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For the Sept. '11 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters worked with digits while exploring the theme Hands and Feet. The imagery in this gallery is clever and skillful. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month? (These will look great Sizzled!)

George Purvis - Hands and Feet Photo Assignment "Hands of the Orthopedist at 90" by George D Purvis III

Participate in This Month's Assignment

The Nov. 2011 assignment is "Black & White." Start working on your contribution now. Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is Nov. 30, 2011.

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: Nov. 2011." 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.

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

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Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

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Of the interviews I've done, this chat with Leo Laporte on TWiT Photo goes down as one of my favorites.

Derrick Story and Leo Laporte Derrick Story (left) and Leo Laporte on TWiT Photo, Nov. 1, 2011

At Leo's studio in Petaluma, CA - fondly referred to as the Brick House - we discussed photography technique, gear, current technology, and how to become a better shooter. Frequent TWiT viewers know how gracious and intelligent Leo is, and he's in full stride during this episode. I think you'll really enjoy the show.

Here's the YouTube version:

You can also download the free episode in iTunes and listen at your convenience. Or, if you prefer the video version (more better!), then watch here or download the show.

Thanks to Leo and the entire TWiT gang for having me on the show.

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

Talking Photography Today on TWiT Photo

I'm going to be on the set of TWiT Photo today joining their great crew talking about photography. We'll touch on some of my favorite shoots of all time (such as the Iceland adventure shown below), cover gear, and of course share some tips.

Woman in Mist - Iceland Woman in the Mist, Iceland - Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger size.

The fun begins at 1pm PST. And if you can't sit in on the live show, they'll publish the video so you can catch up at your convenience. It's going to be a blast!

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

A big challenge for photographers these days is distinguishing themselves from others. A pretty landscape image just isn't going to do it. I have five suggestions to help you become more notorious. Not so much being bad, but maybe a bit different. If you're going to pull this off, you're going to need some tools. After all, the Sundance Kid was a good shot too.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Black & White is the Nov. 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Nov. 30, 2011.

TDS Nov. Aperture Workshop

I've organized an Aperture Workshop on Nov. 12th and 13th. Signups are in progress now. If you want a registration form, or just more information, drop me a line. BTW: We include a professional model shoot as part of this workshop. Just saying...

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

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iPhone 4S on a Gymbl Tripod

I just spent a week on the road with the Gymbl case and tripod for my iPhone 4S. It's a clever combination of a hard case that protects the iPhone, and includes a low-profile mount to attach the tripod/stand in a jiffy. The two pieces work together great, and they add little bulk or weight to you pockets.

The case itself is rigid plastic that covers the back and edges of the iPhone. There are beveled openings for the camera lens, flash, lock slider, volume buttons, earphone jack, power button, dock connector and speakers. You shouldn't have to remove the phone from the case unless you have a special need for it to be unencumbered.

The Gymble tripod/stand is Swiss Army knife in design. At first it looks very simple. But then you realize that it includes a regular tripod socket (for a standard set of sticks), and its own mount that provides for a wild variety of positions. Be sure to take a look at the Gymbl site to see all the possibilities. You might miss one otherwise.

I used it as a tripod to record this time lapse movie at PhotoPlus Expo. But I found other uses for the Gymbl too. When taking a coffee break, for example, I could position my iPhone at a comfortable viewing angle to read the daily news or check email. It also works as a secure grip for recording handheld video.

The Gymbl costs about $69,and that includes both the durable case and clever tripod/stand. The metal and high tech plastic components are nicely machined and well-designed. The tripod itself is very light and easily slips in any pocket.

If you use your iPhone for photography, video, and reading, you'll probably find that the Gymbl provides value for your investment. If you don't use these functions often, the price is high for just the case (which would be the component you regularly use when the tripod is still at home.)

Nimbleosity Rating: 3.5 out of 5

(rating would climb to "4" if the price were $20 less).

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

Time Lapse Boogie with iPhone 4S

You could call it: "time lapse photography made easy." I mounted an iPhone 4S on a Gymbl tripod and launched the Joby Gorillacam app to make this 1-minute recording of Friday morning at PhotoPlus Expo just as the doors were opening.

The video consists of 328 frames played at 6 frames per second. I used the Pro version of QuickTime Player 7 to take the individual frames from the iPhone and make the movie. The images were automatically sent to my Mac using Photo Stream.

iPhone 4S with Gymbl Tripod iPhone 4S mounted on a portable Gymbl tripod.

While still in QuickTime 7, I added a royalty free music soundtrack as the finishing touch. I think the boogie beat goes great with the time lapse images.

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

Eating Big in New York City

I saw this served across from me at Trattoria Dell'Arte, 900 7th Ave (between 56th and 57th st) in New York City. I think it qualifies for a Man vs Food episode.

Crazy Meal (Not Mine Though!)

In case you've never seen this dish before, it's Veal Parmigiana. And no, he did not finish the meal. So in this case, food won!

I'm heading out for Day Two of PhotoPlus Expo. If you're in town, come by and see me. I should be around the Lowepro booth most of the day. My class on Revenue Streams is Saturday morning also.

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


It looks like that comfy soft canvas bag from a previous era, but the new Lowepro Pro Messenger 200 AW camera bag is anything but old fashioned.

What feels like canvas is actually a high-tech fabric that is lighter, more weather resistant, and wears longer than traditional fibers. The 200 AW can accommodate a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on body, and still have room for other lenses, accessories, and an iPad.

I've been using the Pro Messenger 200 AW for a while, and I've come up with an alternative way to pack the bag by creating a false bottom with one of the dividers. Here's how that works.

If you like shoulder bags for you gear, and find the tactile sensation of a canvas-like fabric appealing, then take a look at the Pro Messenger 200 AW. It's available for preorder from B&H Photo for $189.95.

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

Don't Over Polarize

When working in clear air, especially in the mountains, keep an eye on your sky when using a polarizing filter. Believe it or not, you can overdo it and ruin your shot.

High Sierra Lake I had to back off the polarizer in this shot to get a consistent blue in the sky. Other images in this series didn't fare as well.

The tendency for many photographers using a rotating polarizer is to crank it all the way for the most intense effect. The problem at times can be that the effect isn't applied evenly across your image. The result can be a splotchy blue sky that is very difficult to fix in post production.

Look out for this phenomenon when working in the mountains. You might find that you get the best photograph with just a little polarization.

Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.

The Passionate Photographer

In his latest book, The Passionate Photographer,Steve Simon presents 10 steps toward becoming great. For example, in Step 3, Work It: Don't Give Up on the Magic, he writes, "Your first shot is your starting point. Give yourself a variety of options. It's a game of inches. Slight movements have dramatic effects on your final image, altering the juxtaposition of foreground subjects with background elements and the horizon." Each step is explained from a variety of approaches and illustrated with numerous images.

This is not a book for the beginning photographer still learning the camera. The Passionate Photographer is for shooters ready to take the next step. With its mix of inspiration and perspiration, Steve Simon challenges you to get better.

I'd keep this book in mind for the passionate photographer in your life. It would be a great holiday gift.

Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.