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Bus Window B-Roll - TDS SoundBites

When visiting new lands, we can find ourselves on buses for hours at a time. Often, these journeys take us through interesting towns and villages. These trips can be excellent B-Roll opportunities... that is, if you follow these few basic tips. Listen in to learn more.

costa-rica-window-image.jpg

And if you want to see a sample from Costa Rica, take a look at this 30 second clip.


For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III First Impressions.

Capture Flowing Water with Your iPhone.

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Business Card Flash Modifier.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #726, Feb. 18, 2020. Today's theme is "Hands-On Review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

After spending 4 days in Costa Rica and continuing to shoot with the camera since then, I can comfortably say that I have a good feel for the Olympus E-M1 Mark III. It is neither the manna from heaven that many users hoped for, nor is it the disappointment that some reviewers have complained about. It's a solid semi-professional camera for nimble photography that's only limited by the user's imagination. I'll explain my views on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Hands On Review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

There was a moment on the bus while talking with a fellow journalist, that I realized how the reviews were going to go for the Olympus E-M1 Mark III. He was disappointed with the not-updated sensor (as are many reviewers), the comparatively low resolution LCD (1 million dots), non-state-of-the-art EVF (2.36 M dots), the lackluster performance of AF tracking, and the relatively high price for a small sensor camera ($1,799).

EM1MIII_BLK_Right.jpg

Since I'm not an apologist for Olympus nor any other brand, I offered a few tips and left it at that. But I've decided to lead off this review addressing those five comments, because I have seen them in more than one review. We'll get to what I like after that.

Before we get into the specifics, however, I want to comment about the Olympus mindset when it comes to camera design. They take a very wholistic approach, and they will live and die by those choices. In other words, they don't so much look at the individual components; rather, how everything works together to create the experience they're striving for. I sum it up as the 3-Cs: Compact, Creative, and Capable. With that in mind, lets move forward.

The Most Common Criticisms of the Mark III

  • Non-Updated 20.4MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor - When Olympus debuted the 20.4 MFT sensor in Sept. 2016, it scored the highest according to DxO Mark of any Four Thirds sensor, edging out the Panasonic competition and the 20.3 sensor in the PEN-F that was released earlier that year. That same 20.4 chip is in the E-M1 Mark III, but with a TruePic IX Image Processor compared to the TruePic VIII found in the E-M1 Mark II and the TruePic VII housed in the PEN-F. After shooting with all three cameras, my view is that it's the processor, not the sensor, that we should focus on with the Mark III. I discussed this in last week's podcast. Just think about the evolution of smartphone cameras and where the real progress is made. It is in computing power and software, and that's where the upgrade is for the Mark III.
  • 3.0" 1.037m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen - I will agree that reviewing images on the E-M1 Mark III is not as lovely as on the Sony A7R Mark IV with its 3.0" 1.44m-dot rear LCD. But there's a price difference as well. And there's a trick to getting the most from your E-M1 LCD that a lot of users don't know. What you want to do is review pictures at 1:1. When doing so, the screen works remarkably well. The setting is Gear D2 > Default Setting > Equally Value. On the LCD that's 7X, and you can really evaluate your image well as such.
  • 2.36m-Dot 0.74x Electronic Viewfinder - Again, let's compare it to the flagship Sony that has a UXGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF with 5.76m-dot resolution with 120 fps refresh rate. The Olympus default is also 120 fps, and with the lag time a minuscule 0.005 sec for smooth display that allows capture of fast-moving subjects. So, depending on your needs and preferences, if similar refresh rates and low latency get the job done for your photography, then the resolution might not be as much as an issue. This one is up to you.
  • Continuous AF + Tracking - I agree with everyone on this setting: it under performs. We've known that for some time, and most serious Olympus shooters use Continuous with their preferred set of sensors. With the E-M1 Mark III, there is a much better option. In my case, I used C-AF with the 3X3 array giving me 9 sensors to track moving objects (called Group 9-Point Target Mode). With the new joystick on the back of the camera, you can move the array quickly to any part of the frame. I had my best success rate ever in Costa Rica.
  • $1,799 Price Tag - The Mark III, with all of its upgrades, launches $200 cheaper than the Mark II. Enough said there.

5 Features that I Think are Really Terrific

So, with all of that out of the way, what am I excited about with the Mark III? There's plenty. Here are five of my favorites.

  • Live ND - Live ND results in blurred subject movement by compositing exposures to replicate the look of a single image taken at a slower shutter speed. Particularly suitable for photographing moving water, five modes are available: ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, and ND32 to vary how movement is portrayed.
  • Handheld High Res Shot - Like the Tripod mode, produces a 50MP JPEG or raw file by compositing sequentially recorded files into a single image. The Handheld High Res Shot mode differs from the Tripod mode by recording 16 independent frames, opposed to eight, and the slight movement caused by hand-holding provides the range of movement needed to produce the larger final image. It's brilliant.
  • 120 FPS FHD Video Capture - Not talked about much, but I love this capability and wish it were on my E-M1 Mark II. You can capture Full HD at 120 fps, then have it set to playback at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p. So, if you set it to playback at 30p, you have this lovely slow-motion video at .25 speed. And it looks great. No post production headaches. Plus, there's handheld 4K video as well. Nice!
  • EM1MIII_BLK_Back.jpg

  • AF Joystick (Multi-Selector) - With 121 cross-type sensors and a wide variety of AF patterns, the joystick is the perfect complement to this system. It is well-designed and works great. And speaking of autofocus, Starry Sky (new AF algorithm fully dedicated to night photography) AF really works. If you're an action shooter, you're going to love the Multi-Selector.
  • Improved Supersonic Wave Filter - The E-M1 Mark III added a coating to the SSWF (Supersonic Wave Filter), which was evolved with OM-D E-M1X. It's design is to repel dust. It allows for lenses to be swapped even at dusty outside, the high reliability makes possible to concentrate on shooting.

If I had to pick one thing that really impresses me about this camera, is the flexibility and speed of the autofocusing. The ability to customize AF point arrays, then quickly move them with the multi-selector, really increased the number of successful shots I captured of moving objects.

But Wait, There's More!

I should also mention that I did not use a tripod once on the Costa Rica trip. That included using focal lengths as long as 600mm, long exposures for moving water, and even focusing on stars at night. Think about it: a camera that provides super-fast AF, long reach, and minimal equipment weight at this price point.

USB-C charging was a welcome addition as well. I used the included cable with a 10-watt iPad USB charger and was able to replenish the E-M1 Mark III. My advice is to always have a cable with you when you travel. You just never know.

There are many very nice touches that seem to be overlooked as well, such as the Anti-Flicker setting where the camera detects the frequency (flicker) of artificial lighting such as fluorescent light, and activates the shutter at peak brightness to smooth out any exposure and color differences between frames. Not a big deal, that is, unless you shoot indoor sports.

And then you get features that aren't even on the E-M1X (yet) such as advanced face/eye AF detection and Starry sky AF. Plus the things we already know about including dual card slots and 400,000 shutter life.

I fully understand that the Olympus E-M1 Mark III isn't for everyone. But it certainly is for me. I was relying on the 40-150mm PRO and the 12-45mm PRO zooms for the bulk of my work, and was traveling as light as a feather. My shots look incredible. And I never got tired during the long days. It's a heck of a camera, heck of a camera system.

Two thumbs up for me.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO Zoom

Amid the understandable excitement surrounding the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Olympus also debuted a new optic specially designed for Nimble Photographers desiring the highest quality in a compact package - the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom ($649). This lens is a gem.

Here are the spec highlights:

  • 12 to 45mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 90mm)
  • F/4 constant aperture
  • Minimum focusing distance of 4.72" / 12 cm with 1:2 Macro Reproduction Ratio
  • 12 Elements in 9 Groups with 7 rounded aperture blades
  • 2.5 x 2.76" / 63.4 x 70 mm and weighs only 8.96 oz / 254 g

It mounts beautifully on the PEN-F, E-M5 Mark III, and E-M1 Mark III. The autofocus is fast. But what I really like about it are the images it produces - colorful, sharp, and with excellent contrast. I also like that it features a nicely dampened manual focusing ring that feels great - a welcome feature in pro AF lens.

Other niceties include a ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating that has been applied to individual elements to minimize lens flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions. Plus it's dust, freeze, and drip-proof design ensures the lens performance in inclement and harsh conditions.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom will begin shipping on Feb. 24th. You can pre-order is now... just in time for our travel season!

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

Those of you on the registration list for the Humboldt Redwoods Workshop, keep an eye out for the registration packet that will go out later this week. We have a great event for you, and I'll be working with you to ensure that you are fully prepared to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Plus, we had one seat open up (moved to another workshop), so if you want to join us, hop over to the 2020 Workshops Signup Page and get on the Reserve List.

If you have questions about the other workshops, feel free to drop me a line using the Contact Form on www.thenimblephotographer.com.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

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

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.

Why Flip Screens Are Important

One of the best ways that you can improve your compositions is by experimenting with viewing angle. It's easy for us to fall into the rut of always composing from a standing position at eye level. But that's not always the most interesting perspective for our subjects. And flip screens are wonderful tools to help us present refreshing views of the world.

P2060219.jpg Olympus E-M1 Mark III set on the ground with subject composed in the articulated LCD. 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of the reasons why I carry the PEN-F as my street photography camera is because of the articulated LCD. It's particularly handy when nothing much is going on, so I can start experimenting with angles instead of action. Shooting over my head or at my feet opens up a new world. Plus, I can protect the LCD itself by folding the screen so it's tucked into the body and not exposed to shirt buttons and zippers.

PEN-F-screen.jpg Olympus PEN-F

Fujifilm is going to attract a new generation of photographers with its recently announced X100V digital camera, in large part thanks to its tilting 3.0" 1.62m-dot LCD with touchscreen. As nice as the X100 series has been, its lack of tilting LCD has kept many of us on the sidelines. Think about it... this is a camera designed for on the go, creative photography. It needs a tilting LCD. And now that it has one, I think many urban photographers and travelers will give it a second look.

fuji-x100v.jpg Fujifilm X100V

And what if you already have a camera with an articulated screen? Are you truly tapping its potential? My suggestion is to make it a point to compose at different angles on your next shoot and see what you think.

These wonderful, versatile, LCD screens are one of the true joys of digital photography. Make sure you get the most out of them.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

12-45mm-front.jpg

Amid the understandable excitement surrounding the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Olympus also debuted a new optic specially designed for Nimble Photographers desiring the highest quality in a compact package - the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom ($649). This lens is a gem.

Here are the spec highlights:

  • 12 to 45mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 90mm)
  • F/4 constant aperture
  • Minimum focusing distance of 4.72" / 12 cm with 1:2 Macro Reproduction Ratio
  • 12 Elements in 9 Groups with 7 rounded aperture blades
  • 2.5 x 2.76" / 63.4 x 70 mm and weighs only 8.96 oz / 254 g

It mounts beautifully on the PEN-F, E-M5 Mark III, and E-M1 Mark III. The autofocus is fast. But what I really like about it are the images it produces - colorful, sharp, and with excellent contrast. I also like that it features a nicely dampened manual focusing ring that feels great - a welcome feature in pro AF lens.

P2050013-d-story.jpg Roadside Fruitstand in Costa Rica - JPEG - Olympus E-M1 Mark III with 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/125th, -0.7 EV, 13mm. Photo by Derrick Story.

Other niceties include a ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating that has been applied to individual elements to minimize lens flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions. Plus it's dust, freeze, and drip-proof design ensures the lens performance in inclement and harsh conditions.

P2141127-xmas-cactus-D-Story-12-45.jpg Christmas Cactus - Olympus PEN-F with 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom, ISO 800, f/8 at 1/80th, +0.3 EV, 45mm at 1:2. Photo by Derrick Story.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO zoom will begin shipping on Feb. 24th. You can pre-order is now... just in time for our travel season!

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

Olympus has created the camera that many of us were hoping for: The intelligence and speed of the E-M1X in a more compact form factor. Nimble Photographers, meet the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. Listen-in for my thoughts after working with this camera in Costa Rica.

c01_EM1MIII_BLK_Front_O.jpg

The E-M1 Mark III uses the same battery, grip, and of course lenses as the Mark II (yay!), but you get the brawn of the E-M1X including:

  • Up to 7.5 shutter speed steps of compensation.
  • 121-point all cross-type on-chip Phase Detection AF sensor for high-precision focusing.
  • Starry Sky AF delivers revolutionary autofocus performance for astrophotography (and it works handheld as well as on a tripod).
  • Advanced Face/Eye Priority AF tracks and ensures the subject's eye is continuously in focus.
  • Advanced weatherproof construction, resulting in dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof performance.
  • The SSWF (Super Sonic Wave Filter) vibrates the image sensor at a frequency of 30,000 times per second to shake off dust and dirt. The new dust resistant coating recently introduced on the OM-D E-M1X is also used on this model, making it less likely for dust and dirt to stick to the image sensor, reducing spots in images by 90 percent.
  • Long-life shutter unit rated for 400,000 actuations. It offers a high level of reliability that professional photographers can feel comfortable with.
  • OM-D Movie makes handheld 4K/C4K shooting possible due to a powerful image stabilization mode specifically designed for video recording (M-IS1). This offers three levels of performance to allow handheld 4K and Cinema 4K (C4K) high resolution shooting.
  • New image processing engine, TruePic IX paired with a 20.4 MP 4/3" Live MOS sensor.
  • Improved AF algorithms and high resolution, high speed performance allow for features such as Handheld High Res Shot, Live ND (which is truly amazing), Starry Sky AF and improved face/eye priority AF.
  • And much, much more.

c07_EM1MIII_BLK_Top_O.jpg

c04_EM1MIII_BLK_Back_O.jpg

Pricing and Availability

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (black) will be available beginning February 24, 2020. The camera body only will have a suggested retail price of $1,799.99 USD and $2,399.99 CAD. The camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens will have a suggested retail price of $2,499.99 USD and $3,299.99 CAD, and the camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 F4.0 IS PRO Lens will have a suggested retail price of $2,899.99 USD and $3,799.99 CAD.

Stay tuned for a lot more about this camera and the new 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens also announced today. I'll be sharing pictures and field experiences with this gear.

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

Capture Flowing Water with Your iPhone.

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Business Card Flash Modifier.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #725, Feb. 11, 2020. Today's theme is "Why Smaller Sensors Will Make a Comeback." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

2019 was certainly the year of the full frame camera. At great cost to the bottom line, we saw new large sensor offerings from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sigma. Meanwhile, Fujifilm and Olympus doubled-down on their respective APS-C and Micro Four Thirds devices. That seems crazy, doesn't it? Well, maybe not. Because I think, thanks to computational photography, we're going to see the second coming of the smaller sensor. Tune in to find out why.

Why Smaller Sensors Will Make a Comeback

Just a few days ago I found myself on a lovely beach at twilight. I was standing there with a very modern Olympus camera shooting sunset pictures with rolling waves in the foreground.

With low ISO and an astonishing shutter speed of 1/2 second, my handheld shots displayed a lovely softened ocean thanks to the water motion combined with a longish exposure, a colorful sky with a perfectly sharp setting sun, and virtually no noise to contend with.

micro-four-thirds.jpg

How could all of this be possible with a Micro Four Thirds camera housing a sensor that is already many years old? The specific answer was a feature called Live ND, that in-camera composites exposures to replicate the look of a single image taken at a slower shutter speed. The broader answer is computational photography.

For sometime now, photographers have been asking for smartphone features in their interchangeable lens cameras. Now, in 2020, that request is being answered. And the ramifications are tremendous.

If, for example, you didn't need an expensive large sensor beast to photograph handheld in low light, wouldn't you at least be a bit curious? Think about the benefits for travel photographers who didn't need to lug large lenses and tripods all across the planet.

Here are five reasons why I think smaller sensors are going to start a comeback in 2020.

  • MFT and APS-C Are Gigantic Compared to the Sensors in an iPhone - Look at the amazing quality that you can get from that tiny sensor in your iPhone. That is the perfect example of the power of computational photography. Now apply that same computing horsepower to Micro Four Thirds and APS-C.
  • Smaller Sensors Can Be Virtually Noise Free - Remember that old trick in Photoshop where you overlay a series of night exposures and they cancel out the noise in the sky. We can now do that instantly in-camera, and with even better results.
  • Smaller Sensors Mean Smaller Lenses - The biggest drawback for me with large sensor cameras isn't as much the camera as it is the lens required for full coverage. You can reduce both weight and cost with smaller sensor cameras.
  • Practically Any Effect Can Be Digitized In-Camera - You want creamy bokeh, edge to edge sharpness, diffraction reduction? There's an algorithm for that.
  • Tremendous Cost Savings for Photographers - If you don't think prices are going up because of reduced demand thanks to smartphones, then think again. One way to offset those price increases is with smaller, smarter cameras.

And none of this takes into account the amazing things that we can do with our images once they're in the computer. Optical corrections, noise reduction, sampling up, and special effects can be applied to our small sensor photos with high quality results.

On my last trip, I was traveling with a small backpack that would fit in the overhead bin of a bus. I had four professional lenses inside, along with two camera bodies, with an effective range of 14mms wide to 600mms on the telephoto end. I worked from 7am to 9pm, much of it on foot, and my back and shoulder felt as good when I went to bed as when I had awakened.

The camera industry desperately needed something new to reenergize slumping sales. It grasped for full frame. And for some photographers, that's the right call. But it isn't the only high quality option.

We live in a digital age where computing smarts can defy the laws of physics. If you want to carry around a heavy kit, that's your choice. But it's not necessary, and will become even less so as this decade unfolds.

You Want High Quality Wide? The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO

With an effective viewing field of 14mms to 28mms in full frame terms, this relatively compact, fast, zoom is perfect for travel photographers, landscape assignments, and for anyone who has to work in tight quarters.

The Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO measures 3.11" x 4.17" and weighs only 1.17 pounds. Its angle of view is a beautiful 114 degrees to 75 degrees.

It is weather resistant, fast focusing, and beautifully sharp. It's currently available for $1,299, and should supply years of outstanding service.

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

Those of you on the registration list for the Humboldt Redwoods Workshop, keep an eye out for the registration packet that will go out later this week. We have a great event for you, and I'll be working with you to ensure that you are fully prepared to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Plus, we had one seat open up (moved to another workshop), so if you want to join us, hop over to the 2020 Workshops Signup Page and get on the Reserve List.

If you have questions about the other workshops, feel free to drop me a line using the Contact Form on www.thenimblephotographer.com.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

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

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

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

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.

A favorite shot for most outdoor photographers is a beautiful flowing stream captured with a long exposure.

In the past, we needed a tripod and a fair amount of gear to make one of these images. But today's iPhone makes it so much easier. You have two ways to go.

The first is to turn on Live View for your Camera app on the iPhone, and hold the device very steady during the exposure. Then, go to edit mode in your Photos app on the Mac, and choose Long Exposure from the Live View popup menu in the lower right corner. Your image will magically transform.

IMG_4767.jpg

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The second option is to download the iOS app called Spectre. It specializes in these types of images, and it provides more options for their capture.

Either way, you have to give one of these a try the next time you're around moving water. They are simply mind-blowing!

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Business Card Flash Modifier.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #724, Feb. 4, 2020. Today's theme is "Is DxO PhotoLab 3 the Alternative You've Been Looking For?." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

We spend a fair amount of time talking about Lightroom, Luminar, Capture One, and Photos. But there's another quality image editor out there that should be in the conversation as well: DxO PhotoLab 3. It features powerful tools, digestible interface, and reasonable cost. And we're going to pull back the curtain on this terrific app on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Is DxO PhotoLab 3 the Alternative You've Been Looking For?

photolab3-overview.jpg

I first became a fan of DxO software with OpticsPro for Photos. It's this wonderful editing extension that I use to this day that provides top notch lens corrections within the Photos app.

As a result of this good experience I've been following the French software company, and with the release of PhotoLab 3, decided to get serious about learning it. I can tell you right now, this was time well spent.

PhotoLab 3 is available in two versions: Essential ($129) and Elite ($199). Both are excellent, but you get some additional sophisticated tools with Elite, plus 3 activations (instead of two). So I'm going to focus my comments on the Elite version.

PhotoLab 3 is a complete image organization and editing application. It's PhotoLibrary displays the contents of the hard drive it is pointed too. For photographers who have an organized Finder-based system, this is a perfect match.

But you can also create Project in the PhotoLibrary that allow you to work with images from different sources without disrupting your Finder-based organization. So you can have it both ways. Plus you have star ratings and pick/reject functionality with filtering capability that make it easy to cull your shoots.

But the real fun begins when you click on the Customize tab and have the opportunity to edit your images with PhotoLab's powerful tools. In addition to the usual suspects that you would expect there, here are some of my favorite features.

  • DxO Optics Modules - In many ways, this is the heart of PhotoLab. As you upload RAW files, the app identifies the lenses and cameras used, then asks for permission to download the corresponding modules. These provide outstanding lens corrections that truly improve your pictures.
  • DxO Smart Lighting - Intelligent dynamic range expander that recovers highlight detail and unblocks shadows. You have complete control over its intensity.
  • DxO ClearView Plus - Improves contrast and sharpness of images by removing the effects of atmospheric haze and fog. Again, you have control over how much or little you use.
  • PRIME Noise Reduction - Probably the best in-app noice reduction I've used. It is flat out impressive.
  • Control-Point Technology for Localized Editing - Precise control points give you tremendous control over your corrections.

Other goodies that I really appreciate includes the integration of Nik Collection and FilmPack 5. You can work with the Nik tools from within the PhotoLab environment. It's very convenient.

For those on Macs, there's an Add to Photos button that makes it super easy to send any image within PhotoLab over to your iCloud environment for sharing among your devices and backup. This function works flawlessly, and I love using it while on the road.

Additional features include excellent Metadata display with Keyword functionality, tons of built-in presets, strong compare tools, customizable workspaces, copy and paste corrections, virtual copies, and retouch tools.

I've been using it on my super-nimble 11" MacBook Air travel computer, and it performs like a champ on that machine. Bottom line is this, DxO PhotoLab 3 should be part of any serious photo management conversation. It's outstanding.

TDS Soundbites

We have a new feature that publishes every Wednesday called TDS Soundbites. They are technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

If you haven't checked them out yet, all you have to do is look for the newest Soundbite in the Recent Entries box on thedigitalstory.com, or enter SoundBites in the Search box and click on the Search button.

So far, I've covered in-Camera RAW Processing, Slow-Sync Flash, and Business Card Flash Modifier. And I have a new SoundBite ready to go this Wednesday.

They're perfect for your next coffee break!

The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod - Inner Circle Reviews

Editor's Note: This guest blog post by David Hearne is part of our Inner Circle Reviews program. You can learn more about David at the end of this article.

In the last decade plus, a major trend in photography has been towards high quality but lighter, easier to carry equipment. Our Derrick Story describes it as nimble photography. For nature and landscape photographers, such as myself, a tripod is an essential tool, and to borrow from a popular saying "the best tripod is the one you have with you".

High quality but more compact tripods have evolved right along with our cameras. The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod (3.2 lbs) clearly fits in the category of compact, light weight but stable support for Micro 4/3s and other small cameras.

My impressions are formed by comparison to 2 tripods that I own: a Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber with a Markins base/Arca Swiss Mono Ball (5.5 lbs) and a MeFOTO Roadtrip Classic aluminum with Q1 ball head (3.6 lbs). The Oben 3565 and the MeFOTO Roadtrip are similar tripod systems with very similar performance.

Job 1 for tripods and ball heads is stability. I evaluated stability using my E-M1X mounted with a 40-150mm/2.8 m.Zuiko PRO lens (4 lbs total). Note, the center column was not raised for this evaluation. With camera and lens mounted, the Oben 3565 ball head easily locked the camera in place and maintained framing.

However, with both the Oben and the MePhoto tripod legs pushing down on the camera will flex the fully extended legs. My Gitzo rig is decidedly more stable. By zooming out to 150 mm the deflection can be detected on the LCD at times when pushing the shutter and may generate enough movement to cause a slightly out of focus shot. Collapsing the skinniest leg greatly reduces this flex. To completely eliminate this flex a best tripod practice is to use a 2s shutter release delay, especially on travel tripods. However, the collapsed length (16 in) and lower weight are acceptable trade offs for me and the Oben is easily carried on my hiking daypack. My Gitzo rig is just too heavy and bulky for me to hike with.

The Oben 3565 is indistinguishable from the MeFOTO Roadtrip in several features including the rapid twist locks and working height. Compared to the MeFOTO, the Oben 3565 has some nice touches.

Like the MeFOTO, a bubble level is integrated into the Arca Swiss release plate. Additionally the plate tightening screw also has a level that can be utilized when vertical shooting using the 90 degree slot. The locks for the leg spread positions (3) are spring loaded and legs repositioned more easily than on the MePhoto.

The Oben 3565 comes with an alternate short column which allows a minimum working height of 9.5 inches. The MePhoto short column is a $30 accessory. Finally the Oben has integrated spiked feet. The MePhoto comes with interchangeable spiked feet.

In summary, the Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod ($210) is a quality travel/hiking tripod for micro 4/3s cameras at a very good value price point.

About the Author

David Hearne is a photographer based out of North Carolina. You can visit his website, American Roots Photography, to see his images and learn more about him.

David is also a member of The Digital Story Inner Circle where he gained access to the Oben 3565 Carbon tripod for this review.

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

What makes these events so special? It's the magic blend of fellowship, location, inspiration, and focus. You can actually be single-minded about your craft. I'll take care of everything else.

When I was discussing this on our Patreon site, one Inner Circle member raised a concern about the class presentation on the final day. I'm going to tell you what I say at every workshop. This is not a competition. It is the most supportive creative environment that you will ever share your work with. And no matter your skill level, the floor is yours to discuss your experience and share a few images. I promise you, you will love it.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

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

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

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

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.

oben-tripod.jpg

Editor's Note: This guest blog post by David Hearne is part of our Inner Circle Reviews program. You can learn more about David at the end of this article.

In the last decade plus, a major trend in photography has been towards high quality but lighter, easier to carry equipment. Our Derrick Story describes it as nimble photography. For nature and landscape photographers, such as myself, a tripod is an essential tool, and to borrow from a popular saying "the best tripod is the one you have with you".

High quality but more compact tripods have evolved right along with our cameras. The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod (3.2 lbs) clearly fits in the category of compact, light weight but stable support for Micro 4/3s and other small cameras.

oben-ball-head.jpg

My impressions are formed by comparison to 2 tripods that I own: a Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber with a Markins base/Arca Swiss Mono Ball (5.5 lbs) and a MeFOTO Roadtrip Classic aluminum with Q1 ball head (3.6 lbs). The Oben 3565 and the MeFOTO Roadtrip are similar tripod systems with very similar performance.

Job 1 for tripods and ball heads is stability. I evaluated stability using my E-M1X mounted with a 40-150mm/2.8 m.Zuiko PRO lens (4 lbs total). Note, the center column was not raised for this evaluation. With camera and lens mounted, the Oben 3565 ball head easily locked the camera in place and maintained framing.

tripod-legs.jpg

However, with both the Oben and the MePhoto tripod legs pushing down on the camera will flex the fully extended legs. My Gitzo rig is decidedly more stable. By zooming out to 150 mm the deflection can be detected on the LCD at times when pushing the shutter and may generate enough movement to cause a slightly out of focus shot. Collapsing the skinniest leg greatly reduces this flex. To completely eliminate this flex a best tripod practice is to use a 2s shutter release delay, especially on travel tripods. However, the collapsed length (16 in) and lower weight are acceptable trade offs for me and the Oben is easily carried on my hiking daypack. My Gitzo rig is just too heavy and bulky for me to hike with.

The Oben 3565 is indistinguishable from the MeFOTO Roadtrip in several features including the rapid twist locks and working height. Compared to the MeFOTO, the Oben 3565 has some nice touches.

oben-feet.jpg

Like the MeFOTO, a bubble level is integrated into the Arca Swiss release plate. Additionally the plate tightening screw also has a level that can be utilized when vertical shooting using the 90 degree slot. The locks for the leg spread positions (3) are spring loaded and legs repositioned more easily than on the MePhoto.

The Oben 3565 comes with an alternate short column which allows a minimum working height of 9.5 inches. The MePhoto short column is a $30 accessory. Finally the Oben has integrated spiked feet. The MePhoto comes with interchangeable spiked feet.

In summary, the Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod ($210) is a quality travel/hiking tripod for micro 4/3s cameras at a very good value price point.

About the Author

David Hearne is a photographer based out of North Carolina. You can visit his website, American Roots Photography, to see his images and learn more about him.

David is also a member of The Digital Story Inner Circle where he gained access to the Oben 3565 Carbon tripod for this review.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

IMG_2195.jpg

I love the look of bounce flash. Using the ceiling as a giant diffuser really creates a mood that I can't get with direct flash.

The only problem is, if you're shooting people, this technique can make their eyes go dark because the flash illumination is coming from directly above. There is an easy solution, however: The business card flash modifier.

You should be carrying photographer business cards with you anyway. When you design yours, make sure that the back is white for jotting notes or for using a a flash modifier.

Point the flash head upward to the ceiling, rubber band the white side your business card to the head so that it diverts some of the light directly toward the subject. Now you have the best of both worlds: soft bounce lighting with a illuminated face of your subject.

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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