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For the Nov. 2012 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters shined a light on their favorite subjects. See for yourself in our gallery, Flash. And which one will be the SizzlPix Photo Assignment Pick of the Month?

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"I was so excited when you announced flash was the contest for this month. As wedding photographers, we often shoot in low light and rely on flash to capture spectacular images, including light paintings," wrote Jennifer Rhoades. "This was shot in pitch black. Laurie and Blake wanted a shot in front of the Memphis Zoo, but it was 9pm! I put two SB-910s behind them pointing left and right, and my assistant held a 24 inch softbox above their heads. The image was shot with a D800 and a 16-35 f4 VR." See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the Flash gallery page.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Jan. 2013 assignment is "Self Timer." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2012.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Jan 2013." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting Nov. 2012 at the end of Dec., the Dec. gallery will be posted at the end of Jan., and on and on.

Good luck with your Jan. assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for November.


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

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

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Man in Gorilla Suit Chasing Seagulls

I think the title says it all for this one...

Gorilla Chasing Seagulls

Thanks for a Memorable 2012

With 2012 in our rear view mirrors, I want to thank you for being a part of our photography community. Thanks to your support of the podcast via subscribing to it through iTunes, purchasing the TDS Podcast App in the App Store, participating in photo assignments, commenting on articles, and shopping at B&H, Amazon, SizzlePix, and Red River Paper though our sponsor tiles, you've contributed to keeping this show on the air.

Sky and Tree Sky and Tree, Interstate 5, CA - Photo by Derrick Story.

I'll be back to full steam next week with more podcasts, news, opinion, and articles. I'm thrilled that you'll be starting the New Year with me.

Twilight Main Street

One of my favorite phrases on the road is, "Come here and look at this." When I hear that, I make sure I have camera in hand.

The sunset last night on Main Street in Huntington Beach was saturated honey. I had an Olympus mini in my pocket with the 17mm f/2.8 prime lens, and used it to capture this scene.

Main St - Huntington Beach CA

I finished off the image in Aperture 3.4, later that evening after returning from dinner. What a great way to end the day.


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Canon 5D Mark II Not Ready for Pasture

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According to this report on Imaging-Resource, Canon isn't quite ready to discontinue the venerable 5D Mark II.

"At this time we have no update regarding the status of the EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera," a Canon U.S.A. spokesperson told Imaging Resource. "This product has been faithfully selling in the market since 2008 and has helped usher in a new era for Canon with the introduction of the Cinema EOS System." (reported by Imaging-Resource.com)

Canon may not be ready to retire their landmark full frame sensor DSLR, and neither am I. As much as I like their latest offerings in this category, my 5D Mark II is still serving me well. It's my "go to" camera for portrait assignments and high-end product photography. It's mechanically sound, provides amazing image quality, and it's paid for.

I've noticed that the 5D Mark II is currently available at B&H Photo for $1,800 with memory card. It will be interesting to see what happens with the price over the coming months.

In the meantime, mine is charged up and ready for its next assignment.


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After reading the review of the Sony RX1 full frame compact camera, I have even a further admiration for what Sony engineers have accomplished.

Aside from its outstanding image quality and depth of field control, the fit and finish of this camera achieves world class status, "...the feel of the controls is among the finest that I have ever encountered on any camera. Only an M Leica is comparable. Every knob, switch and dial on the RX1 is solid, has firm detents, and overall the whole camera feels like it would survive reentry from orbit, or at least six months in a pannier on a round-the-world bicycle trip." (Luminous Landscape review)

Quite frankly, if I owned the Sony RX1, I would shoot with it, and often. In fact, I would go as far to say, that if I were to invest in another full frame camera, the RX1 would get serious consideration.

Warning: This review could cost you $2,800...

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DPReview has published their test results of the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 prime lens, and it has increased my desire for this glass.

They conclude: "The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM is a truly excellent lens, that performs as well in the field as its superb lab test results suggest. With fast silent focusing and solid build, its lower price makes it a compelling alternative to the camera manufacturers' equivalents if you don't need weather-sealing."

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is currently available for $899 for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma lens mounts.

I have its older cousin, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and I love it. If the fates someday shine on me, would like to add the 35mm f/1.4 to my kit.


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Happy Holidays to You

Happy Holidays to you, and thanks for being a member of our photography community. I'm honored to be part of your life. Looking forward to a bright and creative 2013.

Sincerely, Derrick

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PS: No podcast this week. But I'll be back with a new show on New Year's Day. Until then, be safe and take photos!

Great Photos After the Event Too

Don't get me wrong. I love capturing good action shots during a sporting event. But the storyteller in me is interested in what happens off the hardwood too. Last night's Golden State Warriors vs the Los Angeles Lakers game was a perfect example.

Carl Landry Chalk Talk Carl Landry (Warriors #7) hangs around after the game for a "chalk talk."

Often there are post game interviews, season ticket holder events, arena maintenance, bus departures, fan interactions, and more after the final buzzer.

Big Ladder

First we stayed for the Carl Landry "chalk talk," which was very enjoyable. (Carl Landry is a terrific guy, BTW). Then the Lakers departed the locker room to board the team bus. That's also a good photo opp. I really enjoyed watching the fans line up along the railing with their cell phones held high trying to get the attention of their favorite player.

Waiting for the Laker Bus

The point is, I recommend that you keep your camera out and look for good images after the game too. I mean, what the heck. The parking lot is jammed, and you're just going to be sitting in your car anyway. Why not grab a few more memorable photos instead?

You can see more shots from the game on the TDS Flickr page.


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Lowepro and Adorama Camera have teamed up for a giveaway of an Olympus Tough TG-320 camera and Dashpoint 30 case. It's super easy to throw your lens cap in the ring: just go over to the Lowepro blog and comment there about the destination you'd like to photograph with that tandem. They will randomly pick one of those comments on Saturday, Dec. 22 and send them the gear.


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