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The Sneak Peek at PMA was bustling with journalists from the minute the doors opened at noon. Oh sure, lots of food and drink had something to do with it. But lots of vendors displaying their best products with folks to answer questions was also a big draw. My favorite (in my dreams) innovation of the day was the latest edition to the Leica S System, the new Leica S2 Digital SLR.

Beautifully crafted, this camera sports a 37.5 megapixel, 30 x 45 mm sensor built into a body that wasn't much bigger than a Canon 5D Mark ll. (See image below for the side by side comparison.)

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The Leica S2 features a dual shutter system with focal-plane for fast lenses and in-lens leaf shutter for high flash sync speeds, DNG capture that can be processed with Photoshop, precision autofocus system, and four interchangeable lenses.

Bottom line, it feels like a digital SLR but produces medium format images. If you feel yourself getting excited about the prospects of owning one for yourself, this might cool you off a bit. Rumor is that the body will sell for around $40,000 when released later this year. Oh well, at least I got to hold it.


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Tell a Story in 10 Frames - "Josh & Alex"

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Can you tell a story in just 10 frames? My bet is that you can. For me, most slideshows go on too long. So I gave myself the assignment to create a series of movies that told a story in only 10 frames. I've published the first entry, Josh & Alex Wedding in 10 Frames.

I created this movie in iPhoto '09, then exported it as a QuickTime file. I then posted it to The Digital Story Flickr page, where I'll be adding more to this series soon.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Special thanks to Danielle for her contributions to this project!


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Adobe has released a free update to Photoshop CS4 for both Mac and Windows. Here's the official word on what it contains:

The Photoshop 11.0.1 update addresses key issues reported by customers that may impact performance. The update also includes the following enhancements: the ability to correctly recognize 3D textures edited by plug-ins; improved quality of Auto-Blend Layers (Stack Images); and fixes for issues that can be caused by corrupt fonts or when pasting formatted text.

The Photoshop 11.0.1 update is available as a free download for existing Photoshop CS4 customers at http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/ or through the Adobe updater via the application itself.

Direct links to the downloads are here:

Mac - http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4291

Win - http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4292

Other Articles on Photoshop CS4

30 Days of Free Photoshop CS4 - Here's What to Explore

"Top 10 Photoshop CS4 Features" - Digital Photography Podcast 144


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Learn what photographers need to know to organize and edit their images with Photoshop CS4. Take a look at The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers. It fits in your laptop bag and is very easy on your wallet.


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Macworld has just published my review of the Olympus E-30 DSLR. I think this is one of the best digital cameras Olympus has produced to date. It feels solid and professional, but isn't too heavy or bulky to stash in your backpack when on the go.

The PROS are: Real-time focusing in Live View mode; support for multiple aspect ratios; image stabilization in camera body; unique features such as Multiple Exposure and Digital Leveler; 98 percent field of view through optical viewfinder; exposure bracketing in three or five frames. As for the CONS, I only had two: No movie mode; battery charger requires cord instead of plugging directly into wall outlet. I gave it rating of 4.5 mice.

You can read the complete review of the Olympus E-30 here.


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Lots of talk today about the new compact Olympus E-620 DSLR, and for good reason. This affordable, full featured camera is small enough to go just about anywhere. But what I think is also exciting is that Olympus announced an underwater case designed specifically for the E-620.

Because of Live View mode, underwater shooters now have a bright, 2.7" LCD they can use for composing shots underwater. This is much easier than previous methods (of guessing the composition). The new Olympus housing is rated down to 40 meters underwater. It has five interchangeable lens ports available, so you can use your favorite lens underwater too. And it accepts an Olympus flash bracket.

I think for many photographers, this rig is going to change their approach to underwater shooting.


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Testing the Eye-Fi Explore Card at Home

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The Eye-Fi Explore provides a geotagging alternative that doesn't depend on GPS. Instead, it taps the Skyhook Wireless database that contains thousands of WiFi hotspots and their location data. These hotspots have been surveyed by Skyhook and are constantly updated by users.

The Eye-Fi Explore Workflow

The Eye-Fi Explore system is straightforward. You insert the SD card into your camera's memory slot. It provides you with 2 GBs of storage plus WiFi connectivity. You use the Eye-Fi Manager software to set everything up. When you configure the card, you make it aware of your home network. That way it can automatically access it (even if it's password protected) and upload images as they are captured. During this process, Eye-Fi consults the Skyhook database, retrieves the geodata, then adds that information to the Jpegs it is transferring.

I have the card set up to transfer files to both my MacBook and to my Flickr account. The images that go to Flickr are kept private until I approve them for public viewing. Both versions of the image contain geodata that can pinpoint where I took the shot on a map.

I tested the Eye-Fi Explore card at my studio using a Canon G9 in Raw+Jpeg mode. When I took a picture, the Jpeg version was uploaded wirelessly to my MacBook and to Flickr. The Raw version of the image was left alone. To verify this process, I took the card out of the camera, inserted it into the Eye-Fi card reader, and looked at it on my computer. Both the Raw and Jpeg versions were on the SD card, and neither were tagged with geodata.

So, if you want to location data added, keep in mind that you can only do so if you use the wireless upload, and that it only affects the Jpegs. Raw files are not part of this workflow.

A Few Quirks

Hang on to the card reader that comes with the Eye-Fi Explore. For some reason the Eye-Fi card wasn't recognized by my regular card reader, so I'm now using its bundled mate instead.

Concerning accuracy of the geodata... that depends a lot on the accuracy of the Skyhook database. I noticed that the images shot at my studio were mistagged. The location was about a block away. The reason for this is that I had moved during the summer, and Skyhook still had the location for my AirPort Extreme at the old studio. So I went to the Skyhook Submit WiFi AP page and updated the database. I'm still waiting for update confirmation, even though I submitted the information a week ago.

And finally, you don't really have any control over the upload process. What you shoot gets uploaded and that's that. So for a lot of people, this process might not be a good fit.

The Bottom Line

The Eye-Fi Explore is selling for $105 on Amazon. It works as advertised, and it is a reasonable geotagging solution for urban settings and other areas that have WiFi access points. If the Skyhook database is accurate, so will be your geodata. You can shoot Raw+Jpeg with the card, have your Jpegs tagged and uploaded, then deal with your Raws later using your normal workflow.

Shooting around my studio, I liked the card. In my next installment, I'll take it out into the field and see how it works with Wayport hotspots.

See My Other Posts on Geotagging

Geotagging a Journey with photoGPS, iPhoto, and Flickr

iPhoto '09 as Your Geotagging Tool?

First Look at Jobo photoGPS Device and Software

Update to Geotagging Workflow, Including Jobo photoGPS

Finding a Reasonable Geotagging Workflow


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Canon announced that their zoomerific PowerShot SX1 IS will be Raw enabled this spring. They will release a firmware update that will unlock this capability giving shooters the added benefit of Raw capture on this compact camera. By doing so, Canon has provided a nice alternative for those who want the 28mm to 560mm zooming range of the SX1, but aren't interested in lugging around a DSLR and telephoto lens.

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The Canon SX1 has many interesting features for the photographer on the go. It uses AA batteries that are easy to find anywhere in the world. It can record HD video (1920 x 1080) and high resolution Raw (3648 x 2736), and it accepts a Mini-HDMI to HDMI cable so you can plug it directly into an HD television for movie or slideshow playback. (You can read a good review of this camera on photographyBLOG).

If you want to shoot 10 megapixel Raw on a compact camera with a powerful zoom and HD video capture, then take a look at the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS. You should be able to download the Raw firmware update next month.


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You can now post and read reviews for all of the Red River paper stocks on their site. This new feature was just launched, and I thought that our virtual camera club could help get things rolling by posting reviews of your favorite papers. Red River is a solid supporter of The Digital Story, and their product is outstanding. I just posted a review of Arctic Polar Luster, the surface that I like best.

If you haven't tried Red River paper yet, you can get their Sample Kit for $7.99, including free shipping. You get two 8.5" x 11" sheets for 19 different papers. It's a great way to discover the best stock for your printing needs.

Other Posts About Red River Paper

Getting Started with Inkjet B&W Printing

Red River's Arctic Polar Luster and the HP B8850 Printer

Welcome Aboard Red River Paper


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Have you ever watched those timelapse videos of someone building a house or creating something else cool? I just found this nifty SiteGrinder movie on YouTube by Fmlad where an entire web site is designed in 8 minutes. I think this piece does a good job of giving you a feel for the power of SiteGrinder 2.

Previous Posts about SiteGrinder

Introduction to SiteGrinder for Beautiful, Easy Web Design


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After the wedding was over, our next challenge was to cull the best images from the 2,300 shots we captured over the course of the day. Between the two of us, we had amassed over 32 GBs of Raw files, and we had to transform that data into a customer-friendly deliverable.

My assistant, Danielle, uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for her post production. I use Apple's Aperture. By midweek, Danielle had worked through the entire shoot, and delivered a CD to me of high quality Jpegs (at full 5D Mark ll resolution). I had already winnowed down my shoot to a collection of favorites.

I integrated Danielle's picks with mine in Aperture, then sorted by "time captured." This put the entire shoot in order. The only slightly strange parts were when I went off to shoot the boys before the ceremony, and she was shooting the empty reception hall. But other than that, everything meshed together perfectly.

The final gallery count was 447 -- that included both Danielle's and my best shots. I then exported the images out of Aperture as high quality Jpegs constrained at 2200 pixels in either direction. The pictures were uploaded to my Shutterfly Pro account, and I sent the URL out to as many family members and wedding participants as I had email addresses for, encouraging them to pass along the link to anyone they wish.

On Shutterfly, viewers can watch a slideshow or manually click through the images in the gallery. If they see something they like, they can order a print on the spot. Shutterfly handles the printing, business transactions, and delivery. I can monitor activity via my Shutterfly Pro account.

I also prepare a CD of high resolution Jpegs and send it to the clients. I know a lot of photographers don't believe in this, but I want my clients to have their own master collection that they can play with and print as they wish. That will be the last step for me in the assignment. Then I can check it off my list and move on to next week's work.

Photo of happy couple after the ceremony by Derrick Story, captured with a Canon 5D Mark ll using fill flash.

Previous Installments of the Wedding Photographer Chronicles

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 1, the Rehearsal

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 2, Analyzing the Church

Wedding Photographer Chronicles: Chapter 3, During the Ceremony


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