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Mophie Powerstation - Hands-On Test

Mophie Powerstation

I was able to get my hands on a production model of the Mophie Powerstation to see how well it performed with the iPhone and iPad. I originally wrote about the Powerstation after seeing it demoed at a Mobile Focus event. For being so light and compact (not much bigger than an iPhone), it packs quite a punch. It can fully recharge my iPhone 3GS, and partially refuel the iPad.

Here's a representative test for each device.

iPhone 3GS

My iPhone battery was down to 34 percent. I connected a fully charged Powerstation (6 LED lights showing), and 1:40 later, the phone was showing 100 percent charge. The Powerstation still had energy left also - 4 LED lights glowing. I plugged in the Powerstation to recharge it, and it took 2:30 to reenergize.

iPad 3G

Anyone who's every charged an iPad knows how much juice it takes to replenish those big batteries. I connected my iPad showing a 42 percent charge to the Powerstation, and it reached 82 percent before the Mophie ran out of gas (0 LEDs showing). This process took 2:15.

Additional Features

I like the standby switch that prevents power drainage when the Mophie is not in use. I had misunderstood earlier that it had "pass through" charging, but when I tested it, the Mophie did not have this feature. You have to charge the Powerstation and your i-device separately. The LED indicators are a nice touch and work well.

Bottom Line

The Mophie Powerstation is a 3600 mAh device that charges up to 2 amps, works great on iPods and iPhones, and it can buy you some extra time on the iPad. It's not cheap at $99 -- but it's powerful and well-designed. And if you need juice on the go, you'll be glad to have one in your backpack.

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Yes, it has some templates that you'd never consider for a moment, but iMovie '11 is a good tool for fast video production, especially for DSLR shooters who don't want to mess with transcoding (you get to edit natively in H.264).

iMovie '11 Interface iMovie '11 interface. Click on image for larger version.

I found this quick-read review of iMovie '11 on Canon 5D Tips that covers the "good" and "less good" aspects of this app. My experience mirrors this review.

I've been using iMovie '11 in the field on a MacBook Air, and have enjoyed the experience. I did hit a limitation trying to use iMovie '11 to manage my Aperture movies (read the comments that follow the article), but for fast video production, iMovie '11 has been easy to learn and includes lots of nice features. And you can't beat the price.

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Tim Tilden Grab Shot

"Several years ago I became friends with the local Hang Glider pilots here on Oahu," writes Tim Tilden. "They launch from a spot on a ridge 1100 ft above the beach. Using trucks, they drive their gliders up to the launch, and since I live nearby, I volunteer to drive the pickups down to the landing zone."

"While they fly, I take pictures. I've become a visual chronicler of many of their flights. I ended up creating a site on Smugmug to allow them to see how good they look!"

"On Halloween Sunday, I was at the Landing Zone taking pictures of their landings, and the landings of the paragliders who use the same LZ. A paraglider pilot alerted me to a parachutist, who was about to jump from a paraglider high above the LZ. Quickly changing to my long zoom, a Tokina 80-400mm, I got this shot moments after her leap from the glider. She landed safely."

Photo by Tim Tilden. Click on image for larger version (whoa!).

This is our 203rd Grab Shot! Wow. If you want to review the collection that began back in 2006, go to our Grab Shots page.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.

The Digital Story Podcast App is the best way to stream or download weekly TDS podcast episodes. No more syncing your iPhone or iPod Touch just to get a podcast. And there's more! Tap the Extras button for free passes and discounts and the current Grab Shot by our virtual camera club members. Each podcast episode has its own Extras button, too, that contains more goodies such as pro photo tips. And the best part is, The Digital Story Podcast App is your way to help support this show.Download it today!

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High ISO Street Shooting

American Flag in New York City

During my last trip to New York City, I carried a Canon Rebel T1i with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens when I went out at night to eat. I love the challenge of only having one prime lens with me.

My favorite time to shoot is at twilight. Color in the sky makes all the difference. Also having a fast lens and not being afraid to push the ISO provides lots of creative options. This shot, for example, was recorded wide open with the ISO set to 1600. I haven't done any noise reduction at all.

If you also like this stuff, consider entering this month's Photo Assignment, "High ISO." Entries must be shot at ISO 800 or higher.

"American Flag in New York City" -- Recorded with a Canon T1i and a 50mm lens at f/1.8. Thanks to ISO 1600, I was able to expose at 1/30th to give me a good rendering of the flag. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

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"If I hand my camera to another person to shoot a few frames, who owns the copyright for the images?" Or, "Would the outcome be any different if the person is a minor?"

In the article, Q&A - Who Owns the Copyright? - Updated, photo attorney, Carolyn E. Wright tackles these questions and provides some good answers.

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Over the last few months, I've had a lot of face time with photographers at all levels. And I've noticed that successful shooters often embrace what I call the "flexible mind." This week I take a few moments to share a few key factors that could influence your career, regardless if you're a photographer or not, in a positive way.

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

High ISO is the November 2010 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Nov. 30, 2010. Entries must be recorded at ISO 800 or above.

TDS Spring 2011 Photography Workshop

We're making plans now for the Spring 2011 TDS Photography Workshop. If you want your name on the reserve list, just drop me a line.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

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

Blurb believes passionately in the joy of books - reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them. Learn more by visiting Blurb on The Digital Story.

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You can have all of your photos and movies managed by one database, yet still use the necessary tools to get the job done. Many of my current assignments require that I deliver both video and images. A workflow that will keep you from going crazy it to upload everything into Aperture 3.

For simple video pieces, you can edit video in Aperture. If you need more tools, then iMovie '11 can tap into your Aperture library for content, create and output movies, without duplicating the source material. This gives you one set of master footage, but multiple production options.

iMovie 11 iMovie '11 using Aperture 3 to manage assets. Click on image for larger version.

The process is fairly simple.

  • Upload everything into Aperture.
  • Organize as you normally would.
  • Launch iMovie and let it generate thumbnails for all of your Aperture video. This could take a while if you have a lot of content.
  • Edit and produce your video in iMovie. The source material in Aperture will be read, but not altered.

iMovie will create a couple megabytes of material and store it in the "iMovie Projects" folder. But that's about it. And even if you need to move your Aperture library to another hard drive, you can reconnect the content in iMovie (iMovie Help explains how).

It a fairly efficient approach that will help you manage all of your source material. You can also use iPhoto instead of Aperture in this scenario.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

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

If you want to see an example of the Aperture/iMovie connection, here's a video that I produced on assignment for Lowepro at PhotoPlus Expo 2010. I shot the footage with a Canon 5D Mark II, uploaded to Aperture, edited in iMovie, and produced before I returned home. You can work very fast using this set-up.

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Barry Tarr - Saturated

Here's a collection of images that will fill your eyes. The assignment for September 2010 was "Saturated." Check out this great set of images from members of the TDS virtual camera club. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

The November 2010 assignment is "High ISO." Start working on your contribution now. Details can be found on the Member Participation page. You can now submit photo assignment pictures up to 800 pixels in the widest direction.

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 next month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: Nov. 2010." 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.

Photo by Barry Tarr. (Click on it to see enlarged version.) You can read more about how Barry captured this shot, plus see all of the other great images on the September 2010 Gallery page.

Good luck with your November assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for September. Once again, it's a great collection of images.

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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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Once you figure out that it feels so crowded at PhotoPlus Expo 2010 because they made the aisles more narrow, you start looking for direct routes to your destination. Along the way, you're bound to run into someone you know. It's the ultimate photographer "meet and greet" in the US.

Lowepro Booth at PhotoPlus Expo 2010 Inside the Lowepro booth at PhotoPlus Expo 2010. Click on image to enlarge.

Incredibly, I can attend one show a year and catch up with everyone I had neglected over the past 12 months. Thanks to Facebook and other networking tools, we don't have to waste as much time reviewing our personal histories. Just get to the fun stuff.

I'm happy to have the Lowepro booth as my show floor office. It gives me a place to stand. Seriously, it's busy here. The floor itself isn't as big as past years, but we still have many major hitters. And the classes are top notch as always.

If you're around today, I hope you come by the Lowepro booth to say hello. And if I'm not there, don't worry. We'll probably run into each other anyway.

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When the elevator door opened to the SoHi room on the 45th floor the Trump SoHo Hotel, I was greeted by the good folks at Adobe who were hosting the gathering there... and this spectacular twilight scene.

NY Skyline from Trump Hotel SoHo New York Skyline at Twilight by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger version.

There was great food prepared and chilled wine at the bar. But I headed straight for the window with my Canon 5D Mark II over my shoulder. This image was recorded at ISO 3200, 1/10 of a second at f/4. I processed the Raw file in Photoshop Elements 9 using Adobe Camera Raw. There's still more work to do on this shot, but I wanted to share it while the memory of this beautiful scene was still fresh in my mind.

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