S. and I discovered a beautiful historic building yesterday—the Rockingham Meeting House, originally a Congregationalist Church and now the earliest public building in the State of Vermont in nearly original condition (one earlier building still exists, but it's been extensively altered). I got what I think will be a great picture of it, under unusual light and transient conditions.
...But I can't, um, show it to you quite yet, because I don't have the tools I need. Long story, but I didn't know you have to disable Photoshop on old computers in order to use it on newer computers; and I don't have a license left to open my Photoshop CS6 (for which I paid full price) on my traveling laptop. I've been resistant to committing to a monthly fee for software that I'm accustomed to owning. So I guess that means Photoshop has finally "broken" for me, and I need to start in on the potentially hellish task of finding new editing software.
I'm unhappy about this. I've been loyal to Photoshop since I started using it in 1994—21 years ago, unbelievably. I'm no expert, but I can do what I need to do with it and the plugins I use will work with it. Obviously I can still use my last CS6 license with my home computer, but I'm going to need something else to use on the road.
A little background: one of the keys to success in life is to accurately appraise your strengths and weaknesses, and play to the former while hopefully sidestepping or minimizing the latter. I attended Dartmouth (which I visited this past weekend, to find it hugely changed from the place I remember) just after then-College-President John Kemeny, a former research assistant to Albert Einstein, had instituted universal student access to the college mainframes, the first college in the United States to do so if I recall correctly. (The building that housed the mainframes—rumored to be 60th on the list of the Defense Department's backups in case of nuclear war—is gone now.) I learned my lesson: I was adept at communicating through the Xtalk chat programs*, but quite inept with the computer generally. One of the sensible reasons I chose photography as a career (while many friends sensibly chose computing careers) was because photography had nothing at all to do with computers! As I keep saying, I hate irony.
So I'm not good with software. I think this actually makes me better at reviewing cameras—I'm not so adept with their electronic aspects that things come too easily to me that are difficult for many others, which is, ironically, a weakness of some "expert" reviewers. But it's why you've never read a review of software written by me on this site.
I suppose I could use Lightroom, but I dislike the interface and I have no use for its extensive digital asset management (DAM) features—I don't need another cataloging system. Plus, there are some features I need that it lacks. Maybe some free online editor like Repixl or Pixlr would work (there's another one, a new one, I tried recently, but I can't remember what it's called). I wonder if there will soon be an Adobe Comp for camera images?
Meanwhile, though, Photoshop is continuing to slowly break for me, and I see the grim handwriting on the wall.
UPDATE: I went ahead and subscribed to The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan. I figured maybe I should just go ahead and try it since writing about that sort of thing is, after all, what I'm supposed to be doing a living. Even if I don't write about software.
So I'll try the Creative Cloud and let you know how this mild computerphobe fares with the experience.
So here's the Rockingham Meeting House:
It sits high on a hill; S. saw it as we drove past, so we stopped on the way back. It was built between 1787 and 1801 and is said to be Vermont's finest surviving example of an early American building. The two-story interior features "pigpen" (box) pews and there is an extensive "burying ground" with hundreds of old slate headstones, many of which tell stories; for instance, on the miniature grave of a three-month-old girl it says something like "God has called thee to thy rest / Thou art gone, He thought it best."
*What this means is that I've been "online" since 1975, which must make me a graybeard in that respect.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Keith B.: "I don't get it: Isn't a Photoshop CS6 (and Lightroom) license good for your choice of two computers, as long as only one of the computers is operating at a time?"
Mike replies: It is, but one license was used for my old iMac, which I wiped clean and sold several years ago, neglecting to deactivate Photoshop. So Adobe's system thinks I now use Photoshop on two computers: my old iMac and my newer iMac, leaving no license free for my laptop. As numerous people have reported in the comments, it may sometimes be possible to get Adobe to restore the lost license by calling customer support.
Steven Willard: "For a different approach: download your files to your iPad, but save the files for later download to your desktop. Use instead Nik Snapseed, PS Express, and Stackables, for a good starting place. These apps cost practically nothing. They're remarkably capable, and, with some practice, you may find they will suffice for many of your images depending on use. When they don't you can still edit them on your desktop where it's much easier to see what your doing.
"The argument could be made that you owe it to yourself to be familiar with these new tools also."
Kenneth Tanaka: "I subscribed to The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan too, Mike. Maybe it's the neo-spring weather we're having here today, but after reading this piece I came to terms with the fact that resistance (to Adobe's CC) is futile. I spend many times that $10/mo. on services that don't give me nearly the enjoyment or benefits that Photoshop gives me. The final shove over that cliff was the simple realization that all of the future innovation initiatives will be devoted toward benefiting the CC subscribers, not the CS 'owners.' Yes, that includes eventually issuing new RAW image file support.
"So I could hear the voice of Jesse Royce Landis's exasperated character telling Cary Grant to 'Pay the two dollars' in North by Northwest as I anted up my money."
latent_image: "The tonality in the Rockingham Meeting House photo is why I love B&W. I challenge you, Mike, to print it. From my own attempts at digital printing, I think it will be very difficult...and very satisfying if you pull it off."
Mike replies: I agree. I'll have to look long and hard at the various options for tonality in this one...because a lot of this one will be about the tonal relationships. By the way the shot looks good in color too.