Rugged Power Bank with Flashlight IP67 Waterproof Solar Portable Charger Outdoor Dual USB Phone Battery Pack with me all through the recent evacuations, and it's coming with me on this trip as well. Seems to be a necessity of the modern age.
  • Work for the Road- One of the huge frustrations of being delayed or stranded is the amount of time that is wasted. Most of us are very busy these days, and right now, I'm busier than I've been in years. I can't afford to write off a day. So I've prepared a number of work items that I can tackle in the air or the waiting room. It will help keep my frustration at a minimum if things do go awry.
  • Food - You would think that in these modern days or air travel, at least we would have food and water available. But a missed connection can lead to late nights in lobbies or substandard backup flights that provide nothing worthy of eating. I always kid myself for packing healthy food. And I almost always need it.

Videoblocks - One Stop Downloading for video, audio, and images for your projects

This week I want to walk you through the steps that I used to find and download some aerial footage that I needed for a project using my Storyblocks account. I started with the search block on my home page, then entered "aerial landscape" and chose "footage" from the popup menu. Other options included "Backgrounds" and "After Effects".

I was then presented with dozens and dozens of options, more than I could count. I chose a snippet titled, "silhouette of trees at sunset" because it had the same vibe as the footage that I wanted to use it with. It was a 13-second video, 1920 x 1080, 29.97 fps. I could either download the .mov file (243 MBs) or a MP4 file that was only 20 MBs. I could download to my HD or save the file to Dropbox. A few seconds later, it was playing on my computer, ready to use in my project.

It's that easy to use. If I'm in the middle of editing and I say to myself that I need this or that, I just hop over to video blocks, search for what I'm looking for, download it, and get back to work. It's royalty free, so I can use it right away.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be your tour guide for this site. But if you need content right now, you can join Videoblocks for $149 a year and gain access to great video, stills, and audio content. This is really a great idea...

Will I Be Testing the New Olympus 45mm and 17mm f/1.2 PRO Lenses?

Yes I will. I will have my hands on both lenses on December 6, and I'll be able to publish my review of them on Friday, Dec. 8. So, if you're contemplating either one of these, I'll be able to give you some more insight into these lenses very soon. Stay tuned!

And if you want to preorder either of these optics, here's some more info about them:

New Benefit for TDS Inner Circle Members

Speaking of video:

Starting in December 2017, I have a great new benefit for TDS Inner Circle Members: Nimble Software Series. Each month I will post two training videos for our Inner Circle Members, covering Capture One Pro, Lightroom, Luminar, Photos for mac OS and more. Each video will run between 10 to 30 minutes, and will show you specific techniques for improving your images.

To become an Inner Circle Member, simple pledge $5 or more a month through the TDS Patreon program. Existing Inner Circle members are automatically enrolled in the Nimble Software Series, and receive their first two movies on Friday, December 1, 2017.

We have more benefits coming in 2018 for our Inner Circle Members. Join today and become part of the TDS Elite.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Videoblocks - Go to videoblocks.com/digitalstory to get all the stock video, audio, and images that you can imagine for just $149. Save on millions of studio-quality clips, tracks, and graphics.

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.

One of the great things about iPhone photography is that whenever I encounter an interesting scene, I have the ability to capture it. Such was the case last night at a family event.

Pool Scene at Night "Illuminated Pool" - Captured with an iPhone 6S and processed in Luminar. Photo by Derrick Story.

The original shot had the ballroom entrance illuminated with tungsten lighting with the pool in the foreground. My original instinct was to capture the complementary colors of blue and orange. And when I reviewed the images a bit later, I thought they were OK.

But I felt like there was a better shot hidden within this scene. So I opened the photo on my MacBook and started playing with cropping and graphical effects. And there it was. The really interesting composition didn't have the ballroom at all, except as a reflection in the pool. The edited image was more abstract instead of a literal interpretation of the scene. And to be honest, it is far more interesting.

My point is that we often have better images trapped within our ho-hum captures. And thanks to our high resolution capture devices, we can extract the art from within our snapshots, and still have enough pixels for publishing, or even printing.

Take a look at your shots from the last week. Are there any hidden gems?

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

Most Capture One users have master catalogs with thousands of images. If, however, you want to take a project with your on the road (and leave the rest of the catalog behind), it's very easy to do.

export-as-catalog.jpg

Once you've exported a project as a catalog, you can copy it to your laptop and take it on the road. If you make changes to the exported catalog, you can integrate them back into the master collection by using the Import Catalog command under the File menu.

Here's a movie that shows you the steps for exporting the project.

Output a project or album as a catalog from Capture One Pro 10 Essential Training by Derrick Story

More Capture One Pro 10 Techniques

You can master Capture One Pro in just a few hours by viewing my LinkedIn Learning Training title, Capture One Pro 10 Essential Training, which also includes an entire chapter dedicated to version 10.1.

Micro Four Thirds photographers have always admired Panasonic's video capabilities. But with the introduction of the Pansonic DC-G9 body ($1,698), serious still shooters have much to be excited about as well. Looks like we have a worthy competitor for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II ($1,799).

lumix-g9-pair.jpg

"To withstand heavy field use, the LUMIX G9 is composed of a magnesium alloy full die-cast front/rear frame and is not only splash proof and dustproof, but also freeze proof down to -10 degrees centigrade. The largest-in-class Status LCD on the top of the camera makes shooting even easier and more comfortable. For the rear monitor, a 3.0-inch free-angle LCD in 3:2 aspect ratio with 1,040K-dot high resolution is equipped. The G9 has a double SD Memory Card slot, compatible with the high-speed, high-capacity UHS-II."

Now add up to 6.5 stops of sensor stabilization, and shooting bursts at 20 fps with continuous autofocus using its electronic shutter (9 fps with mechanical) and 60 fps with single AF (12 fps with mechanical). The buffer allows for up to 50 Raw images to be captured in a single burst. Oh, and you still have great video as well: UHD 4K video at up to 60 fps, with a maximum bitrate of 150Mbps.

The Panasonic G9 is available for preorder at $1,697.99, and it should ship in January 2018. What a way to start the new year!

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #608, Nov. 7, 2017. Today's theme is "My Top 5 Photo Apps of 2017." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Competition on the photo software space has heated up in 2017. Lightroom still maintains its "King of the Hill" status, but there are newcomers and veterans alike challenging that position. But how do you determine what's right for you? Today I will share my favorite 5 with the hope that this information will make your decision just a bit easier.

My Top 5 Photo Apps of 2017

All five of these apps are the winners. I'm not ranking them because each person has his/her own unique needs, and the program that meets those needs the best should be their top pick.

That being said, I have my personal favorites among these five. And I will share those opinions during this discussion. So let's get started.

IMG_1788.jpg

  • Lightroom - Pick your version - Excellent editing tools combined with a reasonable DAM, Lightroom has the largest support community with a bounty of how-to information and tips. Its cloud connectivity with mobile devices is excellent. And if you don't know what you need in an all purpose photo management app, this isn't a bad place to start. Good for pros and enthusiasts. Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
  • Capture One Pro - My favorite RAW decoder in this lineup. C1 is know for its excellent, photo-like image quality, but it's also a darn good DAM as well. If you don't care about cloud connectivity and can live with the higher price tag, this app is fantastic for serious RAW photography. Good for pros and enthusiasts. Mac and Windows.
  • Luminar-What started out as an innovative image editor for the Mac is now evolving into a full service application for Mac and Windows. The editing tools are outrageously good. A DAM is coming in 2018. And you can't beat the reasonable price tag. If I had to pick a dark horse contender to 2018, Luminar would be it. Good for enthusiasts and snapshooters. Mac and Windows.
  • Photos for macOS High Sierra - Although it still lives in the shadow of its predecessor Aperture, the third version of Photos is quite capable. Apple RAW decoding is excellent and is tied to the OS, not the Photos app. Performance is outstanding, as is iCloud sharing and backup. If you're an iPhone shooter, Photos is a no-brainer. But it's also a good fit for enthusiasts thanks in part to the excellent lineup of editing and output extensions. Good for enthusiasts and snapshooters. Mac and iOS.
  • Affinity Photo - If you want the power of Photoshop, but with a more modern UI and photographer emphasis, then Affinity is your app. Super powerful tools, great performance, good price, and a killer iOS app to boot. Good for pros and enthusiasts. Mac, Windows, and iOS.

Videoblocks - One Stop Downloading for video, audio, and images for your projects

Over the last month, I've had this ongoing conversation with a group called Storyblocks. They provide downloadable photography, video, and audio for creatives who need royalty free content for their projects. Considering that we have a community of visual artists here, I was interested in learning more.

For me personally, I'm more interested than ever in having additional movie and photo content available. As I record more video and stills with my Spark, there are gaps that I would love to fill. Footage for intros, transitions, and closing content that could augment what I've recorded.

Instead of just editing together a few clips, I could make a real movie. So I started exploring Videoblocks online library of royalty free content.

Two things happened as a result. First, there is a ton of great footage to augment my work. I'm really excited about this because I feel like this will move the ball forward for my projects. And second, the extensive library of content is also stirring my imagination for new creations. "What if I downloaded this footage here, then went and shot that, then combined them?"

This is the perfect time of year to explore Videoblocks. Take those great images and videos for your 2017 adventures, and elevate them to the next level.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be your tour guide for this site. But if you need content right now, you can join Videoblocks for $149 a year and gain access to great video, stills, and audio content. This is really a great idea...

New Benefit for TDS Inner Circle Members

Speaking of video:

Starting in December 2017, I have a great new benefit for TDS Inner Circle Members: Nimble Software Series. Each month I will post two training videos for our Inner Circle Members, covering Capture One Pro, Lightroom, Luminar, Photos for mac OS and more. Each video will run between 10 to 30 minutes, and will show you specific techniques for improving your images.

To become an Inner Circle Member, simple pledge $5 or more a month through the TDS Patreon program. Existing Inner Circle members are automatically enrolled in the Nimble Software Series, and receive their first two movies on Friday, December 1, 2017.

We have more benefits coming in 2018 for our Inner Circle Members. Join today and become part of the TDS Elite.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Videoblocks - Go to videoblocks.com/digitalstory to get all the stock video, audio, and images that you can imagine for just $149. Save on millions of studio-quality clips, tracks, and graphics.

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.

Among the many embers that iPhone X has stirred, the demise of the camera industry is among them. "DSLRs and mirrorless devices are on their way out," many claim.

Yes, there is a changing of the guard, but not the annihilation of a culture. And the folks migrating to smartphones over other cameras were never really the intended audience for interchangeable lens devices.

olympus-pen-f.jpg The Olympus PEN-F is an example of the types of cameras that manufacturers need to develop to continue to delight true photography enthusiasts. Photo by Derrick Story.

Before the Kodak Brownie, photography was for hearty souls who had the patience for the process and the creativity to create a vision. As the tools became easier to use, more people embraced them. To some degree, you can equate the iPhone as the modern Brownie.

People want pictures to document their lives. Smartphones are the perfect devices to do so. Plus, they have many creative features that make it fun to capture history. I love shooting with my smartphone. And I have an iPhone X on order.

But that doesn't mean that I'm giving up my other cameras as a result. I'm not carrying around a toolbox with only a screwdriver in it.

True photographers will always be true photographers. They will embrace a variety of tools and techniques to further their craft. These will be the remaining customers for the modern camera industry.

Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Pentax, and others will have to adjust to their shrinking market. They will no longer be able to pad the bottom line with cheap digital capture devices for the masses. Those days are gone.

But photography enthusiasts are still here. And they want to be catered to. So the companies that can take care of the folks like me, will still be here a decade from now. And the tools they create for us will be just as amazing as the iPhone X, only for a different audience.

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

Luminar 2018 - Faster and Bolder

Luminar 2018 is scheduled to ship on November 16. You can preorder now for $59 with bonuses, saving yourself money and receiving extra goodies. And as a Luminar user myself, I think this is one of the best values in photography software.

Karen Hutton_TahoePierre-after.jpg Image by Karen Hutton processed in Luminar.

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Karen Hutton_TahoePierre-before.jpg Image by Karen Hutton before processing.

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My favorite highlights in this latest version include:

  • Windows compatibility (with a shared license for both platforms).
  • Faster RAW processing.
  • A boatload of new filters including lens correction, dodge and burn, LUT mapping, RAW develop, matte look, brilliance/warmth, and plenty more.
  • Plugin support for Aurora HDR and Creative Kit.
  • And lots of improvements including the cropping tool, sharpen on export, and DNG handling.

Plus, Luminar 2018 license holders will receive the new digital asset manager (DAM) for free when it's launched in 2018. Bottom line is this: Luminar can be used as a standalone solution; plugin for Lightroom, Aperture, and Capture One Pro; and as an editing extension for Photos for macOS. It's my favorite app for image editing. It's affordable. You don't have to rent it. And it's fun. What's not to like?

You can preorder now.

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

It dawned on me as I was placing my order for an iPhone X the other morning, what a paradox I am as a photographer.

On one hand, I'm spending money I don't have for a smartphone of the future, primarily because of its camera. On the other, I had just refurbished a half dozen cameras for listing in TheFilmCameraShop that I run for 35mm enthusiasts.

contax-aria-table.jpg My film camera, a Contax Aria, shot with my iPhone.

But wait, it gets even crazier. Last week I photographed Hop Kiln Winery with a DJI Spark, stitching 8 images together in Lightroom CC. Later that day, I pulled out a DxO ONE to inconspicuously capture some high resolution candids.

And that's not to mention that my everyday creative camera is the fabulous Olympus PEN-F with its army of high quality compact lenses.

So, what gives? Have I totally lost my identity as a photographer? Actually, quite the opposite. I'm more focused and creative than ever.

What's happening is that I always have the right tool for the job. When I want that true film look, I pull out my Contax Aria with a Zeiss Tessar 45mm pancake lens. When I need an aerial view of the world, I fire up the Spark. The iPhone is always with me so I never miss a photo opportunity. And the PEN-F inspires me to go out and take pictures when I might otherwise feel less creative.

It's not cheap being a photographer these days. But then again, it never was. But it sure is fun. And I feel more prepared than ever to make interesting images. Plus, I don't think I've ever enjoyed this craft more than I do now.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #607, Oct. 31, 2017. Today's theme is "The Thrill of Fast Primes." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

The best news to come out of Photo Plus Expo for me was the announcement of the new Olympus PRO f/1.2 primes. But Olympus isn't the only one pushing the wide aperture envelope. Fast primes by Fujifilm and other mirrorless camera makers are boosting not only capability, but price and bulk as well. And they are to subject of today's podcast.

The Thrill of Fast Primes

Olympus-PRO-Primes.jpg

Bigger optics with hefty price tags are the current trend in mirrorless cameras. In many ways, I view these new offerings as the maturation of this product category, not only for Olympus, but Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic too. Pros and enthusiasts alike can use these cameras and lenses for their work. Mirrorless has grown up.

What this means for me as a fan of micro four thirds, is that I have tantalizing options for lens selection. I can go compact with modest f/1.8 maximum apertures, or go super fast at f/1.2. So how do I choose? Well first let's take a look at five of these tempting lenses by our favorite manufacturers.

So now, just by way of comparison, let's pick the fast optic that I'm most interested in, the 45mm f/1.2. It measures 2.76 x 3.34" (70 x 84.9 mm) and weighs 14.46 oz (410 g). It has a 9 blade aperture. The smaller Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens has a seven blade aperture, costs only $399, weighs in at 4.09 oz (116 g), and measures 2.20 x 1.81" (56 x 46 mm). That's quite a difference.

The bottom line is this, regardless if you're a nimble photographer or pro who needs the very best, mirrorless now provides options for both.

A Review of the TDS Wine Country Photography Workshop

Beautiful weather, friendly world class wineries, and amazing photographers combine for a fabulous 3-day event in Sonoma County. Here are a few of my impressions.

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.

Podcast Sponsors

Cascable - Cascable is the best tool available for working with your camera in the field.

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.

One of the things that I think is valuable about a photography workshop is getting away from daily responsibilities to focus on your craft. Over the last three days here in Sonoma County, a group of us did exactly that.

wine-tasting.jpg Learning about wine (and tasting as we go) at Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma County.

During our last hour yesterday in the tasting room at Ferrari Carano Winery in Healdsburg, some of us chatted about the delicate balance between critique and vision.

Earlier in the day, each photographer had presented eight images to the group in a darkened classroom with the hum of a projector fan in the background. We discussed each image, noting the things we liked and offered suggestions when appropriate. The quality of work was quite good. And these are the most important moments of any TDS workshop.

Afterward we celebrated our work with one last winery visit. It was a good call. We were able to reflect upon the last few days when we had experienced so much together.

I loved the discussion about balancing the feedback we receive from others with our own developing vision. How does one walk that line between being open to the suggestions while still following our own artistic voice?

The answer is a little different for each artist. I think it depends a lot on their personality and where they are on their journey. But what's really important is the opportunity to slow down for a minute to let this happen, to discuss these ideas with peers.

I had never combined wine tasting and photography before. I wasn't sure what to expect for this workshop. But it worked. Once again, I was reminded that if we can find a way to carve out time to pursue our craft in a supportive environment, good things will happen. Great wine doesn't seem to hurt the process.

And indeed good things did happen. And it was so enjoyable to celebrate them on that warm Saturday afternoon in that beautiful tasting room, deep in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.

PS: Next year's workshop schedule will be announced here in November. Stay tuned, and be a part of the experience.

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