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Imagine a set-up that includes modifiers for three flashes, a grid spot, two sets of gels, and a diffusion panel, yet only occupies the same amount of space as a standard laptop computer. That's the Rogue Master Lighting Kit by ExpoImaging, and I discuss how it could be very handy for nimble portrait photographers.

Then I talk about my experience at the US Open Golf Championship last week, and share a few tips for photographing these types of events.

I wrap up with an update about the upcoming Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop, TWiP, and the new MacBook Pro. Lots of ground to cover. I hope you enjoy the show.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Signs is the June 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is June 30, 2012.

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

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




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The Rogue Master Lighting Kitprovides the nimble photographer with a variety of flash modifiers and gels in kit that occupies about as much space as a full size laptop computer. I recently shot a portrait session using just two Canon Speedlites with FlashBenders attached.

Leah Seated Portrait of Leah Lavoneh captured with two FlashBenders, one with a diffusion panel. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of the interesting new features in the master kit is a diffusion panel for the large FlashBender. The clever design attaches to the front of the FlashBender via robust hook and loop material. The flash head positioned between the two pieces, like a sandwich. I used this for the main light, with the small reflector as the fill.

FlashBender Set Up Two-light set up for the above portrait using the large FlashBender with diffusion panel as the main light.

In addition to the three different sized FlashBenders and the grid modifier in the kit, Rogue also includes two sets of gels. These have both creative and corrective applications. I particularly liked the gel set for the grid that allowed me to throw a splash of color on a background or even used as an interesting hair light.

Leah Holding FlashBender Kit The Rogue Master Lighting Kit takes up little space, but provides you with a complete flash modification set-up.

I noticed that the FlashBenders themselves have improved fasteners and updated design. I had no problem securing them to any of my flashes, and I have quite a variety of strobes in the studio.

If you're looking for an affordable light modifier set-up to handle a variety of needs, especially when traveling light, consider the Rogue Master Lighting Kitthat sells for $199. There are plenty of goodies in there to spur your lighting creativity.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


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The latest episode of This Week in Photo includes a lively discussion about the just-announced MacBook Pro Retina Display, the Aperture 3.3 release, and the new Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens.

The show plays out like this:

  • Aperture gets a significant update (6:30)
  • Apple adds a retina display to the MacBook Pro (12:30)
  • Canon releases two new STM lenses (33:30)
  • Leica announces a $50,000 Limited Edition Camera (43:30)
  • Is it better to specialize or generalize in your photography? (48:50)

In addition to myself, Dan Ablan, and Nicole Young, and Frederick Van Johnson (host) are there to discuss these topics and more. You can listen in here.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


I'm enjoying watching 42-year-old Jim Furyk battle a predominately younger field at the U.S. Open golf championship in progress at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA. I watched him at work in person during the Wednesday round, and he was striking the ball well.

Jim Furyk Chip Shot
Jim Furyk working on his short game at the Olympic Club on Wednesday.

After 8 holes on Saturday, Furyk is atop the leader board. We'll see what happens as the weekend plays out.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter


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Many Aperture users were hoping for a 4.0 debut this week, and instead they got 3.3. Joe Linaschke over at ApertureExpert.com breaks down this release in his post, Aperture 3.3: The ApertureExpert Review. It's an excellent overview of what is going on with the application, and a look at the features themselves.

Here at the Digital Story, we'll continue to post on the individual components. So stay tuned, Our first installment was on Fast Browsing.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training 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.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


US Open 2012 - A Day on the Green

The 2012 U.S. Open Golf Championship is underway at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA. The combination of historic site plus world class golfers equals an enjoyable day on the green.

us_open_2012.jpg "Tee Shot" I held a 5D Mark II over my head with the 16-35mm zoom set to 16mm to capture this bird's eye view. For more photos, visit the TDS Flickr Gallery.

In San Francisco, it often pays to get up early for photography. On this morning, the mist was still in the air at the Olympic Club creating a mood that evaporated by late morning. I used the 70-200mm f/2.8 Canon zoom to capture these players enjoying a conversation on the way to the green.

us_open_early.jpg

Tournament play begins today. You can find out more about the U.S. Open here. It's going to be an exciting four days.

For more photos, visit the TDS Flickr Gallery


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


Photo Tips and Ideas on Pinterest

In addition to the 7 boards I've already populated on my just-launched Pinterest page, I've viewed hundreds by others who have posted on a variety of topics - my personal favorite, of course, is photography.

pinterest_d_story.jpg Here are three of my boards on Pinterest.

Pinterest is one of those online pastimes that you can enjoy without obligation. When you want fresh ideas for just about any project, browse and see what others are sharing.

There's also a decent iPhone app that's easy to use. Unfortunately, nothing really compelling for the iPad yet.

As for my page, I'm going to focus on photography tips and "how to." That's what I find interesting.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


Aperture 3.3 provides much for us to talk about, and I'm going to start today with its improved rendering speed during import. Apple calls this "Fast Browsing."

Aperture_import_prefs.jpg Noting the "Fast Browsing" preference in the Import tab (Camera Previews). It should be activated by default. But you might want to double-check it just to make sure.

In the past, one of the annoyances for Raw shooters was the delay in building preview images during the import of files from a memory card. Now with Fast Browsing, Aperture takes better advantage of the Jpeg images embedded in those Raws. It shows you that image first, then will replace it with an Aperture preview (built to your specifications in the preferences menu) once the import has completed.

fast_browsing_image.jpg New "Fast Browsing" image that's available immediately in Aperture 3.3. (Click on image for larger version.)

I tested this feature on a 2010 MacBook Air using Raw files from an Olympus OM-D. As promised, large preview images were available right away during the importing process. And they looked good. I turned on Quick Preview to further speed things up while I worked.

final_preview_image.jpg Aperture's generated preview that replaced the embedded Jpeg. Even better than the embedded file.

Then I waited to see if I could detect Aperture replacing the embedded Jpeg with its own preview. And sure enough, a few seconds later it did. The color was a bit richer in the new preview, and it was a tad crisper too.

But gone are the days of the pixelated image that finally snaps into focus. You can certainly start rating and sorting your images during the import process now. My guess is that the quality of the initial preview will vary depending on what your camera embeds in the Raw file.

I still recommend turing Quick Preview on, because it seems to speed up the browsing process even further.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training 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.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Apple announces a 1-2 knockout punch for photographers: a redesigned MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display combined with an updated Aperture (v 3.3) that supports the super high-resolution display.

mbp_2012_side.jpg

Other Mac laptops were refreshed also (MB Airs, MBP 13" and MBP 15" without Retina display and with traditional hard drive), but my argument for this week's show is to purchase the 15" Retina MBP that is an all solid state machine. It's virtually the same thickness as the MacBook Air, has a quad processor instead of a duo, plus an impressive NVIDIA GPU that you don't get in the MacBook Airs or in the 13" MacBook Pro.

Add the updated version of Aperture with its improved performance and intriguing new editing tools, and you have a photographer's dream machine. If you don't believe me, tune in and let me make my case.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Signs is the June 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is June 30, 2012.

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

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




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The Power of Pattern

Repetition isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to our daily work, but it can be a terrific photo subject.

mini_coopers_row.jpg A line of Mini Coopers. Photo by Derrick Story.

The trick is to find an exception to the pattern, or a way to isolate one of the items so the viewer's eye has a place to rest. Once the viewer absorbs the "resting spot" you've created, they can go on to enjoy the pattern that fills out the rest of the composition.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.