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Sometimes it's the little things that make our Mondays just a bit easier. Like automatically straightening a horizon with just a single click (or tap). Let's start with Photos for macOS

crooked-horizon.jpg Nice grab shot with the iPhone. Unfortunately, the horizon is a bit askew. Photo by Derrick Story.

Open the image in Photos for macOS, and hit the Return key to enter editing mode. Click on the Crop icon, then click on the Auto button. The horizon will automatically level out.

auto-horizon.jpg Click on the Auto button in the Crop tool, and the horizon levels out.

It's even easier if you're using Photos on an iPhone. Just open the crop tool and Photos will automatically fix that horizon without you even asking it to. And in either case, if you don't like what you seen, just tap on Reset. Also, regardless of where your make the correction, the edited image will be saved to all of your devices via iCloud.

Bonus Tip: Polarize the Sky

I also added a little bit of oomph to the sky. I used just three sliders to achieve this. Here's how.

In editing mode for Photos for macOS, click on the Adjust button. In the Light panel, move Brilliance to the right. Then, in the Color panel, move the Saturation and Contrast sliders to the right, as shown below. These sliders are also available on your iPhone in Photos.

dramatic-sky.jpg Make that sky even prettier.

What a difference just a few seconds of editing makes. You can see the Before and After by pressing the M key on your Mac, or by long-pressing the image with your finger on the iPhone. Now, your picture is ready for sharing.

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training.

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

You can share a Capture One Pro catalog with coworkers on a network, but someone has to be in charge of locking and unlocking it.

capture-one-network.png

"What?" you ask. Yes, catalogs can only be shared if they are locked first. Once locked, others can view all of the images and download the ones they need.

But when it's time for maintenance, the ringmaster must unlock the catalog to work on it. And during that time, others do not have access to it. Here's a video that explains the entire procedure.

For the most part, this is good news. Knowing that you can let an entire workgroup browse and download images from a master catalog is a handy feature of Capture One Pro. Just make sure someone is in charge of the entire operation.

Take Control of Your Capture One Library

My lynda.com title, Advanced Capture One Pro: Library Management, shows you how to organize like a pro, covering techniques for referenced and managed catalogs, plus integrating sessions, backing up masters, and configuring your Capture One environment specifically to your needs.

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

Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day. And I'm guessing that if you're lucky enough to still have Mom in your life, that you want to do something nice for her... maybe create a fine art card to give her?

mothers-day-card.jpg

I use Photos for macOS to create all of my fine art cards. And because I'm a good son, I just mailed this year's version to Mom. Here's how I did it.

  • Open Photos for macOS and choose a picture for the cover of your card.
  • Click on the + icon in the top toolbar and choose "Card."
  • Design your card, starting with one of the Mother's Day templates in the application.
  • Order your card and have it sent directly to her, or print it out yourself.
  • If you're printing it yourself, use the Print command in Photos for macOS, and output one side at a time. (Then turn it over and print the other side.)

I printed mine on Red River Paper 60lb. Polar Matte 7x10 card stock (Item #1958) using my Epson R2000 inkjet printer. The card folds nicely to 5" x 7", with a lovely design inside and out.

I have more detailed printing instructions in my Apple Photos Book for Photographers. It's worth doing. They look great. And if you've never tried your hand at creating your own fine art cards, I can't think of a better time to start.

(Happy Mother's Day, Mom!)

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #583, May 9, 2017. Today's theme is "What Separates You from the Other Guy" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

There are millions of smartphone cameras out there clicking billions of photos every year. Styles range from snaps of a sweetheart to attempts at fine art. Now, more than ever before, everyone is a photographer. Which is great, that is, unless photography is your craft. And if it is, how do you distinguish your work from those who don't know the difference between an f-stop and a bus stop. Thoughts about this, and more, on today TDS podcast.

What Separates You from the Other Guy

photo-by-derrick-story-sr.jpg

My friend Oliver is staying at the studio during his visit here from Germany. When he first arrived, I was showing him around the place, and he noticed the film cameras I had out for testing.

"You're shooting film," he asked.

"Yes I am," I answered. "For both fun and business."

I then told him about TheFilmCameraShop on Etsy that I run. After I laid out the whole gameplan to him, he asked,

"Why wouldn't people just buy something dirt cheap on eBay rather than paying a bit more from you?"

"It's all about quality and consistency," I replied. "When you buy on eBay, you really don't know what you're going to receive. Believe me, I know firsthand. But when you make a purchase from TheFilmCameraShop, you know that you're going to get a clean, properly functioning camera that is packed nicely and arrives on time. And judging by the popularity of the store, those qualities are important to a lot of people."

This is the same approach that I apply to working with clients, and to making pictures. And if you're interested in distinguishing your work from others, you might want to think about these five suggestions.

  • Practice using the best light possible - I still can't believe what a big difference a few steps make. I'm also looking for the best angle of light, and by looking at my series of photos, it makes a big difference. And remember, if a different angle makes a minor improvement to your eyes, it will be even more so for the camera.
  • Compose with great care - Pay attention to distracting background elements, look at all four corners of the frame, and think about the highlight and shadow areas.
  • Post production is important - Whether it's taking advantage of the filters and adjustments in Instagram or the advanced controls in Lightroom and Luminar, post production matters.
  • Presentation elevates - I've taken my Instagram shots, printed and framed them, then marveled how absolutely different they look.
  • Take pride in your work - Pride won't serve you well in relationships, but it's very useful when it comes to producing beautiful images.

Me and My Sekonic Lightmeter

I've been getting to know a Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U handheld light meter. I'll start digging into the particulars of this device in next week's show. But before I do that, I thought we should cover why someone would want to use a handheld meter in the first place.

  • Not limited to reflected light readings. The meters in our cameras are quite good. But they only can measure reflected light, which can be influenced by color, and often needs to be compensated for.
  • Incident light readings measure directly from the source. In this case, you point the meter directly at the light source and measure. So colors, highlights, and dark areas don't influence the measurement.
  • Can measure flash output. Again, our cameras have TTL flash metering, and again it can be easily fooled. Whereas a separate handheld meter can read the light from the flash itself.
  • Handheld meters can help you balance ambient light and flash output in ways that you never dreamed before. And once you find the magic formula for your work, you can repeat it time and time again because you working with actual light measurements.

At first you may thing that handheld light meters would be used primarily for commercial work. And it's true, they are used there. But when you really want to get creative and balance various light sources for a truly creative effect, they are indispensable.

We'll dig deeper into this subject next week. If you want to learn more about the Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U handheld light meter, visit the link in these show notes.

Olympus announces significant firmware updates for OM-D and PEN cameras

Imaging-Resource.com reports: "Olympus has announced significant firmware updates that enhance the performance and capability of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, the PEN-F and select Zuiko Pro and Premium lenses. These updates are available immediately, and for the OM-D series cameras includes true compatibility with the Profoto Air Remote TTL-O, a new "Save Settings and Mysets" which preserves camera settings on a computer (currently on the E-M1 Mark II, but now available for the E-M5 II and PEN-F), and a midtone adjustment function which has been added to Highlight & Shadow control.

With the update, the PEN-F will offer touch-to-select Art Filters while viewing the effect in real time, and you can set the slowest shutter speed allowed before the camera raises the sensitivity in ISO Auto. For the E-M1 Mark II specifically, High Res Shot and Focus Stacking Modes are now compatible with non-Olympus flashes, and AF HOME settings are saved when the camera is turned off. The E-M5 Mark II is upgraded to Version 3.0, while the PEN-F makes its way to Version 2.0.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

Registration invitations have gone out to Reserve List members for the Autumn in Wine Country Photography Workshop. If you are on the Reserve List, but didn't get your invite, please contact me. You can learn more about the workshops by visiting the TDS Workshops Page.

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.

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

Sekonic Light Meters - Learn more about the amazing Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U handheld light meter by listening to next week's show and visiting the Sekonic web site.

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.

Some shots we can take our time improving in post, and others we have to turn around quickly. For those portraits that need to be posted right away, I have a speedy Luminar workflow that only takes 1-2 minutes.

final-portrait-TDS.jpg "Leah at Railroad Square" - Pentax KP, Pentax 70mm f/2.4 HD lens, speed edit in Luminar. Photo by Derrick Story.

Take a look at my article, Speed edit portraits with Luminar where I outline the steps for this workflow. You can use this technique with the standalone version of the app, the Photos for macOS editing extension, or as an external editor for Lightroom. If you don't need to save your changes and history, feel free to use the editing extension for a one-off. To return to the app for more work later, I would go the standalone route, and follow the instructions in the article.

After you use this approach a few times, you may want to save your favorite filters as a custom Workspace instead of starting with the standard Portrait Workspace. I've been very impressed at how much better my shots look after just a couple minutes in Luminar. Try it for your portraits and see what you think.

Luminar as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

Of all the cool new stuff in Capture One Pro 10.1, Temporary Reset is the feature that I've been waiting for.

before-reset-c1.jpg "Strength in Numbers" Oracle Arena, Olympus OM-D E-M10 with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 at ISO 1600. Photo by Derrick Story. Showing image edits in Capture One Pro 10.1.

master-reset-c1.jpg Holding down the Alt/Option key while clicking on the Reset Adjustments icon.

Essentially, we now have a Before/After function. To enable it, hold down the Alt/Option key while clicking on the Reset Adjustments icon in the top toolbar. You will see the original image. Let go of the keys and you're returned to the edited version. Cropping is not temporarily reset, but everything else is.

Sometimes it's the small things that make post production easier. I'm glad to finally have this function in Capture One Pro.

More Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

Improve your skills by watching Capture One Pro Essential Training now available on lynda.com. More than 5 hours of tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus many free movies using advanced techniques.

I've also created a dedicated Capture One Pro Training page on The Digital Story. You can follow all of the tips and techniques that I publish in one convenient spot.

Thinking About Making the Transition from Aperture or Lightroom? - Download my free eBook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Moving to Capture One Pro. I show you the steps to create a test library, then build the foundation for a smooth transition to Capture One Pro.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Image applications tend to develop their own personality over time, and Exposure X2 by Alien Skin has evolved into a sleek, creative image processing program that should be appealing to photographers who want a catalog-free workflow with a powerful toolset.

000-exposure-x.jpg Exposure X combines an attractive interface with great editing controls.

Exposure X2 V2.6 has plenty of new, robust features such as layers, spot healing, lens corrections, and a nifty history panel, but what caught my eye was the way that I could quickly copy a card full of images to my G-Drive Slim, pick out a few pictures that I liked, edit them, then export out to social. All in just a matter of minutes.

File Management

Instead of using a database model to manage your pictures, Exposure X2 lets you place them anywhere (in my case on a slim G-Drive that I carry with my laptop), then organizes the folders to your liking. The application places an "Alien Skin" folder inside each directory of images. This folder contains all of your added metadata and adjustments. The upshot of this approach is that I can plug my G-Drive into another laptop, and pick up right where I left off with my photos. It's fast and flexible.

001-image-directory.jpg The clever Alien Skin folder inside each directory of master images. It contains all of your metadata and corrections.

Later, if I wish, I can point Lightroom, Capture One Pro, Photos for macOS, or Luminar to that same directory, and work on the files with those applications as well. In other words, I don't have to make a lot of organizational decisions when I first import with Exposure X. I can edit quickly knowing that my files are stored in a logical structure on the drive, and available to other applications if needed.

002-import-dialog.jpg I like the import dialog box. But I wish that it had a few more options for file renaming.

There are pros and cons to Exposure X2's import dialog. On the plus side, its fast and straightforward. I pick the destination, subfolder style, and IPTC metadata that I want added, then let it fly. But, I can't pick and choose individual images to import, and the "file renaming" feature doesn't have an option to preserve the original file name plus additional data. So it's either original file name or custom data.

Rating and Editing

Once the images have been copied to the drive, there are many options for rating and editing. Flags, star ratings, and color labels are available to help you identify your favorite shots. You can activate a filter toolbar at the bottom of the interface to sort your images. And there are tons of film and effects presets and really terrific editing tools.

003-presets-and-tools.jpg Plenty of powerful tools here, including one of my favorites, lens corrections.

I like the news lens correction feature, and love that X2 includes the Olympus 14-42mm EX zoom among its many Olympus profiles. The layers control is easy to use and is a terrific addition to the app, as is spot healing. It's really fun to edit with this app.

Exporting

Once it's time to export, you have access to a nice dialog that provides you with options for destination, file naming, metadata, and image resizing. The output looks very good. You can also use a quick export function that optimizes the files for your favorite social sites.

004-export.jpg The export dialog is easy to use and the output looks great.

The Bottom Line

On my Mac laptops, file import from memory cards was faster with Exposure X2 than with Lightroom or Capture One Pro. Largely this was due to the fact that it doesn't build previews as part of the import process. I could pick out a few favorites, edit them, then move them along online. The entire process took just a few minutes.

The editing tools and presets are quite good, certainly capable enough to handle everyday work. Combine that power with an attractive interface, snappy performance, and a truly flexible workflow, and Exposure X2 could be the answer for photographers desiring a catalog-free workflow that features power and simplicity.

Currently, all Alien Skin products are on sale for 30 percent off (through May 10, 2017). So you can purchase Exposure X for $104.30. They also have a trial download if you want to test drive the app.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #582, May 2, 2017. Today's theme is "5 Unique Trail Tips for Day Hikers" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Spring is in the air, and the allure of the great outdoors calls to our spirit of adventure. What a pleasant thought after a long winter: bubbling mountain springs, picnics beneath a shady tree, and expansive vistas to ponder and photograph. But Mother Nature isn't just flowery meadows and puffy clouds. So a little preparation goes a long ways toward a safe and satisfying adventure. And that's the first story in today's TDS Podcast.

5 Unique Trail Tips for Day Hikers

P4220340-Castle-Rock-1024.jpeg

I've been strapping on my day pack since I was in grammar school. I completed my first 50 mile hike when I was 11 years old. By the time I was 17, I had earned the rank of Eagle Scout and was spending my summers as a counselor and guide for camp in the Sierras.

These days, I hike with my boys and my camera. I'm not as fast up the mountain as I once was, but I still enjoy outdoor life. And a big part of that comes from being prepared and staying nimble.

In that spirit, here are five tips that I find myself sharing often with those who I spend time on the trail with.

  • Learn the good plants from the bad ones - In California, we have a lot of Poison Oak and Stinging Nettle. At the beginning of the hike I remind folks that "leaflets three, let it be" to avoid bring home a nasty souvenir from the day's activities. On the other hand, leaves from a Bay tree make a pleasant natural insect repellant, and Miner's Lettuce can serve as a refreshing afternoon snack.
  • A little food and a lot of water - Don't bother packing a lot of food for a day hike. The activity will usually keep your appetite at bay, that is until the hike is over and you're suddenly starving. But you need at least one liter of water, per person. So a couple snack bars or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a HydroFlask of H2O should get the job done. No drinking out of streams, ever.
  • Protective clothing works on many fronts - High tech fabrics these days are amazing. You can wear a long sleeved shirt that provides sun protection equal to SPF 50, keeps the bugs off your neck and arms, and provides an additional barrier from plants and rocks. Plus, much of this apparel helps keep you cool in the heat and warm in the shade. Definitely worth revisiting if you haven't shopped outdoor clothing for while.
  • Trail shoes over sneakers - Just like outdoor clothing as improved, so have hiking shoes. I look for soles that provide good traction on rocky surfaces, reasonable ankle support, and protection from blisters and hot spots. Plus, if you have to cross a stream and accidentally step off into the mud, you won't ruin your favorite Nikes.
  • Excess weight is your enemy - When hiking season approaches, I like to lose a few pounds. It's amazing how much easier it is getting up the hills. Plus, I keep my packing weight to a minimum. One camera, two snack bars, water, and the 10 essentials are all I like to carry.

Great Deal on a Panasonic Lumix GM5

Normally, I sell my used gear on Amazon Marketplace. But for some reason, they won't allow me to list my Panasonic gear there. So I'm offering up a great deal on my Lumix GM-5 with 12-32mm Panasonic Zoom in the Nimble Store. This model has the attractive red leather, which is quite handsome against the black satin finish of the camera. Everything is in beautiful shape, and includes all original accessories in the original box. If you're interested, you can purchase the camera in the Nimble Store for $399.

Final Schedule Set for Norther CA Coast Tour

We have one seat open for the The Northern CA Coast Tour - May 18-20, 2017. Check out this list photo spots:

  • Armstrong Woods
  • Goat Rock
  • Ft. Ross State Park
  • Still Water Cove Regional Park
  • Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve
  • Salt Point
  • Ocean Cove Lodge

If you're interested in registering, visit the Registration Page and sign up!

Photojournalists reveal their favorite publications to work with and what they pay

DP Review reports: "Columbia Journalism Review recently surveyed a group of photojournalists on their favorite publications to work with based on several criteria, including arguably the biggest one - pay. As a result, they've published an article revealing the day rates for some top publications as well as some insight into other factors, such as balancing a lower day rate with exposure to a wider audience."

"So by the numbers, how do top publications stack up for freelance photographers? CNN comes out on top with the best day rate at $650, though National Geographic is close behind with typical rates between $500-650. Harper's Magazine's rate was hard to pin down but reported rates varied from $500 up to $1000 per day."

"The New York Times' recently boosted rate of $450 per day makes it more competitive with the top-paying outlets, but CJR notes that the photographers they spoke with acknowledged the Times' wider reach and top-notch editorial staff go a ways to compensate for the lower pay. Coming in with the lowest day rate of the bunch is the Washington Post, offering $350."

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

Registration invitations have gone out to Reserve List members for the Autumn in Wine Country Photography Workshop. If you are on the Reserve List, but didn't get your invite, please contact me. You can learn more about the workshops by visiting the TDS Workshops Page.

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.

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

MeFOTO Air Tripods - MeFOTO Air Tripods are a nimble photographer's dream.

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.

Warm Spring days are perfect for outdoor photography. The landscape remains green from Winter rains, the days are a bit longer, and temperatures tend to be milder compared to their Summer counterparts.

At the same time, however, we tend not to be in as good hiking shape as we will be later in the season. So it's often best to keep it light for those first few climbs up the mountain.

P4220289-Castle-Rock-web.jpg "Top of the Ridge" - Olympus PEN-F with 14-42mm EZ zoom. Photo by Derrick Story.

Consider this as standard gear for "getting in shape" hikes:

  • 1 liter water bottle
  • Mirrorless camera with lightweight zoom lens.
  • Basic hiking essentials (sunblock, shades, hat, etc.)

And that's it.

As you work into shape over the Spring/Summer, you can modify your gear list. But don't overdo it on the first couple hikes.

One thing that I've learned is that biking shape is not hiking shape. Ease into your treks and you'll have a better time and still get great shots.

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

Luminar users who want to better understand how all 38 filters work now have an excellent resource. The Photo Filters page features pro photographers showing how each filter works, using their images to illustrate the settings.

remove-color-cast-page.jpg "Remove Color Cast" by Derrick Story.

For example, the Remove Color Cast page that I created with Macphun shows how easy it is to get rid of the greenish tint that sometimes appears in our interior images. (This filter works for a variety of color casts, not just the one that I illustrated.)

If you click on the pair of photos at the top of the page, a larger image will popup with a before/after curtain slider to make it easy to see the difference.

remove-color-cast.jpg

Plus, you get an explanation of all the controls for each filter. So you'll know exactly how to apply each one to your images. This is a very helpful resource that you will want to bookmark for future reference. And these mini tutorials should make you even more efficient with Luminar.

Special Offer: Scott Kelby's "Picture Perfect Presets" for Luminar

Macphun has teamed up with KelbyOne to offer Luminar + 1 Month KelbyOne Membership + Portrait Presets from Scott Kelby for only $69 (total value $99). This special is available until Wednesday, May 3 2017. For $69, you'll receive:

  • Luminar, The Supercharged photo editor for Mac that adapts to your skill level.
  • 12 portrait presets created by Scott Kelby - One of the world's most prolific photography authors and educators.
  • 1 Month of access to KelbyOne training where you can learn everything you need to know about photography.

If you've been thinking about getting a copy of Luminar for yourself, then this Special Offer makes it a great time to do so.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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