When I was in university, one of my professors  gave us a computer programming assignment.  Short on time to complete the assignment, I went to the library and looked to see if anyone else had found a solution.  There were many.  I chose an algorithm from one author and used it to complete my assignment.  Yes, I gave the author the appropriate credit.  When the professor handed back the assignments, he noted that one of the students had done this.  He asked what other students thought.  Some replied that it was cheating, others said they wished they had thought of it.  The professor said that, “The wheel was a great invention and there is no need to reinvent it.”

Photoshop and Lightroom are two exceptional programs used by photographers all over the world.  Their complexity can overwhelm any new photographer.  I have spent years learning both and I am still learning.   There is help.  There are a number of sites that specialize in teaching Lightroom and Photoshop.  Some cost and some are free.  I use and enjoy PHLEARN owned by Aaron Nace.  I have found that his style of teaching works for me.  I also enjoy tutorials by Sean Bagshaw.  Sean is a landscape photographer as I am.  Through him I learnt of the TK panels by Tony Kuyper – the best kept secret in photography, and Photo Cascadia, a group of exceptional photographers whose work inspires me.

Reinventing the wheel will advance the study of wheelology.  But I want to ride the wheel.  I want to change backgrounds, not spend frustrating hours trying to figure out how.  Photographers, such as Aaron Nace, and Sean Bagshaw are willing to teach me and you.  Thanks guys!      

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To new photographers. I have a bit of advice that I wish I had learnt when I first started. Storage! When I started digital photography, I stored my photographs in the c-drive on my computer. Yes, they were in their own folder with subfolders titled appropriately. I am not talking about organization, there are a number of good photographers out there who are more than willing to share how they organize their files. I am referring to where and how you store your files. Sooner or later you are going to need more storage space. File sizes can grow exponentially in both Photoshop and Lightroom. My first solution was to buy a solid state USB external drive. One drive led to two, and eventually I had 4 or 5 of these plugged into the USB ports on my computer. I had created an SSD octopus.

When COVID struck the world, I like many others found myself with too much time. I began researching into my storage problem and found a solution, a NAS! NAS stands for “network accessible storage” and is a dedicated storage unit on my network that I use to store all my photos. In particular I use a “Synology DS920+”.

Synology DS920+

As photographers we spend considerable money on our cameras, lenses, tripods and the like, but spend little time considering where and how we store our precious photos. I have lost photos this way. Network storage solutions have been used by business for awhile – they are reliable. Warning, there is a learning curve – new nomenclature, downloading etc.. Stick with it. It is well worth the effort.

My own DS920+ is plugged into my modem and is recognised on my network. I store my photos two disk drives. The second disk is an exact duplicate of the first disk – a backup. When I save files on both Photoshop and Lightroom, the files are saved directly on both disks on the NAS. I store no photos on my computer. The c-drive is for programs.

I know I am not the first person to store photos this way, but I feel strongly about this solution, it works! If you have an octopus on your computer, time to consider a solution that stores all your files in one place, is simple to access and completely reliable. No more lost photos for me!

Allan

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