Getting Inside My Head – Learning New Things When Older

PhotoshopI’ve set myself a goal for the next year to become more proficient at Photoshop.  I use a variety of editing tools now, most of which are slider-based.  You move a slider and watch what happens on the screen.  The sliders in most applications are laid out in a nice orderly fashion, and you can literally move from top to bottom and achieve a well-edited well-presented image.

Photoshop is not remotely like that.  It’s like making pizza with every ingredient possible available to you in small containers on the kitchen counter.  There is some semblance of order (Camera Raw, basic exposure adjustments, image cleanup) but once past this, the choices become ridiculously complex, with the opportunity to create whole new “flavours” of pizza by taking previously used flavours and combining them in whole new ways.  No cookbooks, just imagination and an ability to reason how things might go together.

shutterstock_262945148Add to that the challenge of learning something new as an older adult.  We don’t absorb information the same way as we did as a child.  We don’t necessarily retain it even when learned.  Memory declines in uneven ways too – with muscle memory and the memory of physically doing things changing at rates different from the memory of reciting things or recollection.  So I’m not only setting a goal but trying to find the best method to accomplish it. Continue reading “Getting Inside My Head – Learning New Things When Older”

Happy New Year and New Decade

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very happy New Year.  It’s hard to believe we are at the start of the third decade of the millennium.  I still remember where I was and the worries of throwing the switch on the year 2000, when it was expected that everything electronic would meet an untimely end.  It didn’t and our lives have improved (or worsened, depending on your point of view) for all that technology has brought us.

The first iPhones and tablets.  Digital cameras became mainstream for consumers like you and I.  Our homes became smarter and are still learning.  So are our cars.

But with that comes the responsibility of managing our growth for the good of all people, indeed all life, on this planet.  That we still need to work on.

May your year be full of promise and joy, and may it bring you everything you could possibly want.  I thank you for your support and encouragement, and look forward to sharing more conversations with you in the weeks and months to come.

Image Stabilization – Your Camera Can Do What You Can’t

Lens ISOn your camera lens, you may find an inconspicuous button or buttons labelled “IS”, “OIS”, “VR” or something similar.  On the newest bodies, there is no button and you don’t need to turn anything on at all – image stabilization or IS is built into the body and is just there for you all the time.  What is it?  It’s a wonderful technology that stabilizes the image on your sensor when you can’t stabilize yourself or your camera.  We “need” stabilization to avoid a blurry image when the camera is moving.  And despite our best efforts, the camera moves ALL the time.

As humans, we are biological machines.  These machines are in constant motion, even if you do your best to stay still.  Our hearts pump, our nerves fire, our muscles twitch.  Sadly, the only way we can be perfectly still is if we are not alive.

HandThere are also times when you have to move to get the shot – you’re tracking something, you’ve just found that perfect angle, but it’s on a branch up high in the air in the wind (not that you would climb up there), or you’re just plain in the wind and it keeps knocking you and your camera.  Or you are walking and vlogging, which seems to be popular now, and we naturally shake when we walk.  So what can you do? Continue reading “Image Stabilization – Your Camera Can Do What You Can’t”

We Can Fix That

Support TicketI’m becoming more puzzled and concerned about new products released by hardware and software companies that invariably get poor reviews and need to be “fixed”.  We’ve seen that lately in the Apple 15 inch MacBook Pro (which has been “fixed” by the 16 inch released Nov 15/19).  We’ve seen that in Skylum’s Luminar 3 (which as of this writing, has been “fixed” by Luminar 4, released Nov 19/19).  We’ve also seen that very recently in Adobe’s Photoshop for iPad, which as of this writing, has not yet been “fixed”, after having been essentially trashed on its release in Oct.  First-release mirrorless cameras from Canon and Nikon both needed firmware “updates” (i.e. fixes).  And lastly, ON1’s Photo Raw 2020, released in October, seems to have a bug that causes it to do what should be background file management tasks in the middle of a photo edit, preventing any meaningful work from getting done.  As of this writing, that has not been “fixed”.

There seem to be four main factors contributing to these problems. Continue reading “We Can Fix That”

What Camera Mode When?

Fuji Automatic SettingsModern digital cameras, particularly “prosumer” quality and above, include several different modes or ways of interacting with the camera settings.  Although labelled differently for different manufacturers, all good cameras have modes that range from fully manual (where the photographer picks all of the settings) to fully automatic (where the camera evaluates the scene and picks the settings).

I recently found myself in a situation where the camera appeared to be picking settings for me and I couldn’t override them.  It turns out that the most modern cameras don’t pick settings unless you tell them to, and will give you more and more information to help you make an informed decision about those settings.  You can specify which decisions the camera should make, and which information you should receive so that you can make your own decisions.  I had simply picked the wrong mode for the situation.  Lesson learned. Continue reading “What Camera Mode When?”

Fall is About Renewal

LeavesNot quite what you expected?  In the northern hemisphere, Fall is typically about shutting down, about returning to routines that don’t include time at a vacation home or sunlit walks in shorts and a floppy hat.  We begin to cocoon, bringing in our lives indoors, at least more so when it gets dark 4 hours earlier.

But Fall is also about renewal of the craft of photography.  Myriad trade shows, new gear releases, new software releases – everything to tantalize the tastebuds for next season.  I’m less caught up in this than I used to be, but still find some of the new developments fascinating. Continue reading “Fall is About Renewal”

Finding Beauty Where You Live

CompassMany of my generation are travellers.  We have done our bit for job, country and family, and now have the time and the funds to see the world.  Many of us travel to exotic locations, with cultures not remotely similar to ours, to experience all that human civilization has to offer.  I’ve seriously considered joining my friends, especially where the destination offers some unique photography.  But I’ve also come to realize that much of the beauty of life can be experienced right here, in the country where I live, Canada.

Canada is a huge country, with so many diverse environments, providing so many different ways of life.  It has absolutely amazing landscapes, which are routinely explored by residents and visitors alike.  I’ve decided that until I fully explore what’s in my own backyard, travel outside the country will probably be limited.  So here are a few tips on how to get the best out of your local explorations.

Continue reading “Finding Beauty Where You Live”