Why do people like golf? It could be the fresh air, though I doubt it. My bet is because it’s enjoyable yet difficult to master. You’re always in the game, but seldom on top of it.

I remember learning to shoot medium format and developing the film myself. When I held that first successful print in my hands, a feeling of joy swelled inside of me. I stood a little taller.

The truth is, however, that one shining moment cost me rolls of 120 Tri-X and boxes of enlarging paper. Like golf, analog photography is fun, but hard.

Digital photography…

I fell into Capture One Pro, not because I was looking for a new photo management app, but because I had been abandoned. My Aperture images were frozen in time, like a woolly rhino in permafrost. Aperture was discontinued by Apple, and I needed a way forward. It was 2015.

Learning Capture One Pro was like learning to drive all over again. It was a herky-jerky affair — lots of tire marks on the curb. But over time I became comfortable. And it’s now the home for my professional assignments.

Actually, it’s more like a vault. There’s no cloud connection…

I’ve heard that some photographers don’t care much for smartphones. The thinking is that these disruptive devices will overtake our beloved interchangeable lens cameras and leave us with only slippery glass slabs for our work.

By way of example, they may point out the demise of inexpensive compact point and shoots. They’re practically extinct. But to be honest, weren’t they zebras at the back of the pack anyway? Who wants to carry a phone and a digital camera when you can just carry a phone?

OK. Fine. But these grip-less droids are getting smarter. They’re not satisfied with the elimination…

I remember when I received the news from Apple: they were discontinuing their professional photo application, Aperture. The phone call was a heads up before the official press release broke. I thought it was a joke.

I wasn’t an Apple employee, but I had been working closely with the Pro Apps division for years. From 2010–14, I had a terrific relationship with the photography folks there, and even produced a podcast for the Aperture community. That all ended in June 2014. Not only for me, but for thousands of photographers who depended on that software for their work.

I never…

This story begins in typical fashion, with me being frugal. And it turned out, as these things often do: DIY projects work.

At the heart of this tale is the Fujifilm X100V digital camera. I’ve had an ongoing affair with it since it showed up on my doorstep more than a year ago. It sports a fixed-mount 35mm lens that’s a great choice for 90 percent of what I shoot.

But no partner is perfect. And there were situations when I wanted something a bit wider, not too much, but 28mms would be excellent. Fujifilm had the answer. The WCL-X100…

Earlier this week I was watching an 11"x14" print emerge from my Canon inkjet, and I realized that this is one of the ways I maintain a connection with my photography roots.

The actual steps are different now. I’m no longer leaning over a tray of developer, gently rocking it and waiting for that moment when white paper transforms into a real photograph. These days I send the file wirelessly from my laptop to an inkjet output device that, dot by dot, fuses the image on to a sheet of coated stock. …

While testing the new Fujifilm X-E4, I had a lightning bolt of an idea: how would my Pentax DA prime lenses work on this camera? I have a 21mm, 40mm, and 70mm trio that I just love. If they worked on the X-E4, I could quadruple my optical options for it, and without spending a dime. The only catch would be manual focusing.

Manual focusing… Why do we even pause at the thought? Is autofocus really the only way to go?

Yes, there are situations when I absolutely love the convenience of AF — chasing kids around the yard, camera…

From the beginning of photographic time, enthusiasts have been obsessed with lens sharpness. And this quest has caused many to bypass optics with great character and creative potential.

I have my own history with scrutinizing lab tests. As a kid, I was hooked on photography magazines. I would go to the newsstand and peruse the latest copies of Modern Photography, Shutterbug, and Popular Photography. Most months I could only afford one, and the winner was determined by the gear it reviewed.

New cameras were fun to read about, but the real juice was found in the detailed lens reviews. I…

An encore career doesn’t have to be a new job. It can be reinventing an existing one. My photography will soon be back on track — and with fewer carbon emissions. Here’s my post-pandemic thinking.

In the last 12 months, I’ve gone from a “roll up my sleeves” photographer who would mix it up with clients and strangers to a Zoom instructor who clears his head by taking 30-minute walks with a mask in his pocket. I can count on two hands the number of people I come in direct contact with.

During this same period, Northern California weather has…

Photography is not a contact sport. Yet these days, a camera bag in public feels like an invitation to conflict. We’re seeing photographers robbed in parks and confronted on downtown sidewalks. Their backpacks are being ripped from vehicles during smash and grab robberies, sometimes while the owners are still in the car.

None of these victims “were asking for it.” They were going about their craft with cameras, lenses, and accessories they believed were helpful to produce the images they desired. But do they really need all that gear with them? I submit they do not. A swinging camera bag…

Derrick Story

Photographer, writer, podcaster- Tune in at www.thedigitalstory.com

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