Category Archives: Looking Back

Computer Update

Sunset at the Yacht Basin – Southport, NC

This past weekend I took the final steps on my transition from OSX to Windows that I wrote about in my last post.  I had kept my two external hard drives in OSX format until I was certain that everything was working properly in Windows.  After a couple of weeks of confirmation I made the commitment, purchased the full version of GoodSync, and copied all my files to the newly-formatted-for-Windows external hard drives.

Torrence Creek Greenway, Huntersville, NC

The computer transition came off without a hitch.  The machine is working well, actually better than it was before.  I hadn’t realized it, but my video card had not been working with Lightroom.  Now it is, and everything else seems to be happy and the machine is just plugging along.  Other than the obvious changes in menu choices and settings, it’s not been too hard of a change.

Norfolk Southern Maintenance Shop Building – New Bern, NC

The only problem I’ve had is not related to the computer.  I mentioned in my last post that my printer had not been working with my “Hackintosh” and that I was counting on the move to Windows to resolve that.  In fact, the switch did resolve the issue.  My computer loaded the drivers, found the printer and runs just fine.  My problem now is that the printer – which was already starting to run low on ink (at $900 a set!) – is now demanding a new print head, a $430 investment.  The printer has two such print heads and I replaced the other one about 2 years ago.  So I’ve decided that investing another $1,300+ in a printer that is 10+ years old and way too large for my current needs is not a wise use of funds.  I ordered a brand-new, smaller Canon printer from B&H for less than the cost of the print head  – before a $200 rebate – and will attempt to responsibly dispose of the old hulk.

Southport, NC

If anyone is interested in a “free” Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100 let me know, but act fast, this offer ends soon! 😉

Helen, Georgia

Storage & Clutter

Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC
Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC

Few things get on my nerves more than clutter. A messy desk, a disorganized garage, an overloaded closet – those are things that just drive me crazy. Now I’m not the most organized person in the world – Kathy would probably suggest that my head is probably the least organized thing on the planet, but that’s another post! But I can’t stand to make room for stuff I don’t use. Or worse, have to have extra storage for stuff because I’ve run out of room for all that stuff I don’t need.

Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC
Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC

When I started in digital photography, I applied this desire for order to my workflow. I have a very structured, well-organized and repeatable method for keeping track of my files and backing them up. That way I always know where I stand on my organization, editing and processing. Part of that workflow has been that I never delete files. I remove unused files from my Lightroom catalog but leave them on my hard drive, with the idea that storage is cheap and that it was better to have them than to delete them.

Liberty Bell and independence Hall, Independence Square, Philadelphia, PA
Liberty Bell and independence Hall, Independence Square, Philadelphia, PA
May 2005 Photo Class with Emilie Knight in Uptown Charlotte
May 2005 Photo Class with Emilie Knight in Uptown Charlotte

I currently store all my photos on a 2TB hard drive in my computer. That is not much by many peoples’ standards, but because I don’t create huge files in Photoshop and don’t have a 50 megapixel camera, I figured that 2TB would last me a long time.  Lately I’ve approached the limit on those drives, and knew that it was probably time to do something about it. I started looking at upgrading to larger drives, but while storage is relatively inexpensive, I have a total of 4 drives, two internal drives (main+backup) plus two external drives (onsite+offsite). I haven’t yet sprung for cloud storage. I don’t completely trust it and would never use it as my only backup, so as long as I need to have physical backups anyway, I didn’t think there was much point in also having cloud backup. Plus, there are lenses…. 😉

Sunset at Hatteras Harbor Marina, Hatteras Village, NC
Sunset at Hatteras Harbor Marina, Hatteras Village, NC
Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunset, Woolyback Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Sunset, Woolyback Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

One of the things I started thinking about was that there are a bunch of files on those hard drives that are no longer in my Lightroom catalog, files that I’ve already decided aren’t worth keeping and that I could get rid of. I have no idea how many, because by looking at the files in Finder there isn’t any really good way of telling which files are in the Lightroom catalog and which ones are not. I originally toyed with the idea of just exporting the existing catalog to a new drive, or erasing one of the existing drives for the purpose. But part of me wanted to look at those old files “one last time” to make sure I wasn’t getting rid of any hidden treasures. So as long as I wanted to be able to do that I came up with what I think is a workable solution.

Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
White Pass & Yukon Scenic Railway, Skagway, Alaska
White Pass & Yukon Scenic Railway, Skagway, Alaska

What I have done is to use Lightroom’s Import function to “re-import” all those files into the Lightroom catalog. They are already in folders – the same folders that all of the “keepers” are in, so all I have to do is import them in their current position. I started about a week ago and have been importing them a year at a time. By going year-by-year, and folder-by-folder within each year, I’m keeping it at a manageable amount and am not moving or deleting files until I’ve looked at them. In the event that I come across files I want to keep – and I’ve found a few – it is very easy to put them aside so they don’t get lost.

Old Barn near Lake Junaluska, NC
Old Barn near Lake Junaluska, NC

I’ve gotten through 2004-2008 so far – admittedly not heavy years filewise since I had just started in digital and was still shooting some film. I forgot to track the number of files and amount of storage for the first two years, but am keeping track now and should be able to have a pretty good estimate when I’m done. Right now between 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008 it looks like I’m at about 23,000 files deleted and about 236GB freed up. The folders seem to be getting bigger the farther I go, so it will be interesting to see how those numbers increase as I continue.

February 2005 trip to Amelia Island, Florida
February 2005 trip to Amelia Island, Florida

This is pretty geeky stuff and I can’t imagine anyone reading this post will care about more detail, but if anyone wants additional detail I’ll be happy to answer questions or emails. But it won’t bother me if no one asks! In the meantime I’ve thrown in some photos from 2005 for your viewing pleasure. It seems I photographed a lot of sunrises and sunsets back then!

From The Archives – 2004

Unfortunate Background, Charleston, South Carolina This is one of my favorite "candid" shots of all time, just because I love the ironic juxtaposition of the stop sign behind the just-married couple. I might have also called this "Too Late."
Unfortunate Background, Charleston, South Carolina. This is one of my favorite “candid” shots of all time, just because I love the ironic juxtaposition of the stop sign behind the just-married couple. I might have also called this “Too Late.”

I recently had reason to go back through my files for a project I am working on to free up some storage space on my hard drives.  A (very) few may find that subject interesting, so I’ll try to include that in a future post, once the idea is more thoroughly developed.  In the meantime, I excavated some long-forgotten photos in my Lightroom catalog, dating back to my very first digitally-originated photos from my Canon G5, which I acquired in late 2004.

The G5 was the camera that convinced me to make the move from film to digital.  Even though it was a measly 5 megapixel point & shoot, the fact that I could get some pretty darned nice photos from it without having to scan film was the clincher.  I was shooting medium format film at the time, and while I loved the images and the overall aesthetic of MF, being able to skip the scanning step was incredibly freeing.  Of course we now spend that time in Lightroom or Photoshop, but we didn’t realize that at the time!

I’ll try to post photos from subsequent years as I go, but for now this is a blast from my (photo) past.  Nothing extraordinary, but a whole lot of fun!

Career in Sanitation, Anyone? Charleston, South Carolina
Career in Sanitation, Anyone? Charleston, South Carolina
View from our Verandah, Charleston, South Carolina
View from our Verandah, Charleston, South Carolina
Paint Samples, Charleston, South Carolina
Paint Samples, Charleston, South Carolina
Blue Door and Yellow Building in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Blue Door and Yellow Building in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Beer Shop in Antigua
Beer Shop in Antigua
Palm Trees at Andromeda Gardens, Barbados
Palm Trees at Andromeda Gardens, Barbados
Rainbow over the harbor in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Rainbow over the harbor in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
October 2004 Trip to GSMNP
October 2004 Trip to GSMNP
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Catedrál de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Catedrál de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ben & Jerry's, San Juan Puerto Rico
Ben & Jerry’s, San Juan Puerto Rico
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas
November 2004 Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Looking Back – 2006

Bluebird on Split Rail Fence, Groundhog Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Bluebird on Split Rail Fence, Groundhog Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

When I started going back through my photos from 2006, my first thought was “gee, this isn’t going to be as interesting as 2005.”  Not so, I think.  We maybe didn’t travel to Alaska, but we still managed to haul ourselves to some pretty interesting places!

Pine Tree Branch with dew, Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky
Pine Tree Branch with dew, Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky

 

Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky
Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky

 

Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky
Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky

 

Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky
Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky

 

Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky
Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky

 

It was in 2006 that I sold my Mamiya 7 film camera and bought the 5D.  A lot of these photos were taken with the 20D, and a few of them were taken with my Powershot G5!  I need to dig that camera out of the closet and play around with it.  It was a pretty nice camera and would a bit “retro” to be carrying around now!  A 12 year old digital camera is pretty Old School, just like me. 😉

Great Smoky Mountains Railway in downtown Dillsboro, NC
Great Smoky Mountains Railway in downtown Dillsboro, NC

 

One of the things that I had forgotten about with the 5D was the fact that that big old sensor tended to attract a lot of dust.  And since I was typically shooting landscapes on a tripod I tended to use pretty small apertures.  I didn’t know what a self-cleaning sensor would be like just a few years later, but these photos have and had a lot of cloning done.  Thank goodness for the dust removal tool in Lightroom!

Sunrise from Craggy Pinnacle, Blue Ridge Parkway NC
Sunrise from Craggy Pinnacle, Blue Ridge Parkway NC

 

Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC
Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC

 

Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC
Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC

 

Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC
Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, NC

 

Fall Colors, Green Knob Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Fall Colors, Green Knob Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

This is another case where the newer process version in Lightroom really brings out the goodness in some of these old photos.  I’m working on a before & after post to show some examples, but between the differences in the software and my own changing personal taste (me, taste?) there is quite a difference in some of these.

Crabtree Falls, Crabtree Meadows, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Crabtree Falls, Crabtree Meadows, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Crabtree Falls, Crabtree Meadows, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Crabtree Falls, Crabtree Meadows, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Charlotte Skyline at Dusk, Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Skyline at Dusk, Charlotte, NC

 

Mountain Island Lake, Huntersville, NC
Mountain Island Lake, Huntersville, NC

 

Ring-billed Gull at Litchfield Beach, SC
Ring-billed Gull at Litchfield Beach, SC

 

Sunrise on the beach, Litchfield Beach, SC
Sunrise on the beach, Litchfield Beach, SC

 

Sunrise on the beach, Litchfield Beach, SC
Sunrise on the beach, Litchfield Beach, SC

 

Cantilevered Barn at the Tipton Place, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cantilevered Barn at the Tipton Place, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 

On to 2007…stay tuned!

Beach chairs and umbrella, Hilton Head Island, SC
Beach chairs and umbrella, Hilton Head Island, SC

 

Fall leaves at Mountain Island Lake, Huntersville, NC
Fall leaves at Mountain Island Lake, Huntersville, NC

 

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

 

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

 

Blackbeards Castle, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Blackbeards Castle, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

 

Sunset, Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Sunset, Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

 

Spiral Staircase, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL
Spiral Staircase, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL

 

Reflections at the Fernandina Beach Marina, Amelia Island, FL
Reflections at the Fernandina Beach Marina, Amelia Island, FL

Looking Back – 2005

Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

I’ve recently begun a project to go back and “finish” processing photos from prior years that I never got around to finishing. These are photos that I had marked as “Picks” but for many reasons just never took the time to finish. It’s been an interesting project so far, and there have been a few photos that, now that I have gone back and looked at them again, are ones that I wonder how I overlooked.

Tree and rocks, Pilot Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Tree and rocks, Pilot Mountain State Park, North Carolina

I’ll write about the details in a future post, but my Lightroom catalog contained more than 8,000 photos that had Pick flags but had not been processed.  That number is miniscule by many people’s standards, but it has been a huge personal monkey on my back for a long time, so I decided to do something about it.  I finished 2011, then decided to go back to the Beginning of Time. So far I’ve completed 2005 and the number is now down to 6,700.  Woo-Hoo! 😉

Sunset from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Sunset from Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

 

Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC

 

Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Sunrise from Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC

2005 was a good year. I purchased my first digital SLR, a Canon 20D along with a few lenses in April that year. We traveled to the Smokies early that year, and I have a few decent photos from there and spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC

 

Sand Ripples near the Former Coast Guard station, now abandoned, Pea Island near Oregon Inlet, North Carolina
Sand Ripples near the Former Coast Guard station, now abandoned, Pea Island near Oregon Inlet, North Carolina

 

Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

 

Silver Lake Harbor, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Silver Lake Harbor, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

 

Sunset over Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, NC
Sunset over Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, NC

 

Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, Rodanthe, North Carolina
Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, Rodanthe, North Carolina

In May we headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week. We also spent some time in the mountains later in the month.

Sunrise at Cone Manor, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunrise at Cone Manor, Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

 

Car lights leave a trail on the descent from Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina
Car lights leave a trail on the descent from Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

 

Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC
Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Green Mountain Overlook near Boone, NC

 

Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Sunset from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

In July we took the first of our two trips to Alaska, this one to celebrate our 25th anniversary. That was a Really Big Deal, and I brought back a few decent photographs.

Mount McKinley-Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska
Mount McKinley-Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska

 

Sherman City Hall-Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska
Sherman City Hall-Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska

 

Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska
Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska

 

Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

 

Alaska Range-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Alaska Range-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

 

Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Mount McKinley from Stony Hill Overlook-Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

 

No Self Service
No Self Service

 

Gracious House Lodge and Flying Service, Denali Highway, Cantwell, Alaska
Gracious House Lodge and Flying Service, Denali Highway, Cantwell, Alaska

 

Wrangell St Elias National Park near Copper Center, Alaska
Wrangell St Elias National Park near Copper Center, Alaska

 

Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Fog Rising from the Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska

After that it was back to North Carolina, mostly the mountains in the fall, a cruise and that was about it. It was a fairly “light” year as far as photos are concerned, and my Lightroom catalog for 2005 now contains only 755 photos. I was still shooting film then, and there are about 90 scanned slides in a different folder. Chances are if I ever decide to use any of those they will need to be rescanned, since I don’t think they are up to today’s standards. Plus, the more I work with digital files the less I want to work with the old film scans.

Moon Over Price Lake at Sunrise, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Moon Over Price Lake at Sunrise, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

My conclusion after looking at all these files is that I was still a very “subject oriented” photographer back then. I made a lot of documentary shots, with a few of them showing signs of what I feel I am looking at today. Considering that I was just learning digital photography and really just getting started in photography in general, it shows that I still had a lot to learn but had a pretty decent start.

Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC
Classic Boats at the Lake Norman Classic Boat Show, Queens Landing, Mooresville, NC