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The first thing I noticed after setting up the Glow QuadraPop 24" x 34" Portable Softbox was how light it was. My testing rig consisted of a Sunpak flash (with manual adjustments), wireless trigger, and Manfrotto light stand. Once assembled, the setup felt very balanced and easy to move around.

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The QuadraPop is designed for portability, making it a good choice for home studios and location work where it needs to be collapsed and expanded quickly. The kit comes with an adapter ring that you insert the flexible aluminum rods into, then expand it to a full 24" wide by 34" tall - a nice surface area for waist up portraits.

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The flash and trigger (or hard wire if you use that) mount on a sliding rail. Position the flash so the head is inside the softbox. The light is modified by twin diffusers: one inside the unit, and the other attached using velcro on the outside. I would rate the output at medium hardness. It's flattering for portraits, but retains an edge. The results that I liked best used a reflector on the fill side of the subject.

Because the QuadraPop is so light, and it really is, it's also a good choice for product shooting when you'd want to position the unit on top of the item facing down. It balances well on a standard boom, and is easy to position. You could also have an assistant simply hold it.

The mounting unit can be adapted to a variety of flash units and moonlights via its custom interchangeable ring adapters. The UV-A and UV-R diffuser materials and are heat resistant, an the non-fluorescent dyes protect the fabric from that aging yellow cast that we've seen happen to some of our older modifiers. The reflective surface inside is quite bright, and it appears durable too.

I selected the rectangular shape for my work, but it's also available as an octagon or round. And sizes range from 20" to 38" on the widest side.

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The Glow QuadraPop 24" x 34" Portable Softbox is currently on sale for $128 (normally $160). That's a good value considering its portability, ease of setup, and quality materials.

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The one thing I learned while working on Photos for OS X Essential Training is that there's more to this application than I realized... especially after the new El Capitan release.

In this title I show you the ins and outs of this maturing application from a photographer's point of view. I explain how to use the sophisticated geotagging function. And I demonstrate the editing extensions, which provide an open door to Photos allowing third party developers to add powerful new features.

Take a look at the overview movie and table of contents. Then you might want to revisit this intelligent photo app that's right under your nose.

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More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

And don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

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With the recent release of iOS 9.2, camera-toting snapshooters can use the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter ($29) to transfer images from practically any digital camera to an iPhone.

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We've had this capability with iPads, but iPhones were previously left out of the party. Now everyone can play.

This would have been more helpful a while back before WiFi became prevalent with our digital cameras. But it's still a welcome feature for those who have non-WiFi devices they want to connect to iOS 9.2 phones.

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This is The Digital Story Podcast #509, Dec. 8, 2015. Today's theme is "Personal Projects." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

One thing leads to another. In my case, wondering what I was going to do with 16 rolls of Fujicolor Pro 400H that had been occupying the bottom bin of my refrigerator since 2007. That along with the need to come up with a topic for my weekly Rocky Nook post led to The Film Project, the main theme for today's show.

Personal Projects

As satisfying as photography is as a creative expression and demonstration of technical prowess, I think by bringing these elements together in a personal project we can elevate the satisfaction even higher.

In this segment, I talk about The Film Project in particular, and personal projects in general.

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In the News

Dropbox to Shutter Its Carousel Photo App - PetaPixel

"Back in April 2014, Dropbox announced Carousel, a photo app for archiving and sharing personal memories via a Dropbox account. Now, less than two years later, Dropbox is announcing that Carousel will soon be no more.

Carousel will be shut down by March 31st, 2016, a month after Mailbox, the email app that Dropbox acquired in 2013.

Neither app gained widespread popularity over the past couple of years, and Dropbox says that it's now focusing more on solutions for "collaboration and simplifying the way people work together."

Clean My Drive 2 is Available Today

MacPaw team is releasing CleanMyDrive 2, a free cleaner of external drives. CleanMyDrive 2 will also be available on Mac App Store. New features include:

  • Completely redesigned user interface
  • File copying to any disk with drag-and-drop simplicity
  • Detailed storage legend for every drive
  • Mount and unmount notifications
  • Automatic disk eject on system sleep initiation
  • Keyboard shortcut for mass disk eject
  • Improved hidden service files cleanup
  • Automatic cleanup on every disk eject
  • Setting custom disk icons from our beautifully crafted sets

CleanMyDrive 2 requires OS X 10.10+ and 12 MB of free space. The app is free, though in-app purchases are available (fun icon packs can be purchased). Visit macpaw.com/cleanmydrive to download CleanMyDrive 2, or find it in the Mac App Store.

How Do I Do That in Lightroom Book Winners

Congratulations to Jennifer Johnston and Brett Jackson for being selected to receive How Do I Do That in Lightroom by Scott Kelby. They were chosen from the subscriber list of The Nimbleosity Report, a twice a month newsletter with inside scoops and discounted deals. (Did you all enjoy last week's edition?)

The Screening Room

This week's Screening Room selection is Exploring Composition in Photography with Taz Tally. In this course, photographer and educator Taz Tally details four pillars of effective, impactful composition: simplicity, asymmetry, eye lines, and point of view. Through example images and helpful graphics, the course discusses not only the things you can do to enhance composition when you're shooting, but also improvements you can make using imaging software such as Lightroom.

Member Quote of the Week

Intelligent comments culled from The Digital Story Facebook page.

In regard to Sunday's Facebook Post: Canon should make a digital mirrorless version of its famous AE-1 camera - John P. Wineberg wrote: "I've been thinking this regarding the Nikon F system. The Df didn't quite cut it. The reason I was drawn to the Fuji XT1 was it resembled the size and form factor of my FE2."

Post your thoughts on our Facebook page. Believe me, I read them.

Get in the holiday spirit with Red River Paper's greeting cards

Imaging-Resource writes: "Considering the cost of greeting cards in stores, Red River's greeting card selections are a great value and an excellent way to share some of your images for a personal touch." The entire article is informative and definitely worth a read.

Found Treasure

Wood Prints from inkdot.com - They are 5/8" thick and printed on Baltic Birch. They are archival, moisture, and UV resistant. They take two days for printing, then of course ship time. Sizes range from 6" x 6" to 24" x 36". And they make a crazy attractive gift.

Registration is open for The 2016 Street Photography Workshop in San Francisco. And I've posted the full preliminary itinerary on the Workshops page. And if you plan on ordering through B&H Photo or Amazon, please stop by the TDS site first, click on their respective ad tile, then place your order. That extra step helps support the site.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

inkdot Innovative printing output and accessories for the creative photographer. Visit www.inkdot.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

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?

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Lightroom Mobile has upped the ante for nimble photography by enabling access via a web browser on any computer connected to the Web. Lightroom Mobile users simply have to log in to https://lightroom.adobe.com, and just like that, their Lightroom Mobile environment is available.

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And it's not just viewing your images... you can also use a fairly robust set of editing tools to adjust pictures. All of this can come in handy when traveling ultralight. Let's say that you're at a friend's house and want to show off a few shots from a recent trip. Just go to his computer, log in to your account, and there it is. Check it out!


Nimble Photographer Logo

Lightroom Mobile has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Photographers looking for a new twist on HDR processing might be interested in Aurora HDR, a joint venture by Trey Ratcliff and Macphun Software.

In addition to a sophisticated HDR merging tool and editor, the pro package includes signature presets by Ratcliff; plug-ins for Lightroom, Photoshop, and Aperture; and native RAW processing of source images.

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To sweeten the pot, Macphun has created a holiday special for $99 that includes the pro version of Aurora HDR, licenses for 5 Macs, a copy of Noiseless CK (noise reduction software), and a free month of the Arcanum membership... all for $99.

I think this package is particularly interesting for Aperture users looking to expand the capabilities of their photo management workflow. And Photos for OS X users should be able to use Noiseless CK as a plug-in for that app.

As a side note, I don't recommend the $39.99 version of Aurora HDR that's available in the Mac App Store. It has a limited feature set and doesn't include the plug-ins or Noiseless CK.

No word on how long the holiday special will last.

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!

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

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When I decided to embark upon The Film Project, I needed an easy way to create journal entries to accompany my analog images. Since I have the iPhone with me at all times, finding an iOS app seemed like the smart way to go. And what a terrific app I found.

Day One for iOS ($4.99) is handsomely designed software that runs on both iPhones and iPads. I can attach an image to the top of the journal entry, write the information that I want to retain, and even have the weather, location, and date automatically recorded.

I can choose to have the entries backed up to my iCloud account where they are synced across all of my devices, including my Mac if I also purchase Day One for Mac OS X ($9.99).

The workflow goes something like this. I shoot the image with my Contax T2 film camera. I then take a second shot with the iPhone 6S. I open Day One on the iPhone, add the iPhone photo to the latest entry, and type all of the information that I want to retain about the analog shot, such as shutter speed, f/stop, exposure compensation, and details about the composition itself.

DayOne-OSX.jpg The same entry on my Mac where I can edit, review, and enhance. All of the changes are pushed back to iCloud and appear on my iOS devices.

Then, when the processed film comes back from the lab, I can match up the journal entries to the prints. Plus, I can compare the differences between how the film interpreted the scene compared to the iPhone. The iPhone lens is 29mm wide while the T2 is a more narrow 38mm. So the journal images have a wider aspect, which I like, because it captures the surrounding story too.

The bottom line is this: If you need a well-designed journal application to accompany your photography work, you'd be hard pressed to find a better fit than Day One.

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!

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This is The Digital Story Podcast #508, Dec. 1, 2015. Today's theme is "Top 5 Nimble Cameras of 2015." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

What a great year in photography it's been. I think aside from some terrific new cameras, which I'm going to talk about in the next segment, I've been most excited by LED lighting for my studio and on location.

I'm particularly impressed by the bicolor lights that allow me to precisely adjust color output from 3200K to 5600K. This solves a huge problem on location in particular, where office lighting often pollutes the background. Now I just match the ambient color temperature with my LEDs, then correct the entire image in post. It's wonderful!

Top 5 Nimble Cameras of 2015

Wow! Some great cameras were released this year. Here are my five favorite nimble models.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - A superbly crafted, technology-packed Micro Four Thirds body that is a pleasure to shoot with. When I have to get the shot, and get it right, I reach for the E-M5 Mark II.

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Fujifilm X-T10 - Revolving around the 16.3 MP APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II, the X-T10 is capable of up to 8 fps continuous shooting and full HD 1080p/60 video recording, and features an expandable sensitivity range from ISO 100-51200. You get most of the benefits of its larger brother, the X-T1, but in a smaller package and at an affordable price.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV - World's first1 20.1 MP 1" Exmor RS stacked back illuminated CMOS, High resolution 4K movie recording with direct pixel readout and no pixel binning, Super slow-motion movie3 HFR (High frame rate) up to 960 fps (40x), and if that wasn't enough, a bright F1.8- F2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonar T* lens (24-70mm) and electronic viewfinder in this palm-sized beauty.

Canon PowerShot G5 X - Features a 1.0-inch, 20.2 Megapixel* High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with Canon's powerful DIGIC 6 Image Processor creates the Canon HS SYSTEM for outstanding low-light performance up to ISO 12800. Plus EVF and fast f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens. It looks great, and Canon nailed it with this compact.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX8 - Unique, in-body stabilization in combination with select optically stabilized lenses work together for class-leading Dual Image Stabilization results, 4K video recording, and a breakthrough 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor.

In the News

Phase One Capture One Pro 9 brings updates to image editing algorithms - DPReview

"Phase One has launched Capture One Pro 9, the latest iteration of its tethering and image editing software. Capture One Pro 9 offers a 'completely updated contrast engine,' additional brushes, color editor masks and new keyword tools, among other features. Phase One also now offers three activations of the software for each standard license a photographer purchases. Also on the list of updates is the ability to apply curves locally, the addition of a Luma option to the curve tool palette and a battery status icon for the tool bar to view tethered camera battery life."

"Capture One Pro 9 is available now for Mac and Windows for $299 / €279 to new customers. Capture One Pro 7 and 8 customers can upgrade for $99 / €99. Anyone who purchased Capture One Pro 8 after October 30, 2015 will be exempt from the upgrade fee."

Clean Out the Cruft

I've been testing CleanMyMac 3, and I have to tell you, I love this app. Using the Smart Clean feature, I removed 20GBs of cruft from my MacBook Pro. Here's an overview of how it works:

  • One-click Smart cleanup to do all the cleaning automatically.
  • An Uninstaller to remove apps completely, leaving no parts behind
  • Large & Old Files finder to dig out heavy files you've forgotten about
  • A set of Maintenance tools to make your system work smooth again
  • Cleans Faces Cache (Photos for OS X)
  • Cleans local Photos app Cache (Photos for OS X)
  • Cleans iCloud local copies (with user's permission)
  • Replaces RAWs with JPEGs (with user's permission)
  • CleanMyMac also continues to support iPhoto library cleaning.

And for one week, TDS listeners can save 30% (URL is: http://macpaw.com/tds) and get this essential app for $27.97 (instead of the normal $39.95). Start out the New Year with a clean, lean Mac, and leave the cruft behind.

Street Photography Book Winners

Congratulations to Evelyn Rude and Dennis Moon for being randomly selected to receive Street Photography by Gordon Lewis. They were selected from the subscriber list of The Nimbleosity Report, a twice a month newsletter with inside scoops and discounted deals. (Next Edition comes out Wed., Dec. 2nd.)

This week's giveaway is two copies of How Do I Do That in Lightroom by Scott Kelby. Everyone on the subscriber list for The Nimbleosity Report is eligible. If you haven't signed up, the link is in the show notes. The next drawing is Monday, Dec. 7, 2015.

Member Quote of the Week

Intelligent comments culled from The Digital Story Facebook page.

In regard to last week's podcast question: Cameras at the Dinner Table - Terry Doner writes: "Cameras at the dinner table. OK. Run by your people first. I have decades of photos from the dinner table. It is a nice piece of family history." And Fred counters: "I'm against cameras at dinner. You'll be concentrating on getting a good shot instead of participating with your family. The other people will be self-conscious because they'll never know when you're going to take a picture. Wait until everyone is relaxing and the camera won't be intrusive (especially if you use a flash)."

Post your thoughts on our Facebook page. Believe me, I read them.

Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag Sheets Available

Red River Paper reports: Made from 100% cotton rag and featuring a lightly textured soft gloss surface, Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag surpasses the saturation, tonal range, and depth of classic darkroom printing. Reminder: This paper is very heavy and thick. Do not use if your printer only feeds paper from the front!

Found in the Bottom of the Bag

Wood Prints from inkdot.com - They are 5/8" thick and printed on Baltic Birch. They are archival, moisture, and UV resistant. They take two days for printing, then of course ship time. Sizes range from 6" x 6" to 24" x 36". And they make a crazy attractive gift.

Registration is open for The 2016 Street Photography Workshop in San Francisco. And I've posted the full preliminary itinerary on the Workshops page.

And if you plan on ordering through B&H Photo or Amazon, please stop by the TDS site first, click on their respective ad tile, then place your order. That extra step helps support the site.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

inkdot Innovative printing output and accessories for the creative photographer. Visit www.inkdot.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

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.

I do a lot of product shots, close ups, and "need to shoot it quick" photography at my studio. The Koolertron Folding Pan & Tilt head ($49) has proven to be a terrific accessory.

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This "Z-folding" aluminum alloy stand can be used independently or mounted on a tripod. I tend to use it by itself. I've added a Manfrotto 323 RC2 Quick Release Adapter ($29) to make it easier to attach and remove my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.

What's interesting, however, is that I rarely remove the Koolertron from the camera. When I'm handholding the E-M5, I simply fold up the stand and use it as a bottom grip. When I need a quick product shot or long exposure, I fold out the stand, position the camera, and take the shot. It's amazingly handy.

The device comes with an hex wrench for quick adjusting of the tension joints. I've done so once, when I first unpacked the device, and that's been it. Mount the camera so the lens is facing the back of the "Z" shape (or facing the "K" in Koolertron). If the lens is pointed upward, lower the "Z" for proper balance. When shooting downward, as with macro shots, expand the "Z" upward. You'll get the knack of the device quickly, and it's remarkably stable in use.

Because of its weight (1 lb), I don't recommend the Koolertron for field work. I think it's a bit heavy for a portable device, although fine if you're carrying a large tripod. But for around the house or studio, it's a terrific and clever aid for stabilizing your camera.

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?

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The day after Thanksgiving seemed like a good opportunity for updating the firmware on my OM-D E-M5 Mark II. And as it turned out, I did need more time than I expected. But like they say on the Upgrade page: you're downloading a whole new camera.

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The first step is to launch the OLYMPUS Digital Camera Updater app that came with your camera (Mac or PC). You can also download it from the Olympus site. Connect the OM-D via its USB cable, and let the application walk you through the steps. Be sure to pay close attention to the prompts, and do not turn off your camera until you see the OK message on the LCD.

There are a few lenses that you might want to update at the same time. The Updater app reads the firmware for both camera and attached optic. In my case, I also needed to update the 60mm f/2.8 macro, 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO zoom, 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO zoom, and the 14-42mm EX pancake zoom. Each of these take a few minutes to update, so make yourself comfortable as you perform the operation on each one.

Once body and optics are up to speed, you'll need to reconfigure your menu settings. I reprogrammed my function buttons, added my copyright information, turned off Quick Sleep Mode (Hate that one! Gear Menu K > Quick Sleep Mode), and made sure my Jpegs were recording in SuperFine, not fine. This process takes another 15-30 minutes.

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But now you get to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. As you can see by the above list, there are plenty of new goodies to play with. I reprogrammed Fn1 to enable the Simulated Optical Viewfinder (S-OVF), so I can now toggle between that view and the standard EVF rendering.

I'm also able to use Focus Bracketing (Shooting Menu 2 > Bracketing > Focus BKT ) to automatically record a series of images at different focusing points that can be composited into one sharp image in post production. I recommend the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 for this task.

4K Time Lapse Video output is also available. You can find that setting in Shooting Menu 1 > time lapse (bottom of the menu)> Time Lapse Settings > Movie Settings. This allows you to save your time lapse masterpieces in full 4K glory.

And finally, for those of you who have been befuddled by accidentally sliding your PRO lens into manual focus, you can now prevent that from happening by turning on Manual Focus Clutch Disable via Gear Menu A > MF Clutch > Inoperative.

These are my favorite improvements, but as you can see from the list, I still have more to experiment with. It does feel like a whole new camera...

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!

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