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The New York Times has published an excellent photo gallery of the earthquake aftermath in China. If you haven't followed the coverage, there are some powerful photographs here.

Image in screenshot by Color China Photo, via Associated Press.

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Eye-Fi Explore looks like a typical SD Card, but it's actually a 2GB storage and wireless device that can add geographic location labels to your images. In other words, maybe we finally have an easy way to geotag our images.

I haven't tested this yet, so I'm not sure how it works. But I am interested. If anyone has additional info, please post a comment.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.


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Ring flashes can produce great lighting for portraits, either by themselves or part of a multi-lighting scheme. Expo Imaging recently released the Ray Flash: The Ring Flash Adapter that "creates a three-dimensional shadow-wrapped look around the subject. Because ring flash light originates from a circle around the lens, it produces a virtually shadowless look on the front of your subject, while producing a soft even shadow around the edges."

To put this new device through its paces, Strobist recently published a full review of the Ray Flash. The bottom line?

"...if you are mobile -- and especially if you like the TTL thing -- you have to give the Ray Flash strong consideration. And this design clearly took a lot of time and effort to produce. Not to mention a some very expensive mold design."
"For the people for whom it makes economic sense, the cost will be returned many times."
"I suspect that the Ray Flash will be a hit with the hipster wedding shooter crowd. It takes up almost no room in the bag, then you just slip it on when you wanna do the funky bride shot. You can do it at each wedding -- it's always new to them, right? This thing could make some cool reception pix, too, if you are into that kind of thing."

If you can afford the $300 price tag, Ray Flash is available directly from Expo Imaging

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Adobe just released an update to Photoshop Express that includes integration with Flickr and "Save As" functionality. Plus, there's a new embedable player that allows users to post their Photoshop Express slideshows to sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and personal blogs.

You may have caught wind of this update earlier in the week when some sites reported about it. But Adobe had to pull it back on May 7 because they discovered a bug. By Friday, May 9, they had everything cleaned up and ready for users.


Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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According to a report on the Stock Artists Alliance web site, "Orphan Works is back. Last month, the U.S. Congress held Hearings, making clear that the wheels were again in motion. Last week, it became official when new versions of the Orphan Works Act of 2008 were introduced by both the House and Senate."

If you're not familiar with the Orphan Works issue, it essentially means that if your copyright information gets stripped out of the metadata of your photo, and someone wants to use that image, they may be able to do so if it is determined to be an orphan work. SAA is looking to protect the rights of photographers by making sure this legislation isn't too loose. They have a nice piece on the issues surrounding this legislation.

This is something for all photographers to be aware of, not just stock shooters. Once your images are in the wild, you want to be sure you're given credit for the pictures you take. And if there is money at stake, you need to be part of that conversation. Learning about the Orphan Works legislation is important for all of us.

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Welcome Aboard Red River Paper

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Digital Story readers have a terrific new sponsor supporting our virtual camera club -- Red River Paper. And they've created a special landing page for TDS members where they'll offer promotions on their excellent inkjet photo stock.

One of the things I like about Red River is that they sell directly to photographers, and they have an excellent customer service attitude. Plus the prices are fantastic! And they are one of the leaders in creating photo papers that are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. This is a winning combination for TDS members.

Be sure to check out the Photo Paper Sample Kit for $7.99 with free shipping. Great to have you aboard Red River.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.


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David over at Strobist might be able to light circles around me, but one thing we share in common is our passion for the Canon PowerShot G9. David wrote in the article, New Canon Powershot G9 Makes My G7 Feel Like Unloved Stepchild, "I don't write about specific cameras very often on this site, but this one bears a closer look. The G9 is of particular interest because of it's flash-friendly features, among other things."

One of those "flash-friendly features" is that you can sync a Canon G9 up to 1/2500th. This is very handy for high speed flash situations when you want to control motion. You can read all about it in his post, How To: Sync a Canon G9 at 1/2500th of a Sec. It's pretty fun stuff.

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Here's a fun interview to listen to. A few weeks ago, while I was working in Orlando at Photoshop World, I had a chance to visit with photographer and fine art printing expert John Paul Caponigro. One of John Paul's passions is the Epson Print Academy, and he gives us an inside peek in the Academy from color management to fine art workflow.

Speaking of color management, I love one of JP's comments about it: "Yes it is rocket science, but you don't need to be a scientist to drive a rocket." He believes that color management can be comprehensible and brings this belief to his teaching.

Finally, I just had to ask JP about his favorite printing surfaces. Usually I ask photographers about their camera equipment. But since John Paul is equally well known for his fine art printing, I thought we'd go that direction instead.

You can download the MP3 file here.

Photo by Colleen Wheeler.


Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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We've had some interesting discussion around Adobe's DNG format, both here on The Digital Story, and on the TDS Flickr Public Group. The main focus has been: should you consider converting your existing RAW files to DNG when you upload them to your computer?

However, we're seeing the occasional digital camera writing natively to the DNG format, and the latest entry is the Ricoh GR Digital II. Over at PhotographyBLOG, Mark Goldstein puts the camera to the test in his complete review of the Ricoh GR Digital II. Mark writes:

"The Ricoh GR Digital II is not your usual run-of-the-mill compact digital camera. The fast 28mm fixed focal length lens, Adobe DNG RAW format, external hotshoe and 1:1 aspect ratio for square format photos all point to a serious camera for the seriously keen photographer. As does the £399 price-tag, which could alternatively buy you a DSLR camera with kit lens. The Ricoh GR Digital II is also not the only compact with a fixed 28mm lens, being recently joined by the much-delayed Sigma DP1, which offers a much larger APS-C sized sensor. We wanted to know if the Ricoh GR Digital II is a worthy addition to Ricoh's extensive line-up of digital compacts for the professional."

Whether or not you think the Ricoh is a tempting camera after you read Mark's review, the trend for some manufacturers to use DNG as their high-quality format seems to be on the rise.

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To Convert to DNG, or Not

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In the workflow class I taught last weekend, we had some discussion about the Adobe DNG format, and if RAW shooters should convert to DNG when uploading their images to the computer.

I've published a fair amount on this subject. In Digital Photography Podcast 114, Julieanne Kost talks about on Lightroom and DNG, and she's a big proponent of the open file format. Anyone who has been to one of my workshops knows that if you're not using Lightroom or Aperture, I recommend Photo Downloader, which comes with Adobe Bridge and allows you to convert to DNG during the upload process (as does Lightroom).

But, just because you can convert to DNG easily, does that mean you should? I'm not as worried about my RAW files becoming unreadable someday as others (a big reason some advocate converting to DNG). But what I don't like about the RAW workflow (outside of Aperture and Lightroom) are the XMP sidecar files cluttering up my picture folders. So, believe it or not, one of the reasons I do like DNG is because it's tidy. All those metadata files are stored in the container and not out floating around.

I am curious though... do you have a strong argument either for or against converting your RAW files to DNG? If so, I'd like to hear.

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