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A Little New York in Vegas

I walked outside of the MGM Grand for a little fresh air tonight, and noticed this terrific angle on "New York New York" across the street. I had my Canon PowerShot S90 in my pocket, so I decided to capture this "oh so Las Vegas" night scene. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

New York New York on Las Vegas Blvd

I set the ISO to 80, turned on the self-timer, and found a steady place on the railing to take the shot. After a few frames, I noticed this car to my right with a girl hanging out of the passenger window taking photos. Ah, the perfect foreground element!

I then processed the Raw file in Aperture 3, using the brush tools to lighten and darken a few specific areas. I exported this Jpeg and opened it in Photoshop CS4 to add a bit more metadata and to do the final sharpening.

"New York in Vegas" by Derrick Story. Canon S90 at 1/10 sec, f/2.0, 28mm.


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Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds Camera

Micro Four Thirds cameras by Olympus and Panasonic are having an impact on digital photography. These "mirrorless" DSLRs provide high quality images and interchangable lenses, like regular SLRs, but are more compact. In this podcast I talk about Micro Four Thirds, what it is, and what's unique about these devices.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Flash is the March 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is March 31, 2010.

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!


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Podcast Sponsors

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WPPI 2010 Las Vegas: Have you ever wondered what goes on behind those closed expo hall doors right before showtime? Here's a peek at the activities at WPPI half an hour before the show floor opens.

Some vendors are already doing presentations for special invite audiences, while others are just trying to get their booth together. In this 2-minute video captured with a discreet Canon S90, you'll get a peek at WPPI that many never get to see.


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Panasonic G2 Micro Four Thirds Camera

The world of Micro Four Thirds is a busy one. On the heels of Olympus announcing its Olympus PEN E-PL1, Panasonic unveils two new cameras: the high end Panasonic LUMIX G2, with its 3" 460,000-dot high-resolution LCD touch screen, and the more affordable Panasonic LUMIX G10 that features a 202,000-dot Live View Finder.

Both cameras stick with the standard 12 MP resolution, but the G2 gets a processor upgrade, using the new Venus Engine HD II. We don't have pricing or release dates yet, however, Panasonic will give us a 30-day heads up for both cost and availability. My guess is that it won't be too far down the road.

You might also want to note that this week's TDS podcast is on the Micro Four Thirds system. That show will be released Tuesday morning, March 9, 2010.


The Digital Story Podcast App is the best way to stream or download weekly TDS podcast episodes. No more syncing your iPhone or iPod Touch just to get a podcast. And there's more! Tap the Extras button for free passes and discounts, the latest blog posts from The Digital Story (audio versions), and the current Grab Shot by our virtual camera club members. Each podcast episode has its own Extras button, too, that contains more goodies such as pro photo tips. 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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"This was literally a shot where I grabbed the camera with whatever settings it was on, and snapped away," writes Anthony Zahra.

Anthony Zahra Grab Shot

"I had been taking random shots of my son playing cricket (weird English/Australian sport you guys never understand :) They wear all white, which was tending to blow out in the full sun, so I had a -EV setting when I saw this crow fly overhead. I grabbed the camera, which was sporting the Canon 70-200 f/2.8, and fired off a shot. I liked the silhouette of the bird and softened tree branches against the rich blue sky."

Anthony captured this image with his Canon 40D and a 70-200mm f.2.8L zoom. He was in Shutter Priority mode (from the cricket match) at 1/6400. At ISO 200, the corresponding aperture was f/2.8.

Photo by Anthony Zahra. Click on image to zoom to larger size.

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 or iPod Touch just to get a podcast. And there's more! Tap the Extras button for free passes and discounts, the latest blog posts from The Digital Story (audio versions), and the current Grab Shot by our virtual camera club members. Each podcast episode has its own Extras button, too, that contains more goodies such as pro photo tips. 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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Now that the Olympus PEN E-PL1 is available, I want to highlight some of its most interesting features. Today, I'm taking the iAuto challenge.

Most seasoned photographers wouldn't consider an "auto everything" mode on their camera. Normally, I wouldn't either. But iAuto on the Olympus E-PL1 is not your standard "the photographer is lazy" mode. In fact, it's just the opposite. I say that because in iAuto you have access to Live Guide. This feature allows you to intuitively adjust the image to your particular tastes before you press the shutter button. And the best part is, you make these adjustments using sliders that give real time results.

To enable Live Guide, first set the top mode dial to iAuto. Then press the Start/OK button on the back of the E-PL1. You see a menu that looks like this:

Slider Menu in iAuto

You have five slide adjustments: Change Color Saturation, Change Color Image (temperature), Change Brightness (exposure), Blur Background (aperture control), Express Motions (shutter control). My favorite is Change Color Image, which via a slider, lets me adjust color temperature in real time.

change_color_image.jpg

If I want to warm up tones, I use the up-arrow key until the image looks the way I want, and to cool, press the down-arrow key. I put this system to work in the ghastly lighting at the PMA 2010 trade show in Anaheim, CA. I wanted the carpet to be the color it was supposed to be, so I pointed the E-PL1 down and moved the Change Color Image slider until I liked what I saw. I shot Raw+Jpeg so we can see the difference between what the camera set automatically (the Raw version on the right), and the change I made using the slider (the Jpeg version on the left).

jpeg_vs_raw.jpg

As you probably figured out, Live Guide only affects the Jpeg. It's designed for Jpeg shooting, which isn't a problem with Olympus because their Jpegs are so good. But if you want a Raw version to tinker with in post production, Raw+Jpeg is available, as illustrated here.

You have access to lots of other controls in iAuto too: drive mode, self timer, flash on/off, autofocus point selection, and live histogram. Plus, you have one-touch video recording using the red button on the back of the E-PL1.

So in many ways, iAuto is really a creative mode. You can play with Live Guide via a simulator on Olympus site. Give it a go. I think it's one of the terrific new features on this $599 micro four thirds compact DSLR from Olympus.


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Our digital cameras capture video, YouTube is a great way to share it -- how do we get from point A to point B as quickly as possible? With QuickTime X.

QuickTime X is the slightly controversial player that shipped with Snow Leopard. Some people like this new streamlined viewer, others prefer (and keep using) QuickTime 7 because of its handy toolset. For this workflow, all you'll need is QuickTime X. It handles trimming just fine, and it does a great job of optimizing your large movie files for YouTube. Then, it actually manages the entire publishing process. If you share your work on YouTube, these features alone make QuickTime X worth hanging on to.

Share Movie to YouTube

The Fast Workflow

This process is almost as simple as 1-2-3. First, capture your movie. For this movie, I used a Canon 5D Mark II at the PMA trade show that featured brutal lighting and lots of ambient noise in the expo hall. By using a custom white balance setting and an external lapel mic, I was able to record usable 1920x1080 video. Great to have a high definition master, but way too much resolution for YouTube. We'll get to that in a moment.

Next, open your movie in QuickTime X and trim off the yucky ends. Just go to Edit > Trim, and you get the now familiar yellow trim guides.

Finally, publish your movie. Go to Share > YouTube. Log in to YouTube, fill out the description and other basic metadata, then upload your work without ever leaving the player application. QuickTime X will take that gigantic movie, sample it down to the standard 360p/480p resolution, and place it right there in your account next to your other great works of art.

When you need to turn video around quickly, QuickTime X does a great job.


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Canon PowerShot S90 Review

Canon S90 on Deck of Cards

In my recent Macworld Magazine review of the Canon S90, I say that it: "might be one of the most powerful point-and-shoot cameras that you can slip into your shirt pocket." After using this compact for months now, I feel stronger than ever about that statement. This is a great camera.

What really impresses me about the S90 is how much image quality it pulls out of its 10 Megapixel, 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor, which has only a fraction of the surface area compared to a four-thirds or APS-C sensor. Yet, in most lighting conditions, the Raw files, as well as the Jpegs, look terrific. When I'm traveling, I always keep the S90 on the front seat next to me so I can grab it in a hurry if something interesting appears. And thanks to its compact size, I have captured many shots that I would have missed in the past.

Things got even better when Aperture 3 was released, which can process S90 Raw files. Including Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, and Canon's own DPP software, we now have many options for working with these Raw files.

For more information about the S90, please read my Macworld review where I gave the Canon S90 4.5 mice, highlighting these pros and cons:

PROS

Extremely compact and lightweight; outstanding image quality; Raw format support; excellent user interface.

CONS

Lackluster battery performance; control dial on back can accidentally change settings; no HD movie mode.

More Articles About the Canon S90

Canon S90 Raw Processing - Aperture 3 vs Digital Photo Professional

Five Lesser Known (but very cool) Features on the Canon S90

Canon S90 Raw Processing Comparison: DPP vs ACR 5.6 RC

DigiScoping Pro Basketball with the Canon S90

Did Canon Really Improve Image Noise with the PowerShot S90?

"Compacts for Serious Shooters" - Digital Photography Podcast 201

Is the Canon S90 the New G11?


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iPhone and iPod Touch users can now download the TDS iPhone App from the Apple App Store. This is the perfect way for you to support our virtual camera club and get lots of useful tools in the bargain.

When you get The TDS Podcast App, you will automatically receive each week's podcast. No more syncing headaches or missed episodes. We'll always be there waiting for you on your mobile device. Plus, you'll receive bonus content on a regular basis. It's just fun stuff, but there will be things you like.

For example, on the Show Extras, how about a Free 24-Hour Pass to Lynda.com. That's right, for 24 hours you can watch any training you want from a library that features thousands of videos. To receive your free pass on the new iPhone App, just click on the Extras button in the upper right corner of the Episodes listing on the iPhone App. You'll then see the link marked Free Pass! Click on that and all the information you need will be right there.

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The Extras menu contains special offers. And remember, each individual episode has its own Extras button.


And if you like the TDS iPhone App, please give it a rating... or even write a short review. This will help attract new members to our virtual camera club.

Questions About How to Operate the TDS Podcast App

We've tried to make the menus and interface as intuitive as possible, but there's probably more to the application than initially meets the eye. I recommend taking a quick look at our Support Page for a comprehensive overview of the podcast application. Pay particular attention to the section that explains the "Star" feature. It's very powerful!


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Advantages of Tethered Photography

There are times when it's more convenient to connect your DSLR directly to a laptop for capture. You have a much larger screen for viewing images than with the 3" display on the back of your camera. This is particularly helpful during portrait sessions when clients or art directors want to monitor the shoot.

EOS Utility Software

Canon's EOS Utility comes bundled with their DSLR cameras, and provides excellent tools for tethered shooting. Click image to enlarge.

Product photography is another area where tethering makes sense. You can save a days worth of shooting directly to your computer's hard drive and not have to worry about changing memory cards. If you need to review fine details in the set up, that's much easier on a 17" monitor than on the back of a camera.

I also like tethered shooting for shy subjects, such as birds. If you set up a feeder outside the back window, you can position the camera for a "bird's eye view" and monitor the activity safely behind the curtains without disturbing your feathered visitors.

In my Macworld article, Shoot tethered to control your camera from your Mac, I cover a number of options for shooting tethered. I also mention in the article onOne Software's DSLR Camera Remote application for the iPhone. I have a separate article dedicated specifically to that workflow that you might like too: iPhone Remote Control with DSLR Camera Remote.

Regardless of your particular situation, shooting tethered is just plain fun. There's something cool about controlling your camera from a laptop. I guess any kind of remote control brings out the geek in all of us.


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