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My New Workflow…

October 12, 2008

It’s been a couple weeks since I returned from the ANPW trip (far too long since the last update) and I wanted to thank everyone’s well wishes via email and blog comments.  It was a blast having you read of our adventures during the ANPW.  I’d also like to give major thanks to Scott Bourne for putting together the sponsors, prizes and pros for the first ANPW.  It was truly a fantastic experience and one I’m not soon to forget.  Also, to Martin, thank you for your friendship, Aperture instruction and for making me a better photographer.  He’s truly an amazing photographer and all around good guy.  To Steve and Scott, I really enjoyed the time we spent talking and shooting together.  I really did learn a lot from both of you from photojournalism to portraits.  It was a fantastic experience and I hope to meet up with everyone again in the future.  Don’t think twice – ENTER THE NEXT ANPW CONTEST!  I never thought I’d win and it’s well worth the entry fee ($0.00!!!).

Probably the biggest change to my photography in the post-ANPW world is my workflow.  I really liked my previous workflow, but it’s a whole new ballgame now.  Previously, I was using a Windows Vista machine.  I’m a fan of Vista and haven’t had the bad experiences I’ve heard about.  The machine was a Sony Viao with a 2.2GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM and plenty of disk.  All around a good machine.  After shooting, I would download my images using Nikon Transfer, a free, yet decent, transfer utility.  Using this, I’d set my IPTC data and keywords.  Once complete, I would fire up IMatch to catalog and take a look at the images.  I’d start rating my images and delete those that were unusable.  To “develop” my images, I’d start up Nikon Capture NX 2.  Again, many folks have complained about NX, but I really like the app.  The non-destructive edits and uPoint technology was really fantastic and I didn’t have too much of an issue getting great results.  Finally, to print, I’d fire up QImage, a Windows-only, fantastic utility for printing images.  What I love about QImage are the fantastic results coming from my Epson 3800.  Simply stunning.

Now, things are a little different.  I’ve purchased a decent 20″ iMac with a 2.0 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM and, with the firewire Drobo attached, virtually unlimited disk space.  To download my images, set my IPTC and keyword my images, I fire up Aperture.  When complete, they’re already cataloged and I’m looking through the images rating and deleting the rejected ones.  When I find one to “develop”, I simply click the adjustments tab and I’m off.  I find that adjustments are, overall, much less complicated with Aperture.  Generally, a few tweaks and I’m satisfied.  Now, I don’t have the amazing uPoint technology allowing for adjustments to specific areas of the image, but I’m finding that I don’t miss it… too much.  The Nik Software Viveza will give me this ability as an Aperture plug in.  Finally, I can print right through Aperture.  Now printing is an art form and I’m still learning, but my initial results are quite good.  Plus, with Aperture I can make books, upload to my MobileMe account, export using preset export parameters (really cool), etc.  It’s a complete gamechanger.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the new workflow.  It’s definitely saving me a lot of time processing my images.  With the combination of the Drobo, I have all 35,000+ images right at my fingertips and it’s still very fast.  I’m impressed.

Also, the images simply look a lot better in Aperture.  I know there’s significant proprietary tweaks the software is doing (non-destructively) to my images and it pays off.  While I can’t put into words the difference, you have to trust me that they look better.  I’m very pleased with my results.

One last thing, during the upcoming PhotoPlus Expo in NYC, I’m being interviewed by Derrick Short of Inside Aperture website and podcast.  They’re interested in my thoughts going from my old to new workflow.  I’m really looking forward to this experience.  I’ll post more information when I know more.

Since I have to post something before I go, how about an image from Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown Pennsylvania (near Hershey).  We took a trip there this summer.  This was my favorite shot from the trip.  Enjoy!

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