March 16, 2019

What not to photograph

Whenever I need a reminder of what types of photographs I’d like avoid making, I pay a visit to the popular page on 500px.

To sum up…

  • Long exposures of water
  • Star trails
  • Over-processed semi-nudes of impossible women
  • Flowers
  • Bokeh for the sake of bokeh
  • Birds (eagles especially), also insect macros
  • HDRs of anything

These can all make for lovely photographs, and I’m guilty of all of them, but they’re just not my style.

March 14, 2019

Installing Windows 10, just for fun”

I thought it would be fun to install Windows 10 on my old ThinkPad Carbon X1. I was wrong.

I had Manjaro i3 on the ThinkPad and was getting weary of having to look up everything I wanted to do. The nerdiness of it was fun, but I found it hard to actually use.

Windows should be better, right? I figured I could use a few of the same apps I use on my Mac (TheBrain, Lightroom, etc.) and the overall experience should be smoother.

Nope. It’s been a frustrating, janky mess so far.

The very first thing I noticed was that the worst feature in the world was enabled by default: Tap to Click. It took me 30 minutes of searching (Bing-ing?) because all of the answers I found (and there were dozens) were wrong or misleading or mentioned things in the UI that don’t exist, at least on my machine.

Eventually, I found this…

Settings->Personalization->Themes->Mouse Cursor->Settings

I say eventually” because I would have never thought to look under Themes” for that setting.

Anyway, I unchecked Tap to click” and it worked. Phew! Except then two-finger trackpad scrolling didn’t work. I had to delete and reinstall the driver, then do the above again.


It’s this kind of shit that I was hoping to avoid by installing Windows in the first place.

I then spent the next 10 minutes uninstalling things like two different Candy Crush” games and something called Cooking Fever”.

While I’m sure I’ll get used to all this, and I’m trying to keep an open mind, my first impression is that other than using familiar software, it’s not a huge improvement over Linux.

Follow along on the wiki.

March 13, 2019

What if I don’t build a darkroom?

I used to have a darkroom. It wasn’t fancy, but it had a giant sink with running water, a fine selection of enlargers, and enough doo-dads around that I could process and print just about any kind of negative.

A few months ago, I moved to a new house. The new house doesn’t have a darkroom. There is an extra room in the basement that I’d earmarked for use as a darkroom, ignoring the fact that there is no way to get running water to it.

The room was stuffed full of crap I wanted to get rid of, and last week I got rid of all of it. Nothing stopping me now!

Except now I’m thinking I’ll be just fine without a dedicated darkroom. What if, instead of taking up all that space for enlargers, chemicals, and trays, I set up a nice digital printing station? I could get a big, fancy printer and load it up with dedicated black-and-white ink sets. Or I could buy some expensive RIPs and finally calibrate my monitor for color1. I might even dust off the matte cutter I bought years ago and only used once.

So I’m thinking about how I might be able to make a decent silver gelatin print once in a while even without a darkroom.

One option would be to keep the little Focomat V35. It’s compact and a nice piece of gear. Only does 35mm, but I could store it easily and haul it out occasionally.

The other option would be to limit myself to 4x5 or 8x10 negatives and make contact prints in the bathroom. Just need a flat surface and a light bulb for that.

Some day I’d like to have a custom, fully-featured darkroom with all the fixin’s, but until that happens I may have to make do without.

  1. Nope, I’m not doing that. I hate printing color.

March 10, 2019

The Lesson from Costco’s Photo Lab - Missy Mwac

Missy Mwac

If you think photos are important now, wait until they are all you have left.

I tell anyone who will listen to PRINT YOUR PHOTOS! It doesn’t have to be every photo, but print some of them, please. You will thank me. And if you don’t, your grandkids will.

Missy understands this.

But I back up to the cloud,” you say. My pictures are safe,” you say. … while you may have access to them, will your kids? Or their kids? Or their kids?

Let me answer that for you…NO. No, they won’t, which means all of those precious day-to-day images will be lost for future generations because you didn’t take an hour to send them off to be printed onto paper.

I tell you true from the bottom of my heart, the snapshots you have today will be MORE important later. But, later, well, you won’t have them. 30 years from now, when you are searching for that photo of your dad at his birthday or your daughter in her kindergarten play, you won’t have it.

Also, caption your photos.

(via Print to Save, Mike Johnston)

photography analog
March 10, 2019

Text File Fatigue

I originaly wrote the following in 2015 (on a blog I seem to have misplaced).

Text File Fatigue

I’ve spent years using Vim, and more recently Emacs/Spacemacs. When I go plain text, I go all text. This makes me feel great for a while. It’s portable! It’s future-proof! It’s flexible!

Then I realize a few other things about my text-only workflow: it’s ugly, it’s not as useful, and it doesn’t need to be that future-proof. Everything looks the same, and fatigue sets in. I start wishing things could be a little more fancy. Nicer. First thing I usually do is try a different theme in my editor. That helps for a little while, yet I still long for pretty, not just not ugly”.

I’ve gone round and round about this over the years, but for the most part I seem to always end up in plain text. But, I also understand that not everything needs the plain-text-future-proof treatment. So, I sometimes use Tinderbox or TiddlyWiki or Curio or TheBrain or whatever makes the most sense for the purpose of the text. Context matters more than a blanket everything must be plain text!” rule.

I’m typing this in Emacs.

March 9, 2019

Stuck with Lightroom Classic

After much wringing of hands and a near disaster, I am back to using Lightroom Classic as the core of my workflow. The goal is to have a stable local set of files, but also benefit from cloud sync and editing.

I started by cleaning up and reimporting everything into Classic and deleting the entire Lightroom CC library. I then created a brand new Classic catalog and imported a combination of old catalogs and folders of images. One side effect of this is that I now have a lot of duplicate images because I imported everything, including the ./Processed” folders which normally aren’t added to the catalog. I’ll have to live with this.

All new photos will be imported into Classic on my iMac (home). If there are a lot of images to be imported, I’ll first import them into Photo Mechanic and add keywords and captions before then importing into the Lightroom catalog.

The current year’s photos are stored on the local hard drive. Prior years are moved (using Lightroom) to the Synology at /home/Photos/YYYY

In Lightroom’s preferences, I’ve enabled Specify location for Lightroom CC ecosystem’s images”, set to /Users/jbaty/Pictures/Photos. I also enabled subfolders by date and set it as YYYY/MM. This meant changing my long-standing format of 03-March 2018 for monthly folders but the upside is that anything I happen to import into Lightroom CC on mobile (or that are automatically added from Apple Photos) ends up in the same place as my local imports, e.g. /Users/jbaty/Pictures/Photos/2019/03/ Again, I can live with that.

For any photos originating in Classic that I would like to have also synced to CC, I add to synced collections.

What I hope this all means is that I have all my photos safely stored on my local system in a place I dictate, and with file names I control. In addition, new iPhone photos are automatically brought in via Lightroom CC and stored locally with everything else. If I’m traveling, I can choose to import into CC on my iPad Pro and do some editing there, knowing it’ll all sync back into Classic later. Also, it’s nice that file names edited locally are synced with the CC versions. This makes me feel better.

photography lightroom