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Welcome Aboard Red River Paper

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Digital Story readers have a terrific new sponsor supporting our virtual camera club -- Red River Paper. And they've created a special landing page for TDS members where they'll offer promotions on their excellent inkjet photo stock.

One of the things I like about Red River is that they sell directly to photographers, and they have an excellent customer service attitude. Plus the prices are fantastic! And they are one of the leaders in creating photo papers that are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. This is a winning combination for TDS members.

Be sure to check out the Photo Paper Sample Kit for $7.99 with free shipping. Great to have you aboard Red River.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.


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David over at Strobist might be able to light circles around me, but one thing we share in common is our passion for the Canon PowerShot G9. David wrote in the article, New Canon Powershot G9 Makes My G7 Feel Like Unloved Stepchild, "I don't write about specific cameras very often on this site, but this one bears a closer look. The G9 is of particular interest because of it's flash-friendly features, among other things."

One of those "flash-friendly features" is that you can sync a Canon G9 up to 1/2500th. This is very handy for high speed flash situations when you want to control motion. You can read all about it in his post, How To: Sync a Canon G9 at 1/2500th of a Sec. It's pretty fun stuff.

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Here's a fun interview to listen to. A few weeks ago, while I was working in Orlando at Photoshop World, I had a chance to visit with photographer and fine art printing expert John Paul Caponigro. One of John Paul's passions is the Epson Print Academy, and he gives us an inside peek in the Academy from color management to fine art workflow.

Speaking of color management, I love one of JP's comments about it: "Yes it is rocket science, but you don't need to be a scientist to drive a rocket." He believes that color management can be comprehensible and brings this belief to his teaching.

Finally, I just had to ask JP about his favorite printing surfaces. Usually I ask photographers about their camera equipment. But since John Paul is equally well known for his fine art printing, I thought we'd go that direction instead.

You can download the MP3 file here.

Photo by Colleen Wheeler.


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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We've had some interesting discussion around Adobe's DNG format, both here on The Digital Story, and on the TDS Flickr Public Group. The main focus has been: should you consider converting your existing RAW files to DNG when you upload them to your computer?

However, we're seeing the occasional digital camera writing natively to the DNG format, and the latest entry is the Ricoh GR Digital II. Over at PhotographyBLOG, Mark Goldstein puts the camera to the test in his complete review of the Ricoh GR Digital II. Mark writes:

"The Ricoh GR Digital II is not your usual run-of-the-mill compact digital camera. The fast 28mm fixed focal length lens, Adobe DNG RAW format, external hotshoe and 1:1 aspect ratio for square format photos all point to a serious camera for the seriously keen photographer. As does the £399 price-tag, which could alternatively buy you a DSLR camera with kit lens. The Ricoh GR Digital II is also not the only compact with a fixed 28mm lens, being recently joined by the much-delayed Sigma DP1, which offers a much larger APS-C sized sensor. We wanted to know if the Ricoh GR Digital II is a worthy addition to Ricoh's extensive line-up of digital compacts for the professional."

Whether or not you think the Ricoh is a tempting camera after you read Mark's review, the trend for some manufacturers to use DNG as their high-quality format seems to be on the rise.

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To Convert to DNG, or Not

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In the workflow class I taught last weekend, we had some discussion about the Adobe DNG format, and if RAW shooters should convert to DNG when uploading their images to the computer.

I've published a fair amount on this subject. In Digital Photography Podcast 114, Julieanne Kost talks about on Lightroom and DNG, and she's a big proponent of the open file format. Anyone who has been to one of my workshops knows that if you're not using Lightroom or Aperture, I recommend Photo Downloader, which comes with Adobe Bridge and allows you to convert to DNG during the upload process (as does Lightroom).

But, just because you can convert to DNG easily, does that mean you should? I'm not as worried about my RAW files becoming unreadable someday as others (a big reason some advocate converting to DNG). But what I don't like about the RAW workflow (outside of Aperture and Lightroom) are the XMP sidecar files cluttering up my picture folders. So, believe it or not, one of the reasons I do like DNG is because it's tidy. All those metadata files are stored in the container and not out floating around.

I am curious though... do you have a strong argument either for or against converting your RAW files to DNG? If so, I'd like to hear.

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Want to know the fastest memory card to buy for your Canon 40D, Nikon D300, and a host of other DSLRs? Rob Galbraith's CF/SD Performance Database is a collection of memory card write speed results from Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. You'll also find card-to-computer transfer results for the latest CompactFlash cards, with more CompactFlash and SD/SDHC results to be posted soon.

The Card-to-Computer Transfer Speed section is new, and really interesting to pour over to see the best combinations for readers and memory cards.

If you want the best read/write performance with your DSLR, I'd bookmark this page and refer to it before purchasing new memory.


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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I had a chance to shoot with a preproduction model of the Panasonic DMC-TZ5 at PMA in January. The "TZ" stands for travel zoom, and this is a terrific "on the go" camera.

Starting with the 10X Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom (28-280mm equivalent), the little compact can handle a variety of shooting situations. The image stabilization works wonderfully, and having the option of choosing among aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, or 16:9) is a creative plus. This latest version provides HD movie capture at 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps. The accompanying audio is recorded with an onboard mic, so it isn't as good as the visuals, but still a great option to have while traveling.

The picture of Hoover Dam that I shot with the TZ5 is featured on the fourth page of The Digital Photography Companion across from the credits. I was able to add the image just as we were going to production.

DP Review has posted an in-depth examination of the Panasonic TZ5. If you want to know more about this little travel gem that sells for about $300 US on Amazon, I would take a look at what Lars Rehm has to say.

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In this week's podcast show notes for "After Every Shoot", there's a downloadable Jpeg graphic listing the 10 reminders I encourage you to follow after each camera session. The reference graphic prints nicely on a 4 x 6 sheet of photo paper, enabling you to stash it in your camera bag or use as a bookmark for The Digital Photography Companion.

Go get yours today. Print one for yourself, and a few to share with friends.

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After I published the Drobo podcast, some readers commented that picture backup seems more complicated than it should be. That's a great point. The answer is yes... and no

Those of us who have been wrestling with this issue for a long time probably have more redundancy built into our approach than the average photographer wants to think about. I totally understand that. What happens is, as I develop one archive system, and use it for a while, I begin to observe places where it is vulnerable. I then think about how to plug those holes. But if such matters are not your cup of tea, you can keep things simple and be reasonably safe. Here are three methods for doing that.

Method 1: Optical Disc for your Best Shots

Start with a photo management application such as Aperture, Lightroom, or iPhoto. Rate your images to identify the best ones. Put those heros in a folder and burn copies to DVDs once a month. I recommend that you burn two copies and store in different locations.

Method 2: Dual FireWire Drives

Here's where I really like Aperture. Set up a managed library where Aperture stores all of your assets, including the masters. I use an external FireWire drive for this so I don't fill up my computer's internal hard drive with Raw files. Connect a second FireWire drive, and use the Vault system in Aperture for incremental backups to that drive.

In Lightroom, you have another very good option. Have both FireWire drives connected. When you upload your images from your memory card, Lightroom can automatically backup a second set to a separate drive during upload. Very nice.

Method 3: Image Catalog System

This is also a two FireWire drive approach. But instead of using a photo management application, you organize your images by folders (usually labeled by date and name), then use a cataloging program such as Expression Media to rate and keyword the pictures. You can then use an incremental backup program such as Chronosync or SuperDuper to back up your images to a second hard drive.

So, backup doesn't have to be hard. And if you don't have a system now, start one today, no matter how simple. I admit that I am overcautious and spend too much money on hard drives. So view my approach as the extreme end of the spectrum, find a place where you fit, and go from there.

As always, your comments and alternative approaches are welcome!


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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"We found this beautiful place in some old growth rain forrest, and Maki did an installment in her Makirama series," writes Peter Krogh. "I was running camera for her -- pushing the button when she was ready. After a series of images, I handed her the camera for review."

This is just a taste of the compelling imagery being posted from the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Adventure 2008: Tasmania, where a team of more than 20 photographers "traveled to the end of the world, literally, to the remote island of Tasmania. Their mission is to road test specialized digital photography software designed by Adobe [Lightroom] while capturing images from one of the world's most mysterious and varied geographic locations."

In addition to the bounty of great photographs, there are blog posts discussing the event itself. It's truly a modern adventure, and I thought you might want to see what these artists have captured.

Photograph by Peter Krogh.

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