#997. Epic failures (Lockdown – day thirty something)

By Paul Perton | Uncategorized

May 01

Sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Here in Hackney, we’re in generally good shape. Mrs P’s recovery from her recent cyber surgery is beginning to take shape and in addition to a daily exercise routine, she is now walking around 1km a day. I’m not sure she (or me either) will ever get back to our former 10k steps a day, but that might just be the lockdown talking.

It might also be that I shall be 70 soon.

I’m realising that at times like this, we have to be grateful for our habits and past interests. To date, my daily brain workout (crosswords and Mac-based jigsaws) passes a good couple of hours, to which I add interaction with my school old boys’ WhatsApp group and work here: 4709 – The Ultimate British 2–8–0, which I’ve mentioned before.

That project is now slightly held up, having wanted to move the entire (12 tonne) chassis down from Llangollen to Exeter before the lockdown and been foiled by the restrictions on movement we now live with.

As I have for the last couple of decades, I read the newspapers and interest sites on the Interwebs every morning. Thank goodness for plentiful bandwidth – access to the outside when pretty much everything is closed is a sanity saver we should all be grateful for.

Early on, I decided to spend an hour a day trying to learn Photoshop – a great enterprise that has unsurprisingly, fizzled out.

My plan to start a micro studio to do product photography has also stalled. Several key items – including a 5m USB cable for tethered shooting – has been held up while more important goods are prioritised. I’m in no rush, so that’s fine.

My daily Web trawl has had me visiting captureone.com on an almost daily basis. Should I make the commitment and buy a copy? Should I wait? Despite the 25% discount, I keep thinking that no matter how much I dislike Lightroom, it is the devil I know.

Now might be a good time to build myself a new Web site. Another start-stop endeavour. I keep promising myself that I will build a gallery every day this week and edge closer to live in 2-3 weeks. I’ve done two and really like the big images and layout the template (from Squarespace) provides.

Herding images together to try and make a sensible gallery has been helped a bit by my cataloguing and grading system – more of that in another post. What it re-kindled has been a much delayed plan to delete the dross; thousands and thousands of iffy photographs and way too many embarrassments. And out of the blue, there’s the post title.

Epic failures.


What was I thinking? No explanations necessary – I don’t have any and even if I did, they’d be way too embarrassing anyway.


  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    LOL – sometime soon I’ll unearth three photos I took more than half a century ago, when I was whizzing all over Australia with my railway photograph friends. You seem to have returned to your native land just in time to roll up your shirtsleeves and help restore a steam locomotive!
    Paul, post processing software comes down to personal choice, in the end. You’ll find people who are passionate about this program or that one, and people who hold the opposite view on both.
    FWIW, you can try Affinity Photo for 3 months for nothing, right now – and still have a bargain purchase price available, if you decide to buy it.
    I use Affinity quite a lot** on all my photos, but have yet to finish any of them on Affinity, without turning elsewhere for further help. I cycle them through several others before getting ready for the final run up to printing. And that’s when I come back to Photoshop and/or Lightroom. Lightroom is of little use, to me – although it does perform one or two tasks occasionally, that others don’t. Photoshop is most use when cropping & resizing, and it also helps finalise shadows/highlights and contrast/brightness.
    [** quite a lot is nonsense – I don’t normally DO “quite a lot”, I try to do the opposite, but you can’t always]
    During this lockdown, you’d probably have time on your hands and you could use it to hone your post processing skills by re-doing photos stored in that trunk in the attic. What we did “then” is probably no match for the skill set we’ve developed over the years, and you’d probably be pleasantly surprised, if you re-work them.

  • Jean-Claude Louis says:

    That sounds so familiar 🙂 I don’t think, however, that these qualify as failures. Photos are like thoughts, many are worthless, some are worth keeping and pursuing. But, unlike thoughts that will quickly vanish into thin air, photos take residence in our hard drives.

    Over the decades I have accumulated so much junk, tens of thousands of images. I always made a selection of keepers, but kept every transparency slide, scan and raw file. Typical hoarder case.
    Hoarding: “The persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial—for a hoarder and family members.”

    I snapped out of that habit about a year ago and, having currently more time on my hands, have eliminated all the garbage (discovered the trash icon an my iMac). I even cleaned up what I believed were solid keepers, to hone in on the bare essentials. It’s quite liberating. I have now the ability to organize, catalog, curate old projects, identify new opportunities for old images, make books, etc…

    I have also streamlined and simplified my workflow. I adopted Capture One several years ago, when I acquired my first Fujifilm camera. It’s now my go-to software; it’s getting better over time and comfortable to use once one gets acquainted with its features. I still use Photoshop, but only for specific tasks (luminosity masks, preparation for printing) and creative interventions.

    Stay safe and sane !

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      LOL – “. . . . I still use Photoshop, but only for specific tasks . . . .”
      Me, too. Cropping, formating, image sizing. Final prep on shadows, brightness, contrast. In some situations, changing the brightness of colours using “Adjust Hue/Saturation”.
      But by the time my images reach PhotoShop, most of the work has already been done.
      Your experience with Capture One mimics mine with Affinity Photo – I was using Capture One a lot before I tried Affinity, but the pendulum has swung in favour of Affinity, since then.

  • Sean says:

    I haven’t reached that point where I’ve taken the decision to ‘delete’ post review of the volumes of digital image files I’ve kept. I have ventured into those dark recesses holding them and have been surprised as to what I had accomplished – ranging from the excellent to the abject fail. So they hold value for what the tell me, for future photographic enterprise.

    My daughter once went through all my film based images and took the clippers to them – did a good job, too. If an image didn’t pass the ‘meh!’ test it was quickly binned. as an aside, just wondering if this issue of reviewing and pruning ones library of images has anything to do with the effect on ones affect secondary to being in lockdown and or isolation due to Covid-19?

    I mention this because a Dr Norris has “… found that those who have been through a period of isolation value the experience for what it has taught: They have a better idea of their personal values, and they’re more committed to acting on them … Dr Norris goes on “When people have space to sit back and think it allows them to figure out what’s important to them,”.

    So, it seems, we shall be better off for being in isolation, in more ways than we realise. Sounds good to me. Here’s the details on the article:

    Title: We have begun the dreaded third quarter of isolation, when — yes — things get weird
    Link: https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/coronavirus-covid19-isolation-third-quarter-phenomenon-has-begun/12190270

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