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This gallery is bursting with creativity. The assignment for March 2010 was "Flash." Check out this glowing collection of images from members of the TDS virtual camera club. I promise, your eyes will be twinkling with delight.

Simone Brogini

The May 2010 assignment is "Fire." Start working on your contribution now. Details can be found on the Member Participation page. You can now submit photo assignment pictures up to 800 pixels in the widest direction.

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 next month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: May 2010." 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.


Photo by Simone Brogini. (Click on it to see enlarged version.) You can read more about how Simone captured this shot, plus see all of the other great images on the March 2010 Gallery page.


Good luck with your May assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for March. It's a great collection of images.


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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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The new HDR Toning feature in Adobe Photoshop CS5 allows you to apply HDR-like tone mapping to a single image. This means you can go back through your picture library, open a shot in CS5, and start playing with HDR Toning. No more having to shoot a series of images to play with HDR!

Before and After with HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5

As cool as this technique can be, I think it's most effective as a layer to the image document instead of a standalone adjustment. But CS5 doesn't allow you to perform HDR toning to a layer. Fortunately, I learned a great workaround by watching this Chris Orwig video from his latest title, Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features. The technique he recommends is to first duplicate your image in Photoshop (Image > Duplicate), then apply the HDR Toning to that picture. Once you have the effect you like, hold down the Shift key and drag the toned image on top of the original shot making it a layer. Now you have Opacity controls plus all of the other layer goodies giving you complete artistic freedom. He shows you how here:

I love the wild effects I can create with HDR Toning. And now, applying them as a layer allows me to revisit just about every image in my library.

More About Photoshop CS5

"Photoshop CS5" - Digital Photography Podcast 221


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Rear Lens Cap Pad for Stacking

For those times when you need to stack lenses in a camera bag, but don't want them banging against each other possibly marring their surfaces, use a Rear Lens Cap Pad. You can make your own by getting an adhesive-back pad, cutting it to the diameter of your rear cap, and applying. (Click on image for an enlarged view.)

I use this technique for packing my Lowepro Fastpack 250. The 70-200mm zoom lens lays horzontally in the camera compartment, then my 50mm sits on top of the barrel with the Cap Pad so as not to scratch it. This method takes up less room than individual lens pouches, and it provides faster access too.

For more Do It Yourself projects, check out our DIY Projects page


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Using a 50mm Lens for Sports?


Dribble Drive, originally uploaded by The Digital Story.

It's funny sometimes when I cover indoor sporting events... There are usually a couple guys standing around me with really big lenses trying to cover the action. And then there's me, often depending on my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens (or 85mm f/1.8) prime lens. The 50mm looks so, well, small.

But when you can get relatively close to the play, this affordable glass (usually less than $100 new) delivers big results. Here, it's mounted on a Canon T1i in Aperture Priority mode (with the 1.6x magnification on the cropped sensor, it's the equivalent to an 80mm lens). I set the f/stop to f/1.8 (wide open), the ISO to 1600, and shoot in burst mode. Because the walls were brightly painted in this gym, I also set exposure compensation to +1 so my subjects wouldn't be underexposed. You can see all of the metadata for this shot if you click on it to open in Flickr.

This image is right out of the T1i with no adjustments or cropping. It was uploaded to Flickr directly from my DSLR using the new Eye-Fi Pro X2. With this WiFi SDHC card, you can send pictures to your computer, social networking site, or even FTP server from your camera.

So, if you can get can get close to the action, the affordable 50mm can produce great results.


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"Ukuklele Musician" - Grab Shot 195

"This is an image of Hirai Dai from the 16th Annual Honolulu Festival Friendship Gala held in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Convention Center," writes Ryan Sakamoto. "He is Japan's premier ukuklele musician at 16 years old." More images of the Honolulu Festival can be found at ryansakamoto.com.

Photo by Ryan Sakamoto.

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 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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Will the iPad Squish My Photos?

In my recent Macworld article, Show Off Your Photos on an iPad, I explained how the iPad is an excellent portable portfolio for photographers wanting to show off their images. But what exactly does the iPad do to those pictures when you upload them from a Mac? Does it squish your shots the way an iPhone does?

I have good news and bad.

The bad news is that the iPad does "optimize" your high resolution pictures during transfer to the device. This "optimization" has had a negative connotation in the past because most iPhone users felt it's too heavy-handed. The good news for iPad users is that the optimized resolution is a fairly generous 2304 x 1536, with a file size of 1 MB or more, depending on the detail in the photo. (And the reduction is only applied if the image is larger than 2304 x 1536 to begin with.) Given that the resolution on the iPad itself is 1024 x 768, you can zoom in on any shot to examine detail more closely. (Zoom by double-tapping on the image with one finger, or by pinching outward.)

If you use Aperture to sync images with the iPad, then you can control how big of an image gets transferred via the Preview setting in Aperture's preferences. Any preview size up to 2304 x 1536 should be honored by the iPad. Images larger than that will be optimized.

The bottom line is that even though the iPad will optimize large images, it is less aggressive than what we're used to with the iPhone.

Photo of children huddled around an iPad. This is actually a screenshot from the iPad showing how the image looks in the Photos application.

More iPad Articles

The $2 iPad Stand

Bluetooth Keyboard and iPad - A Powerful Combination

Turn Your iPad into a Live Camera

Lowepro Classified 160 AW is Perfect Bag for iPad Toting Photographers

Coolest iPad Apps for Photogs? Keynote and CameraBag

"iPad for Photographers" - Digital Photography Podcast 219

aperture_3_esst.png

Ready to get serious about mastering Aperture 3? I have 10 free training videos that you can watch right now. And these aren't throw-aways. They tackle important functions such as using the new Curves tool or building complex slideshows. In this podcast, I describe what's available and how to get it.

All of this goodness flows from my latest Lynda.com title: Aperture 3 Essential Training. Free videos and much, much more are there waiting for you.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (24 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

Curve is the April 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is April 30, 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!

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.



More 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 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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The addition of Curves adjustment to Aperture 3 gives us powerful tonal and color correction. In this 9:00 minute video that's part of my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com, I show you how to get started with Curves in Aperture 3.

More 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 Focus Section. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


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Everyone needs water. And if you're working in the field on a photo shoot, you should have your supplies readily available. I've discovered a great water bottle for photographers who hike, camp, or who are always on the go: the GSI Infinity DukJug.

The basic specs for the DukJug are good for a container that sells for less than $9. The 1 liter capacity bottle weighs 6.6 ounces empty. It's constructed of BPA-free Polypropylene, has a quick-release cap, sip-it lid, and a very nice silicone grip. One Amazon reviewer complained that his water had a chemical odor to it. I have not had that experience at all. I washed the bottle when I first bought it, and the water has tasted great ever since.

GSI Infinity DukJug Water Bottle GSI DukJugs with gaffers tape wound around the recessed area, then the silicon grip reapplied. Click on images for larger view.

But what makes the DukJug different is that you can pull down the silicone grip, wrap gaffer's tape in the recessed area (or duct tape for non photographers who don't need a removable adhesive), and always have tape available for those 1001 situations that are hard to anticipate.

Applying Gaffers Tape

To set up your DukJug, just pull down the silicon grip, wind your gaffers tape evenly to keep the surface smooth, then reposition the grip. The tape adds very little weight to the bottle, but can be a huge lifesaver when you need to mend some fabric or hold a reflector in place. Not bad for less than $9.

Previously in Outdoor Gear for Photographers

Dependable Footwear for Photo Work in the Field

Day Tripping with the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW

Shelter on Location: REI Half Dome 2

String Monopods

"The Great Outdoors" - Digital Photography Podcast 218

Portable Camera Stability

Sunset Portraits

New Series on Outdoor Gear for Photographers


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