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TDS Spring Workshop was a Blast!

TDS Spring 2011 Workshop a Blast

"I can't believe I'm actually taking these pictures!" exclaimed June H. when she looked at the LCD on the back of her camera. She, along with the rest of the workshop crew, was working on assignment all weekend at the TDS studio. We had three models, seven flashes, more modifiers than you could count, and lots of fun.

After each photo session, the group had to cull and image edit their favorite shots, getting them ready for the portfolio review at the end of the day.

"Not that I'd want to to live my life as a pro photographer, but I really liked the experience of working under pressure," said Doug K. "You learn a lot when you're on the edge."

It wasn't all work however. At the Friday night social, we had the Lowepro Bag Grab and got to know one another over snacks and refreshments. The "Made to Order" lunch was brought in every day, giving shooters a chance to swap stories during their well-deserved break. Some even got together for a Saturday night dinner before reuniting at the studio again on Sunday morning.

If you're interested in being on the reserve list for the TDS Workshop Series, just send me a note with the subject line: "TDS Workshop Reserve List." I'll get right back to you.


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Much has changed in the Flickr universe since I released the original training title on lynda.com in 2009. So I went back into the recording booth to create a brand new, updated, Flickr Essential Training for 2011.

Right now, you can view 8 free movies that cover really useful stuff, such as keyboard shortcuts, editing your personal information, and tips for using Google to search inside of Flickr.

I even have this short welcome movie to give you a feel for the tone and contents of this title.

Personally, I think Flickr is once of the most enjoyable ways to share photos and view great work by others. And if you invest just a little time with this training title, you'll get more out of this online photography site than you ever imagined.

More Training Available

We have many more informative movies available in the lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and learn how to get the most from your favorite photo sharing application.

Previously on The Digital Story

Exploring Interesting Places Visually Via Flickr

Become Your Own Museum Curator with "Galleries" on Flickr

Using Google to Search Within Flickr

Flickr Keyboard Shortcuts

Flickr Updates Share Tools for Facebook, Twitter

Introduction to Flickr Essential Training


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


Dig In Magazine

So here's something written about me instead of by me. I had fun chatting with Cindy Maram at Dig In Magazine for this interview about my love for photography, passion for technology, and how it all got started. They include a few selected shots from my Flickr gallery, and there's more information in the text that I generally see in this type of article.

If you want to know more about what fuels me for The Digital Story and my other projects, I think you'll enjoy this read.

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"Alcatraz" - Grab Shot 211

"Here's a black-and-white version of a photo I took of Alcatraz while playing tourist with my son during our recent visit to San Francisco for MacWorld," writes Darryl Esakof. "As the harbor cruise circled Alcatraz in the late afternoon with the sun low in the west, some very interesting silhouettes appeared."

Alcatraz by Darryl Esakof "Alcatraz by Darryl Esakof" Click on image for larger version.

Darryl captured the shot with a Canon S95 , ISO 80, 22mm, f4.9, 1/800 sec., then processed it in Aperture 3.

This is our 211th Grab Shot! Wow. If you want to review the collection that began back in 2006, go to our Grab Shots page.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.


The Digital Story Podcast App is the best way to stream or download weekly TDS podcast episodes. No more syncing your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or even your Android phone just to get a podcast. And the best part is, The Digital Story Podcast App is your way to help support this show. Download it today!


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Adjust Tab Before

A challenging aspect of image adjustment for many photographers is figuring out what needs to be done, then choosing the right controls to do it. The good news is, in iPhoto '11, you can let the application analyze the photo for you, have it make an initial set of corrections, then you can fine tune the picture's appearance to your taste. I call this the 3-Step Image Adjustment Technique.

Step 1 - Choose your image in iPhoto, then click on the Edit button in the lower right corner of the application. Then click on the Adjust tab in the upper right corner. Take a look at the Histogram and get a feel for your image. For example, this image is lacking a bit in contrast. We can tell that by seeing that most of the data in the histogram is bunched up in the middle. You don't have to spend a lot of time on this, just a few seconds. We'll return to this view in a minute.

Step 2 - Quick Fix

Step 2 - Click on the Quick Fixes tab, then click on the Enhance button. iPhoto will make a number of adjustments for you, based on its analysis of the image. You'll probably like most of what it does, but you may want to make a tweak or two. No problem. This is just a starting point that you can now fine tune.

Step 3 - Return to the Adjustment tab. You'll notice that iPhoto has made a number of adjustments here. This is where you can fine tune.

Step 3 - Adjust After

If you feel it made the photo too bright, move the Exposure slider to the left. If the blacks in the image look too dark, move the Shadows slider to the right. If the colors in the image are now too intense, check the box beneath the Saturation slider (labeled Avoid saturating skin tones) and play with the Saturation slider until you get the look you want. And finally, if you want to make the overall appearance of the image "cooler," move the Temperature slider to the left, and to make it warmer, move the slider to the right.

Once I have the basic tones and colors the way I like, I usually add a little Definition (about 20-25) and a bit of Sharpness (15-25). Don't forget to crop if your image needs it. This entire workflow should only take a minute or two. And with practice, you'll get even faster. To see how much you've improved the picture, hold down the Shift key to see the original version. There will be quite a difference!

Learn More Tips!

There are more ways to learn and have more fun with iPhoto '11: my iPhoto '11 Essential Training ONLINE at Lynda.com, and the new iPhoto '11 Essential Training DVD that you can purchase from the Lynda.com Store for $49.95 US. You can get a feel for how this works by watching Creating Smart Albums in iPhoto '11.



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Want to learn Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, or practically any other major software title? The folks I teach for, lynda.com, offer a 7 Day Trial Period if you sign up. If, after the 7 days of mind-bending training, you decide that lynda.com isn't for you, then just cancel your membership with no obligation.

My training titles on lynda.com include Aperture 3, iPhoto '11, Off-Camera Flash, Portraiture, Getting Pro Results from a Compact Camera, and more.

Each title is presented to you in a series of short, digestible movies that you can watch over and over again until you master that particular technique. I organize the movies in a clear table of contents format, so you can go directly to the technique you're most interested in at the moment. If you want to watch the training from start to finish, then we keep the pace fast and informative helping you absorb as much information as possible.

I have new titles coming out this year, including a revised Flickr training and a live-action training on how to improve your Group Shots. Stay tuned for those debuts.

In the meantime, take a look at what lynda.com has to offer via the 7 Day Trial Period. It's really quite impressive.


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Packing your camera bag is art and science combined. You want to make sure you have the gear you need, but not too much. Your bag may have to fit in tight quarters, such as in an overhead compartment on a plane, or under the seat. And what about the environment you'll be shooting in when you arrive? Since this is the bag you'll always have with you, what personal items will you include? In this week's podcast, I have 10 great tips that will help you prepare for your next vacation, business trip, or photo assignment. Tune in!

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (33 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

Blue is the March 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is March 31, 2011.

TDS Summer 2011 Photography Workshop

We're making plans now for the Summer 2011 TDS Photography Workshop. If you want your name on the reserve list, just drop me a line.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

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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canon_200-400mm_zoom.jpg

I stopped by the Canon booth at NANPA and chatted a bit with them about their announced Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens At The CP+ Event: The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens. I was hoping that there might be some new news since Canon officially spilled the beans in February.

When I stopped by, there was no one else around... just in case. But sadly, there was no news about the super zoom that will have a 1.4x tele extender built-in that can be switched on and off. Other than, Canon said it was the most-asked question at the Nature Photography Summit.

Bottom line, still no official word on release date, on estimated price, or on how the built-in tele extender might actually work. If you're interested in learning more about the EF 200-400mm, there's a pretty good article about it on The-Digital-Picture.com.


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They might not be the prettiest bird you've ever seen, but the Chachalaca in Southern Texas make up for it in personality.

Chachalaca Chachalaca feeding after chasing off a rabbit. Click on image for larger version.

They are fairly big, about 22" in length. I watched one chase-off a Cottontail rabbit this afternoon at the Mazatlan World Birding Center in McAllen, Texas. You can't miss their call once you've heard it: cha cha lac, cha cha lac! And it's so loud that you can't hardly hear anything else.

After just two days in the Rio Grande area, I can tell you already, if you're in to birding, this is an exciting place. In addition to the group of the facilities that comprise the World Birding Center (think of it as the Smithsonian of feathered creatures), there are also private ranches that have converted to conservatories for local habitats. One example is the Santa Clara Ranch that features 300 acres preserved Southern Texas landscape, photo blinds, ponds, and feeders where photographers can capture a variety of birds and wildlife. They even have bunk houses that you can rent for extended stays.

Since about 90 percent of the land in Texas is privately owned, this is a positive trend seeing ranch owners becoming conservationists, and making a living while doing so. If you love wildlife photography, it would be worth your time to investigate the opportunites in Southern Texas.


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Glossy Ibis Puffed Up


Glossy Ibis, originally uploaded by The Digital Story.

Once the morning light broke through the clouds at Estero Llano Grande State Park outside of McAllen Texas, everything came to life, including the plumage on this Glossy Ibis who was preening.

Image captured with a Canon 60D, Canon 1.4X tele-extender II, and Canon 70-200 f/4 L lens. I use the tripod collar for the zoom, then attach the rig to a monopod to steady the shot since the magnification is increased. ISO 200, 1/500th at f/8.

You can see more images from this shoot on The TDS Flickr page.


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