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The Pain of Moving In

Posted by Tom Benedict on 20/12/2011

I’ve spent the past several days moving into my new laptop. That probably sounds overly melodramatic, but so far it has been as traumatic as moving into a new house. All the old stuff needs to fit, maybe with a little more organization than in the past. And any move comes with it the hope that eventually all the boxes will be unpacked, and that the last one won’t be found while moving into the next new house.

For me, moving into a new computer used to be pretty easy. In the past I was a UNIX sysadmin, so I liked to keep all my “real” stuff on a server. A new desktop machine was just a new place to log in from. So what?

Eventually, though, I made the transition to my new mode of operation: I’m a desktop user. My mail lives on my desktop. My CAD stuff lives on my desktop. And (heaven help me) all my photography crap lives on my desktop. So when I change my desktop computer, everything has to move.

Almost everything went smoothly. The two hold-outs were email (who knew Thunderbird could store mail in so many different locations, depending on what version of Windows you were using!) and my colorimeter.

In case you’ve never used one, colorimeters are cool. They’re used to color calibrate your monitor to a known standard. I got mine while editing the World Wide KAP Week 2009 book. I never looked back. Having and using a colorimeter is great. What sucks is when you can’t.

Since my old laptop is now semi-permanently attached to an external monitor, I had to do something about that monitor’s colors. I looked at my photo stream, and saw all kinds of blown out stuff. The cold cathode gauge I’d photographed looked an almost radioactively lurid purple. Skies were an evil shade of blue. Even grass looked like acid. Horrid! After calibration, everything looked like it was supposed to.

I still haven’t calibrated my new laptop’s screen. Unfortunately the colorimeter I bought back in ’09 is tied to a license. So I can’t just install the software, calibrate, and be done. Even more unfortunate, I can’t find my original disk. Oh it’s still around. I just haven’t found it. Worse still, Datacolor, the company that made it, has lost my registration. So no new keys for me. It sucks.

But I’m moved in. Photoshop now lives on my new computer, along with all my other photo editing software. This is where I’ll be processing my pictures in the future. So if you notice some oddball color casts to my stuff over the next few days while I scrounge around and find the software that came with my colorimeter, bear with me. The light bulbs in my new house have a weird color cast. Be patient while I change them out.

– Tom


3 Responses to “The Pain of Moving In”

  1. Yaniv said

    Since I installed lightroom about two years ago
    I barely open photoshop, I really can do it all in there.

    I never calibrated any of my screen, I guess I need to buy such a calibration thingie.

  2. Tom Benedict said

    Ooookay! I know a couple of KAPers who use Lightroom. I used the pre-1.0 release beta several years ago when it was first being written, but I’ve never used it since.

    There’s one ground photographer here who uses it almost exclusively, the same way you’re describing. Ever since talking to him about it, I’ve wondered how much of what he said would apply to KAP. Here’s a hand-waving paraphrase of what he said:

    Photoshop is good for editing single images, and is really designed for the graphic artist who is working on a single image like a one-page advertisement in a magazine. Lightroom is designed to edit sets of images as a whole, and is really designed either for a photographer who is working with entire shoots worth of photos, or a graphic designer who is working on large sets of images such as a book on bonsai or a book of landscape photography.

    The photographer in question had just finished editing a 300+ page book on traditional Hawaiian agriculture that incorporated well over a thousand photographs from over thirty photographers. He said if he had done it in Photoshop it would have taken him over a decade to make all the edits to ensure greens were consistent photo to photo. In Lightroom it took something closer to three years.

    So here’s my question: Even more than ground photography, KAP seems to work in sets of photos that are made in a given flight. Given that Lightroom is designed so that you edit one photo in a set, and can then apply all of those edits to the remaining photos in the set automatically, do you find this particular feature useful? Or do you still find yourself editing each photo in turn as an individual image?

    I’m not tied to Photoshop, Right now I’m using Photoshop 7.0 because I simply can’t afford to upgrade to the latest greatest version of CS. On occasion I do need to dodge and burn using layer masks, which is something the pre-1.0 Lightroom couldn’t do. But the bulk of my editing could probably be done in Lightroom. A license for Lightroom is several times less expensive than a new Photoshop CS license. If it’s the better tool for the job and it’s less expensive, that’s a compelling reason to make that change!



  3. Yaniv Eliash said

    The latest (and already several previous releases) have many new tools that you’re probably not aware of, here is a short list from memory :

    Brush tool – you can actually apply specific changes (brightness, saturation, contrast… etc) with a brush – it’s actually the same as burn and dodge on PS.
    Graduation mask – you can apply changes as the brush tool, but to a more massive area with a graduation change, very useful to darken the sky for example or brighten the ground
    Clone / Healing tool – as in photoshop
    Clarity – emphasis borders and improve sharpness in overall

    Of course, LR is not PS
    as if it were nobody was buying PS, but among photographers it does replace it pretty well.

    I still do go 1 by 1 on the library in LR and filtering my photos,
    in addition to KAP I also do PRO photos with a DSLR so it’s a daily tool for me, but it doesn’t take decades, not years and even barely 2-3 hours.

    You browse your library and flag photos with black and white flags
    this initial filtering method eliminates shots that you will never use and found unsuitable for your project
    this reduce the amount of photos from the beginning making the rest of the process faster (and still, I never copy and paste adaptations, I go 1-by-1 each photo).

    You can download LR 30 days trail,
    I bought LR only this year as it was on a sale (buy Wacom tablet, get LR for free) and I actually don’t use the wacom :-\

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