Every year, more than one million photographs captured in some of the harshest conditions on the planet arrive at National Geographic magazine. From our trials and tribulations, learn how to conquer your own digital photography challenges.

October 2008

Posted Oct 8,2008

Yesterday saw the release of the first major update of Expression Media 2 (the Microsoft version of iView MediaPro) and many of the bugs that have annoyed the photographic staff at the magazine for the past few years are gone in this latest version. The Expression Media Service Pack 1 contains 400 bug fixes but here are the highlights I've noticed since I started using it.

Camera Metadata (EXIF) Is Saved on Image Conversion: We frequently use Expression Media 2 to rip JPEGs out of RAW files and iView loses the EXIF metadata upon conversion. This was a major headache and I am glad it is now possible to go from RAW to JPEG and retain the critical capture date & time as well as all of the camera information including ISO, white balance and lens.

Long file names: Long file names like MM7665_080808_45332_SkyDomeBlue-000001.NEF used to confuse iView and cause the program to lose track of where an image was located, create junk characters in the file name or prevent a user from resetting the path to a particular image. Thankfully, this bug is fixed and photographs with long file names don't break anything.

Geo-tagging: It still is rare that photographers send lat/long metadata embedded in photographs but now when they do it will be as easy as clicking on Window/Show Virtual Earth to see on a map where the images were created. I tested this today with old photographs from Nick Nichols and I was able to see exactly where he was making pictures in Africa. That 3D globe view is so good -- it was almost as if I were there!

There are still improvements that I hope are made soon that will improve our work at the magazine and also help photographers who use the software. Suggestions at the top my list are:
+ add on-screen notifications of changes made to photographs
+ improve the rename-on-import options for photographs
+ provide better feedback when notifying the user about what the program is doing and has completed
+ improve the import options to provide a chance to import and copy to a new location
+ provide an option to "stack" images to combine RAW + JPEGs as one.

There is clearly room to grow but this update is much appreciated. To get the full list of improvements in this service pack and for directions on updating the software check out David Sayed's blog.

Posted by Account Deleted | Comments (8)
Filed Under: Software, workflow
Posted Oct 7,2008

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What would you do if you had one wish to change the world, and you were given $100,000 to make that wish a reality?

James Nachtwey, one of the most highly regarded photojournalists of our time, was given that chance when he was awarded the 2007 TED prize. He used the prize
money to translate his peerless journalistic vision into stunning images, in an effort to raise awareness of a virulent, mutated strain of extremely drug resistant
tuberculosis—XDR-TB.

Mr. Nachtwey’s coverage spans the globe and will hopefully raise the profile
of XDR-TB. The photographs are as haunting as they are beautiful and can be
viewed at XDRTB.org.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (5)
Filed Under: Current Affairs, photography
Posted Oct 6,2008

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Most of my day is spent researching stories, editing, attending meetings, or unraveling digital work-flow issues. So when I have the chance to get out of the office, explore a new city, the embers of a stifled photographer start to smolder. Paris was the first stop on my way to Photokina, in Cologne, Germany.

Never having spent any time in the City of Lights, I was eager to take in all the prime destinations—Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower—and of course not take one photograph simply to prove I had arrived. I wanted to try and make a few images, postcards using Paris as the inspiration, yet play and enjoy the compositions, art, and architecture as they were segmented momentarily in my viewfinder. 

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (15)
Filed Under: Digital Photography, photography, Photography Tips
Posted Oct 3,2008

Extremeducatisdplus_3 I’m a real creature of habit, especially when I find some little piece of gear that makes my life as a photographer easier. To that point I recently learned some sad news, one of my favorite products has been slated for EOL.

Well I didn’t know what EOL was either, I had to ask—it stands for end of life. SanDisk is ending production of its SD and SDHC Plus line of memory cards. In an earlier blog I pimped the benefits of not having to carry around a card reader and cables, because the SD Plus memory card folds in half and plugs directly into a USB slot.

Seems putting a SDHC and USB controller on one of these convenient little cards makes them slightly more expensive, and so I deduce not as palatable to the thrifty shopper. For me the couple extra dollars is worth the convenience of have not having to drag around a card reader on vacation.

If you like these memory cards, get your fill while supplies last, because after the end of the year they may be as rare as hen’s teeth.

Ken Geiger

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