HDR News You Can Use – January 2019

Hello again. We hope you’re taking advantage of the sketchy winter weather. The best time to get mood into your images is when the weather is challenging. Snow showers, clearing storms and even rain can add that little extra that makes your photographs stand out. This month we start with a great article on shooting wildlife in the snow that is full of good technique advice. We follow with a look at a new Olympus camera and a whole bunch more. Let’s get going.

Shooting Birds In Flight In Snow (Great technique info)

This article is a step up from your normal how-to photo article. In addition to being adorned with fabulous photos the article gets into the nitty gritty of shooting fast-moving wildlife. The lessons that nature photographer Denise Ippolito deliver get specific and immediately applicable to shooting wildlife and can be extended to shooting sports as well. She reveals exact shutter speeds, apertures and ISOs and she discusses EV compensation for those rare times when she’s not shooting manual. As a bonus, Ippolito discusses the various renderings of snowflakes as a function of your camera settings.

Get the techniques HERE.

Visit Denise Ippolito’s website HERE.

Olympus E-M1X Review

Subject specific focusing has finally made its way into high-end digital cameras. The Olympus E-M1X ships with algorithms created via machine learning to instantly recognize and fast focus on faces, cars, trains, snowmobiles and more. While the actual machine learning happens in the Olympus development labs, updated algorithms created during the development process can constantly be updated to the camera through firmware updates. This just may turn out to be the best technology to arrive for sports and wildlife shooters ever.

By the way, the image quality of this camera appears to be incredible as this image by Olympus Visionary Jay Dickman shows. Even in this Internet resolution example the nuances in the dark areas are amazing.

Read about the newest camera HERE

Check out Jay Dickman’s awesome website HERE

9 YouTube Landscape Photographers You Should Follow

If you’ve ever screeched to a stop, and parked your car by the side of the road because you caught a fleeting view of a potentially great landscape shot, you’re not alone. As you pull your gear out of the trunk and start the march into the wilderness you say to yourself, “I’ve got to be crazy”. Well, you’re not crazy and here is a collection of videos by accomplished landscape photographers that will prove you’re just like them. You can just watch the videos embedded into this article or you can click through to each photographer’s YouTube site. You’ll come away knowing you’re actually a sane artist.

See the videos HERE

Shooting The Same Red Cabin Over The Years

Good fortune will eventually come to the persistent or, so believes, Ole Henrik Skjelstad. He is a landscape photographer living and working in Norway and he’s a perfect spokesman for tenacity in photography. In 2013 he discovered a classic red cabin adjacent to a watershed. It was a scene that spoke to him and inspired him to return again and again. His photographs capture a wide range of weather conditions and show us all that returning to a location can produce wonderful images.

Discover how the seasons change your images HERE

Trekking The World With A 500mm Lens

Just quit your job, bail out of your apartment and hit the road for a couple of years. It’s a scenario a lot of young folks entertain and this couple actually did it. But, why would they add a 7 lb. piece of glass to their bag and schlep it through airports, train stations and backcountry treks? For this couple it was all about wildlife photography. Check out this article to learn about dealing with overweight carry-on equipment bags, possible theft and gear durability on a two-year adventure.

Check it out HERE

10 Innovations From CES You Need To Know

There’s no better way to determine the prevailing winds of electronic device development than checking out the Consumer Electronics Show held each January in Las Vegas. Since cameras are now electronic devices themselves and must interact with a universe of screen, storage and peripheral devices it’s in our interest to keep up with what’s new. Here’s a list of devices from the 2019 show that impact photographers.

Get the news HERE

Looking For A Great Wide Angle Zoom On A Budget?

If you’re an aspiring landscape photographer, street shooter, photojournalist or commercial photographer you need a fast, wide-angle lens. Such a lens from the major camera makers will set you back more than just a few bucks. Tamaron has been making some fantastic lenses that can go head-to-head with major brands at much friendlier price points. For a wide angle zoom consider the Tamron 17-35 f2.8 reviewed in this article.

Check it out HERE

HDR News You Can Use – December 2018

We hope you’ve had a wonderful Holiday Season. To celebrate the year, this issue points you to two 2018 photo compilations that are moving and thought provoking. Then there’s a story of one jaw-dropping celestial photograph, a 2018 best gear of the year review and some photo tricksyou suspected but didn’t know for sure. And, let us be the first to wish you a Happy New Year. Let’s get going!

This Is The World’s Year In Photography

What a year 2018 was and what a collection of photos this is. Photojournalism is the area of photography that is the most immediate. It’s immediately created, immediately distributed and immediately consumed. Beautiful images and heart ripping images appear and then disappear with the rapidly accelerating news cycle. As the introduction to this New York Times extensive group of images tells us, a second, slower look at the important images of the year gives us the time to reflect how they impact our sensibilities and our soul. This is a must-see image collection. Some images will break your heart. Some images will make you smile. The sum total of experiencing these images is a better understanding of our world and photography’s ability to shape it.

Experience this must-see collection HERE

Beyond Amazing – Greatest Photo Ever Taken From A Commercial Airline

This is a story of a photographer, a commercial airline and a once-in-a-lifetime event. The photo is so strong and the tale behind it so wonderful we’re just going to send you to the story.

See it HERE

Landscape Photography Apps You Can’t Live Without

Great sunsets, star-dense night skies, high and low tides are components that go into a memorable landscape photo. And, let’s not forget about making that classic Milky Way shot. Getting these elements into your landscapes requires preparation like consulting Google Maps, National Park and state tourism websites and word of mouth. But, what if you could exactly predict the sky, tides, sunrise, sunset and more before you ever leave your home? You can do all that and more with these apps.

Check out the apps HERE

Shooting the Full Moon Behind an 800 year-old Church

This piece shows you landscape photography preparation in action. It’s a great look at Swedish photographer Göran Strand who had the idea and did the research to photograph the full moon rising behind an 800 year-old church on Frösön island in a lake-dense area in central Sweden. All of Strand’s preparation yielded a stunning shot and a compelling video segment.

See Strand make the image HERE

Tricks Of The Trade – Food Photographers Are Magicians

You always sort of knew that the food photographs you see hanging in McDonalds or jumping off the page in a glossy magazine weren’t quite truthful. You look at that shot of a cheeseburger bursting out a fluffy bun with beautifully melted cheese and the perfect dollop of ketchup dripping from its edge and say to yourself 1) boy am I hungry and 2) that can’t be real. You’re right! It’s not real and the tricks used to make it look real will amaze you.

See how your eyes are fooled HERE

Best Camera Gear Of 2018

Getting a great overview of the year’s gear from a source you respect is an end-of-year requirement for the rabid photo head. Therefore, we send you to a full round up by dpReview’s Chris and Jordan. In addition to being entertaining their reviews are quite valuable if you’re thinking of making a gear brand change or just contemplating adding to your existing kit.

See the reviews HERE

National Geographic 100 Best Pictures Of The Year

As a photographer you have to love the end of the year with it’s “best-of” collections and lists. When thinking about the National Geographic’s end of year selections you would expect an inspiring and feel-good collection of images reflecting the best of 2018. And, that’s what you get with National Geographic Director of of Photography Sarah Leen’s selection of photos for this year.

See the images that will be in your mind this year HERE

HDR News You Can Use – November 2018

We often learn the most by watching others. In this issue we watch pro Reed Hoffmann handle the workflow and editing of a nice HDR image using HDR Express 3, Pinnacle’s streamlined yet powerful HDR application. Then we see how difficult it is to photograph the news when climate change has all the components of disaster dialed up to eleven. For our landscape photographers we get the inside story of Ansel’s most famous image. We then get some help determining the best lenses for our needs and we end with a hands-on with the world’s largest format camera. Let’s go!


Deep Into HDR Express 3

We sometimes forget about the incredible power under the hood of HDR Express 3. Yes, it’s our streamlined HDR editing application but did you know that when you create a merged HDR image in HDR Express you’re working on a full 32-bit image with fully functioning 32-bit editing tools? Try 32 bit mode in most all other editing applications and you’ll see the majority of its editing tools disabled.

There’s so much you can do with HDR Express 3 and wouldn’t it be nice to see a professional talk you through using it? Take the time to watch Spontaneous HDR with HDR Express 3 Parts I, II and III where our VP of Marketing John Omvik and award winning photographer and teacher Reed Hoffmann get deep with the product.

Hoffmann relentlessly crosses the globe shooting for high-end clients and major news publications. He is also an instructor for the Nikon School of Photography and his teaching experience is well demonstrated in the videos.

See the videos on the Pinnacle website HERE. Look for the three videos titled “Reed Hoffmann – Spontaneous HDR with Express 3, Parts I, II and III

Check out Hoffmann’s wonderful website HERE


Wildfire Photographer Laments Politics of Climate Change, Learns Something About the Nikon Z7

Stuart Palley lives on the blazing hot edge of sanity. He’s a wildfire photographer. Being a wildfire photographer involves a whole ton more than bolting out of your pickup truck and pointing your camera toward the blazes, if you want to live to tell the story. In this article Palley shares with you his training and preparations for getting the images and getting out. He also shares his literally hands-on experience with climate change and he shares his experience with the new Nikon Z7. If you’re considering the Z7 for fast-moving professional work you need to read his experience with the camera.

Check out this revealing article HERE


The Full Story Behind Ansel Adam’s Moonrise Over Hernandez

If you’re a landscape photographer you no-doubt are very familiar with one of Ansel Adams’ most famous images, Moonrise Over Hernandez, New Mexico. You may have come across tales of how Adams fell upon the scene driving back from a long shooting trip. You may have not known that when the light in the scene was at its optimum he couldn’t find his light meter. And, what will really surprise you is the way Adams printed the photograph evolved over the years and the version you remember in your head looks nothing like the early prints. Which print versions are superior? All this is explained in a wonderful little video produced by the Ansel Adams Gallery as promotion for the sale of one of the rare 21.5” x 29.5” prints

See how the iconic image was created HERE


DPReview Picks Best Lenses For Canon, NIkon and Sony

Take a short online trip to the website of the camera manufacturer of your choice and you’ll see a wide array of lenses for your camera ranging from super-wide fish eye lenses to enormous fixed focal length lenses weighing tens of pounds. We soon realize that we can’t own every lens shown without winning the weekly lottery so, we start examining how we shoot and which lenses will actually get the job done for us in the most artful and least expensive way. Then, we start the research into the lenses we’ve chosen. Some manufacturer’s lenses are fantastic values and others are disappointments. Why not let the experts do the work for you.

See the recommendations HERE


How To Use The World’s Largest Polaroid Camera

The romantic vision of a great photographer working with a vintage large format film camera is one many of us have. Wood frame, bellows, ground glass focusing and focal plane adroitness are experiences we can’t get with our DSLRs or even medium format cameras. Now imagine making an image in very large format. Large as in 20” x 24” with one of only six existing Polaroid instant cameras. That’s cool. Live vicariously by watching this video of one of the 235 lb. monster cameras in action.

See this enormous camera in action HERE

HDR News You Can Use – October 2018

The best photography time of the year is upon us and we hope you’re grabbing some of the best photos you’ve ever taken. In this issue we highlight landscape shooting technique and we point you to a great, landscape-filled download. If you missed Photokina and Photo Plus we share a nice overview of the new equipment recently introduced. We also challenge you with an opposing article that will have you questioning your need for a new camera at all. Have you experienced card failure? We point you to the lessons learned from a really bad failure. We end with a valuable resource that may make one of the least used items in your bag your go-to tool.


Best Cameras And Gear From Photo Plus 2018

OK gear heads, let’s take a look at photo manufacturer’s new offerings displayed at Photo Plus show in New York City this month. There’s a lot to digest. Canon revealed it’s pro-level mirrorless camera, Fuji displayed a 100mp version of it’s killer medium format camera the GFX 50R named the GFX 100, Zeiss showed its first digital camera and a whole lot more. This article will get you up to speed on what’s new. New toys may not improve your photography but they are fun to dream about.

Check out the new gear HERE.


7 Most Important Lessons Learned By A Landscape Photographer

Andy Mumford is an accomplished landscape photographer and photo workshop leader based in Portugal. He’s been at the craft for a long time and you can see in this video that his sage advice isn’t all about f-stops and the rule of thirds. It’s about sustaining yourself on the long journey toward making great images: embracing failure, releasing equipment envy and simply asking yourself the question “why”.

You can wrap your mind around this experienced pro’s views HERE.


Excellent Landscape Photography Free Download

There’s really nothing like a nicely curated set of landscape images if you’re looking for motivation. This month Landscape Photography magazine is offering a free issue and with that, a well crafted pdf download of images sponsored by Fujifilm (We’re seeing the Fuji name a lot lately). The informative aspect of this particular collection is the technical information displayed with each image including camera type, lens, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. It’s certainly worth downloading.

Grab the download HERE.


Sooner Or Later It’s You – Lessons From Memory Card Failure

Most likely you’ve never lost a photo to a dead memory card. You’ve seen your cards malfunction but recovery software probably retrieved your photos for you. But, what happens when you have a failure so severe that recovery software won’t even see your card in the reader? Then, you’re looking at using a data recovery company and an outlay of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Read this cautionary tale of a professional photographer who experienced the worst and pay attention to his recommendations.

Learn by other’s experience HERE.


Why You May Not Need A New Camera

Honestly now, can you tell which photos are shot on a 10mp camera, which was shot on a 32mp camera and which was shot on film. Our experience says you may make a correct guess but you won’t be sure. As the new products revealed at Photo Plus prove, there’s lot’s of cool stuff to try out there. But, do you really, really need the latest camera or lens to create meaningful photographs? Perhaps you do and perhaps you don’t. Give this thought provoking article a read and see if your perceptions are changed, or not.

Question yourself HERE.


Ethereal Photos from the Shores of the Dead Sea

When you come across a collection of photos with a look you’ve never seen before your mind may ask how did he/she do that? It’s a question we pose every time we see a Dan Winters photograph. In this article Israeli-based photographer Alexander Bronfer’s beach photographs made on the Dead Sea’s Ein Bokek beach evoke your curiosity. Is it the subject matter in the photos or the technique or a little of both that delivers the “ethereal” look? See ifyou can figure it out.


Experience a different use of color HERE.


Do Pros Use Common Speedlights For Real Work?

They sure do and most often you won’t be able to tell that the pro didn’t use a standard power pack and light heads. That little speedlight you carry in your bag and use to blast the face of your subject into white ghost territory has tons of capability you may not be tapping into. The key is getting the speedlight off your camera. How do you do that? You find out by visiting the most informative website on shooting with speedlights: The Strobist. Visit the site and click on through to his free Lighting 101 course. You can thank us later.

Learn to use your speedlight HERE.






HDR News You Can Use – September 2018

Autumn is the time of the year for capturing great color in your landscape panoramas but you also need to be thinking about composition and consistency in your stitched images when processing your pano. So we start with a great video on panorama composition and an even better, two-part video in our Pinnacle video education library that will improve your processing consistency. And, there are a lot more information treats that follow. Let’s get going!


Panorama Landscapes – Lead Your Viewer’s Eye Through The Image

When you get right down to it great landscapes rely on two elements, special light and thoughtful composition. You really can’t have one without the other though many photographers have tried relying on interesting light alone to grab the viewer. But, if you want to keep a viewer’s eye on your photograph you need to reveal different elements to them as their eyes move around the frame. This can be especially difficult when creating panoramas. This video and article will get you thinking about good composition that keeps your viewer engaged.

See the panorama composition video HERE


Mastering the HDR Panorama Process

This is a great two-part panorama instruction series with commercial panorama shooter Richard Sisk and our own VP of Marketing and accomplished photographer John Omvik. These two videos will take you through the HDR Expose panorama batch process to achieve consistent panels that will stitch beautifully for a compelling final image. Click on the HERE button that follows and you’ll be taken to the Pinnacle Video Tutorial page. Scroll down to the fourth row of videos where you’ll find “Mastering The HDR Panorama Process Parts 1 & 2”.

Watch the pano processing videos HERE

Check out Richard Sisk’s website HERE


You’re Going To Do It Eventually – Manual Exposure!

You shoot in A, S or P mode. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, in fast moving situations like navigating the changing light at a wedding or sporting event those automatic settings can save your entire shoot. But those same job-saving settings can backfire on you when you’re in backlit situations, high contrast situations, situations where you need max depth of field and a whole sack of others. Before too long you’ll reach a point where you crave maximum control of your photo outcome. You won’t want to hope your image was well exposed, you’ll know it.

Many say Manual Exposure is too difficult to master yet alone understand. Well, it’s not. And, if you start using it on a
regular basis you won’t believe how fast it becomes second nature and how your photo consistency improves.

We’ve tracked down a great video that breaks down why and how to use manual exposure. It’s created by photographer Sean Tucker and he’s got a gift for teaching. We’re sure you’ll take the next step toward going manual by watching the video.

Watch the video and go manual HERE


Color and Luminance Range Masking in Adobe Camera Raw

Many of the pro photograhers we work with, they do their first edits in HDR Expose to get a great master file. Then,
they make additional tweaks in other apps in order to use some tools they’ve become rely on. If you shoot RAW and you use Adobe Camera Raw after you may be puzzled about a tool that’s been added. It’s called Color and Luminance Range Masking tool. That’s a mouthful to say but it’s easy to use once you know how and it can give you graduated luminance and color results you once had to accomplish using multiple tools. Here’s a YouTube video by veteran Adobe Evangelist Julianne Kost that will take you through using the tool.

See the video HERE


Just how do you pronounce Bokeh Anyway?

Have you been in a camera store and start talking with the salesperson about a new lens’ product characteristics? If so, the Japanese word “bokeh” most likely came up and neither you nor the sales person was really sure how to pronounce it. Now, you’ll have one up on the sales rep the next time that happens.

It’s pronounced correctly HERE



It’s been a long, long time since we visited one of our guilty pleasure websites which is one of the most amusing sites on the web for HDR photographers. It’s actually called S$#%%y HDR and it does not disappoint. Indeed, you can find some of the absolute worst implementations of HDR processing available anywhere on its pages. The creators of these maserpieces have no hesitation to push the processing bar far to the right when it comes to garish color, horendous halos, ultra-patterned clouds and bad composition. A visit to this site will straighten you right out if you’re an HDR abuser.

Walk on the bad side HERE


Julianne Kost’s Blog

There are some luminaries in the photography world who you want to hear speak time and time again. One of those greats is Julianne Kost. Kost is Adobe’s Principle Evangelist who has been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People In Business. She contantly and tirelessly makes the rounds of photography shows, software conventions and club meetings demonstrating the processes, tips, and tricks of image processing. When you hear her present you learn and; you learn really useful stuff that sticks in your brain. She’s also a great photograher. If you’ve never had the pleasure to attend one of her presentations you should at least visit her blog.

Visit Julianne’s blog HERE

Welcome Again To HDR News You Can Use – August 2018

Choosing a lead story this month was a toss up between beautiful landscape submissions to National Geographic and the early introduction of the new Nikon mirrorless pro camera. We just had to choose the images. We also share with you three separate pieces on composition which includes looks at Sally Mann,Henri-Cartier Bresson and Monet and how their work is filled with classic lessons. Let’sget going!


Your Shot – The Best Landscape Photos Of 2018 (so far)

National Geographic’s Your Shot is a vibrant online community of photographers like you and me. The service allows you to post
up to 15 images per week for sharing with the community and the quality of submissions is superior, especially when you realize most of the images are primarily by amateurs and advanced hobbyists. This collection of landscape photos are presented as the best landscape images of 2018 so far. The images exhibit exceptional composition, color and thought. It’s worth the time.

See the collection HERE


Just In Case You Missed It – The Nikon Z Series Is Here

Nikon’s introduction of the Z7 and Z6 cameras last week was a bit of a shocker. The announcement follows recent history by getting in front of other manufacturer’s announcements tied to the Photokina show in Germany at the end of September. The cameras are Nikon’s first foray into the full frame, pro-level mirrorless market. They draw heavily on the technology in the stellar D850: 45.7MP BSI-CMOS sensor, ISO 64-25,600 (expandable to 102,400) and up to 9 fps shooting (JPEG and 12-bit Raw). “But I can get those specs out of my D850”, you say. Yes, but not at this reduced weight and size. What’s the financial hurdle to get into a Z7 with the all-new Z-mount
24-70 f4 lens? B&H is taking orders at a price of $4,147.

But wait, there’s the issue of the new Z (pronounced “zee”) lens mount that is larger and shallower than the F mount. Nikon got ahead of a firestorm from their community by creating an F-mount adaptor allowing you to use most of your existing lenes. But this raises the question of the future of development of the F lens line. There’s a lot to think about with this product introduction. We refer you to the Nikon website for the formal introduction and on to our friends at dpReview for the closer look they had at the Tokyo intro event which includes image samples.

See the Nikon announcement HERE
Get DpReview’s Z7 first impressions HERE
Get DpReview’s Z6 First Impressions HERE


New 151 MP XF IQ4 Camera System from Phase One Making Waves

Phase One has introduced the new XF IQ4 camera system, which can capture photos at <i>resolutions of up to 151 MP in a full-frame medium format camera</i>. If you’ve ever seen a large print of an image out of this camera or worked with a file from the camera then you know that you’re in very rare air. It’s virtually impossible to describe the sharpness and tonal complexity. It’s breathtaking. After you’re done reading the Petapixel article take a field trip to your closest pro camera outlet and get you’re hands on one. Be warned, the back alone is $48,000.</p>

Check it out HERE


Take A Walk Outside Of Yourself – Sally Mann Will Improve Your Photography

A major exhibition of Sally Mann’s work, titled A Thousand Crossings, is currently on view at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, fresh off a run at the National Gallery of Art in the nation’s capital. Calling Mann a “fine art photographer” over simplifies. She conceptualizes her message, often orchestrates her scene and then executes her prints, darkly. She appears to be able to emote into her photographs of family and friends the melencholy of the inevitability of their demise though, decades in the future. She doesn’t “take” photographs. She creates concepts. We’re sharing this article with you because of the number and cohesivness of the images. We hope the experience will help you dig deep for feelings that will appear in your images. An even better idea is to visit the Peabody and take in the exhibition in person.

See the images and article HERE


20 Simple And Elegant Henri-Cartier Bresson Composition Lessons

You’re an experienced photographer and you know you need to take your composition beyond the Rule Of Thirds. In this piece and the next, photographer Eric Kim helps us apply lessons from the greats in to our own images. Henri-Carier Bresson, besides being known for capturing “The Moment”, bended and reshaped the rules of composition; reordering ordinary subjects into displays of art that seem to be in motion. If you want to push your composition skills, check out this article.

See the lessons HERE


13 Lessons About Art From Claude Monet

Photographer Eric Kim’s blog is a great destination for getting yourself beyond just looking at photographs. Kim serves you well by reminding you that the pursuit of artful photography can always start by appreciating the artists that came before. In this article he’s all over Monet. He provides tons of composition examples and analysis as well as verbal quotes that illuminate his work such as: “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the air and the light which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” Kim adds, “Don’t just capture your subjects, capture the mood and the air around it! Create an atmosphere in your pictures, to transport the viewer into your images.”

Learn from Claude HERE

HDR News You Can Use – July 2018

It’s mid-summer and we photographers are all out there shooting. Great! In this issue we will feed your creativity with multiple collections of inspiring images. The articles span subject areas ranging from little known inhabitants of Iceland to sailing to molten lava to moonscapes. We also help you cure a dreaded landscape photography malady and, most importantly, we get you thinking about how to backup your digital assets (you know you’ve been putting it off). Let’s get going.


Love Letter To The Horses Of Iceland

The volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and massive glaciers of Iceland are the darlings of the photography world. Photo articles and  workshop tours of the island are all the rage right now: so much so that images of the Northern Lights are reaching passé status. Refreshingly we seen few images of the semi-wild Sleipnir horses of Iceland. The Sleipnir is believed to be the god Odin’s spirit animal. The images in this piece by Drew Doggett seem surreal. Doggett’s style is broad enough to deliver pleasing graphic composition as well as the sentimental interaction between the animals. You’ll enjoy these images.

See the horses of Iceland HERE


Dream Job: Sailing Race Photographer

There are some niche gigs in the photo world that would make you pinch yourself every day with gratitude. Sailing race photographer is one of those niches. Sailing photography is the largest revenue producer for experienced racer and long-time pro photographer Sharon Green. It’s not an easy area of photography. Your body is constantly moving, your subject is constantly moving and you have to simultaneously manage multiple cameras with different focal length lenses. It probably helps not to be susceptible to sea sickness. See how Green handles it all.

Learn about being a sailing photographer HERE



Avoid Disaster: The Best Online Backup Services of 2018

We know you have nightmares about it and if you don’t take measures it will happen to you. We’re talking about losing your digital photo library. And, if you think you’re currently backed up with a second or third hard drive on your system well, you haven’t considered fire or flood invading your workspace. Yup, you could be certified crazy if you don’t have your digital life backed up to an off-site, cloud-based service. We use Backblaze for it’s low cost and set it and forget it interface. But there are many more better and not so better systems out there. Read the reviews, do some evaluation and get going. You’ll sleep a lot better.

Start protecting yourself HERE


Shooting Moving Lava

The eruption of the Kilauea volcano has been all over the evening news and the images created by photographers willing to get close to the sliding magma are impressive. This collection of Kilauea images is near or at the top of what we’ve seen. Let’s not forget however that the images are associated with serious loss of life and property. The photographer is Mike Mezeul II and his mesmerizing photographs are accompanied by an interesting interview.

See the images and article HERE




How To Shoot Moonscapes

As we advance in landscape photography we work our way through mountain scenes, water scenes, golden hour scenes and blue hour scenes. Eventually we give moonscape scenes a try and this is where the landscape photo journey can get bumpy. With moonscapes we have to deal with various layers of light, different positions of the moon and depth of field issues when trying to get both earthbound objects and the sky in focus. Need some help? Give this article a try.

Check out the moonscape article HERE



7 Things You Need To Know About Shooting Wide Angle Lenses

Do you suffer from WAA? Never heard of the disease? That’s OK. We didn’t until we watched this amusing yet very informative video. WAA or Wide Angle Abuse is a serious photographic malady that makes all of your images look the same. Yes, you finally bought that wonderful wide angle lens to “realize your vision”. Now, you’ve forgotten all your composition and technical chops because of it. If you suffer from WAA check out this article and video.

Cure your WAA by watching the video HERE





What Weighs More Than A Kilo And Costs As Much As A Small Nisan Car?

Well, of course, it’s the new Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH lens. Of course! Well, not “of course” because very few of us have the resources to play in Leica land. We can make visits to Leica land however by renting or just reading online reviews. Is this lens worth the money? Maybe. Read on for an in-depth look at the hefty beast.

Make a visit to Leica land HERE





HDR News You Can Use – June 2018

June 2018 – This month we’re happy to feature an exclusive interview with pro photographer Charles Mauzy who’s using a smartphone and HDR techniques to product superior images, proving again: it’s the photographer not the equipment! We follow with some great new smartphone instructional videos from Apple and a set of great landscape lighting instruction articles for any camera platform. We take a dive into timeless composition by a nonagenarian who just won’t quit shooting and we end with one killer eruption of a photo. Let’s get going.

Pro Photographer Turns HDR Photography Onto A New Path

Charles Mauzy has shot large format natural history images for major publications (Atlantic, Audubon, Forbes, Life, National Geographic & National Geographic Traveler, Newsweek and more) as well as advertising and annual report images for Fortune 500 corporations (Boeing, DuPont, Ford, Kodak, Nike and many more). He’s got the chops. And, of course, he’s used the best equipment available throughout his career. Now he’s making fabulous images using smart phone cameras and HDR processing. His work drives home the old saying that it’s the photographer, not the equipment that produces great art. We caught up with Mauzy recently and he tells us about his new work.

PIN: Charles, why are you focusing your photography on food now? 

CM: My passion (recently) has been exploring and demonstrating the capabilities of the modern mobile phone as a valid capture device. The key subject areas I have been actively exploring are food & beverages, travel and florals.  These were initially selected given the degree they represented most people’s use of phone-captured photos in social media and in preserving personal memories.  I am a wretched people photographer, so I went with the complimentary categories where my core skills could be successfully applied.

PIN:  Congratulations on the look you’ve achieved using HDR techniques and a smart phone. Can you tell us which phone you’re using and why it works for you?

CM: I am now using the iPhone 8 and 10 primarily.  I have also shot extensively with a number of android and windows based devices in the past but selected the iPhone 8 as my primary device to simplify how many devices I was carrying to test.  One of the strengths of the phone camera is the degree of spontaneity it enables for most folks – it is the camera they always carry.  Trying to shoot a subject on multiple devices worked against that spontaneity and became a hindrance to the various projects I was working on.  In the case of documenting life’s interesting moments I normally only had one chance to capture the image, so I selected one device and concentrated on that.  One of the big advantages of the Apple ecosystem is the large variety of applications available to the phone photographer.  This includes a wide array of HDR applications as well as those that can be used to artfully manipulate and simply play with a phone photographers images.  Many of the best applications I have found come out for the Apple platform first so that was also a big influence on my choice of the one phone camera I am now using.

PIN: Why do you feel it’s necessary to use HDR techniques to achieve your colorful look?

CM: The gap between the sensors and lens combinations we can utilize in any modern DSLR and what manufacturers can fit into today’s phone designs is huge; but that is not a creativity-killing limitation, nor does it really hinder the use of the phone camera in a multitude of everyday & artistic applications.  That said, a number of photo tools become almost essential for doing the kind of look and quality I was trying to achieve using the capabilities and technology in the highest quality phones.  HDR quickly became a critical piece of my digital workflow largely due to the wide dynamic range of scenes that centered on glassware, ceramics, polished metals, liquids and the typically challenging lighting conditions in restaurants and most homes.




PIN: There is a slightly surreal, soft look to your images. Can you tell us how you achieved the look?

CM: I started to use soft focus and what we used to call glamor-glow techniques and applications while working on a series of wine images.  My early work was all about sharp, but one phone camera I started to test had a lens with significant spherical aberration and the results were very intriguing.  The manufacturer was willing to replace the phone, but I was so taken with the resulting images I kept it.  It really took me back to early work using the Diana camera manufactured in Hong Kong. The slightly dreamy soft look was perfect for the mood I was trying to create around the romance of wine and teas.  Using the mobile phone in combination with HDR and various soft focus applications gave me exactly the look I wanted.

PIN: What’s next for you?

CM: I am now starting to explore the viability of creating a “stock”  image collection for use in web-based advertising & editorial markets.  This is a bit of a full-circle journey back to when I first started in the stock photography industry at its earliest days.  While business models that can succeed in contemporary image stock markets no longer make a lot of sense financially it could create an exciting new resource for creative professionals and further extend the art and practice of digital mobile phone photography.


New Smartphone Camera Tutorials

Yes, yes: you’ve heard it before. The best camera is the one you have with you. Now, the latest smartphone’s image quality is rubbing elbows with DSLR image quality. We have a sneaking suspicion that you could use a little more info on how to wield your smartphone camera like a pro. Apple produces wonderful smartphone instructional videos that should provide just the knowledge boost you need to create the image that you envisioned: we learned something too. Apple updates these short, high-quality videos regularly. dpReview has collected the four most recent videos on a single web page. They cover shooting in back light, slo-mo video, panorama and quick bursts. They’re worth checking out

Experience the videos HERE


It’s All About The Light

Good composition and the latest equipment seldom supercede great light. It’s the light passing through your lens that creates the memorable image. As HDR photographers, we pay special attention to dynamic range but do we worry as much about the color and direction of light that we’re capturing? These two articles in Outdoor Photographer by Russ Burden give you a concise set of dramatic light conditions that will help your photos to stand out.

Landscape Light Part 1 HERE

Landscape Light Part 2 HERE


97-Year Old Photographer Still In Love With New York

Did you ever wonder if you’d ever be too old to make meaningful photographs? Did you ever wonder if your photographs would be relevant a generation after they were made? The answer doesn’t have to be negative to either question and proof points are the photographs of Vivian Cherry. Cherry created the bulk of her work in 1940s and 1950s New York City. She still lives there today. Her masterful composition and Cartier-Bresson-like capture of the moment tell you that these photos are for the ages. Viewing her work reminds you that having an open mind and just plain getting out there will produce memorable photos.

Read the feature on Vivian Cherry HERE
Visit Cherry’s minimalist yet interesting website HERE


Epic Volcano Photograph

It took Mexican photographer Sergio Tapiro fifteen years and over 300,000 photographs to reach his technical level. This nice article shows how Tapiro noticed that the Volcán de Colima volcano near his home would become active. In the image the volcano is erupting, spewing lava and throwing gases into the atmosphere. He set up 7 to 8 miles away and started making eight second exposures. Who knew that during one of those exposures there would be a lightning bolt. You have to see it.

Check out the story behind the Tapiro’s volcano image HERE



HDR News You Can Use – May 2018

May 2018 – Welcome back. If you’re a nature photographer you’re no doubt familiar with our featured photographer this month, Tom Mangelsen. It’s rare that a photographer is ever featured in a television broadcast report yet alone the venerable “60 Minutes”. Mangelsen hit it big in last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” piece and we highlight it here in case you missed it. We expand on nature photography with an insanely rare bird image that even Mangelsen would be proud to have taken and we push convention by considering telephotos for landscapework. Then it’s time to dream about using one of the sharpest and most expensive tale-zooms out there. We also look at famed cinema director Stanley Kubrick’s early days as a still photographer. And, there’s more. Let’s dive in!


Tom Mangelsen

Tom Mangelsen has labored at the craft of wildlife photography for over four decades. Based in Jackson Wyoming with eight galleries spread across the west and Midwest he’s quietly built a nature photography empire based on photographic prints that bring the viewer face to face with nature’s wonders like cougars, grizzly bears, elk and African wildlife. He’s waited, hidden in the wild, for weeks at a stretch to catch images of a lifetime. A visit to one of his galleries will amaze you. One particular image is a close-up of a lynx that reportedly took most of his career to realize. Last Sunday the weekly news show “60 Minutes” did a feature on Mangelsen, which included his friendship with nature researcher Jane Goodall.

Visit Mangelsen’s website which includes “60 Minutes” video HERE


One In A Trillion Nature Photo

OK. A shark catches a fish for dinner and the fish dangles from the shark’s mouth. Out of the skies above swoops down an osprey to snatch the shark with the fish still in it’s mouth. This is the food chain in a single image. You gotta see it.

Check out the rare image HERE


Telephotos For Landscapes?

In our humble opinion wide angle lenses are difficult to use if your photographic vision is creating simple, elegant landscapes.
Many landscape photographers believe that wider is always better. We disagree. Nothing helps you focus on creating a powerful composition than eliminating extraneous components in your frame. A super wide-angle lens bringsin more details into your image that may detract from your message. And, there are other problems when relyingon a very wide angle lens not the least of which is pushing your dramatic mountains in the background fartherand farther away, making them insignificant in your image. Are these fighting words? This article may change your mind.

Read about landscapes with telephotos HERE


Your Dream Lens

Are you into shooting birds, animals or sports? Well, then we know you covet long lenses like a 300 f2.8, 400mm f4 or even
a 600mm f4. These lenses are the finest lenses made by the manufacturers that produce them and, they are correspondingly expensive. You could encounter a five-figure price tag acquiring just one of these lenses. What if you could get the same or better quality of a fixed telephoto in a long zoom? You can and here is a hands-on review of Nikon’s re-entry into this space with a 180-400mm, constant f4 aperture, killer lens. The sharpness and contrast of images coming out of this lens will get your adrenaline pumping.

Read the article and see examples HERE


What’s The Best Camera Under $2000?

Pro photographers often say that the best camera is the one you have with you. In other words, it’s not about the camera, it’s about the photographer. Nevertheless, those same photographers will spend weeks or months checking out the specs and reviews of equipment they intend to buy because there’s a little bit of gear nerd in all serious photographers. DpReview is known for the quality and depth of its camera reviews and this one puts together their top choices in the sub $2K price bracket in an easily condensed and absorbable format.

Learn more about your next camera HERE


Only Stanley Kubrick Can Pull It Off

What we mean is, Stanley Kubrick is known in cinematography circles for his frequent, against all norms, composition. His go-to cinema composition is to place the highlight of the image in the exact center of the frame. If you drew diagonal
lines from one corner of the frame to the opposite corner, the intersection point in the center is Kubrick’s spot which is about as far from the Rule Of Thirds as you can get. The rest of the elements in the frame fall out in perfect symmetry giving the viewer a most uneasy sense of discomfort. Few people know that Kubrick spent five years as a photographer for Look magazine before turning to cinema. This article features his photographs from that period where he employed a more conventional sense of composition yet, you can see the beginnings of his iconic cinematic technique. It’s an interesting collection of images.

You can check out early Kubrick HERE



National Geographic is accepting entries into the Travel Photographer Of The Year competition for just a couple of more days (May 31, 2018, 12:00pm EDT). They now have an impressive collection of entries, some of which they’re sharing in a set whose theme is “color”. It’s an impressive collection that will get you thinking.

See the colorful set of images HERE



HDR News You Can Use – April 2018

April 2018 – Welcome Back! We have a wide ranging collection of photographic information for you this month. We start by highlighting our own HDR applications and their industry leading merge and deghosting technology. Then we get into the “are you cheating” conversation (no not on your significant other). Next we look to science to tell us when and where some famous photographs were made. Then, for your review is a look at the first 8×10 single-shot digital camera followed by a guy whose got a an interesting stash he hopes will prevent him from going go digital. And, if you ever wanted to know how to get close to human subjects we point you to a discussion with one of the most revered photographers working today, David Allen Harvey. Let’s get going!


Industry Best HDR Merging And Deghosting

If you’re into HDR photography you know that it requires merging multiple images with various exposures that capture the different light levels in the scene. The result of the merge is often mis-alignmennt of the images and ghosting. HDR Express 3 and HDR Expose 3 implement technology that virtually eliminates ghosts and mis-alignment caused in the merging process. Experts have said that our technology does merging and deghosting well when other H.D.R. programs generally don’t”

Want to learn how these magical processes are implemented in HDR Express 3? Check out this great video
featuring Pinnacle VP John Omvik that dives into the details of merging and deghosting.

See the video HERE. Click on the video “Using The Different Deghost and Merge Options In HDR Express 3”. This video applies to both HDR Express 3 and HDR Expose 3.


Why Shooting RAW Is Not Cheating

The controversies continue: RAW vs. JPEG, Digital vs. Film, Art vs. Hobby. This short but great little piece will give you the ammo you need to respond to anyone who thinks shooting jpeg is more honest than shooting RAW. Plus, the article neatly breaks down the steps your digital camera performs to create an image.

Read the article and solidify your opinion HERE.


Sleuthing Ansel – When And Exactly Where Was That Photo Made?

Beloved and icon to many, Ansel Adams was a bit of an absent minded professor. He wasn’t known for taking notes on his photo expeditions nor did he date his negatives. As a result aspiring photographers have had difficulty trying to replicate many of his images such as Denali and Wonder Lake (Alaska). Some aspirants are so into replicating everything in the original Ansel that they even want the celestial components such as the moon to be in exactly the correct position. Enter, Donald Olson and his team at Texas State University who, using using topographic maps, astronomical software, and webcam archives came up with the answers.

Find out how the locations were found HERE.


A Rare Conversation With A True Photographic Legend – David Allen Harvey

He was one of the founders of the Magnum photo agency and he’s been a long time producer of photo stories for National Geographic. But those credits don’t reveal the reverence with which seasoned, top-of-their-game photographers hold for David Allen Harvey. Few photographers can work their way into the lives of ordinary and even marginalized people like Harvey. His photography is all about revealing the souls of his subjects in a way that leaves the viewer wondering “what did he say or do for those subjects to let him into their lives?”

The article will tell you HERE.


The Landscape Photo Road Way Less Taken – Pakistan (great images)

Do you need a little more excitement in your photographic life than visiting one of America’s National Parks? Do you think that northern Africa, eastern Europe or south Asia is still a little too tame? Then it’s time to live on the edge and make the journey to Pakistan. According to this National Geographic piece Pakistan is packed with glaciers, volcanic craters, pastoral valleys and more and our guess is you’ll not encounter the Haqqani clan while visiting these locations. Even if you have no plan to visit Pakistan and you’re a dedicated landscape photographer you must see the images.

Make a virtual visit to the edges of Pakistan HERE.


8×10 Photographer Is Racing Against Time Before His Stash Runs Out

Here at Pinnacle we’re all about digital photography but we still respect and revere the great film photographers. In the spirit of Ansel Adams landscape photographer Christopher Burkett still lugs around an 8×10 film camera in order to make images of brilliantly detailed quality. The sad twist to this story is Burkett prints his images on Illford Cibachrone positive-to-positive paper which was discontinued back in 2011. He made a huge purchase of the paper when the product’s end of life was announced but his stash will eventually run out. What’s he to do?

Find out HERE.


World’s First Single Shot 8×10 Digital Camera

Maybe Christopher Burkett will discover this article and video of the world’s first 8×10 digital camera before giving up on photography altogether. It’s all about the $106,000 LargeSense LS911: a large format digital camera and purportedly the “world’s first 8×10 digital single shot camera” for sale. As you would suspect wielding an 8×10 camera in any form is going to require time and patience and this particular camera appears to take the complexity to the next level. For you entrepreneurs, you’ll quickly see where the holes are in this camera’s setup and perhaps you’ll find a product opportunity.

See the video and article HERE.