It is great to finally be back to posting regularly on the site! It took us a while to finally wrap up our second video course, and despite my attempts to keep the site fresh with new content, things have been quite hectic to say the least. And now that most of all that is behind us, I cannot wait to start posting great content again. I have a lot of things lined up for this month, and next month is going to be even more exciting, because we will be hosting another guest post month, where our readers will get a chance to submit content for a chance to win a camera, in addition to getting paid for writing and sharing the content with others (we will post the announcement later this week). On top of that, a number of big reviews are coming up – with the Nikon D500 review being the first. The review is 95% done (written by our very talented team member John Lawson and co-written by Tom Redd and yours truly); I just need to add ISO comparisons and notes to finish it up. I have to say, this one is well worth the wait! I know many of our readers have been waiting for us to review the camera and we have put a lot of time and effort into it. We did not want to review this camera without spending a lot of time in the field! Anyway, today I wanted to share an image that I captured when I visited the Great Sand Dunes NP with Spencer Cox. He has already posted an image of his own in the last “how was this picture made #10?” article, so I am posting mine. This one was interesting, as it is something I did for the first time in my life.
We are very excited to announce the release of our second video course, Level 1: Workflow and Post-Processing. After months of hard work and many sleepless nights, we were finally able to wrap the course up and make it available for purchase. After receiving a lot of positive feedback on our first video, we decided to take it up a level and deliver something we are truly proud of. The result is a 14-hour educational course that will surely satisfy your hunger for photography knowledge for quite a while. In this course, we pick it up right where we left off last time; from the moment you insert your memory card into your computer, all the way to the image export process. We go over each step of the photography workflow process, provide detailed information on different post-processing tools available on the market today (along with the overview of the most popular ones), and give you in-depth coverage of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. In addition to the above, you will also learn how to properly organize your images and your Lightroom catalogs, find out about computer hardware required for post-processing, and even learn how to properly backup and export your images. To make it easy for you to follow the course, we are providing all relevant raw images, so that you can try all the tools we teach you to use. Without a doubt, this is one of the most detailed and complete courses you will find on both workflow and post-processing!
A lot has changed in the world of computer storage in the past decade. Traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDD) have been outperformed by insanely fast and now affordable Solid State Drives (SSD). And now we have insanely faster flash memory technology already available for the consumer market in the shape of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), which is manufactured in a number of different interfaces / form factors, including M.2. Many photographers, including myself, experienced a huge boost in performance for post-processing large resolution files when switching from a hard drive to an SSD, but now that the faster flash memory is becoming more common, one might be wondering about the benefits of this new storage compared to both HDD and SSD drives. We have already published a detailed article on building a computer for photography based on the latest generation Intel Skylake architecture, where we recommended to get the new generation motherboards with built-in M.2 slots for flash storage. Having built a similar computer myself for my post-processing and video editing needs, I thought it would be useful to share just how much faster the new storage is compared to both HDD and SSD drives, since I use all three in my large full tower setup.
We are very excited to announce our second course, Level 1: Workflow and Post-Processing, which we have been working on for the past few months. We are currently in the process of adding some more bonus material and putting some finishing touches to the videos, which we are planning to release early next week. For now, I would like to present the trailer of the upcoming course, so that our readers could get a chance to see what we have in the course and what one can expect from it. This course completes our Level 1 basics courses, which means that from here on, we will be able to move up in content and complexity – we are already planning to start filming a Level 3 course on landscape photography later this summer, with the scheduled release of Q4 of 2016. It is truly exciting and rewarding to be working on these courses, because we are creating a strong foundation which we can build on in the future.
Hasselblad today dropped a huge bomb on the photography market by revealing world’s first medium format mirrorless camera, the X1D-50c. With its huge 44x33mm sensor (0.8x crop factor, 4:3 aspect ratio, ISO 100-25600 range), 16-bit color, 14-stop dynamic range, 2.36 MP electronic viewfinder (EVF), 2.3 fps continuous shooting speed, dual SD card slots, 3″ 920k-dot touchscreen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, an incredible leaf shutter capable of flash sync up to 1/2000th of a second and a super lightweight construction weighing only 725 grams with a battery. At 150 x 98 x 71mm, this is a very small camera relative to its sensor and its throat diameter – a truly innovative design. And with all these specs, one might think that the camera would be priced in the $30K+ price range like other medium format Hasselblad cameras. But that’s not the case…the Hasselblad X1D-50c will retail for $8,999, which is surprising, considering that the sensor alone costs about half of the price of the camera. With such amazing specs and a powerful 3200mAh battery (which is a lot – the Nikon D5’s EN-EL18a is only 2500mAh in comparison!), this camera is aimed at a variety of photography needs, including landscape, architecture and portrait photography. In addition to the X1D-50c, Hasselblad has also announced two brand new lenses specifically made for this compact medium format camera – a 45mm f/3.5 (~36mm full-frame equivalent) and a 90mm f/4.5 (~72mm full-frame equivalent). Older Hasselblad lenses will have to be coupled with an adapter to work, which according to Hasselblad will be released soon, retaining autofocus capabilities. Hasselblad dubbed the X1D as a “groundbreaking” camera and such words as “game changer” are used in its public announcement for a good reason – there is nothing at the moment on the market that can compete with the above specs at this price range.
Death Valley National Park is one of those rare places on this planet that does not cease to amaze every time you visit it. Thanks to its unusually dry weather conditions, cold winters and extremely hot summers, the park goes through a number of transformations throughout the year. And such changes can be observed in many of its rich and diverse landscapes, especially if you pay a visit at the right time of the year. I have visited Death Valley as early as January and as late as April (you certainly do not want to be there past May, as the temperatures in late spring and summer can soar as high as 130F!) and I have also been there once in the fall. Each time I visited, I saw something unique that I had previously never seen before, especially once I started exploring the park a bit more than just the main roads. In this article, I would like to hopefully show just some of the beauty of the stunning and the ever-surprising Death Valley National Park and show you some of my most favorite parts of the park I like to visit.
I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone National Park to test out the Nikon D500, Nikon D5 and Pentax K-1 DSLRs (reviews to be posted soon) and I wanted to share my experience, specifically my frustrations with visiting and photographing this amazing location, which has been my top spot for many years for photographing both wildlife and landscapes. I spent a week in Yellowstone and my original plan was to stay there for longer if needed, depending on how much wildlife I would encounter. But I had to cut my trip short, because I was just getting tired of seeing the same behavioral patterns of park visitors over and over again – to the point where it was just getting absurd, abusive and downright stupid.
While it was pretty sad to see Nikon recall its last round of rebates due to earthquakes in Japan, other manufacturers like Fuji are continuing to push pretty aggressive sales on both cameras and lenses to lure in more customers and increase their market share. I am a big fan of the Fuji X system (I own the Fuji X-T1 and a couple of X-series lenses – see my detailed Fuji X-T1 review), so when I saw all the available deals on lenses and cameras, I wanted to let our readers know about these deals. Although these deals are supposed to last until the end of June, if you have plans to purchase Fuji gear, I would suggest doing it sooner than later, since many of the lenses are already out of stock and it might take a while for your order to arrive if it is backed up too deeply in the order queue.
With so many editing / post-processing software packages on the market today, photographers might find it rather difficult to go through them all and compare key features in order to pick something that would ultimately work for their needs. Many of us go through that stage, especially when starting out. What is the best software for photo editing? What features does it have? Is it easy to learn and how much does it cost? These are just some of the questions photographers seek answers for. While John Bosley and I have been working hard on producing our PL Level 1: Post-Processing Basics course, we have decided to share one of the charts that we will be including in the course with our readers, which compares the most popular non-destructive editing tools on the market. It took us a while to compile all this data, since there are so many different features and considerations one must go through to make a meaningful comparison. The chart has not been fully finalized yet, since we are currently looking for your feedback and ideas, so that we can hopefully make the chart complete and comprehensive enough for those who are interested in such a comparison.
Today is a very sad day in our photographic community – Michael Reichmann, the founder of one of my all-time favorite sites “Luminous Landscape“, passed away late last night after an extended battle with cancer. He was 71. Although I never had a chance to meet Michael in person, I always hoped that one day our paths would cross, since he has always been such a huge inspiration. A great teacher, an amazing photographer and from what I had heard from others, a very warm, kind and funny person. I learned so much from Luminous Landscape and the articles that Michael and his team put out on the site, and I have always recommended the site to our readers as one of the best sources on the Internet on landscape photography.