Josef “Jeff” Sipek

Post Processing + 2005 Memorial Day Airshow

As some of you know, I do enjoy running around with my camera. It really is a lot of fun wandering aimlessly around, taking a photo or a dozen of something that looks interesting or funny. Unfortunately, there is more to photography than just capturing photons. Once you have the “raw” images, you need to post-process them. Digital cameras make the photon capture part super-easy, however they don’t simplify post processing all that much. (Yes, I know, you no longer need to deal with darkrooms and chemical baths. My point is, the amount of improvement in photo taking is way greater than the amount of improvement in post processing.)

About two weeks ago, I decided to give Adobe Lightroom 4 a go. Up until then, I just had a super-simple organizational scheme: a directory for every year (2004, 2005, …, 2012) and inside each, a directory for each “event”. For example, the 2005 Ottawa Linux Symposium was in 2005/ols while the 2006 one was in 2006/ols. In each event directory, I just had a bunch of jpegs or NEFs. If I wanted to modify an image, I’d open it in Gimp or Photoshop, and save whatever variants I wanted to in a subdirectory called pp — which stands for post-processed. A very simple scheme, but it doesn’t scale. Over the years, I moved my photo collection from computer to computer, trying to keep a backup on an external disk whenever possible. Sadly, this resulted in my having a 130 GB directory with the per-year scheme and “temp” directories with various amounts of the same images, as well as some “I need to empty the CF card now, so I’ll just dump it somewhere temporarily” directories. I suspect that I have about 70–80 GB of unique content.

With this mess on my hands, I decided to try some photo management software. A while ago, I looked at digiKam and I was not impressed. Then about two weeks ago, I gave Picasa and Lightroom a try. Picasa didn’t quite do what I wanted it to do — keep a very similar workflow to what I have now (keep the per-year and per-event directories) but make it really easy to make powerful edits to the images non-destructively. That is, I want to keep the original as they are, but associate the edited images with the original. Lightroom hit the spot right on. At this point I am still using the 30-day trial, but I’m going to spring for the $150 full version.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about Lightroom at some later time. Today, I just want to share 25 photos from an air show I went to on Memorial Day in 2005. (Photos that have been “rotting” in my giant pile of photos until I imported them into Lightroom.) I generated a photo gallery with all 25. Below are the better ones.

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