Friday, April 5, 2013

Old Brain. Tough Love. New Hope.

Join us as we try and make sense of the 6,000 buttons in Photoshop that all seem to do the same thing - the wrong thing." (Andy Morris)

Want an analogy of my current computer skills?My wobbly orbit recently sent me careening through the Scott Kelby Universe. I'm tempted to call him a one-man corporate megalopolis black-hole-of-information photography instructor salesman, except that he's not a man. It's rather obvious that he never sleeps and therefor must be a Series 8 Android on a mission to drain away all of the free time (and money) from the photographer versions in our own frail, human race. But I digress.

I lost part of a day over Episode 68 of The Grid, subversively called "Tough Love." Another viewer succinctly described the show as, "You're a lazy photographer who sleeps in, doesn't take advice, puts technical stuff over composition, buys gear you don't need, and takes cruddy photos."

Hey! Looks like they're finally doing a show about me. Maybe I should watch it before sending a link to mom.

It's true, though, most of it anyway. I despise getting out of a warm bed. I always think I know more than the "picture takers" I meet with cameras - regardless of how many times they've proven me wrong. And I'm always finding dusty accessories that I bought and never got around to using. However, a couple of my photos are kinda' non-cruddy, and I have never been one to put technical stuff over composition. It's this last one that finally slapped me awake.

This reminds me of the first computer installed at my first newspaper, except you had to wear a winter coat to work in the room.My computer skills suck, and I know it. Somehow I've gotta' get better at this technical stuff.

Back in the old days, you could be a good photographer without any computer skills whatsoever. Zero. Zilcho. Old Ansel worked his camera magic before computers were invented, or at least back when one computer occupied an entire climate-controlled room and wasn't yet up to playing "Pong" (Google it you youngsters).

No more. Digital editing replaced darkroom skills years ago, and now computer skills are hiding a lotta' lazy camera habits.

Nowadays, you're virtually required to be a computer jock to use a modern camera. It's no longer enough to just know the Nikon/Canon side of the family, now you've got to spend your days and nights with Ms. Adobe, or one of her less well-endowed cousins. From my fuzzy viewpoint, it looks like some of today's photographers who are climbing into higher orbits are as good or better with a computer than they are with a camera. Computer skills are now at least as important as camera skills, if not more. Scott Kelby slapped me upside the head with this ugly reality.

After a week or two of "Tough Love" induced heartburn, I reluctantly checked myself into Photoshop rehab. Well not exactly Photoshop, more like Lightroom. I've used Photoshop for many years and can skate by on a dozen or so buttons that I know how to push. But I just added Lightroom 4.3 for some video rendering stuff I want to try (more gear I don't need?). And you know what? Lightroom ain't at all like Photoshop. I spent the first day just figuring out how to "Import" and the second day trying to figure out where the hell my imported images went to.

Short answer - they don't exist!

My future is looking up.This hybrid "Catalog" engine in my Photoshop "Foldered" brain was driving me insane. So I finally did it. I went online and signed up for several software classes and webinars. I am finally listening to and learning from younger - and smarter - photographers. There, I said it.

The next month or two should determine if my old brain cells are still flexible enough to split tone my shadowy computer skills enough to highlight my new metadata mind. Only then will I try a Photoshop class.

Behind the keyboard: Here's a relatively new blog that deserves more readers. It's called, "Photoshop Scares Me." It's written by a guy named Andy who wears a horse's head. What more do you need to know?

1 comment:

  1. I love Lightroom. I very rarely take a photo into Photoshop. In fact, the only time I process a photo outside of Lightroom is to stitch a pano, or to merge some frames to attempt an HDR image, oh, and too add a watermark to web photos.