We spent our Thanksgiving weekend in the country, watching leaves turn, forgetting our day to day and its circular patterns. Some people find comfort in knowing what will come next, without fail; I can understand that—we're creatures of habit after all. But I find myself mostly dissatisfied with standing still. Probably part of the funk I was talking about in my last post. I've written about this before: the danger of satisfaction that accompanies any form of success, however moderate. I don't mean public success but a personal sense of achievement, this feeling that we've reached a point where we have more answers than questions and we now know what we're doing. That's the honey pot. It's this magical place where we can easily decide to stop learning and embrace the status quo. Establishment, after all, can take on many, many forms; and it usually has its roots in rebellion, settling over time.
I find myself needing to consciously shake this off, this complacency, over and over again. Which doesn't mean I succeed btw—change is hard. But being aware of the need to move on is a necessary step. Learning should be a lifelong commitment.
It sounds all high and mighty but in my mind it's really about small things. For instance, that portrait on the right is something I rarely, if ever do with our kids: take them aside and have them sit down for a picture. And light them. As most of you know, my family (and documentary) work is all about being invisible and not interfering with a scene; finding images and moments as opposed to creating them. But that, like anything else, can become a habit of its own. A repetition. So when I packed for the weekend I added a Yongnuo speedlight and Honl grid. I brought my tripod too—maybe for a portrait of some sort in the surrounding woods. I took the XF 56mm, the 35mm and even the 23mm I seldom use in favour of the X100T; brought that camera as well along with the X-T1. Way more gear than I usually pack for a family trip...for the sole purpose of changing things up. Sometimes doing the exact opposite of what we usually do can be liberating. It's like telling our brain "Ok...new deal here. Find something else to do".
The idea is to try.
This past month has been a technical cluster&^#$ for me. I lost two drives out of the blue—one of them, a 3TB Seagate, just stopped working after less than two months. Both were backup drives but still...total pain in the you-know-what. Then I had a problem with my aging iMac that forced me to rebuild the entire system from scratch. A whole heckuva lot of fun.
And then of course...Lightroom CC 2015-2.
I spent half a day pulling my hair out, unable to breathe without crashing, rebuilding my catalog (which I thought had become corrupted) before reading that Adobe had knowingly released a bug-ridden version. In the few moments between crashes I got to explore the new "improved" Import dialog. It's no secret that I've never harboured much love for Adobe, but when I moved from Aperture several years ago it was under the assumption that at least the company was focused on photographers; that they knew who their clients were and would make decisions based on maintaining a professional imaging business. More fool me.
I'm not affraid to say I'm extremely proficient with Lightroom; and even though I've never acclimated to its UX, it's become second nature. I can do anything I want in the app and yes, I even appreciate some of its features. I rage against it every day for ten thousand reasons but until now, it's always been there, it's always worked and allowed me to do my job without fail.
But this...releasing a crippled version...on top of all the CC vs standalone nonsense...this is icing on the cake.
And I'm moving to Capture One Pro 8.
It's not a decision I take lightly because it has all sorts of consequences. Compromises? Of course. But I've been putting the latest version (8.3.3) through its paces and most of the issues I previously had with the application have been addressed. Not all but most. Plus, without going into details (for now) I can honestly say this: it feels like coming home. No more modules, no more inconsistent behaviour depending on where I'm currently focused; customizable workspaces and keyboard shortcuts; a library that feels like my own, with projects and folders and albums that I can sort manually, the way I actually want them to be displayed, according to my needs. I'm not fighting against this huge monolithic machine anymore, trying to circumvent quirk after quirk of UI hell. It's going to be a time-consuming move but I'm already ingesting all new material in CP1 and I've imported a huge ongoing project over from Lightroom (yes, it can import an LR library; no, it does not bring in visual adjustments you can actually use; no matter what the documentation says—can't have everything).
Transitions can be slow, gradual affairs, pondered over and carefully calculated for a minimal amount of shock to the system. Or...they can just hit full on, forcing us to react and adapt.
No two ways about it: there's a Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On.
P.S. I'm getting a lot of questions these days about processing and I know some of you were expecting my new book to address this subject, offer tips, guidance etc. Instead, I've decided to do this right here, on the blog. I was planning to update the old Aperture tutorials for Lightroom but this move has made clear how important it is to grasp the basic principles in order to become platform agnostic. So I'm rethinking the entire approach in light of it. It'll probably take the form of CP1 tutorials as I make my way through the new software but I want to make sure I'm offering a fishing rod, not just fish.