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I wanted to do some extended shooting with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, so I dug out the HLD-8 Power Battery Holder, which adds a second battery. After getting both parts attached, I experienced a noticeable Deja Vu moment. The rig felt a lot like the OM-D E-M1X that I had recently tested.

IMG_5453.jpg Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the HLD-8 Power Battery Holder.

Since I hadn't used this older kit for a while, I had forgotten how wonderful the Power Battery Holder felt and operated. It provides shutter buttons with rotating collars in both horizontal and vertical positions, plus two additional function buttons for the vertical grip. There's even a second dial in the vertical position, so you have twin dials regardless of the orientation. The additional BLN-1 battery holder is much more accessible than the port on the bottom of the camera. And you gain a headphone jack as well. It's very comfortable and balanced in both positions. Why didn't come back to this long time ago?

both-parts.jpg The two-piece kit is quite versatile. You can use just the grip without the battery holder, gaining extra comfort and the headphone jack on the left end. Or you can use them together for even more functionality.

As far as I can tell, we won't have the same option with the OM-D E-M5 Mark III that's offering the more basic ECG-5 Grip without battery holder. Those are nice, but it isn't as versatile as the HLD-8 kit.

If you have an E-M5 Mark II that you shoot with, you can purchase the HLD-8 for $279. In the camera's menu system, you can prioritize battery usage so the BLN-1 in the grip is tapped first, leaving the cell in the camera for backup use. You can also program the vertical function buttons. It really changes the camera.

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By no stretch of the imagination does a $279 purchase make your trusty E-M5 Mark II an E-M1X. But I have to say, it feels similar. And I think I'm going to stick with this going forward for my E-M5.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #713, Nov. 12, 2019. Today's theme is "Which Photo Software Should You Use?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

For many photographers, the quest for the right photo management software continues. You would think, now that we're two decades into the digital age, that the dust would have settle. But if anything, the landscape is more cloudy than ever. On today's podcast I share insights from our photography community on what they're using and why. I hope you enjoy the show.

Which Photo Software Should You Use?

As part of my job, I have to be somewhat software agnostic. That doesn't mean that I don't have my favorites. But I try to discuss as many viable applications as possible. Because, quite honestly, one of them might be best for you.

For a while there, it looked like things had settled in to Lightroom, Aperture, and iPhoto. But then Apple turned over the cart, and we seemed to be right back where we started.

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This did, however, open the door for new software to make the scene that might have otherwise received no attention. And now we have many choices.

I polled our Inner Circle members, they shared what apps they're using now. Here's the list in defending order.

  • Photos for macOS - 30 votes
  • Adobe Lightroom Desktop Version - 26 votes
  • Other - 20 votes
  • Adobe Lightroom, Creative Cloud Version - 19 votes
  • Adobe Photoshop, with or without Bridge - 15 votes
  • Capture One Pro - 15 votes
  • OnOne Suite - 9 votes
  • DxO PhotoLab - 6 votes
  • Exposure X5 - 1 vote

I think Charles sums up the position of many photographers these days: "I primarily us Lightroom Classic to manage and edit my images. I use Photoshop if and when the image requires PS's advanced editing capabilities. Apple's Photos app is used primarily to share images with my Apple centric family. While Lightroom (formerly Lightroom CC) gets used mostly so I can check what's going on in the Creative Cloud. I also use Lightroom Mobile, Luminar and Aurora HDR. Since I've been a Lightroom user since its first beta, I don't think I'll ever change as long as Adobe keeps up its current rate of advancing the platform."

Andrew adds: "Lightroom Classic is my go to now but I use Capture Pro for my my Fuji pictures. I still miss the organisational abilities of Aperture. My workflow is built around Lightroom now and that is my biggest barrier to change. I think things like Luminar are interesting from a processing perspective but it's difficult to find a time to experiment. Lightroom CC and Photos I mainly use to support mobile devices."

Andrew, a former Aperture user, writes: "Nothing has quite replaced Aperture. However, Capture One meets most of my needs although the catalogue isn't quite there. I think Photos is better than many people think and good enough for most. Plugins cover the gap in process. Luminar's catalogue features are pretty basic at the moment, but it's a great plugin."

And finally, Rob chimes in: "I am sticking with LR /PS. A lot of images are in it and I know them well enough for what I do. I do use Luminar and photolab ( they do the best noise reduction ). Luminar I use but via the flex plugin. I find it too slow for culling.
Not mentioned but I do like LR mobile on my iPad and it's ability to synchronize with LR desktop. I can do edits and share easily enough that way.
I just tried PS for the iPad. Very disappointed. How can you release a product without refine edge ? For now on the iPad I am sticking with affinity on the iPad.

I then went over to our TDS Facebook page where I asked the question: ""Which Photo Software Should You Use?" - And I want your input. What do you love/hate about the photo software that you're using now."

Lawrence wrote: "My current software suite is Lightroom for catalog management along with light editing (can't say I love it, but I've stuck with it because of the tagging/collections/rating I've done there over the years. I also use Luminar for heavier editing but I am VERY disappointed that they made a big deal out of Libraries, but then quietly dumped supporting import of Lightroom Libraries). I'm also not thrilled with their move into compositing with sky removal. And lastly, I use a series of other tools as plugins to Lightroom (Excire visual search, ON1 B&W conversion, TopazLabs DeNoise AI)"

Jim added a very interesting comment: "I use Lightroom Classic. I did switch fully to Lightroom CC because I love the idea of having my images in the cloud (backed up locally of course) because I want to move to a mobile only workflow doing all my editing and management on the iPad. It's so much more convenient for travel! I was very pleased with Lightroom Cc but then I discovered a big issue. The mobile applications (phone and iPad) actually store a smart preview of EVERY image and there is no limit on how much space it will use on your mobile device. I confirmed with Adobe that it will consume 100% of device capacity if needed. That was a show stopper that caused me to switch back. None of the other Adobe competitors will work for me because none of them offer desktop, mobile and cloud support. Only Adobe offers all three. I hope one of the others like Skylum one day hits all three!"

I think Peter's comment is interesting: "After many years I've been looking for alternatives to LR. Currently using ON1 as my default and like it. Started to develop a rhythm with it. I like that it doesn't rearrange my file structure. The raw processing works fine for me. HDR module is pretty useless IMO, but that's not a deal breaker. Lots of options to fine tune images to get to my vision. I really wanted to like Luminar, but haven't been able to zero in on a workflow I can get my head around. Did get Aurora, their stand alone HDR software to try out. We'll see. Will go back and try brackets that failed in ON1 and see what Aurora gives me. Retraining my brain to new software is a painful process. Actually have to think about what I'm doing."

And finally, Bob adds:" I currently use LR, with Aurora, Luminar, PS, NIK and a few others when LR falls short. I have a lot invested in LR as a DAM, that getting me to switch off of it would require a huge jump in capabilities to go through the effort. Overall, I feel Adobe is abandoning the LR+PS photographers in favor of pursuing their cloud strategy that does NOT work for me."

So where does that leave us? If you prefer the Adobe ecosystem, there are advantages to using Lightroom + Lightroom Mobile + Photoshop as needed. iPhone photographers and Apple fans should definitely revisit Photos and its substantial bullpen of Editing Extensions. Tethered shooters, RAW aficionados, and those who don't care about having a companion mobile app might want to consider Capture One Pro. And if not of these work for you, there's still the OnOne suite, DxO PhotoLab, Luminar with Libraries, and a handful of others.

Skillshare for Photographers

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Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. You can take courses in photography, videography, audio production - you name it, they've got it. So whether you're picking up a new skill for your day job, figuring out your next side project, or pursuing a long-time passion, Skillshare has classes for you.

The photography courses are amazing. One that I recommend is "Documentary Photography: Capturing Places and People" by National Geo photographer Ami Vitale. She is both a great photographer and a compelling personality. And this is just one of many top notch titles on Skillshare.

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with this special offer for TDS listeners: Get 2 months free. That's right, Skillshare is offering The Digital Story community 2 months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/tds.

And a big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this show!

Don't Stop with Portrait Mode - Make Your iPhone Shots Even Better

You can read the entire TDS article here complete with step-by-step illustrations.

Portrait mode on current iPhones is incredible. Just open the Camera app, slide the options to Portrait, and shoot away. And as impressive as the results initially look, you can make them even better with just a few clicks. Here's how.

  • Choose the best lighting scheme.
  • Improve skin color.
  • Add a soft vignette.
  • Don't forget a dash of sharpening.

Now, thanks to iOS 13 and iPadOS, all of these techniques can be applied on the iPhone and iPad as well, with the exception of White Balance. When in Photos for mobile devices, use the Warmth and Tint adjustments instead.

Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Podcasting Skills Course - Big thanks to everyone who attended our Podcasting Skills Course this past Saturday. I really enjoyed sharing all of those gems with you.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

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

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

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!

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Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Portrait mode on current iPhones is incredible. Just open the Camera app, slide the options to Portrait, and shoot away. And as impressive as the results initially look, you can make them even better with just a few clicks. Here's how.

001-Original-Portrait.jpg The original photo is good. But we can make it better.

If you have iCloud enabled (and why wouldn't you?), your picture is automatically saved to Photos on the Mac and your other iOS devices. With just a few clicks in Photos, you can take that good image to then next level.

002-Switch-to-Studio.jpg Choose the right lighting scheme. I captured in Natural, but I think Studio looks better.

Regardless of which lighting scheme you captured in, you have the option of switching in Photos. In this case, I think the Studio lighting scheme is more flattering. (Notice the options displayed at the bottom of the image.)

003-Adjust-Skin-WB.jpg Improve skin coloring.

iPhones are generally pretty good with image color. That being said, I've found that there's room for improvement as well. Because we took this portrait in the shade, her coloring was still a bit cool.

I selected White Balance in Photos for macOS, choose Skin Tone from the popup menu, and enabled the eye dropper. I then clicked on her face to adjust the white balance for her particular skin tones in this environment. They looked much better afterward.

004-Soft-Vignette.jpg Adding a soft vignette puts more emphasis on the subject.

One trick that many portrait photographers use is to add a soft vignette to put more emphasis on the subject. The technique is to start with full Strength, adjust the Radius and Softness, then back off Strength until the vignette isn't detectable to viewer. However, even as a subtle effect, it makes a noticeable improvement in the image. (Here I only needed about 20 percent strength for this portrait.)

005-Sharpening.jpg Finally, just a bit of sharpening to clean things up.

The last step is add a dash of sharpening as well. Move the Intensity slider (don't worry about Edges and Falloff - they are fine where they are) to about 20 percent. You don't want to over-sharpen portraits, just restore crispness to the overall image.

If you're in Photos for macOS, press the M key to see your before and after. Using Photos in iPadOS, while still in editing mode, just tap on the image to see the original version.

side-by-side.jpg Side-by-Side: A good portrait gets even better. Photos by Derrick Story.

Now, thanks to iOS 13 and iPadOS, all of these techniques can be applied on the iPhone and iPad as well, with the exception of White Balance. When in Photos for mobile devices, use the Warmth and Tint adjustments instead.

Portraits captured with iPhones are truly impressive thanks to computational photography. But the artist in you can take them to the next level. Your subjects will thank you.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

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

I test a lot of lenses as part of my work running the TheFilmCameraShop. Many of the optics that I sell are purchased to adapt to mirrorless cameras, as well as mounted on their originally-intended film bodies. And the one thing I've learned is that you actually have to take pictures with a lens to determine its usefulness. Don't be fooled by minor front glass imperfections.

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Case in point: I recently got my hands on a Nikon Series E 70-210mm f/4 manual focus zoom. I had read that the 70-210 was one of the sharpest members of the Series E family. Unfortunately, there was a ring of light haze/fungus beneath the front objective. And there were some additional light hazing around the edges as well.

Typically, this isn't an optic that I can sell in the shop. Most photographers run for the exit as soon as they hear the terms "fungus" or "haze." So this looked like an optic for my personal use.

The good news was that the back of the lens was pristine. My experience has been that the integrity of the back glass is more important than the front optics when it comes to image quality.

So, I mounted the zoom on my Nikon D700 that I use for testing glass. Here's an image from that series of test shots.

DSC_8669-70-210-test.jpg

The pictures look terrific - great sharpness, good color, and no weirdness that I could detect. I also have some film images at the lab captured with a Nikon FM that I anticipate will shine as well.

My point is this: Adapting vintage glass to mirrorless cameras is a blast. And you can get some great deals, especially if there's some light fungus in the front. As long as the back elements are clean, I wouldn't let a little dust or discoloration deter me. Take the big discount, and go have fun.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #712, Nov. 5, 2019. Today's theme is "5 Gear Recommendations for Peace of Mind While Traveling" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

After nearly two weeks away from home, and sometimes under truly bizarre conditions, I leaned heavily on my gear to keep me productive and sane while on the road. On today's show, I discuss five important items that helped me accomplish that goal. You may find some of them surprising. But these are all battle tested and ready for action.

5 Gear Recommendations for Peace of Mind While Traveling

When you're packing for a trip, you may think that everything is going to go perfectly, and you don't need to worry about getting stuff done on the road.

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But if you've spent any amount of time traveling, you know that things rarely go perfectly, and in fact, they can go horribly wrong. The good news is, that being prepared for such situations isn't such a painful exercise. And to do so while keeping it light is even better! Take a look at these gear suggestions for the prepared, happy, nimble photographer.

  • A High Quality Compact Camera - It's ironic to me that compacts have been suffering at the hands of smartphone cameras. But for serious photographers, a versatile, dependable compact allows us to capture a wider variety of shots, yet keep it light, while on the road. Depending on your shooting style, I recommend Olympus TG-6, Canon G5X Mark II, and the Sony RX100 Mark IIV. One footnote about your nimble compact, USB charging is a big plus!
  • Modern Tablet - Laptops are fine when everything is normal and you're sitting comfortably at the dining room table with home WiFi. But when you're dealing with the unexpected challenges of the road, a tablet is where it's at. My iPad mini 5 running iPadOS and with 4G LTE cellular connectivity was a beast on the road. Everything from true web browsing, to article publishing, to text messaging, to image editing, to watching movies on Netflix was handled effortlessly by this compact powerhouse. If I'm going to stay productive on the road, an iPad is required equipment.
  • Ring Doorbell - The $99 Ring Video Doorbell with HD Video was critical for peace of mind when I'm thousands of miles away from home. Not only does it keep track of simple things such as when the pet sitter arrives and leaves, but it notifies me of unexpected package delivery, suspicious activity outside, and in my most recent case, the physical safety of my neighborhood. Fire maps and news reports are one thing, but actually looking at your front porch in real time is a magnitude better.
  • WakaWaka Power+ Light and Charger - I have tried many, many portable chargers over the years, and my favorite remains: the WakaWaka Power+. I like it because it is so incredibly light and compact, yet it provides a 3000 mAh rechargeable battery, 1050 mWatt 22% Sunpower cell, and 2 LEDs (110 lumen/Watt), yet weighs less than 200 grams. I always have one of these in my backpack. It will charge my iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch regardless of where I am. PS: don't forget your cords!

  • Vanguard Havana 48-Backpack - I have tested more backpacks over the years than I care to count. Many of them I liked. But the Vanguard Havana 48-Backpack has become my trusty companion on the road. It's affordable at $103, non-photo looking, roomy, and protects my cameras, tablet, and laptop with ease. And most importantly, it has extra room that I invariably need when on the road.

One of the cornerstones of nimble photography is traveling light enough to have your gear with you when moving from Point A to Point B. If you have too much stuff, it becomes burdensome. Yet you want to be prepared for the unexpected.

Every minute that I spent preparing for the last trip paid me back with interest. Technology plus planning can be a powerful combination.

Welcome Skillshare to the TDS Podcast Community

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Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. You can take courses in photography, videography, audio production - you name it, they've got it. So whether you're picking up a new skill for your day job, figuring out your next side project, or pursuing a long-time passion, Skillshare has classes for you.

I'm looking at a course right now about removing background noise from audio recordings, since that's a situation that I run into every now and then. And there's plenty of other topics to help me stay on top of my game. And that's the goal isn't it? Keep getting better.

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with this special offer for TDS listeners: Get 2 months free. That's right, Skillshare is offering The Digital Story community 2 months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/tds.

And a big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this show!

Adobe fulfills its promise: Photoshop on iPad is officially here

You can read the entire DP Review article here.

Photoshop on iPad relies largely on the same underlying code, but tweaks a few things to account for the more touch-based input method the iPad offers. Like the desktop version of Photoshop, Photoshop on iPad offers full PSD support so working on projects between multiple devices shouldn't be a problem and new projects created on Photoshop on iPad will automatically be saved to Adobe Creative Cloud so you can pick back up on your computer if need be.

As previous reports from beta testers noted, not all of Photoshop's features are present in the current version of Photoshop on iPad. In Adobe's own words, it focused on bringing 'common tasks and workflows that we know will be useful for most Photoshop users.' Specifically, Adobe has included basic adjustments, brushes, cloning, spot healing, cropping, eyedropper, masking, layers and a few other features.

I downloaded it on to my iPad mini 5, and it ran fine. The app recognized my Creative Cloud subscription (Lightroom/Photoshop $9.99 a month), and logged me right in.

I did some work with the healing brush, and the results were good.

Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

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

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

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!

IMG_0682.jpg

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Add a Dash of Juxtaposition for Fun

Absolutely we want to come away with meaningful photographs when traveling. Those iconic images add depth to the history of our experiences. But mixing in a little fun adds breadth as well.

90CAB4BB-BD6A-452C-876E-2C545DF6457B.jpeg Signs that miss the mark are one of my favorite juxtapositions. Photo by Derrick Story.

Many of my humor shots are captured with the iPhone, often when I'm not even thinking about photography. I'm just observing life, and there it is!

That being said, I do think that you have to have the awareness in the back of your mind to begin with. In other words, "I'm not looking for funny shots, but yet I am." Does that make sense? For me it feels like a motion sensor tuned to the ironic.

One last thought: If you do post on social, these are often perfect for engagement. For most folks, the world is plenty serious already. Adding a smile to the day is a gift indeed.

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

The iPhone does a great job of recording panoramas. But what do you do with them afterwards? They are hard to share on social because they're quite small when displayed in their entirety. As a result, those tiny details defeat the original purpose of sharing an impressive scene.

Beach-Pano.jpg Maui Beach Pano - There has to be a better way to display this! Photo by Derrick Story.

I have two suggestions for you. The first, for viewing on the iPhone, is to use a dedicated app, such as PanViewer. You can have your image fill the entire screen, then tilt or swipe to enjoy the image details.

But my favorite way is to incorporate the panorama images into a Photos slideshow, then output it as a movie. Here's an example, titled Maui - Morning to Night that incorporates two iPhone panoramas with a few still images.

These movies are easy to create. Start in Photos for macOS. Click on the plus sign that appears when you mouseover My Projects in the Sidebar. Name your presentation. The click on the Add Photos button (+) at the bottom where the thumbnails are displayed. Mix in a few standard images with your panoramas, and arrange them in the order that you want. Finally, apply the Ken Burns theme, and play. You will be delighted with the presentation.

You can export the slideshow as an HD video, then share on Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else you display your stuff.

You probably have a nice stockpile of panoramas right now. Put them to use! And show them to the world.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #711, Oct. 29, 2019. Today's theme is "Fire in Sonoma County, Again." I'm Derrick Story.

The Kincade Fire, which began on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 in Geyserville, CA has spread south to Windsor, and yes, close to the northern part of Santa Rosa. Because of the danger that it presents to my home, studio, and two cats, Theresa and I are flying out of Maui right away to deal with the situation. This podcast shares some insight to the challenges at hand.

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I've never been one of those grumpy guys who mumbled, "Cameras don't take pictures, people do." In part, because I like new photography gear and enjoy using it. Image making is both man and machine.

But that doesn't mean that I need to pack all of my stuff every time I travel, especially if I'm not on assignment. This week in Maui is a perfect example of how rewarding life as a nimble photographer can be.

Sea Turtle on Maui Sea turtle rising for a breath of air. Olympus TG-4 compact camera in UW mode. Photo by Derrick Story.

I almost bought the Olympus TG-6 for this trip. It's a great camera, but I have the TG-4 that's still performing well. So well, in fact, that I couldn't justify spending the $449 for the latest model. So I didn't. And so far, I have not regretted that move once. (Or should I say: non-move.) The TG-4 is performing wonderfully both topside and while snorkeling.

Butterfly Fish on Maui Olympus TG-4 while snorkeling is wonderful at capturing the sights beneath the surface. Photo by Derrick Story

As an aside, if you spend any time on adventures at all and want to be able to take pictures regardless of the conditions, the Olympus Tough ($449) is an amazing camera. I highly recommend it.

Lapping Waves at Sunset Waves rolling on shore at twilight. Olympus TG-4. Photo by Derrick Story.

Another essential item on the island has been my Apple Watch Series 2. Again, not the newest kid on the block by any measure. I must admit that the Apple Watch Series 5 is impressive. But the Series 2 is what's on my wrist right now.

There are a few things about the Apple Watch that I really like on these trips. Since I'm swimming a lot, I can leave the hotel with the watch only and leave my iPhone X back in the room. (I do carry the iPhone when I'm not in the water.) It's wonderful having the watch log my exercise, tell time, and play music through my AirPods (which I stash in a waterproof pouch while swimming). It basically keeps me on track when I'm out and about.

egret-maui.jpg Ergret on Maui. Olympus TG-4. Photo by Derrick Story.

My goal here isn't to sound off like a tightwad. But I think the pace of change with our technology has slowed enough to where we can still use gear that's a few years old, and with excellent results.

The TG-4 does capture in RAW and my photo processing software is better than ever (Photos for iPadOS, Luminar 3, Photos for macOS). Having solid post production applications allow me to get more out of my images. I use Luminar 3 as an editing extension for Photos for macOS when I'm on vacation. They're a wonderful tandem.

So yes, software has been one of the keys to all of this. The other of course, is being a good photographer at capture. By giving the hardware every opportunity to be successful when I'm taking the picture, I set up a good opportunity to finish off the image with the modern software that's available. The upshot is that I'm able to walk around with just a TG-4 and an Apple Watch for the better part of the day.

I'm having a a great time traveling as light as possible. Life as a Nimble Photographer has its rewards, for sure. And I'm still coming home with many, many wonderful images.

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

This is The Digital Story Podcast #710, Oct. 22, 2019. Today's theme is "The Evolution of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I first learned about the original E-M5 in a closed door meeting at CES 2012. Olympus broke the news to the public the next month, and we started a whole new era of mirrorless photography. Now with the Mark III ready to hit the streets, I thought we'd take a look at this latest model, and the 8-year journey it took to get here. I hope you enjoy the show.

The Evolution of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is once again a substantial improvement over its two previous generations. Before I get to the evolution of this camera, let's review the basic specs for the just-announced model.

E-M5-MarkIII-Front.jpg The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

  • 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • TruePic VIII Quad Core Processor
  • Dual F.A.S.T. AF (Contrast & Phase Detection AF) 121 Point (All Cross Type) On-Chip Phase Detection)
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization with up to 6.5 Shutter Speed Steps Compensation with Sync-IS
  • 2.36M dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" Vari-Angle Touch LCD
  • Dust, Splash and Freezeproof
  • 10fps [H] mode 6fps [L] mode mechanical shutter 30fps [H] mode 10fps [L] mode silent electronic shutter
  • 4k Video Capture (30/25/24 fps) with Flat Picture Mode
  • USB In-camera Charging
  • 30fps Silent Electronic Shutter
  • PRO Capture Lag-Free Electronic Shutter Mode
  • Some people have referred to the Mark III as a mini-EM-1, and I think there's good reason for that nickname.

    But its evolution really took a different path, and I think its worth going back to 2012 to understand the real significance of this camera.

    PA202695.jpg Top decks of the E-M5 (left) and the E-M5 Mark II

    The first E-M5 was actually a fairly simple camera to operate. It had a mode dial on the left top panel with PASM, i-Auto, movie, Scene, and Art Filter options. On the right side were unmarked twin control dials with function and movie buttons. That was it.

    But its functionality was fantastic. You could program the function buttons and the dials to suit your shooting style. The body was weather resistant, and the handling was very comfortable. I still shoot with one today in the studio. I use it for my product shots.

    Some people complained that the buttons were too "spongy" due to their weather sealing. I know what they mean, but they never really bothered me that much. The camera is quite durable, and it's performing as well today as when I first bought it.

    PA202702.jpg

    Then, in February 2015, the Mark II was released. This was a very different camera, and one of my all time favorites.

    First of all, it was a wonderful HD video camera. Olympus replaced the up and down tilting LCD with a fully articulated model. The sensor-based image stabilization was further refined. And with the optional grip, you had jacks for both mic and headphones. The video it rendered was truly beautiful. Again, I still use this camera today. It's really good for live streaming.

    The top deck of the Mark II was more sophisticated than its earlier sibling. A convenient on/off switch was moved to the mode dial, and there were now four buttons and two dials on top. I really liked the program lever on the back that allowed me to switch from my still photography settings to movie settings in one easy motion.

    This camera was equally capable for both stills and movies. Plus Olympus added the 40MP High Res Shot feature. And they continued to refine its features and performance through multiple firmware upgrades.

    One thing that held back both the Mark I and the Mark II was computer processing power. In particular, burst modes in RAW were limited and the camera often had to pause to write to the card. And the second limitation was the 16MP sensor. And this brings us to the Mark III.

    Not only does it look more like an E-M1 Mark II on the top deck, it features a more robust TruePic VIII Quad Core Processor inside. The overall appearance is sleeker than the chunky Mark II, plus we now have 4K video (which many wanted in the Mark II), Pro Capture, 30fps silent electronic shutter, and a 20MP sensor. Horsepower is no longer an issue.

    In a sense, we've returned to the cleaner look of the Mark I, but with the firepower of the E-M1. I think this is going to be a winning combination for Olympus. It was worth the 4-year wait.

    Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

    This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

    You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

    Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

    If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

    Amateur Photographer Magazine Celebrates 100 Years of Olympus

    You can visit their site here.

    I downloaded a copy to my iPad for $3.99 using their app, which is free in the App Store. It's a terrific article with lots of pictures of Olympus gear over the years, including the Olympus Flex twin lens, Olympus 35 rangefinder, the original PEN f, and of course, the amazing OM series.

    They also show selected Olympus print ads from over the years, a cool article, What Olympus Means to Me, a discussion on the Micro Four Thirds Era, and an article on OM to OM-D. There is a lot of great stuff here for those who appreciate the innovation of this brand.

    Updates and Such

    Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

    Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

    B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

    Affiliate Links - The link to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III contains an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

    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

    Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

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