By Paul Perton | Monday Post
There have been many words written about Adobe, its subscription model for software usage and the often dubious benefits attached to the lock-in it delivers. That is the public-facing story. Behind the scenes, most photographers fume at Adobe’s arrogance and many have already deserted the platform for a more benign software supplier that doesn’t appear to place nett revenue above the notion that it needs to deliver something its customers want, in order to retain them.
This week, Adobe announced a slew of upgrades, including a fork in the Lightroom product road map.
I don’t plan to review either. I have no interest in the cloud option. I want what I have where I want it, not on some storage system that might or might not still exist in a week/month/year.
That said, I did download the desktop version – now called Lightroom Classic or something. It’s 99.9% the same as the old version, including the stuttering performance that is the product’s hallmark. True, images render more quickly, but the actual step from image to image now takes anything up to ten seconds; twice the time the previous version sought to establish as acceptable performance.
Along with this hopelessly confusing nomenclature, Adobe has now advised the the stand-alone version of Lightroom will be discontinued, despite having previously promised its availability “indefinitely”.
And that’s it really. The On 1 RAW product is maturing, Luminar are promising a major upgrade and a much missed file browser in 2018 and Pixelmator is about to toss their hat into what is now becoming a very populous photographic post processing ring.
What will I do? For now, I’ll reluctantly continue Adobe’s tithe. The options are starting to make sense and soon I’ll make the move. Then the big red A will stand for Adios, or perhaps something a little stronger.
The Stockholm sojourn
Saturday evening – Stockholm. A few minutes before 18:00 and it’s all but dark. Our last evening in the city; tomorrow, we’ll use the Arlanda Express to whisk us to the airport to check in and by 15:00-odd should be airborne en route back to Cape Town.
The weather’s been kind, the city and its inhabitants, likewise. Winter is clearly on the way, however. The eyes and movements of the Stockholm-ites show that their preparations for the coming cold are underway and soon, the thermometer will slide from 10(ish) C to zero and not stop until the cold really bites. The dark too.
I’m glad to be heading south; a kind of one-way migration. Cape Town should just be seeing the arrival of Spring, bringing relief from winter’s mid teen temperatures, but still no rain to speak of – the city is in the grip of its worst drought in history.
Naturally enough, our politicians have been fiddling while Rome burnt the dams dried up and only now are beginning to address the problem – probably two years too late.
Enough carping. Stockholm doesn’t have water problems. In fact the city is built on islands, close to the nation’s eastern Baltic coastline. It’s magnificent, the public transport system, a marvel, the sights and locals a pleasure. We’ve had a great time.
I’ve also found lots to photograph and managed a bottle of wine with photo buddy, Hans Strand. He opened some fine burgundy and spent a couple of hours trying to encourage me to buy a D850. I’m OK with the one, but a new heavyweight Nikon? Not so much. Yet.
Thanks again, Hans. It was good catching-up.
The Swedes like the French, do a great deal outdoors. There’s little snow and ice at present, so most of the population content themselves with eating and drinking outside, often protected against the single digit temperatures by racks of infra-red and gas heaters. Smart people.
Given their propensity for outdoors, most of the photographs I’ve taken are in and around the city; people just doing what they do every day. For would-be visitors, spend some time researching the city, but don’t miss Gamla Stan (the old city), Södermalm, Nytorget and the permanent Fotografiska. The T-Bana – metro railway to you and me – is outstanding, with many stations displaying various art and sculptural works as a part of their decor. Even at lunch time when these images were shot, the T-Bana can hardly be called busy.
And that’s about it. No stunning highlights and thankfully, no low lights, this has been an excellent week in a smart, elegant city. Summing-up; for me, a really enjoyable stay, beating Oslo by the slimmest of margins. I sense a return trip in the coming year or so.
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Really nice photos.
And the one from the old town does catch the atmosphere!
( The night one with the ochre wall.)
Did you see the narrowest lane there? Mårten Trotzig’s lane is about a meter wide. ( Sadly it had a lot of graffiti last time I was there.)
Thanks Kristian. Missed the narrow alley – next time?
Hopefully the graffiti will be washed off by then …
And give yourself some more time next time (.. and consider e.g. some of my tips on last week’s Monday Post).
Mention your interests and I’ll send you some suggestions (I guess my email address is in your data base?).
Wonderful shots, as always.
The software as a service (SaaS) model largely emerged in the late 1990s to address an issue that many software companies had to deal with: revenue spikes. When companies had major software releases, their revenues, profits, and stock prices would spike, and then decline over time. This resulted in some companies engaging in fraud to smooth revenues and profits. The SaaS model largely solves the spike problem, where software companies could rent their software to users for a nominal monthly fee. Now revenues and profits are slowly realized over a longer period of time, rather than a windfall upfront, which also permits a smoother release of new features and feature enhancements. From a business standpoint, I understand the allure of SaaS. As a user, though, I don’t like the idea of renting my software, and I am not usually drawn into the endless upgrade path, as I will sometimes skip software generations. Software companies have come up with a solution to people like me too: sabotage. They will degrade the software experience so much that a user is forced to upgrade. You see it with mobile phone performance with older models, and it appears that Adobe has done the same thing with performance of the non-CC version of Lightroom.
The real value from Adobe comes with multiple subscriptions for the creative community – all the cumulative yearly upgrades calculate to being cheaper and more immediately available as a subscription, so I’ve been told.
Don’t use PS much anymore – LR is my main tool but I will be looking at other softwares as they mature – especially with panorama stitching integration.. Capture One would be a first choice but hopefully others innovate and move this whole process forward.
I’m envious – what a wonderful place, what a great opportunity – and what wonderful photographs!
Tell me, Paul – is there a strange bluish quality to the light, that far from the equator?
As for Adobe . . . everything you said and more. I am already making the switch. Lately, I’ve virtually given up on LightRoom, and most of the time, I only use a couple of functions on PhotoShop. Adobe has every right to make its own choices – but unfortunately for them, and the Business Management graduates who seem to be running the place and calling the shots, so does everyone else. And if too many of their customers make the choice, and switch elsewhere . . . .
For the moment, I’m focused on acquiring a skill set with Capture One Pro. DxO have a great program for straightening out horizontals, verticals etc (their ViewPoint 3) – occasionally, Luminar comes up with a solution to something that’s been defying me with other programs – On1 is going places, I must try their latest Photo RAW Beta. But as for Adobe, they’ve lost me – I don’t even care what they come up with next, I simply don’t need it, and I certainly don’t want it – I found LR clunky and inconvenient, and hopelessly unfriendly – very few pluses, a lot of minuses, and nothing I can’t do elsewhere without the fuss. And to be honest, I don’t like their attitude to their customer base – so on the time hallowed principle that bad behavior doesn’t deserve to be rewarded, they’ve had the last cent they’ll ever get out of me.
In a way, it’s sad. Past generations of PhotoShop etc have done great things for millions of photographers around the world. They’ve built a cult status and following that must be the envy of many other companies. But I can’t get away from the feeling that they are banging their head against the rafters, now – what else that’s “new”, or a real advance, can they seriously dream up? – something so wonderful, that it makes us all salivate and demand to have it? Is THAT the real reason why they’re abandoning their old business model of “selling” product and trying to persuade us all to sign up for a monthly fee? – tinkering with names instead of programs? Their latest idea for a “new” program left me wondering what on earth they think they’re doing – the description I read seemed to suggest it suits the enthusiast rather than serious photographers (I wonder how many people who aren’t “serious photographers” would want any of these programs anyway!), and drifted off to say it’s more limited in its functions than the existing LR range of products – whatever is the purpose of selling that? – who’d want to switch to something that’s more limited than what they have already? Stuff like that makes my head hurt – sorry Adobe, you seem hell bent on a path of self-destruction now – chasing the goose that laid the golden eggs, with a meat cleaver in your hand!
Pete, I need hardly agree any more with you re Adobe – my views are all too clear. I think the reason many photographers haven’t already jumped ship is a concern over change and the unknown.
Re the blue light, it’s the reflection of the cloudless sky light. That combined with the surprisingly (for me as I’m not used to it) low angle of the sun creates an unusual photographic environment. That is then exacerbated somewhat by my use of a Provia, or Velvia emulation, both of which have a strong bias in that direction.
Fredo, I agree with most of your comments but not sure how Adobe “sabotages” standalone performance, after install. What I have gleaned from user blogs is the “smooth release” of new features via subscription is marketing talk for a much larger pool of unknowing “beta testers”…given the occasional gross bug fixes required. btw I cut Adobe off at LR5 and PS6, after purchase of many volumes from the original PS on. How many more “features” are really useful for general use photography? Even for us control freaks?
Really impressed with the candid photos and “street” photography in this article. Thank you.
The software issue is something I feel I really need to adress now, I am currently an Adobe subscriber but also a Capture One Pro user but I would like to have a way to handle, process and organise my photos that is independent of any specific software apart of course from the knowledge needed to properly use an application for processing.
I like your photos from Stockholm and you visited at the right time, soon comes November and from there to January we live in almost constant darkness. It is dark when you go to work, it’s dark again when you go home from work but maybe if you’re lucky and it is not raining or being genrally grey you might see a glimpse of the sun during your lunch break. Of course the best solution to this is not to work or to be a tourist but that is not for all of us 😀
Joakim, I assume you are aware that you can migrate your Adobe catalogue to Capture One? If you are a Sony camera user (and only have Sony cameras) you can get Express for free and the Pro version for a very reduced price, which at least reduces the expense of future upgrades.
An Alternative is simply to use some form of cataloguing outside of software. Windows allows tags (meta-data) to be attached to files through Explorer, which can be searched on. Personally, my “catalogue” is manual and calendar and event based – so a folder for a year, with sub-folders for events, with folders inside them for subjects. It’s not perfect, but frankly neither is the tyranny of trying to use something like Adobe’s catalogue, which can be very time consuming and in my experience with previous versions, didn’t work very well (and wasn’t performant) with larger catalogues / libraries.
Pascal and I both detest the whole need to import photos into a catalogue before we are able to then sort and edit them – it’s why I choose to use SilkyPix, which stores all adjustments in a folder beside the images you edit, and Pascal I believe is an Apple user and has been looking at various software that works with Photos.
Thanks for the input Adrian.
I currently work with large LR catalog and then in Capture One I have smaller more project oriented catalogs and I have no plan to move my LR catalog to Capture One but rather as you mention using the OS directly. I’m a Mac user but I feel both Mac and Windows offer a lot of functionality in Finder/Explorer nowadays.
I am also considering what to do with my output files (jpeg), should I use something like Photos for it or something else, since I need to have a better system for my processed files than what I have now.
I think what is needed for me is manual routines and/or software for:
– importing images
– maintaining raw files
– processing (and printing) images
– maintaining jpeg files
I have some ideas for the above list but I guess the hard part will be to make them work together nicely. The only thing I know for sure is that I do not want a one-in-all solution that is so-so at everything rather than having good solutions for all steps even if it means more manual work.
To be honest you are talking to the wrong person, as I have a very basic approach to managing my photos. As I travel a lot and work on multiple computers, I use external portable hard drives that get double backed up (2 copies), on drives and folders organised by time, and then subject.
I print annual or half annual photo books, so its usually easy to know what year and subject I want to find files. Jpegs are all kept in sub folders with the raw images, named after the software used to create them, so I know which tool to open to go back to the last edited version.
As I said,its not very sophisticated, but seems to work for me.
Never got on with catalogues as I never have time to spend hours tagging and working across several machines makes catalogues difficult. Software without catalogues is much easier in that respect.
I hate the term “workflow” for amateurs, it sounds pretentious and sounds too much like work for something supposedly done for enjoyment. It’s important to have a regime – after any trip, I mark all the “no good” images, and once everything is done, I then go back and cull them. I also mark directories with something in the name to show folders yet to be completed and culled. Again, not fancy but it works for me.
I often think “keeping it simple” can often be best.
Final tip – keep the installation packs for any software on backup storage or the cloud – many vendors make it very hard to get them if you ever need to install on a new machine if its an old version, as they want you to buy a new copy. I’ve got old versions of Lightroom, Capture One, Paint Shop Pro, SilkyPix and even some old Mnolta software, so that old files worked on with them can always be re-opened (although increasingly I find it can be quicker to just reprocess a file with my latest preferred software).
I ditched the folder based catalog many years ago. It was actually with music. It doesn’t matter where my files are stored (sure, I know: in one folder roughly sorted by gene). But in Winamp or iTunes I just import them and use smart lists and the power of meta data to search, sort and filter after whatever I’m fancy now.
Same goes for photos: one big folder with events or random, and the rest does the DAM. That gives me the flexibility to find any image from the last two years with my son at my parents house. Or my best landscape shots taken with a specify lens. Or …
Impossible to get with a folder based approach. And if your digital images dust in subfolders and never see the light of the day anymore, what’s the point of taking them anyways? (Sure, you print them out for that, but still only sorted by time)