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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Leica's Solid Aluminum T Mirrorless Camera; Top 5 Shooting Tips for Compelling Photos; TDS Site Refresh; and the latest SizzlPix Pick of the Month Winners - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: The top story this week is the Leica T mirrorless camera. "It features a 16MP APS-C sensor. Two lenses - an 18-56mm F3.5-5.6 and a 35mm equivalent 23mm F2 prime have been announced alongside the camera. The camera is milled from a solid billet of aluminum and features a touch screen that the company says uses a user-friendly operating concept. The camera body (available in black or silver) is priced at $1,850. The 18-56mm zoom costs $1,750, while the 23mm F2 prime will set you back $1950. The optical viewfinder has an MSRP of $595." (Source DP Review)

In other news, Fuji will Release a 16mm f/1.4 by the End of 2014. "The mysterious "High Speed Wide Angle Lens" on Fuji's lens roadmap is apparently going to be a 16mm f/1.4 -- no ifs, ands or buts about it." (Source: PetaPixel).

And finally, Panasonic GH4 Review on the Luminous Landscape. Michael Reichmann writes, "Am I getting one? In fact we're getting two, and likely a third as well, replacing our GH3 cameras which we use for all of our video productions. I also expect one of the GH4's to become my daily shooter for both stills and video, as well as serving as Chris' workhorses for video production. No, I'm not kissing goodby to my Olympus E-M1, but let's just say that for some purposes I'll be getting a lot cuddlier with the GH4."

Story #2 - Top 5 Shooting Tips. I've just finished a series of speaking engagements, and I thought I'd share the top 5 tips from those talks.

  • Use flash exposure compensation in tandem with regular exposure combination
  • Keep horizon lines very low, or very high
  • Shoot your night scenes at twilight
  • Introduce motion into your shots - moving lights, panning, and slow shutter speeds
  • Use darks and lights to add punch to your compositions

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Colorizing Black-and-White Photographs using Photoshop with John Derry. John shows you how to take old B&W photos and apply his techniques for colorization. In a sense it's what Ted Turner did to many of our B&W classic movies.

You can watch John in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - The TDS Site Design Refresh - We've integrated The Nimble Photographer, Photo Help Desk, Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook into a refreshed look for The Digital Story. Plus I've added a new My Gear page to the top nav bar. Here are some insights to how the new site works.

Virtual Camera Club News

New SizzlPix Winners! Congratulations to Mike Boening (Dec 2013 High ISO #93), Kyle Howard (Jan 2014 White # 94), and David Blanchard (Feb 2014 Smartphone #95). You are the latest class of SizzlPix Pick of the Month photographers.

Workshop News: I've sent out invites to the Reserve List for the Fall Color with Safari West Workshop, October 24-26, 2014. You can learn about them both, plus request a reservation form by visiting the TDS Workshops Page and using the "Send Me Info" box.

Photo Assignment for April 2014 is "Flower Power".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story 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.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (37 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 August!

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One technique that I learned from Ansel Adams was the way he managed darks and lights. Sometimes he would build the picture around a very dramatic shadow or highlight, and other times he would layer those tones like pastry chef layers a cake.

Ever since those days of studying his work, I keep an eye peeled for strong dark or light areas to build my compositions around. I feel like they help me avoid the flat "postcard look" that happens when the tones are too even.

fences-1024.jpg First, I wanted to use that horizontal line of dark trees to anchor the composition. Then take advantage of the darks and lights created by the clouds in the sky. Photo by Derrick Story.

Once you find an element to build your composition around, the camera will probably accentuate it more than your eyes are seeing. Plus keep in mind that you can further play with it in post production to really bring out the darks and lights.

This is easier with morning and afternoon light, because it's directional. Midday scenics are going to be flat, pretty much no matter what you do, unless you're in a situation where the high position of the sun is creating shadows from trees. And even then it's a difficult task to make that look flattering.

Keep this technique in mind the next time you're out shooting landscape. Look for those layers of darks and lights to build your composition around.

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Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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Job 1 as a spectator at a sporting event is to enjoy the game and support your team. But if it's an important event, such as an NBA playoff game, you may want to come away with some momentos too. As photographers, those souvenirs most likely will be pictures from the game.

Chances are, that unless you're packing a fast telephoto lens and have a media pass, you're probably not going to get a close-up of your favorite superstar. On the other hand, even with a compact camera, you can document the event in a way that will have value for you in the years to come.

cheering_0169.jpg By combining fill-flash with nighttime scene mode, you can capture both the crowd and the ambience of the arena. Photos by Derrick Story.

I think the crowd is a big part of the story at these events. And I do have access to them since I'm sitting right in the middle of it all. So why not go with that and use the arena as a backdrop for fan shots?

My advice in these situations, is to go to "nighttime mode" in your camera's scene settings, then turn on the fill-flash. All of these images, for example, were captured with a Canon PowerShot S110 in "Handheld NightScene" mode. I typically set the exposure compensation to -2/3 to get a good balance of bright areas in the arena with the flash itself.

cheering_0166.jpg Same settings as above, except this time the fill flash is turned off.

As you can see in the shot above, the feeling is totally different when the fill-flash turned off. You may like it better, or not. But I think the non-fill-flash image doesn't have the vibrancy of the shot above it, where the flash is turned on.

Regardless of which approach you take, it's good to understand how both techniques work, so you can choose the one that's right for you and the situation.

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Leica's announcement of their new mirrorless camera, Leica T (Typ 701) ($1,850), presents both attractive and challenging features for the nimble photographer. I thought that I would provide a quick overview of both.

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On the plus side, the design and production of the camera looks top-drawer. To take a chunk of high-quality aluminum and sculpt a camera from it is very impressive - not to mention the hour of hand-polishing that ensues.

I haven't held the camera myself, but even looking at it in pictures and knowing what I know about solid aluminum design, it's not much of a leap of faith to understand that this camera is special.

I also like that they chose to go with a very modern design, instead of the retro look that's currently popular. My regular readers know that I absolutely love the retro look featured in the OM-D and the Fujifilm X20. But those cameras already exist. Leica is creating a whole new design aesthetic in the mirrorless space.

I have some inside information about the internal workings of the camera as well. Image quality will be outstanding. And the Wi-Fi interaction with the iOS app should be solid. I think Leica has done an excellent job here, creating not only a modern classic in terms of looks, but also in terms of mobile functionality.

In terms of red flags, there are a few. First, the choice not to include image stabilization in either the body or the lenses, I think this is a bad decision. I read that Leica felt optical stabilization would compromise the quality of the lenses. I'm not qualified to know either way. But I do know, that for me, image stabilization is important, And I would miss it on this camera.

I think the price is a bit steep, not so much for the body, but for the 18-55mm kit lens - $1,750. If it were $500 or $600, then we could get started with the T-System for less than $2500, and I think that would attract more well-healed nimble photographers.

And finally, I do like buttons - and there aren't any on the back of the camera. So it remains to be seen how this plays out in real-time use.

Those concerns aside, I welcome the Leica T-System to the mirrorless camera space. I know more lenses will follow, and I think we will see interesting variations on this initial body. I'm going to enjoy watching this story play out.

If I can get my hands on one, I'll definitely follow up with a field report.


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Leica T-System has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Canon G2 Black

Not long ago, Theresa handed me a sheet of paper with a landscape photo printed on it. "I'd like to have this printed for my office. It's one of my favorite shots by you."

Normally, that wouldn't be a problem. But I captured this particular photo in Dec. 2002 with a Canon PowerShot G2 that had a maximum resolution of 3.8 megapixels. It's been a long time since I shot at that resolution.

Sebastopol Lagoon Dec 2002 "Sebastopol Lagoon" captured in Dec. 2002 with a Canon PowerShot G2. Photo by Derrick Story.

The first task was to find the photo. It was buried deep in the caverns of my original Drobo. I loaded the shot into Aperture and studied it. All in all, the picture was in pretty good shape. I made a few minor adjustments and fired up the Epson R2000.

I opted for Red Rivier Paper's UltraPro Gloss 2.0 to capture as much detail as I could in the enlargement. I made two prints: one an 8"x10" and the other 11"x14". We matted them up and put them in slightly oversized frames to give them more wall presence.

Theresa was thrilled. The larger of the two prints is hanging at home, and the other is now in her office. I have to admit, they look pretty good.

The point here is this: just because an image was recorded with older technology at a lesser resolution, that doesn't mean it's worthless. It took someone else's eyes to remind me of that. And I'm glad she did.

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Canon Teases New Product

Canon Hong Kong is teasing a new product launch for April 24 on its Facebook page.

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The translation goes something like this: "Beauty does not exist on the object, while in between the object and object of no deep shadow and light and shade."

What could this all mean? It could be a new fast lens, but this is a lot of hoopla for glass. I'm guessing some sort of special camera.

We'll see soon enough.

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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Sony RX 200 in the Works?; an Ultra-Nimble 4x5 Camera; Loom and Doom; and Flickr 3.0 for iOS is Solid - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: The top story this week is the Wanderlust Travel 4X5 film camera. "Fully loaded, the Travelwide is lighter than a DSLR. In fact, at 275 grams (9.7 ounces), it's the lightest 4×5 ever made. But thanks to its high-impact unibody construction, it's also one of the toughest." Travelwide accepts most 90mm lenses, and a Pinwide pinhole is included--so you can start taking photos right away. $149 shipping this summer.

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In other news, Eye-Fi puts your camera in the cloud with Android, iOS apps. "Eye-Fi says that your US$49 annual subscription cost -- just a touch over US$4 per month -- provides you with unlimited storage, and notes that images are transferred at full resolution. As has always been the case, Eye-Fi Mobi cards don't transfer raw files, and only allow videos for certain formats." (Source: Imaging-Resource.com).

And finally, New Sony RX200 Patent Shows an Exciting 28-100mm Equivalent f/1.8-2.8 Lens. The current RX100/RX100 Mark II sport the same focal length, but that lens stops down all the way to f/4.9 by the time you get to 100mm. This new lens would mean a much better low-light experience even when you're a bit further away from your subject. (Source: PetaPixel)

Story #2 - Flickr 3.0 for iOS Is a Solid Single to Right. Not only do we get new The New Mobile Flickr is competes with any of the big boys, including Instagram and Facebook. I provide you with an overview in today's second segment.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Designing an Infographic with Nigel French. This week we learn how those cool infographics are designed by master designer, Nigel French.

You can watch Nigel in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - The Nimbleosity Report - Loom and Doom. My kiss of death proves fatal again for start-up mobile backup apps. First, Everpix, and now Loom. The silver lining is that Loom was acquired by Dropbox and incorporated into Carousel. I provide some insights about this transition.

Virtual Camera Club News

Workshop News: I've sent out invites to the Reserve List for the Fall Color with Safari West Workshop, October 24-26, 2014. You can learn about them both, plus request a reservation form by visiting the TDS Workshops Page and using the "Send Me Info" box.

Photo Assignment for April 2014 is "Flower Power".

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story 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.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (33 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 August!

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

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Even in the digital age, you can create B&W portraiture with a classic film grain and tonality. Thanks to inspiration by photographer Gary Tyson, I've added a new workflow for these types of images using Aperture 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2.

In the article, One Way to Convert Color Images to Black & White in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2, Gary shows how to use Lightroom and Silver Efex to produce gritty B&W photos. The big take-away was flattening the contrast of the color photo in Lightroom before sending it to Silver Efex for processing.

To my thinking, this would be easy enough for Aperture users too. So I created this workflow.

Renee Reclining "Renee Reclining" originally captured in color and converted to B&W. All photos by Derrick Story.

To flatten the photo in Aperture, I moved the Contrast and Mid Contrast sliders to the left. (How far is a matter of personal taste. Take a look at the photo below for an example.) I then sent the image to Sliver Efex Pro 2 and applied the 011 Push Process (+1.5) or the 012 Push Process (+3) to the photo, depending on which one looked best. I then used the Film Simulation mode Ilford HP5 Plus 400. At this point I could return the picture to Aperture for finishing touches.

flat-contrast-color.jpg I created an Effect Preset for the flat contrast so it would be easy to apply in the future.

To close the loop, I output the image on fiber stock, such as Polar Matte 60lb.. Having the print for framing or just enjoying on the coffee table has certainly caught the eye of fellow photographers.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about portrait retouching in Aperture, take a look at Portrait Retouching with Aperture. You may want to check out my other Aperture titles, including Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture. 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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The New Mobile Flickr (again!)

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This time Yahoo got it right. Flickr 3.0 for iOS is an app of beauty.

In Instagram styled fashion, we now have full screen images in a single stream for browsing. Tap twice on a picture in stream view to mark as a Favorite.

Tap once to switch to a lightbox view. You can enlarge the image in Lightbox view by tapping twice. Tap the "X" to return to the stream. Easy to use and works great.

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Two areas that Flickr has been traditionally strong is: editing and displaying metadata. You can edit your pictures by going to camera mode and tapping in the thumbnail icon in the lower left. Choose the image by tapping on it, then tap on Next in the upper right corner. You'll have a complete set of adjustments and filters to choose from.

I really like having the levels adjustment complete with an RGB histogram. Tap and drag markers for highlights, mid tones, and shadows to fine tune the exposure.

To see the metadata for a photo in your stream, tap once on it to switch to Lightbox mode, then tap on the "i" for the metadata display artfully overlaid on the image. This is possibly the best metadata view I've seen on my iPhone.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this version of the app. Hats off to the team at Yahoo for sticking with this project.


Flickr Essential Training 2013 - I explore the entire Flickr universe, mobile and computer, in my lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and take a look.

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Loom Woven into Dropbox

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After the unraveling of Everpix, many of us turned to Loom for backing up and sharing our mobile photos. We learned yesterday that the thread-bare startup will now be woven into Carousel by Dropbox.

The good news is that free space you had accumulated on Loom will be transferred and honored by Dropbox. I've already tested this, and my 10 GBs of Loom storage have been added to my Carousel account.

The bad news is that Carousel is young and doesn't have many of the features that Loom had so carefully designed. The biggest drawback for me is no iPad integration. My iPhone is my only connection to Carousel.

The two companies have designed an easy migration path. Basically, you click a button and give Loom permission to connect to your Dropbox account. If you don't have one already, you can set it up. The other option is to download a zipped archive of your Loom library. I opted to migrate and will report on how that went in next week's TDS podcast.

Either way, you have until May 16, 2014 to decide what to do. After that, Loom will be no more.

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