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Photo Help Desk

Today's featured question on PhotoHelpDesk.com: Is Latest iMac Worthy for Image Editing?. The short answer is, "yes." Check out the post for more details and to comment.


PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

5 Stars for the Olympus E-P5

Olympus E-P5

We had a feeling this camera would do well in reviews. PhotographyBlog.com just awarded the Olympus E-P5 micro four thirds camera five stars in their Olympus E-P5 Review.

Citing top marks for design, ease of use, and image quality, they conclude: "...we can recommend the new Olympus E-P5 just as highly as our favourite compact system camera of 2012 [Olympus OM-D]." High praise indeed. Can't wait to get my hands on one.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

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 week on The Digital Story: New site inspired by your questions: PhotoHelpDesk.com, Ever consider being a Bureau Chief?, the brand new Flickr Essential Training is ready for prime time - All of this and more in today's photography podcast.

Photo Help Desk

Story #1 - PhotoHelpDesk.com inspired by your questions. As you can imagine, I get a fair amount of email seeking my advice on a variety of photo-related questions. Recently, it dawned on me that instead of just helping one photographer at a time, this effort could help many.

If somehow I could share these conversations with our online community, then others who have similar questions could benefit too. This is the genesis of PhotoHelpDesk.com, a new site that will be part of our publishing family. My goal is to create an archive of relevant photographic knowledge that we can use and share with others. I discuss what I've built, how it works, and who it's for.

Story #2 - Bureau Chiefs for PhotoHelpDesk.com. Currently I have 7 basic categories for Photo Help Desk: DSLR Cameras, Mirrorless Cameras, Compact Cameras, Smart Phones, Aperture/iPhoto, Lightroom, and Buying Advice. I'm going to serve as Bureau Chief for Mirrorless, iPhoto, and Aperture.

I'm looking for two Bureau Chiefs to help me cover DSLRs, Compacts, Smart Phones, and Lightroom. I'd like each Bureau Chief to cover two topics.

If you're interested in joining the Photo Help Desk team, then send mail to photographyhelpdesk@gmail.com with Bureau Chief and your name in the subject line. Let me know what you're interested in covering, and why you'd be good at it. If you have writing samples to share, send those along too.

Story #3 - Flickr Essential Training 2013. Flickr has gone through many changes of late, including new mobile apps for iOS and Android, plus a revamped web presence. I've recorded an entirely new Flickr Essential Training for lynda.com to show you the ins and outs of my favorite photo sharing site. And now it's ready for prime time. Here's more about it.

Reminder! - If you're going to purchase gear through Amazon or B&H Photo, please stop by the TDS home page first. Look for the "Products" box about half way down the page in the second column. There you will see display tiles for Amazon, lynda.com, and B&H Photo, in that order. By entering those sites through those display tiles, you help support The Digital Story.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast here (27 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The July 2013 photo assignment is Duality.

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.Special Offer! Anyone buying Derrick's new book, iPad for Digital Photographers, even at Amazon's or Barnes And Noble's discount, and putting the password for the Book Owners lounge in the comments space of their SizzlPix! order, will get 10 percent off their entire order -- the equivalent of more than a full refund for the book!

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

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

Easy Photo Printing with Aperture

Epson R2000 Printing

Making beautiful prints at home might be easier than you think. If you haven't fired up the inkjet printer for a while, take a look at my latest Macworld article, How to print photos from Aperture the easy way.

The good news is, printer drivers have become much smarter over the last few years. So if you know what boxes to check, then you can produce lovely 13" x 19" prints on the first try.

I bet your walls at home could use a little freshening up. What do you think?

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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

Revised Panasonic Revises LUMIX G 20mm F1-7 Lens

Good news for Micro Four Thirds stills shooters. The newly announced Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH lens ($399, also available in a silver finish) features a metal mount, supports Panasonic's Contrast AF for precision auto focusing, and is lighter and more compact than the previous version.

But according to Steve's Digicams, "The only real catch is that, when recording video, if you leave Continuous AF on, you will hear some noise. Panasonic recommends leaving AF off for video."

Filmmakers take note...

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


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

When you want to keep an eye on a big job is processing in Aperture, the Activity Monitor window is very helpful. I've been using it lately during an ambitious archiving project where I'm cleaning up old libraries and posting the content to my Everpix account.

Activity Monitor Enabled in Aperture

To view the Activity Monitor, go to Window > Show Activity. Since Aperture can run tasks in the background, you could have more than one process to view. If you decide that you want to terminate an activity, highlight it, then click on the Cancel Task button.

Currently I have an old MacBook connected to a Drobo and churning away on exporting libraries and generating full size previews for my online archiving project. That white MacBook isn't very fast, but it is steady, and I can leave it running over the weekend. When I want to know the status of a job, I check the Activity Monitor to see how long before I can set up the next task. It helps me manage my work without babysitting the computer. You might find it helpful for your big jobs too.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

When I saw Venus setting in the west on Fourth of July evening, I knew I wanted to create a different kind of shot for the holiday. The hardest part was finding a good location. After that, I had to set up quickly before the light left the sky.

Venus Setting at Twilight with Fireworks "Venus Setting in the West at Twilight with Fireworks" by Derrick Story

I mounted the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Panasonic VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 zoom on a Joby GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X and controlled the camera with a Triggertrap mobile connected to my iPhone.

With the ISO set to 200, I exposed the scene for 2 seconds at f/8. The zoom was set to 15mm. Fortunately, the fireworks show in the distance began at 9:35 pm, while there was still color in the sky. I captured about 6 frames, this one being my favorite, before I switched lenses and focused on the fireworks themselves.

I like the grand finale fireworks shots captured about 20 minutes later. But this shot for me, is something a little different than I normally photograph on Independence Day.

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Canon EOS Rebel T1i with 24-85mm Lens

Apart from the cameras that are near and dear to our hearts, gear that isn't used regularly can be sold to generate revenue for purchasing new items. My goal is to create a win/win scenario where both seller and purchaser feel good about the transaction.

A successful sale begins when you first purchase the item. By following these easy steps, you'll protect your investment and create a positive selling experience up the road.

Save Original Packing

Save the box, owners manual, cables, software CD, and anything else that's part of the kit. Prospective buyers love original packing. It helps maintain the value of their investment. And it doesn't cost you anything other than setting aside a little storage space.

Hang on to Brochures and Books

Another value-added item is collateral material related to the camera. Printed brochures, books on how to use, and other promotional items enhance the buying experience. Not only will these items help the buyer get more out of their purchase, they add emotional appeal.

Protect the LCD and Lens

The LCD screen and front objective glass of the lens are the most delicate surfaces on the camera. By putting a screen protector on the LCD and a high quality, multi-coated filter over the lens, you'll help protect your investment. When it's time to sell the item, I remove all protection, revealing mint condition surfaces. Believe me, nobody wants to buy a scratched LCD.

Sell the Camera While It Still Has Value

Finding a buyer for a 3-year-old camera is much easier than one that's been around for 5 years. Most buyers plan on using the purchase for their hobby, and they want to feel they have something that's current and desirable. If you know you're going to eventually sell an item, sell it now. Everyone will be happier.

Take a Good Picture, Write a Good Ad

I prefer to sell on Craigslist, at local camera stores, and via local newspapers. I write a descriptive ad without effusive adjectives, and take a good picture of the item I'm selling. I then meet the prospective buyer at a local coffee shop where they can test the gear and ask me questions. This provides a satisfying experience and eliminates buyer's remorse.

Charged and Ready to Roll

When it's time to meet the buyer, charge the battery, put a memory card in the camera, and make sure all systems are go. Show the buyer how to operate the camera, adjust the diopter to their eyesight, and let them take pictures. I like to have a good cup of coffee during this process.

Be Fair, Honest, and Sincere

I think it's really exciting to pair one of my cameras with a new photographer who has the opportunity to flourish with it. When I go to sleep that night, I want to be thinking about how happy they are with their purchase, and how I've taken a positive step toward my new gear goal.

Never, under any circumstance, take advantage of a prospective buyer just to get a few more dollars. Not only is it wrong, but it undermines the entire marketplace for used gear. As I said in the beginning, win/win scenarios are just good business.

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Olympus 75mm Prime Lens

I have lenses that I describe as sharp, dependable, or versatile. But the term I use for the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens is amazing. Why? Because in many ways, it defies logic.

When mounted on the OM-D E-M5, the 75mm is both sharp and dreamlike at the same time. When locked down to f/1.8, which is the only aperture I've used regularly with this prime, it lets me create images that have a quality unlike any other lens.

It goes beyond merely throwing the background out of focus (which is no small feat with a micro four thirds camera). It's the unique way that it creates a creamy, almost dreamlike texture, even in mundane settings. I've said before that lenses are to a photographer as brushes are to a painter. Never has that been more true than with this combination.

Michelle Portrait 2

In the past, for portraits like these, I would have to use my Canon 5D Mark II and the 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. It's a great rig for sure, but it is over twice the size and weight of the OM-D with the 75mm prime. So for shoots where I need to travel light, but still have the control I want, the micro four thirds tandem is a more nimble option.

Michelle Portrait 3

When I need the lens to be sharp, all I have to do is focus accurately on what's important, and the 75mm provides excellent detail, contrast, and color. BTW: the manual focus ring is quite nice on the 75mm. I've programmed my f2 button on the OM-D to toggle between manual and autofocus. I've found this particularly handy for sports where I can lock in on a subject faster than the autofocus.

Layup

The product highlights are what you'd expect for premium priced glass ($899).

  • Three ED Elements to Correct Aberrations
  • Advanced Lens Coating Reduces Reflections
  • 150mm Equivalent in 35mm Format
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8-22
  • Compact (2.7 x 2.5"), Balanced Weight (10.7oz) All Metal Construction
  • Fast, Quiet Autofocusing Ideal for Video (MSC) and Action Photography

The 75mm doesn't have close-focusing ability, and doesn't include optical image stabilization (the OM-D has stabilization built in to the body). But for portraits and action photography, this prime lens is simply, well, amazing.

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This week on The Digital Story: Winners and Workshops, Flickr Update, and a behind the scenes interview with the Everpix co-founders - All of this and more in today's photography podcast.

Everpix on an iPad mini Everpix updating in the background while being used on an iPad mini.

Story #1 - Recent SizzlPix Winners as part of the Monthly Photo Assignment.

Dec. 2012 - Long Exposure
http://www.thedigitalstory.com/galleries/dec12_assign/index.html
Mark Steven Houser

Jan. 2013 - Self Timer
http://www.thedigitalstory.com/galleries/jan13_assign/index.html
Kevin Ned Miller

Feb. 2013 - Furry Friends
http://www.thedigitalstory.com/galleries/feb13_assign/index.html
Phil Fisher

March - B&W
http://thedigitalstory.com/2013/05/black-white---result-1.html
Oliver Rutherford

April - Architecture
http://www.thedigitalstory.com/galleries/ap13_assign/index.html
Jack Mueller

A Fun SizzlPix Story

PHOTOJOURNALISM AS ART
http://www.sizzlpix.com/main/2013/06/19/photo-journalism-as-art/

David Thurston, acclaimed British photographer has lived in Hong Kong and travelled extensively in China. His provocative candid "Boy Smoker" is one of just a few photographic images selected from thousands for display in London's prestigious Royal Academy Of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013, which continues through August 18 in Burlington House, Piccadilly.

The unfortunate child captured so magically in David's "Boy Smoker" may not last as long as his picture, which is displayed as a SizzlPix!, a proprietary state-of-the-art process for High-Definition photography display, among whose unique characteristics is a rated fade-resistance of 100 years.

Story #2 - Opening for Fall Color/Safari West Workshop on Oct. 20-22. Registration fee is $595 that includes the exclusive photo excursion in Safari West, a model shoot, landscape field trip, lunches, swag, and more. Go to the TDS Workshops page and use the "Send Me Info" form.

Story #3 - Have your joined the The Digital Story Flickr Public Group? That's where we draw from for the TDS Member Photo of the Day featured on the TDS Facebook page.

Story #4 - Interview with Pierre and Wayne, co-founders of Everpix. Here's your chance to get a behind the scenes look as this amazing online photo platform.

Reminder! - If you're going to purchase gear through Amazon or B&H Photo, please stop by the TDS home page first. Look for the "Products" box about half way down the page in the second column. There you will see display tiles for Amazon, lynda.com, and B&H Photo, in that order. By entering those sites through those display tiles, you help support The Digital Story.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast here (31 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The July 2013 photo assignment is Duality.

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.Special Offer! Anyone buying Derrick's new book, iPad for Digital Photographers, even at Amazon's or Barnes And Noble's discount, and putting the password for the Book Owners lounge in the comments space of their SizzlPix! order, will get 10 percent off their entire order -- the equivalent of more than a full refund for the book!

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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