Spring Fever and Photo Workflow Madness

Spring is around the corner and here are a few shots to jump start your fever. The process used to edit these photos lies below the gallery.

In the first four photos, a juvenile Robin has a seriously hard time wrestling mulberries out of my tree. S/he just couldn’t manage to eat without flapping its wings wildly about to steady him/herself. Don’t you just love the color and texture of its feathers?

In the second three, we see a juvenile Baltimore Oriole who needs a bib for its meal. It has accessorized its normal yellow color by adding some red dye to its chest feathers. What a mess!

Please click the photos to see the larger images.

The Workflow Madness Back Story
To participate in the #SongBirdSaturday photo theme on Google+, I set out to process 10 Robin photos using the ColorChecker Passport software, Adobe Lightroom, and some plug-ins. I only finished the four Robin shots you see here, due to update madness.

The ColorChecker Passport from X-Rite photo helps you create a color and camera corrected profile, which makes it easier to assign a color space to RAW shots. Each camera and lens combination deliver different results, so a simple method to correct color, lens distortion, color fringing (Chromatic Aberration), or vignetting is a welcome relief. Lightroom handles the camera profile and lens corrections well, while the Passport handles the color.

You only need to take a picture of the Passport device during your shoot and use it to create a color camera profile inside of Lightroom or any software capable of handling RAW files. It took me a while to really understand how ColorChecker Passport works, but once I understood how to create and use a profile, it turned out to be a great help. It does make color correction much easier. One click, instead of rifling through a number of editing modules.

xrite colorchecker passport

ColorChecker Passport

This isn’t a review though, it’s a rant. I planned to spent about an hour editing and posting my photos, but instead spent over 4 hours wrestling with software before I even made it to the editing stage.

Here’s my workflow

  1. Renumber my photos in Adobe Bridge.
  2. Import 24 photos into Lightroom and convert them to DNG format.
  3. Opened Color Checker Passport and discovered that I had missed an old update. Ooopps, download and install.
  4. Create a Passport profile and apply it to all the shots.
  5. Apply some basic edits in Lightoom, such as recover overexposed bits, adjusted clarity, and checked for noise.
  6. Opened OnOne PhotoSuite 6 to do some tweaking – that needed an update too (not to mention that I accidentally opened 24 photos at once). My machine went out for quite a long break trying to process that many photos. So I quit and started again with the 8 photos I wanted.  I did not find an editing preset I wanted to use to tweak some areas of the photos, so I decided to try a different program.
  7. Open Nik Color Efex Pro 4. It also needed an update. Download and install my 3rd update for the night. Edited one photo by adding contrast and selectively sharpening a wing, and pushed the color just a wee bit.
  8. By this time I was so tired, I decided to bag the whole shebang and just use Photoshop to resize and save the shots for the web. To hell with sharpening or enhancing the images.
  9. Upon moving through to Photoshop, Lightroom told me that PS needed a Camera RAW update. … Am I having fun yet?

Feeling very frustrated, I killed Lightroom and opened Photoshop and hit update only to discover that it wanted to do more than just upgrade my Camera RAW, it wanted to add a GIG of updates to every Adobe app I had installed! Another hour seeps through my fingers. Guess what I’ll be doing this week? Running permissions repair on my drive, over and over and over again.

With so much time killed, I decided to just minimally process four RAW files and webify them to upload. Only one of these shots is actually processed to any degree, the others are just corrected for color and lens distortion. Let’s see if you can figure out which one!

I don’t want piss off software developers and I appreciate that most of you listen to customer comments and tweak your software with bug fixes and updates. Yet, I get frustrated when software is updated frequently. I use so many different programs each month that updates are like getting detention. It doesn’t significantly change life, but eats it away minute by minute. I understand that some bug fixes are necessary, but can’t these little tweaks wait for a point 1 update or a version updated, instead of a 1.1.1 type of update? I can’t believe I am the only person frustrated with updates.

After I uploaded these shots to my web host server, I got yet another message to update Fetch, which I use to transfer the files. Next, I backed up my drive with Carbon Copy Cloner and it too wanted to apply an update.

Sorry, I’m all updated out–10 in one night is my limit!

ilene’s machine is endorsed by Bare Bones Software, The Omni Group, Marketcircle, and iGame Radio. The opinions expressed are my own. Photos © ilene hoffman, 2012. Please do not reuse without permission.

About ileneh

I am a Macintosh expert, writer and photographer. I have published many articles on Apple related products, but I cut my writer's teeth producing grants and market research reports when the Web was just something a spider made. I've also worked as a photographer, dancer and social worker. ilene's Machine was born in 2000 when I realized everything I did involved some kind of machine. First, my answering machine, next a Vic 20, then a Mac 128. Add a variety of Macintosh machines and iOS devices over the years and before you know it, you have reached ilene's Machine. Please leave a message!
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3 Responses to Spring Fever and Photo Workflow Madness

  1. inkomster says:

    I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my


  2. Lynn says:

    I agree that it seems I have 20-30 apps to uupdate every week. I use three different programs to keep me up to date. Two are app Mac app stores. Apples and one called Bodega. I open those ever 7 – 10 days. Once I have updated through them I use TechTracker from CNET to check any that those miss. That usually keeps down those last minute updates. But it would be nice if they limited an update to 3 or 4 times a year.


    • ileneh says:

      20+ apps a week is definitely a PIA. Of course, I didn’t even count iPad or iPhone updates in my count. Even at only 3-4 updates a year multiplied by 10 to 20 apps is a lot of time. Maybe if the companies put out a schedule of planned updates, we could plan our work around them? ::: Oy::::


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