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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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It's that time of year when we look at our cluttered closets and think that it might be time to get our house in order. Well, the same could be said for our photo libraries.

With prime picture taking season right around the corner, wouldn't it be nice to have your Aperture library as tidy as your sock drawer? (This might be a bad comparison for some folks...)

My first post for the lynda.com blog is 5 tips for organizing your photos in Aperture. I cover the following topics to help keep your Aperture library spic and span.

  • Think in terms of projects
  • Use folders to reduce clutter
  • Build virtual collections with Albums
  • Be consistent with naming conventions
  • Use star ratings to identify your best work

And there's more to come. In the next post for lynda.com, I discuss how to set up your laptop for vacation travel photo management. Summer road warriors will definitely want to read that one.

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.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


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I've just published two new gear fit kits over at The Nimble Photographer.

The first kit is called "Spectator Sports" and includes:

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The second kit is called "Everyday Office" and contains these items:


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You can see all of the Nimble Fit Kits at TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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The Warriors had a lot on the line for their last regular season home game. They wanted to reach 50 wins and lock up the 6th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. This seemed like a perfect game to test the Olympus OM-D E-M10 with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. This combination is well within arena standards for spectator camera gear.

The configuration for the camera was simple: ISO 1600, Aperture Priority, f/1.8, Jpeg Fine, +1/3 exposure compensation with a resulting shutter speed of 1/1250. This allowed me to shoot in high speed burst mode and capture full sequences.

the-dunk-green-23.jpg Draymond Green dunks as part of his 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocked shots in Golden State's 130-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on photo for a closer look.

When you have your settings right, I think it's fine to shoot Jpegs. The camera performs better and I don't worry about filling up my hard disk with 800 ginormous Raw files from a single shoot. Plus, they look terrific.

I do like having the $59 Grip for EM-10 when the 75mm is mounted on the camera. It provides better leverage, especially overt the course of an evening of shooting.

As for the images themselves, the Olympus 75mm doesn't disappoint. I shoot with it wide open, prefocus when I can, and let it fly. What a beautiful lens for arena sports.


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

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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Lightroom's Monster Update; Fujifilm X-T1 Review; and Carousel by Dropbox - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: The top story this week is the Fujifilm X-T1 Review. "The X-T1 is probably Fujifilm's best camera to date, offering a compelling combination of intuitive handling, excellent image quality, and one of best electronic viewfinders we've seen. It also features one of the most impressive autofocus systems on any camera at this price level, both in terms of accuracy with fast lenses and tracking moving subjects. Over all it's a hugely engaging and capable camera, and one that's fundamentally a joy to use." Gold Award and 84 percent. (Source: DP Review)

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In other news, Sigma announces price for 50mm f/1.4 Art lens. It's official: Sigma owns the 50mm space. We were hoping for less than $1,700 for this lens. Sigma announces $949. (Source: Imaging-Resource.com).

And finally, Canon's 7D Mark II Reportedly Delayed Due to Dual-Pixel Sensor Manufacturing Issues. The rumor mill is now predicting a late summer or early fall release for the update to the Sept. 2009 DSLR. (Source: PetaPixel)

Story #2 - Latest Lightroom Update is a Whopper! Not only do we get new Raw support, color profiles, and lens correction for a bundle of new optics in Lightroom 5.4, we also can use Lightroom on an iPad. I discuss my impressions in this segment of the show.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Shooting a Photo Essay: Telling a Family Story with Paul Taggart. This week we focus our attention on storytelling. Paul is a photojournalist by trade. And for this course he focuses his energy on his family, documenting his brother's activities over the course of a week.

You can watch Paul 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 photography computing titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - The Nimbleosity Report - Carousel by Dropbox for iPhone and iPhoto Backup. Dropbox users finally have an easy-to-use interface to manage their stored photos. I cover the pros and cons in the fourth segment of the show.

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 (34 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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File this one under "Why Didn't I Think of That."

A new Kickstarter called HACKxTACK aims to prevent misplaced lens caps by combining a "clip anywhere" home base with a handsomely machined metal strip that you adhere to the front of the cap. The result is secure storage while you get the shot.

Thinking ahead, this could be a terrific gift for the shutterbug in your life that you could easily stash away now. Regardless, you can learn more about HACKxTACK on their Kickstarter page.

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You can't always shoot in perfect light. But if you have a camera that captures infrared, any time of day is good.

I carry my Fujifilm X20 set in RAW+JPEG, with the B&W Film Simulation mode enabled. When I attach the Hoya R72 filter (to assist with IR capture), the JPEG is B&W infrared and the RAW is color infrared.

Aside from creating a look that is very different than typical photography, you can shoot any time of day.

Just something to keep in your back pocket.

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The announcement of Carousel by Dropbox presents a new and interesting option for viewing your complete photo history stored on a Mac, iOS, and Android devices. If you're already a Dropbox user, this new capability is particularly intriguing.

What Carousel does is create a more practical interface for viewing and sharing Dropbox-stored images. It creates a chronological stream of thumbnails that you can browse by swiping up and down on the iPhone screen, or by swiping left and right on the timeline scale at the bottom of the interface. This sounds simple, but it actually works very well.

Photos are presented as collections with location and date as their title. Up to eleven thumbnails from the collection are initially displayed. If there are more pictures in that collection, a number is shown that you can tap on to reveal the remaining photos.

When you first log in to Carousel with your Dropbox account information, the app integrates all the photos it can find in your existing Dropbox account with those currently in the iPhone's Camera Roll. Additionally, if you're using Dropbox to automatically archive your iPhoto library, those images become part of your Carousel as well.

In a short period of time, the bulk of your photo history is available on the iPhone with very little effort on your behalf. Moving forward, the Carousel is automatically updating itself via these sources.

From that point, you can easily view your collection, or share via email, Twitter, and Facebook, or open in an app for editing. Images that you want to retain, but don't want visible in the scrolling Carousel, can be hidden from the stream and viewed only through an option in the Settings menu.

Using Carousel will require ample storage on your Dropbox account, but frees up space on your mobile device. If you have available space on Dropbox, this is a solution worth considering. Of course, you can always purchase more if necessary.

Currently, Carousel is not compatible with the iPad, and is an iPhone and Android app only. I'll keep you posted as this service evolves.


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

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