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Warm Spring days are perfect for outdoor photography. The landscape remains green from Winter rains, the days are a bit longer, and temperatures tend to be milder compared to their Summer counterparts.

At the same time, however, we tend not to be in as good hiking shape as we will be later in the season. So it's often best to keep it light for those first few climbs up the mountain.

P4220289-Castle-Rock-web.jpg "Top of the Ridge" - Olympus PEN-F with 14-42mm EZ zoom. Photo by Derrick Story.

Consider this as standard gear for "getting in shape" hikes:

  • 1 liter water bottle
  • Mirrorless camera with lightweight zoom lens.
  • Basic hiking essentials (sunblock, shades, hat, etc.)

And that's it.

As you work into shape over the Spring/Summer, you can modify your gear list. But don't overdo it on the first couple hikes.

One thing that I've learned is that biking shape is not hiking shape. Ease into your treks and you'll have a better time and still get great shots.

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

Luminar users who want to better understand how all 38 filters work now have an excellent resource. The Photo Filters page features pro photographers showing how each filter works, using their images to illustrate the settings.

remove-color-cast-page.jpg "Remove Color Cast" by Derrick Story.

For example, the Remove Color Cast page that I created with Macphun shows how easy it is to get rid of the greenish tint that sometimes appears in our interior images. (This filter works for a variety of color casts, not just the one that I illustrated.)

If you click on the pair of photos at the top of the page, a larger image will popup with a before/after curtain slider to make it easy to see the difference.

remove-color-cast.jpg

Plus, you get an explanation of all the controls for each filter. So you'll know exactly how to apply each one to your images. This is a very helpful resource that you will want to bookmark for future reference. And these mini tutorials should make you even more efficient with Luminar.

Special Offer: Scott Kelby's "Picture Perfect Presets" for Luminar

Macphun has teamed up with KelbyOne to offer Luminar + 1 Month KelbyOne Membership + Portrait Presets from Scott Kelby for only $69 (total value $99). This special is available until Wednesday, May 3 2017. For $69, you'll receive:

  • Luminar, The Supercharged photo editor for Mac that adapts to your skill level.
  • 12 portrait presets created by Scott Kelby - One of the world's most prolific photography authors and educators.
  • 1 Month of access to KelbyOne training where you can learn everything you need to know about photography.

If you've been thinking about getting a copy of Luminar for yourself, then this Special Offer makes it a great time to do so.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

I find myself in bad lighting situations all of the time. They are a byproduct of whirlwind travel photography. Often I can mitigate the harsh contrast through standard multi-exposure HDR or leaning heavily on the recovery properties of the RAW file. But that requires a bit of work in post production. And sometimes, I just want to turnaround the image quickly.

Both my Olympus and Pentax cameras have in-camera HDR processing. It's a crazy, over-the-top proposition. But there have been times when I've found it useful. Take a look at this set of images.

IMGP0546-Dry-Creek-dry-creek.jpg Straight Exposure - Pentax KP, 20-40mm HD zoom, ISO 100. No post processing on this shot. Photo by Derrick Story.

IMGP0546-Dry-Creek-dry-creek 1.jpg In-Camera HDR - Pentax KP, 20-40mm HD zoom, ISO 100. Photo by Derrick Story.

I've showed the HDR version to a number of folks with very positive, almost delightful reactions. It has an illustrative appearance, feeling a bit like a watercolor.

This approach isn't appropriate for many types of subjects. But every now and then, especially in bad lighting, it's worth a shot. And the best part is, you'll know whether you like it or not in just a matter of seconds.

The Pentax KP Final Verdict

If you're interested in learning more about the Pentax KP DSLR, take a look at my series of articles reviewing it. You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #581, April 25, 2017. Today's theme is "Single Frame Story" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

When you press the shutter button, what is your goal for that fraction of a second? Are you recording a slice of life? Capturing something beautiful? Not sure really why you took the picture? One exercise that I find useful is trying to tell a complete story within one frame. Everything the viewer needs to know is right there within the boundaries of your viewfinder. And we explore this concept in today's TDS photography podcast.

Single Frame Story

Castle-Rock-Climbing-web.jpg

Here are five techniques to help you tell a story within a single frame.

  • Look for Action and Reaction - One person is doing something, and another is reacting to it. In writing we called it man vs man. Variations on this technique is man vs nature, and man vs him or herself.
  • Crop out Extraneous Elements - If the viewers are going to engage with the image, then they need to identify the main activity quickly. Cropping helps you direct the viewer's eye to the main action.
  • Work with Lighting, not Against it - I'm not saying that you have to be so obvious to illuminate the principle character and darken everything else. But you certainly want lighting on your side.
  • Be on the Lookout for Drama and Humor - Dramatic tension, such as the rock climber struggling up a steep incline, or the humor expressed in a facial expression can speak volumes.
  • Look for Dramatic Angles - Capturing the image from a low or high angle can energize the narrative and draw the viewer into the image.

Perfect Panoramas with the MeFOTO Roadtrip Air

This week's three-legged adventure with the MeFOTO Roadtrip Air is to help me create perfect panos with my iPhone. Here's how:

  • Mount the iPhone in the vertical position on the MeFOTO and align it as straight as possible.
  • Enable the Compass App and swipe to the second screen which is the built in level. Square up your iPhone to 0 degrees and test your alignment by panning from left to right.
  • Loosen the panning knob on the MeFOTO so there's just a slight tension.
  • Enable the Camera app and go to Pano mode. Tap the shutter button and pan slowly from left to right.
  • Enjoy your beautifully aligned panorama!

Just to give you a bit of background about this super nimble tripod, it's distinguishing features include:

  • Super Fast Setup with the new HyperLock Leg System. Setup is as easy as 1,2,3: 1 - Hold tripod leg and twist counterclockwise until it stops (4 clicks), 2 - Pull the leg to the desired length, 3 -Twist leg clockwise until it stops. (How easy is that?)
  • Perfect for Selfies - removable telescoping center column converts to a Selfie Stick with included smartphone holder and Bluetooth remote!
  • Ultra lightweight - 30 percent lighter than classic MeFOTO models
  • Available in Backpacker, RoadTrip, GlobeTrotter models and 7 colors.

If you want to learn more about the MeFOTO line of tripods, look for the colorful tile on all the pages of the thedigitalstory.com. And if you decide that you want one for yourself, use coupon code THEDIGITALSTORY to save 10 percent and receive free shipping.

Why Printing Your Photos Will Make You a Better Photographer

In the article, Why Printing Your Photos Will Make You a Better Photographer, the author quotes Peter Mikinnion:

Photography, he says, used to be a two part process--Part 1: take pictures; Part 2: develop and print them. With the advent of digital photography, that second part was warped into post-processing and online sharing, but McKinnon believes something was lost in the transition.

"Where I love Instagram, and I love digital, and I love where everything's gone," says McKinnon. "It got me thinking: 'People don't print their work enough, and there are SO many benefits that come from printing your stuff out.'"

The two benefits McKinnon touches on in this video are (1) Printing helps you understand your photography much better, and (2) Printing your photos lets you 're-discover' that second half of the photographic process.

Both of these things help you to improve your own photo taking and, as a bonus, draw more joy out of your photography.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

Registration invitations have gone out to Reserve List members for the Autumn in Wine Country Photography Workshop. If you are on the Reserve List, but didn't get your invite, please contact me. You can learn more about the workshops by visiting the TDS Workshops Page.

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

MeFOTO Air Tripods - MeFOTO Air Tripods are a nimble photographer's dream.

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.

Leading the Eye on a Visual Journey

On this week's TDS Podcast, I'm discussing storytelling in a single frame. There are many techniques to choose from with this practice, including one of my favorites, taking the viewer's eye on journey.

visual-journey.jpg "Visual Journey" - Olympus PEN-F, 14-42mm zoom. Photo by Derrick Story.

The destination doesn't have to be revealed in the composition. It's OK to let the viewer wonder what's around the bend. So, in this case, the journey is everything.

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

The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM zoom is on sale for $449 in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma mounts. I needed an ultra wide for my new Pentax KP, and this looked like a great deal. And as it turned out... it is.

Old Stairs "Old Stairs" Pentax KP with Sigma 10-20mm at 10mm. Aperture Priority at f/11, ISO 200, 1/30th, DNG processed in Capture One Pro 10. Photo by Derrick Story.

Beyond the wide focal length that pairs perfectly with my Pentax HD Pentax DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 ED zoom, I was attracted to the constant f/3.5 aperture on the Sigma. That's fast enough to allow me to use the optic indoors as well as out. Build quality is very good, and the zoom is neither too large or heavy, allowing it to balance nicely on the Pentax KP.

sigma-10-20mm-web.jpg

The images are sharp with good contrast. And having that wide 10mm (15mm equivalent on the Pentax KP) adds an entirely new dimension to architectural and landscape photography.

After two shoots with the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM zoom, I feel like it's a bargain at $449.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

flickr-on-iphone.PNG

Someone's ToDo List item got checked off today. The Flickr.com website now renders beautifully on mobile devices as well as on the desktop.

Previously, lovers of photography had to use the Flickr app or a mobile version of flickr.com to browse, favor, and comment while scrolling though images. But now, you can merely enter flickr.com in your phone's web browser, and enjoy an optimized experience.

Everything is there: Camera Roll, Photostream, Explore, Galleries, Stats, Trending, and more. If you want to fav a photo from someone that you're following, you have to tap on the star beneath the image. Instagram users who are used to double-tapping on the photo to favor it will be greeting instead with the image appearing on a new web page.

Other than that adjustment, the new Flickr.com on mobile devices is an attractive and intuitive experience. Let the browsing begin...

More Flickr Tips and Techniques

If you want to master Flickr on your mobile device, check out Flickr Mobile: Photo Sharing Anywhere. Desktop users might be interested in Sharing Photos with Flickr. Of course the platforms work well together too, and I discuss how you can integrate all of your devices to create a seamless photography workflow.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #580, April 18, 2017. Today's theme is "The Wedding Civilian" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

After years of donning the official uniform of a wedding photographer - Dual DSLRs tugging at my neck, a utility belt pouches crammed full with flashes and lenses, and a creased white shirt pulled three different ways a once - I am now a civilian. I wear a tailored suit without budging pockets, accessorized by a handsome mirrorless camera accenting my tie as it hangs lightly from my neck via its matching leather strap. And not only has my attire changed, but my attitude as well. And that's the topic of today's TDS Photography Podcast.

The Wedding Civilian

the-wedding-civilian.jpg

First we must define our terms. A Wedding Civilian is different than Uncle Bob.

Now that we've got that squared away, here are five things that a Wedding Civilian should keep in mind.

  • Don't talk to the hired photographer - The last thing that he or she wants to hear about is your camera, your photographic prowess, or your opinion about anything. The official photographer is already dealing with a churning caldron of challenges. Let them be, and stay out of their way.
  • Take advantage of your unique perspective - For the ceremony, choose an angle that allows you to capture the event as a friend or family member. You can record images from the unique perspective of the attendee, surrounded by people, witnessing each moment as it unfolds. I think BTS stories are the most interesting. And you're right there with a backstage pass.
  • Be a silent historian - Turn off your phone, and for the love of Pete, turn off the audible focus confirmation on your camera. Choose the quietest camera you have for the event. And please don't use flash. If you can't capture the shot existing light, wait for another opportunity. Prime lenses are mandatory gear for the Wedding Civilian.
  • Honor the family - You are now an ambassador as well as an artist. In addition to telling the story of the day through your images, honor all requests for portraits and spontaneous group shots. Capture those photos with care, and be sure to share them after the event.
  • Enjoy true photographic freedom - This is what it's all about. You get to sit with friends and family, enjoy the wine, eat when everyone else eats, and take the pictures that you want, when you want to. This is as good as it gets for events. Relish the moment.

The MeFOTO Roadtrip Air on Assignment

This week's three-legged adventure with the MeFOTO Roadtrip Air where it accompanied me to a wedding. Yes, it stayed in the car the entire time. So why was I so happy to have it with me.

Just to give you a bit of background about this super nimble tripod, it's distinguishing features include:

  • Super Fast Setup with the new HyperLock Leg System. Setup is as easy as 1,2,3: 1 - Hold tripod leg and twist counterclockwise until it stops (4 clicks), 2 - Pull the leg to the desired length, 3 -Twist leg clockwise until it stops. (How easy is that?)
  • Perfect for Selfies - removable telescoping center column converts to a Selfie Stick with included smartphone holder and Bluetooth remote!
  • Ultra lightweight - 30 percent lighter than classic MeFOTO models
  • Available in Backpacker, RoadTrip, GlobeTrotter models and 7 colors.

If you want to learn more about the MeFOTO line of tripods, look for the colorful tile on all the pages of the thedigitalstory.com. And if you decide that you want one for yourself, use coupon code THEDIGITALSTORY to save 10 percent and receive free shipping.

Ricoh Isn't Going to Kill Pentax

First Nikon, then Panasonic, and now rumors have spread about Pentax. Let me read you a few lines from the article, Relax, Ricoh Isn't Going to Kill the Pentax Brand or Their Cameras (Confirmed), then I have some comments on what we can do as photographers to help these companies.

Updates and Such

Big thanks to all of our Patreon members! I was able to pay for the podcast server and the backup system from last month's pledges. Your contributions are making a positive impact.

Registration invitations have gone out to Reserve List members for the Autumn in Wine Country Photography Workshop. If you are on the Reserve List, but didn't get your invite, please contact me. You can learn more about the workshops by visiting the TDS Workshops Page.

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

MeFOTO Air Tripods - MeFOTO Air Tripods are a nimble photographer's dream.

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.

I've been using Photos for macOS for all of my personal work, and I've yet to regret adding another image to the stack. Why is that?

Ready-to-Fall.jpg "Victoria Winning the Game" - Olympus PEN-F, Lumix-G 20mm f/1.7 lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/320th, cataloged in Photos for macOS, processing with the Luminar editing extension. Photo by Derrick Story.

There are a number of reasons why Photos is such a good fit for my personal work. Here are five of them.

  • Mindless Backup - Thanks to iCloud, the moment an image enters my Photos library, it is backed up and available to all of my connected devices. I spend a lot of time archiving and organizing my commercial work. But I don't spend a moment thinking about the safety of my personal shots.
  • Face Recognition - If you haven't worked with this technology for a while, it's worth another visit. Much of my personal work features people I love and care about. And using Faces in Photos, I can find all the shots that I have of anyone in just a matter of seconds. Faces is easy to use, and it works really well.
  • Easy Geotagging - My iPhone shots are automatically geotagged. But the other images need location information added in post. This is so easy to do in Photos. I just start typing the place, and my options automatically appear. And just like that, the photo is geotagged. Again, simple.
  • Object Recognition - This technology is still developing. But even in its early stages, I find it useful. More and more, I'm entering search words such as "Vineyard" or "Ocean" to find images in my library. As these algorithms improve, so will my fondness for this feature.
  • Editing Extensions - More and more, I'm using Luminar and other editing extensions for my work. As a result, I truly enjoy working on images in Photos. And the results are top notch.

If you're already a fan of the Mac/iOS ecosystem, and you're not using Photos, then I suggest you give it another chance - not because Apple needs your patronage, but because I think it will bring happiness to your personal work.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

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

Photographers debate about how to take pictures of the disenfranchised on the street. The way that I look at it, is that there are some situations where I want the shot, and many that I don't. And for those that I do, I've found that a little conversation goes a long way.

appease-the-rooster.jpg "Appease the Rooster, Chinatown, SF" - Olympus PEN-F, 14-42mm EZ zoom, ISO 200, Color 3 mode. Photo by Derrick Story.

I tend to be attracted by clever signs. I thought that this image, for example, would make a good photograph. So I introduced myself, asked to take the picture, then put a few dollars in the cup to appease the rooster.

I've found that a lot of chatter isn't required, or even wanted by the subject. My real goal is acknowledgement and respect. Once I've conveyed that, I go about my business and let him go about his. And the interactions tend to go quite well.

In all honesty, we're all just trying to get by. The metaphor that we used in the workshop was that the street is a big aquarium, and we're all part of it. On this particular day, Larry was a bit more colorful than me. And I'm happy that he let me capture that.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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