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The Wirecutter just published two enormous guides about photo accessories, which includes a couple of pieces I wrote for them. The guides cover a huge range of topics, from flashes to storage to camera straps and more.

It was great to work with the Wirecutter editors, a truly top-notch bunch of professionals who know their audience well. I contributed the Lens Filters (UV, ND, and circular polarizers) and Direct Backup for Photographers sections of The Best Camera Lens Filters, Flashes, and Accessories for Taking Great Photos piece.

You’ll also like the other piece, The Best Camera Bags, Straps, and Accessories to Carry With You, in which I’m quoted speaking favorably about the Peak Design Everyday Messenger.

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Pensive Pencil

The first rule of the iPad Pro is: don’t let anyone — especially a child — borrow it along with the Apple Pencil. You won’t get them back.

In Saturday’s Seattle Times, I review Apple’s new pro laptop: Apple Pencil Works Magic with iPad Pro.

I’ve only had it for a little more than a week (and just a few days at the time I wrote the review), so I think there will be more to say over time. I’m working on a piece for Macworld about how the iPad Pro performs for photographers, and I’m also wondering how it fits into my life.

For example, it’s definitely capable of replacing a laptop for many people. Although Apple’s Smart Keyboard felt odd at first, I quickly got used to it and started enjoying the feel. But for what I do most days, a MacBook Pro is best for me. So, is the Pro too big to carry for the things I use it for? It will be interesting to find out.

But the Pencil, man, is really great.

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Photos ext tonality

The version of Photos for OS X that shipped with OS X El Capitan adds a new capability to Apple’s built-in photo management software: editing extensions. Although the adjustment tools in Photos are surprisingly sophisticated, they’re still fairly limited (and you still can’t edit an image in another application without exporting it first, a feature I liked in iPhoto and Aperture).

Editing extensions allow other developers to include their editing tools within Photos. For example, in the photo above, I’m still inside Photos but I’m applying MacPhun’s Tonality extension to make the image black and white using more options than are found in Photos’ own tool.

Over at Macworld, I explain how to install editing extensions and look at the ones currently on the market: Make Apple Photos for OS X more powerful with an editing extension.

I also included what I (humbly) think is one of my most amusing lines in an article of late; see if you can spot it. I’d forgotten I’d written it until I ran across it when proofing the final article and it made me chuckle.

(To learn more about how to use Photos for OS X, buy my book Photos for OS X and iOS, available now!)

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Redwoods Bridge Noiseless final

Have you ever left your camera’s ISO setting at a high level from shooting dark situations the night before, and then forgotten to change it before shooting the next day? Guilty as charged. The result is a lot of excessive digital noise in the next photos. That’s what happened to me in the photo above, one of my favorite shots during my photo workshop in May.

Modern camera sensors are much better at dealing with noise, but sometimes you need to push the ISO to get a shot. Or, if you’re using a smartphone’s camera, you don’t have a choice and the camera increases the sensor’s sensitivity, which adds the noise.

Macworld just published my review of MacPhun’s Noiseless and Noiseless Pro apps, which use algorithms and a lot of optional manual controls to minimize or reduce that noise without turning an image into a smeary mess. Noiseless also now includes an editing extension for Photos for OS X, so you don’t need to leave Photos to take advantage of the tool.

Read the article here: Noiseless and Noiseless Pro review: Clean up your photos shot in low-light conditions.

Noiseless bridge balanced

[By the way, you can order the top photo as a print! Contact me at jeff@jeffcarlson.com.]

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Elements 01 top2

Adobe released Photoshop Elements 14 this week, and over at Lynda.com I help to answer the question: Which Do You Need? Photoshop Elements vs. Photoshop CC

A lot of people think they need “Photoshop” to edit images, but Photoshop CC is usually overkill for their needs. The advantage of Photoshop Elements is that it uses the same underlying imaging technology as its elder sibling, plus throws in a bunch of features for people who want to get great results but don’t want to become photo editing experts. In this article, I call out some of the important features and how they differ between applications.

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Photos 6 hidden 04 sharing

My publisher Peachpit Press has posted an article I wrote that exposes six features that aren’t immediately apparent in the new Photos for OS X app:

6 Easily Overlooked Features in Photos for OS X

If you already own my new book, these won’t come as a surprise, but if you’re just coming from iPhoto to Photos for OS X, you’ll find them to be very helpful.

How many did you already know about?

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Photo mistakes 01 hero

My latest article for Lynda.com is now posted, wherein I rebel against good photo settings and make the point that even mistakes are better than nothing. Go see the errors I made and how I compensated for them:

Epic Photography Fails…Can Be Awesome

(The headline is a little hyperbolic, but hey, it gets your attention, right?)

I also reference the movie The Paper, which also hinges around catchy headlines, and which is a great film about the newspaper profession. Go rent it—unfortunately, it’s not on any streaming service right now. (The photo above is a still from the movie.)

After you’ve read my article, be sure to check out the comments on the post at Facebook, where someone pasted a great photo of Rambo rapid-firing a DSLR at a butterfly.

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Cc plan email

If you subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan (which includes Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, plus Creative Cloud syncing and Lightroom mobile for $10 a month), you probably received an email today containing a familiar name: me!

One of the highlights is a pointer (shown above) to the article that I published in Adobe Inspire in June, “Take Lightroom on Your Next Shoot.” If you missed the article when I pointed to it then, it’s all about how I used Lightroom mobile during a photo workshop in May through the California Redwoods.

I love writing articles like this, which point to practical things you can do with your photos in addition to inspiring you to get out and make more images. It was a fun one to write.

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Photos hidden 06 levels finetune

Photos for OS X is a consumer application, replacing iPhoto, but you’ll be surprised at how capable it is as a photo editor. In my latest article for Macworld, I look at several unexpected ways the editing features are more powerful than it appears, from keyboard shortcuts to the sophisticated Levels tool.

Read it here: The Hidden Editing Power of Photos for OS X

(Fair warning: the Macworld page includes an annoying auto-playing video. In fact, as I write this, all the comments in the article are about the video. Macworld’s editors can’t do anything about it, unfortunately: it’s a business decision made higher up. I know first-hand that the editors have tried for years to get rid of the autoplay videos.)

Speaking of Photos for OS X, my new book is now available!

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Traveldata 03 tripmode

When I was co-leading a photo workshop in May, we spent several days at a hotel that had meager (to be polite) Internet access. Fortunately, my cellular-equipped iPad picked up an LTE signal easily. So, using the iOS Personal Hotspot feature, I connected my MacBook Pro to the iPad…

…and swiftly burned through my cellular plan’s data allotment.

Twice.

At Lynda.com, I relate the sad tale and review a Mac app that would have saved me: TripMode. It’s a little menu bar item that lets you choose which applications connect to the Internet. (I suspect Photos for OS X was the bandwidth hog at the time.)

Read the article here: TripMode: Don’t Blow Through Your Allotted Data While Traveling.

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