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The Think Tank Storyteller 8 is a well-designed combination of high quality materials and compact design at an affordable price: $69.

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This nimble shoulder bag is perfect for a day outing when you want to travel light and work quickly. The top flap provides quick access to all of your gear, yet it shields the contents of the bag from those around you.

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It's big enough to accommodate a DSLR and a couple lenses, or a substantial mirrorless kit. I tested it with a PEN-F, 14-42mm EZ zoom, Pentax KP, 18-50mm DA zoom, and Olympus PRO 45mm f/1.2 prime. All of these items fit easily in the main compartment of the Storyteller 8.

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On the inside of the top flap there are two memory card holders and a very nice zippered pocket that allows you to see its contents. There's also a handy backside pocket on the outside that's perfect for subway tickets and other quick access items. And the front pocket area has all sorts of nooks and crannies for your accessories.

Here's a more complete list of the bag's features:

  • StoryTeller 8 fits an 8" tablet in front pocket
  • Adjustable padded shoulder strap
  • Secure closure for main compartment
  • Two memory card pockets to separate empty and full cards
  • Zippered pocket for valuables
  • Expandable front pocket fits additional gear
  • Stretchable side pocket fits a water bottle
  • Premium quality materials ensure durability
  • High quality YKK RC zippers
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included in front pocket

I found the Storyteller 8 a very easy bag to work out of. I wore it cross-shoulder while exploring the city. When I saw a shot, I would swing it around, open the top flap, grab the camera and shoot - all in one easy motion.

The bag is constructed of very high quality materials. And it does include a rain cover if the weather turns on you.

I liked the Storyteller 8 so much that I procured two of them to give away at our upcoming San Francisco Street Photography Workshop on April 26. (All photographers will get a bag, but two very lucky ones will receive their own Storyteller 8s.) It's the perfect companion for urban adventure.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Luminar for revealing the artistic soul trapped inside my images. And now to help others master this application, I have a new training on both lynda.com and on LinkedIn Learning.

Highlights of this movie title include:

  • Providing you with a Quick Start chapter that gets you up and running in just minutes.
  • Showing you how to quickly enhance your images with Luminar's beautiful presets.
  • How to build your own custom workspace tailored to your individual needs.
  • Explaining how to master Layers for professional image editing results.
  • And delving into the world of creative techniques with LUT mapping, B&W, and more.

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I hope you stop by and spend some time with me and Luminar.

Rock Luminar with my new Essential Training

You learn all the ins and outs of Luminar 2018 via my Essential Training on lynda.com and on LinkedIn Learning. It's fun, and I promise, you will learn a lot.

When you open a Live Photo in Photos for macOS High Sierra, you have a number of creative possibilities. With that original content, you can create an animated GIF or simulate a long exposure, such as with water. I show you how to tap this resource in this movie.

Apply Live Photo effects from Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training by Derrick Story

Live Photo adds yet another creative possibility to iPhone photography. Learn about it, and so many more things, in my Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training.

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New Photos for macOS High Sierra Training!

Is it time for you to learn the ins and outs of the latest version of Photos? Take a look at Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning, or on lynda.com. Maximize your iPhone photography and complement the work you do with your mirrorless cameras as well. You'll love your cameras even more...

Also be sure to check out my new book, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition. It's completely up to date!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #626, March 13, 2018. Today's theme is "The Anti-Zoom Challenge." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I have three lenses sitting on my drafting table at the studio: 28mm, 45mm, and 85mm. And each day, when I go for my walk to deliver orders from TheFilmCameraShop, I pick one. And everything that I shoot for the next 40 minutes is with that focal length. In today's TDS podcast, I discuss why I think this practice has made me a better photographer.

The Anti-Zoom Challenge

All three of those lenses are Zeiss that mount to my full frame Contax 35mm cameras. Each has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and must be manually focused. I also have a couple Zeiss zooms, but I don't use them for this exercise. "Why would that be?" you might ask.

My all-time favorite manual focus lens is the Zeiss Tessar 45mm f/2.8. It's a pancake lens that is beautifully sharp and has a unique quality. Among other things, it has forced me to get closer to strangers than I might have wanted to, and at other times, encouraged my to find another angle far enough back to accommodate a very large subject. That lens makes me creative. And once the juices are flowing, more creativity follows.

Just when I start to get comfortable, I'll switch to the 85mm Sonnar. Because its maximum aperture is f/2.8, it's relatively compact and is easy to bring along for street photography. The world looks much different through the Sonnar, and suddenly, I'm challenged all over again. I find myself taking shots that I had overlooked dozens of times before.

It's exciting to shoot with one lens. Themes develop, ideas flow, and there's a continuity among the shots that lend themselves to photo essays.

Finally, Some More m4/3 MTF Testing: Are the 40s Fabulous?

Published on the Lens Rental Blog. Here's the scoop.

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The performance of the Voigtlander 42.5mm f/0.95 ($799) is spectacular. Of course, you also have to be OK with manually focusing, but still, that's a lens worth considering.

If you want a f/1.2 lens in this focal length, well, let's face it, it will probably come down to whether you want Power OIS or not. If you don't, the Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO ($1,199) is slightly less expensive and has less variation. But a good copy of the Panasonic 42.5 Noctitron ($1,398) is also excellent.

Both of the less expensive lenses in this range deliver a lot of bang for the buck. They have very good image quality, and if you don't need the widest aperture, they give you a lot for 1/3 the price of the wide-aperture duo.

If I were most interested in this focal length for portraits, I'd probably want the Olympus Zuiko Digital f/1.8 ($349); that field curvature will help throw everything other than the subject out of focus. For landscapes or architectural shooting, the flat field of the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 ($348) would be an advantage.

Dates Announced for the Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic National Park Workshop

We have our cabin reservations secured for Sept. 27-29, 2018 for the Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic National Park Workshop. Here's more about it.

The San Francisco Street Photography Workshop Update

I've published an informative article on the San Francisco Street Photography Workshop that you may want to take a look at.

San Francisco Street Photography - April 26-28, 2018 - We'll work entirely on location in San Francisco. Our hotel in picturesque Union Square will serve as our headquarters during the event. No rental car will be necessary. We'll explore the City's hidden treasures and capture them through our lenses. As always, we're adding new shooting locations again this year, including twilight assignments. This is San Francisco like you've never seen it before. And as a bonus, Olympus Visionary Mike Boening will be joining the teaching staff and leading sessions on street shooting and night photography. Two instructors, three days, and all for just $695. (That's right, it's 3 full days in one of the most photogenic cities in the U.S.)

Come Join me at the Skylum Photography Public Group

I'm now moderating the Skylum Photography Public Group, and I would love to have interested members from our audience join me there.

Updates and Such

I now have the dates for the Sonoma Country Hot Air Balloon and Drone Photography Workshop, June 8-10, 2018. We're combining two very fun aerial activities into one workshop. Be sure to get on the Reserve List for this one!

You can become a member of our Inner Circle by clicking on this link or by clicking on the Patreon tile that's on every page of The Digital Story.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

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 - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Using Signs to Help Tell the Story

I remember hearing in class once, "If you put a sign in a picture, people will read it." Sounds obvious, right? But the point is that they will read it first before exploring other elements in the composition. And you can use this to help tell the story.

IMGP3607-mustard-1024.jpg "End" - Burned cypress trees from the Santa Rosa fires. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of my ongoing photo essays is covering the aftermath of the fires that ravaged Santa Rosa last October. There's a juxtaposition to life here right now. On one hand, the fields are green from the rain, and the skies have returned to their pretty blue. Against that backdrop, there are burned trees, trucks filled with debris, and bare foundations where houses once stood.

I've noticed how existing signs suddenly take on new meaning (like the End sign above in front of burned cypress trees), or how signs suddenly appear as a result of the event itself, as shown below.

Larkfield-Signs-1024.jpg "Larkfield Estates" - Photo by Derrick Story.

In both cases, I find them compelling elements that add more dimension to the storytelling. Signs are often interesting in themselves, but when combined with an overall composition, they can help make the picture more effective.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

One of my favorite new features in Capture One Pro 11 is redesigned layers. Now, you can access them in practically every adjustment tool, and we have plenty of powerful, yet easy to use masking tools for localized edits on each of those layers.

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If you haven't experienced them yet, I have a treat for you. Here's 5-minute movie that introduces you to the new Layers, how to use them, and the tools available within them. You'll be up and running right away.

Learn about the redesigned layer approach from Capture One Pro 11 Essential Training by Derrick Story

This video is from my new course titled, Capture One Pro 11 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning. You can also tune in on lynda.com if you prefer your training there. Either way, I have four hours of entertaining education that will help you master this excellent photo management and editing application.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

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In a sea of smartphones, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 prime stands head and shoulders above the crowd.

This affordable kit is compact enough to accommodate arena regulations for admittance, yet can bring the action close with a fast aperture telephoto.

The kits currently sells for $449 for the camera and $349 for the lens. So for less than $800, I have a powerful, interchangeable lens camera that I can walk through security with, and in all honesty, costs less than my current iPhone.

T-Shirt Toss "T-Shirt Toss" - Warriors vs Nets, Oracle Arena. Photo by Derrick Story.

I'm able to shoot at 180mm effective focal length at f/1.8. How do I do this? I use the Jpeg SuperFine setting, Aperture Priority, and the 2X digital doubler that I set via a function button so I can switch back and forth between 90mm and 180mm. These settings also provide some softening to the background, which is difficult to achieve with a smartphone under these conditions.

Decked Out for the Game "Decked Out for the Game" - Warriors vs Nets, Oracle Arena. Photo by Derrick Story.

If I set the ISO to 1600, I can capture at 1/1000th of a second, wide open, for the play on the floor. This gives me the ability to stop action.

Dray Gets Rejected "Dray Gets Rejected" - Warriors vs Nets, Oracle Arena. Photo by Derrick Story.

The E-M10 Mark II has all the other features that I need for fan photography, such as built-in image stabilization, pop-up flash, tilting LCD screen, electronic viewfinder, HD video recording, and good battery life. I can send the images to my iPhone via the Olympus app, so publishing on the spot is easy as well.

Halftime Show "Halftime Show" - Warriors vs Nets, Oracle Arena. Photo by Derrick Story.

Smartphones are handy, but when I want the ability to get close to the action in the arena, plus soften the backgrounds a bit, I want my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 prime. For spectator photography, it's a winner.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #625, March 6, 2018. Today's theme is "Like to Shoot, or Shoot for Likes?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Social media has revealed something about photographers that we suspected before, but have now confirmed: They are more interested in receiving likes than suggestions. Some say this is an addiction. I think it's human nature. And I explore this topic on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Like to Shoot, or Shoot for Likes?

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I've learned a lot about photographers, and people in general, over the last decade while working online for Lowepro, Rocky Nook, ct Digital Photography, TDS, and now Skylum as well.

Generally speaking, photographers who post images online feel good about the work they're sharing, and looking forward to positive responses about it. That is about as human as it gets, but it can also turn into a trap that compromises your artistic growth.

The likes are addictive. And if we don't pay attention to our own process, we can find ourselves creating work for the casual viewing general population, instead of pushing our own creative boundaries. Here's an example that you can try.

On Instagram, post a pretty sunset shot. Make sure that it's colorful and very postcard like. Tally the likes that you receive in a 24 hour period.

The next day, at the same time, post an image that is more challenging to the viewer, but one that you took some artistic risks with. Tally those likes over a 24 hour period.

Then compare. In most instances, the colorful sunset, which requires very little photographic skill, will garner the most likes. And if you become addicted to those likes, your work is in danger of following the path of colorful sunsets.

The art of receiving and giving constructive criticism.

Knowing when not to give a damn.

Finding watering holes where experienced photographers hang out.

Coming Up: Build Your Digital Darkroom with Photos (And Get a Free Signed Copy of My New Book)

Our next Nimble Classroom is on March 10, Build Your Digital Darkroom with Photos. Every participant receives a free signed copy of The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition.

Come Join me at the Skylum Photography Public Group

I'm now moderating the Skylum Photography Public Group, and I would love to have interested members from our audience join me there.

The San Francisco Street Photography Workshop Update

I've published an informative article on the San Francisco Street Photography Workshop that you may want to take a look at.

San Francisco Street Photography - April 26-28, 2018 - We'll work entirely on location in San Francisco. Our hotel in picturesque Union Square will serve as our headquarters during the event. No rental car will be necessary. We'll explore the City's hidden treasures and capture them through our lenses. As always, we're adding new shooting locations again this year, including twilight assignments. This is San Francisco like you've never seen it before. And as a bonus, Olympus Visionary Mike Boening will be joining the teaching staff and leading sessions on street shooting and night photography. Two instructors, three days, and all for just $695. (That's right, it's 3 full days in one of the most photogenic cities in the U.S.)

New! TheFilmCameraProject on Instagram

Teresa Hummel wins the Pentax camera!

I've started a new Instagram feed just for film camera lovers. It's called TheFilmCameraProject, and it's for those who appreciate the beauty of analog SLRs.

Updates and Such

I now have the dates for the Sonoma Country Hot Air Balloon and Drone Photography Workshop, June 8-10, 2018. We're combining two very fun aerial activities into one workshop. Be sure to get on the Reserve List for this one!

You can become a member of our Inner Circle by clicking on this link or by clicking on the Patreon tile that's on every page of The Digital Story.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

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

Videoblocks - Go to videoblocks.com/digitalstory to get all the stock video, audio, and images that you can imagine for just $149. Save on millions of studio-quality clips, tracks, and graphics.

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition is now available on Amazon for $27.56.

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Apple's Photos for macOS High Sierra app was designed from the ground up to help you organize, edit, and share your pictures and videos. While the interface appears simple, finding the hidden nuances of Photos is not so straightforward. There's much more to this app than initially meets the eye.

For photographers who are more than just casual snapshooters, or who are making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition shines a light on the true sophistication of this app and the ecosystem it taps into. From the point of view of a working photographer, Derrick provides everything you need to know to get the most out of the imaging tools built into this application.

Some of my favorite features covered in the book include:

  • Adding star ratings to your images and sorting them using the new Filters popup menu.
  • Roundtripping to Photoshop and other external apps using the new Edit With command.
  • Editing Live Photos captured with your iPhone and creating animated GIFs from them.
  • Tapping Photos' sophisticated search technology that makes it easier than ever to find your pictures.
  • Working with iCloud Photo Library to sync your photos across your devices (and automatically back them up as well).
  • Adding location data to your images so you can map your travels with your photos.
  • Editing your images with Photos' basic tools, and then going beyond with more advanced adjustments such as Selective Color and Curves.
  • Integrating third-party Editing Extensions into your workflow so you can build a digital darkroom tailored to your style of photography.
  • Creating projects such as books, cards, calendars, prints, and slideshows--and showing you how to create your own Fine Art Cards at home with just your Mac and an inkjet printer.
  • Working with videos as well as still photos.

If you work in the Apple ecosystem, and you haven't looked at Photos for a while, then the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd EditionApple Photos Book for Photographers, 2md Edition is for you. And if you have been using Photos, I think you'll learn some new tricks.

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For those who enjoy loading the occasional roll of film, or who have an archive of images from the analog days, the new KODAK SCANZA Digital Filmand Slide Scanner ($169) might be a helpful addition to the home workspace.

Features include:

  • 3.5" Tilting LCD Screen.
  • 14 Megapixel Sensor.
  • Integrated Interpolation: optional setting enhances images up to 22 megapixels (scans up to 5728 x 3824).
  • A wide variety of adapters and trays for most film types.
  • 3 Function Keys: correspond with various prompts on the screen.
  • HDMI/Video Cables: connect to a television to view your photos on the big screen.
  • USB Cable: connect to a computer, laptop or other device for image upload; can also be used to power the scanner (AC adapter included).
  • User Manual: provides complete instructions and tips for operating the scanner.
  • Color Adjustments: helps you tweak image coloring (red, green, blue, reset).
  • Brightness Adjustment: Lightens and darkens the image per your preference.
  • USB Upload: transfers images on your SD card (Not Included , supports up to 128GB) to any computer or compatible device.

I've been using the Wolverine F2D Mighty for my quick and dirty scans, so I decided to test the new Kodak Scanza against both it and professional lab scans. Here's the first comparison with no image adjustments, right out of the respective scanners.

Film Scanner Comparison From Left to Right: Professional Lab Scan - Kodak Scanza Scan - Wolverine F2D Mighty Scan - No adjustments to any of the images. Straight out of the scanners.

In this comparison, the pro lab wins, with the Scanza running second, and the Wolverine a distant third. I then made a few quick adjustments in Photoshop to the Scanza image, and here's how it stacked up to the pro lab.

Scanza vs Lab The Scanza image is on the left, with pro lab on the right. The quality gap narrowed quite a bit after adjustment.

I could easily create an adjustment profile and apply it to the images on import to my photo management software, giving me a good starting point for the film scans.

The Scanza workflow is straight forward. Choose the right adapter for your film, load the negative/positive, insert a SD card into the scanner, power it up, choose your film type, and press the capture button. You can make adjustments to the resolution, color, and brightness via the settings.

Scan-Setup-1024.jpg The Kodak Scanza (center) doesn't take up much room, yet provides solid results. By comparison the orange Wolverine scanner is on the left.

In terms of image quality, the pro scans are better. The color is more accurate and details are crisper than with the Scanza. The Kodak algorithm to control noise in the scans does produce some smearing of details, noticeable mainly if you zoom in.

But the Kodak images are overall pleasing, especially after minor adjustments. And when printing them or viewing at normal magnification, they hold up quite well.

The KODAK SCANZA Scanner is a good value at $169, especially for quick digitizing for online work and inkjet printing. The 22MP mode doesn't present any quality tradeoffs compared to scanning at 14MP, so you might as well enjoy the big 5728 x 3824 files. The color is reasonable and can be easily adjusted in post.

As for the built in adjustments in the Scanza, they weren't quite as fine as I would like. I found myself usually want half as much with any of the sliders. I felt a lot better about this after correcting in post, however.

If you're looking for a compact film scanner for your home office, the Kodak Scanza is worthy of serious consideration. I had fun using it, and I love the convenience. It's definitely replacing my old Wolverine F2D Mighty.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.