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We knew there would be some compromise when Apple folded its high-end Aperture and consumer iPhoto applications in to one program. Now that we have an official preview of Photos for OS X, we can see the direction they're heading.

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The first thing to keep in mind is that this is the first beta for developer review. We'll see the gold master of Photos for OS X in the spring. So missing items such as star ratings, file names, etc. will probably appear in later releases. In other words, don't interpret what you see now as what you'll have later this year.

We do see some indicators, however, of the direction Apple is taking with Photos. And hardcore Aperture users will surely miss its advanced editing tools. In this area, I would say that early versions of Photos will feel more like iPhoto than Aperture.

My advice is for Aperture photographers to think about a 2-part strategy: what to do for 2015, then 2016 and beyond. For the remainder of this year, we have the luxury of sticking with Aperture on Yosemite and playing with Photos for OS X when it's released. By the end of 2015, we all should have a pretty good idea of how the new software is going to stack up against Aperture.

At the end of 2015, I believe it's decision time. In my case, I'll look at the following possibilities:

  • Continued support of Aperture with Mac OS X 10.11. If Apple continues to enable operating system compatibility, including systemwide RAW updates, then my job is easier. I can experiment with new workflows without having to overhaul my photo management system.
  • Evolution of Photos for OS X. With its open architecture, there are many possibilities for this application. In terms of features, what we see in 2016 could be very different than in the spring of 2015.
  • The competition. In addition to Adobe Lightroom, other applications such as DxO Optics Pro will continue to tempt Aperture users with their tool sets.

For the moment, I find this all very interesting. I'm looking forward to working with Photos for OS X and seeing how far I can push it. In the meantime, the current announcements (in terms of timing) are encouraging. We're going to see this application sooner than later.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

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Nothing like making something good just a bit better. The original Olympus 14-150mm optic was released in June 2010, and nearly 5 years later, we have an update.

This latest version features a more modern exterior design, plus ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating on the front surface of the lens to eliminate scratches as well as reducing ghosting and lens flare. And the biggest bonus of all is the dustproof, splashproof construction, making this zoom a terrific match for the weather-sealed OM-D E-M1 and the OM-D E-M5. Great news for travelers.

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For close-ups, this lens can capture subjects as close as 20 inches at all zoom settings (28-300mm, 35mm equivalent). That works out to a maximum shooting magnification of 0.22x.

And breaking with Olympus enthusiast lens tradition, the 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II will include a custom lens hood and pinch-style lens cap.

Basic specs include: 15 elements in 11 groups, 75-8.2 degree angle of view, 7 aperture blades, 58mm filter ring, and 285 grams weight.

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II lens will be available in March 2015, with an estimated street price of $599.99. You can preorder it now from B&H Photo.

More Olympus Announcements

Be sure to check out my post on the brand new OM-D E-M5 Mark II, complete with photos from all sides. You can also preorder the E-M5 Mark II from B&H Photo.

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We recently discovered that "early 2015" really means any time this year. Yes, the Aperture/iPhoto replacement, Photos, has been pushed back to April (at the earliest). Am I concerned?

Just a bit.

I'd certainly feel more comfortable if I knew why. Because knowing what I know about Apple, there are a few possible explanations. And some are certainly more encouraging than others. Let's start with the possible discouraging reasons.

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The Possible Bad

At the top of the bummer list is priority, or I should say, lack of it. iPhone sales are booming, and the Apple Watch is waiting in the wings. All hands on deck.

Software? Sure, if it's an operating system, we're all for it. But a productivity app? Not so much.

The big possible bad is too small of a developer team, and lack of engaged coordination with the other groups. I'm hoping with all fingers crossed that this isn't the reason for the new date.

The Possible Good

Apple has always been good at product launches on their own terms. "When it's ready, we'll release it." They don't seem to care about beating the competition to the punch because they're confident they will punch them silly when the public sees Apple's version.

If the development team felt that the V1 release of Photos was a bit too basic, and that it should have more tooth to it, than that would be a good reason for the delay.

First impressions are important. There are a lot of folks hanging on to Aperture and iPhoto anticipating a strong Photos release. I'm one of them.

In the Meantime

Aperture and iPhoto are running just fine on Mac OS X Yosemite. And if you feel like a change, Adobe has created some nice tools to help ease the transition to Lightroom. Plus relative newcomers such as DxO Optics Pro 10 provide excellent tools for image processing. So you have options.

Personally, I'm not in the mood to upset my Apple cart at the moment. I'm too busy. So, let's see what the spring brings.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Photos.app delay, Lexar Professional Workflow HR2, Westcott Omega Reflector Kit, Book Giveaway, Big SizzlPix Sale, Last Photo Assignment - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - New pricing for the Canon EOS-1D C will go into effect in North America February 1st, taking the retail price from $11,999 down to $7,999. The camera is coming up on its third birthday, introduced in April 2012. The 18MP full-frame sensor is capable of 4K video. The EOS-1D C also offers 1080 HD video, dual CF card slots and a 61-point AF system. (Source: DP Review)

In other news... "Apple delays release of its Aperture replacement app, set for a late April release" - Apple made changes to its website last week, taking down the preview pages and all mentions of its vague release date. But despite the removal of said information, Apple CEO Tim Cook made mention of the Photos app for OSX during Tuesday's quarterly earnings call, saying it was still on track to be completed by the end of April. (Source: Imaging-Resource.com)

And finally... Looks like we have a big announcement from Olympus coming. Stay tuned here, and we'll cover it in depth in next week's show.

Story #1 - The Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 Hub - Lexar's Workflow HR2 hub is a good choice for fast data transfer of images to your photo management application. The hub features four bays that accept a variety of accessories including high speed card readers and SSD drives. I talk about my testing of it in the first feature of today's show.

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Story #2 - The Westcott Omega Reflector Kit - One of the most versatile lighting accessories that we've tested lately is the Westcott Omega Reflector Kit. The collapsable reflector sports a unique design that allows you to shoot through it as well as using it as a standard fill light. I've used it on a couple shoots, and I'll share my impressions in this segment of the show.

Leah-Omega-Reflector.jpg

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Shooting Aerial Panoramas with a Quadcopter with Eric Harris. Eric has a great approach to ariel photography, and he really knows his stuff when it come to DJI quadcopters.

You can watch Eric in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Konrad's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #4 - Book Giveaway! Win a copy of Creative Flash Photography (304 pages | Soft Cover, 8 x 10 in.), a $44.95 value, by posting a comment about this week's podcast on the TDS Facebook post about the show. You have until Thursday, Feb. 5th, 11:59 PM to participate. I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Snapshot - "My Sunday Camera" Sundays are my only day off, and I have a special camera that I carry on that day.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for February 2015 is "Good Bye". This is our last photo assignment. I discuss why in this segment.

News from SizzlPix: Our Presidents Day sale, the biggest we've ever run! 20 percent off on your SizzlPix!, any size AND 25 percent off on the entire shipment if you order more than 1! PLUS shipping is still free anywhere in the contiguous US. This is an exclusive offer for The Digital Story. Just write TDS 20 percent or TDS 25 percent in the comment space on the SizzlPix! order page.

And Finally...

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (35 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

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"Frozen" - TDS Photo Assignment 105

For the Dec. 2014 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters pulled on their mittens and ventured out into the cold. See for yourself in our gallery, Frozen. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

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Photo by Lori Rowland. Lori writes, "I had seen frozen bubble images on the Internet and decided to try some of my own. First I had to experiment with bubble recipes. You want a bubble that won't instantly pop. I used my patio table with snow on it as a platform. I moved my table to a location where I liked the background.

Then I blew of bubbles... and it's not easy, let me tell you! Most of the bubbles pop as they freeze. Then if you do get a good bubble, you have to land it on the table and hope the landing process doesn't pop it. Once you successfully land a bubble, you have to act quickly, before the bubble does pop. I tried for several days and had a ton of fun doing it. I found it worked best when the air temp was in the low to mid 20's. This is my favorite bubble of all! :-D

I shot this with a Pentax *ist DS, Pentax FA Macro 50mm Lens, ISO 200, Æ’11, 1/250, RAW. I processed with Adobe RAW and cropped it down a bit."

See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the gallery, Frozen.


Note About Metadata

I noticed that Google Gmail was stripping the metadata out of your images when I saved them via right-click. Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until I had assembled the gallery. But I will work around it next time.

Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Feb. 2015 assignment is "Good Bye." (This will be our last photo assignment...) I'll talk about this in Tuesday's podcast. Details for submission can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Feb. 28, 2015. No limit on image size submitted.

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 this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Feb. 2015." 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.

Gallery posting is one month behind the deadline. So I'm posting Dec. 2014 gallery at the end of Jan., the Jan. gallery will be posted at the end of Feb., and on and on.

Good luck with your February assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for December.


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Downtown Havana - January 2015

While I was in Cuba photographing the cars, people, and buildings, an American delegation was in Havana for an initial round of talks with the Cuban government.

I thought that I should capture a standard street scene in downtown Havana. Who knows what it will look like five years from now?

downtown-havana-jan-2015.jpg "Downtown Havana - January 2015" Photo by Derrick Story.

More About Cuba

I've also published the following articles about Cuba:

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

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: I cover the sights, sounds, and people of Cuba from a photographer's perspective - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for January 2015 is "Backlighting".

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

old-town-havana.jpg "Old Town Havana" by Derrick Story.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (42 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Traveling Light in Cuba

On the third day of our exploring Havana and its surrounding area, a comrade said to me, "I'm envious of your very nimble camera kit." I replied, "Thanks. It took me a month to perfect."

Before departing for the Caribbean, I published What's in my Bag for Cuba, detailing the gear that I had settled on for the trip. The plan was to use a Lowepro Pro Tactic 350AW backpack for the "A to B" travel, such as from Miami to Havana, then take out the gear I needed and tour using the lightweight shoulder bag that I had stashed in the suitcase. So, how did the plan work?

Derrick in Cojimar Cuba "Derrick Story in Cojimar Cuba" - I'm sitting on the steps of the fort in Cojimar with my shoulder bag on the ground. I was inspired while working in Hemingway's Cuba, when he conceived "The Old Man and the Sea."

In short, the kit worked great.

I built the kit around the Olympus OM-D E-M10, using compact zoom lenses during the day, such as the Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ and the Panasonic 35-100mm f/4-5.6, then relied on a couple of prime optics at night, my favorite being the Olympus 17mm f1.8. I couldn't be happier with the results.

Other key accessories included the Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II Card, which performed fantastic for my RAW+Jpeg stills and full HD movies. (Use good, reliable memory, especially for travel.) For the uploads, I inserted the Lexar card into the bundled high speed reader for blazingly fast transfer of these large files to my MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display laptop.

Along with my photo kit, the shoulder bag had a lightweight rain jacket, water, sunblock, first aid kit, and a few snacks. Thanks to this nimbleosity, I was able to work from early in the morning to late at night. My shoulders and back feel great!

As for my friend in Cuba, he's now a convert.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This kit has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.


Recover Photos from Memory Cards

What should you do (and more importantly not do) if something goes wrong with your camera's memory card? Help is on the way! Check out my lynda.com title, Recovering Photos from Memory Cards, and save those valuable pictures.

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Snapshots from Cuba - Part 1

I've been exploring the streets of Havana, Santa Clara, and Trinidad with my Olympus OM-D E-M10. Here's the first of a series of galleries from Cuba.

Cigar Shop and Tourists - Havana "Cigar Shop and Tourists, Havana" - Photos by Derrick Story

Street Corner - Trinidad "Street Corner, Trinidad"

Bears on Plaza - Havana "Bears on Plaza, Havana"

Yank Tanks "Yank Tanks"

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Crazy RAW Plus Jpeg Tricks, South Beach Miami Photo Shoot, Cholula - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story. Podcast recorded on Jan. 17, 2015 before departing for Cuba.

News and Anecdotes

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Snapshot - "Cholula Hot Sauce" - During my flight to Miami on US Airways, they served a tasty egg breakfast. I like hot sauce on my eggs, but alas, they did not have Tabasco. Then a delicious act of kindness followed.

Weekly Update - "One Camera Disappears, and Another Debuts" Suddenly last week, there were no more Nikon D750s on the store shelves. Nikon has pulled the original version of the DSLR due to "flare issues caused by the position of its AF sensor." Improved versions will appear as they are ready. At the same time, Fujifilm announced the X-A2, a mostly minor update to the X-A1. The X-A2 offers a 175-degree tilting LCD that flips upward for easier self-portrait capture. Like its predecessor the X-A2 provides a 16MP APS-C CMOS Bayer-pattern sensor, unlike its unconventional X-Trans siblings. (Source: DP Review)

Feature Stories

Story #1 - "South Beach Miami" On my way to Havana, I visited South Beach for a couple days to explore the colorful night life I had heard so much about. I wasn't disappointed. And in fact I had a bit of unexpected luck.

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Story #2 - From the Screening Room - "Candid Portraiture with Steve Simon." I first met Steve Simon when we were both flopping at Ben Long's flat on Liberty Hill in San Francisco. Both Steve and I were speaking at the (now defunct) Macworld Conference. That's when I first saw his pictures. He has this magical way to becoming invisible when photographing in public.

You can watch Steve in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Steve's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #3 - "5 Crazy Things to do with RAW + Jpeg" - Over the years, I've found RAW + Jpeg to be one of the most useful settings on my camera. Here are five interesting reasons why.

  • Art Filters and Effects - Many cameras these days (especially posh point & shoots and mirrorless) include an array of special effects and art filters. When you shoot RAW + Jpeg, you get two files: the un-compromised RAW and the fun special effect Jpeg.
  • Gritty B&W - I believe that B&W photography is in the DNA of every shooter over 40. And most cameras have great B&W capture modes. What you see on the LCD is pure film noir, but what gets recorded to the card is an un-compromised RAW and a cool B&W Jpeg.
  • Digital Zoom - How many times have you heard don't use digital zoom? A lot, I bet. But when I'm street shooting with a prime lens, such as my Olympus 17mm, I set a function button for a 2X digital zoom. I can capture a full rez 2X Jpeg and still have the un-compromised RAW also.
  • Anything Mobile - Built-in WiFi is a beautiful thing. I can go from camera to iPhone in two shakes. But those hand-offs are much simpler with Jpegs. Then later, copy the RAW files to your computer for serious editing.

  • Quick Prints - Need a quick 4x6 print to send home with Mom? Most current printers talk to cameras, but the language they speak is Jpeg.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for January 2015 is "Backlighting". (You might want to check out our Screening Room selection first :-)

News from SizzlPix: Have your SizzlPix now, and with PayPal Credit, make no payment until July. Great for selling SizzlPix of your photography and collecting your profit even before you pay. Also helpful for any photographer with an opportunity for gallery showings.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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