Photographers "Do You Need a Laptop?"

October 13, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I bring up a question that I've had on my mind a while. One I'm sure you haven't thought about at all. Do you really need a laptop as a photographer? Now I'm not talking about a photographer that is a professional that his whole income is based on his or her photography. But the average person that loves photography but maybe just does it on the side a little for some extra cash to buy new gear. I don't think so and I'll get to the why in a little bit. I was in the belief that as a photographer that you had to have a laptop to do editing and all of that stuff. But I don't. I was under the impression that photographers sat in coffee shops with their laptops doing important editing on their computers. I don't.  Let me tell you what I use my laptop for mostly.  I use it as a food tray at supper time while I'm watching TV eating my nightly salad and I use it to browse the internet looking up weird facts that I never know the answers too.  Do I use it to edit photographs? No.  I use it to look and research others photo's.  So really I don't use it for photography at all. Now don't get me wrong I see nothing wrong with using a laptop for editing and doing all of your photography stuff. But I don't think it is essential. I think editing your photo's on a larger screen on some sort of desk computer is better for a few reasons. First your editing in the same place every time with the light in the room staying basically the same which helps in consistency. Two you are using a larger and stronger computer most of the time that will make your editing quicker and more efficient. Three your storage for all of your photo's is probably stored right beside your main computer so you won't have the tendency to loose stuff.  All of this makes sense. But what about when you travel you say? Well that's when I used to think I would really use a laptop. Because I need to back up my work and I can edit on the road.  That all makes sense right?  I can see the reasoning for thinking that but for me not so much.  For years I have been carrying a laptop to do what I just mentioned backup and edit on the road.  But for one I found that I really didn't edit on the road that much. Maybe a photo or two to go on social media but the bulk of my photo's were being edited at home after the trip. So until this year the only reason I took my laptop traveling was to back up my SD cards at the end of the day maybe edit a photo or two, review my photo's of the day and browse the internet.  This year I started using an iPad mini to do all of my travel stuff and haven't missed my laptop at all. So tell me why do I need a laptop as a photographer?  I don't. I don't use it at home for my photography and I don't need it on the road for photography. So I don't really need one. So now I'll get to the why.

This year I have been focusing on my travel more as a photographer. So far I have visited 8 different National Parks and many state parks and larger cities. This whole year I have been only using a iPad mini to do all of my photography stuff on the road with no problems at all. There has been a learning curve and maybe the mini isn't the best choice for this task of photography on the road but it works and works well. To tell you the truth I could do all of this with my phone but that is an extreme I think. I use Apple products for all of my personal computing needs. My main computer is a Mac I do have a MacBook Air for a laptop and my iPad Mini.  My computers are getting old.  My main computer is a 2015 model. A few years ago I converted my hard drive to a SSD and that sped up my older computer considerably and as of now I have no need to update because it can do everything I ask of it. I will of course have to replace some day.  My laptop is a 2017 and same as my Mac I converted to SSD which has extended the life of it. But it is slower and I only use it when I'm in front of the TV at night.  My iPad mini is a 5th generation and works well for travel. Its small compact and is equipped with wifi and Cellular .  But I think it will be the next replacement maybe next year not so much for what it can do but a larger iPad would do better I think especially with the "M" chips that apple is putting in the iPads now a days. With a larger iPad I can also have a case that includes a keyboard and as with my iPad mini the newer iPad will replace my laptop. I may never get another laptop. I don't see the need for it especially for my photography. Now I don't have any problem with anyone using a laptop to do all of their photography work on for many people this is the only computer they own and a must ,but for me I'll keep the larger computer for editing and an iPad for everything mobile. 

So there you have it my and I mean my thoughts on laptops for photography. I know I'm in minority but I think in the future more people will be going this way and eventually I think larger computers will be the way of the past like stick shifts and gasoline engines. But that will probably be after I'm long gone. As with everything else I'm trying to streamline ,like my camera gear to now my computers, and not too much into the future I will only have a main computer and an iPad for all of my photography and computing needs.  Until next week don't forget to get outside and shoot!

Hey this is an update Last week I gave the results of my Boston trip and the big experiment and that I edited all of my photographs on the iPad mini. Well I have updated my iPad for editing to the iPad Pro for my photography needs and my workflow has changed a bit that will come in next weeks Blog. Happy Shooting!

Boston, The Big Experiment!

October 07, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! I had a great one. Last weekend me and some of my photography friends went to Boston and we had a blast.  Last week I went through the pro's and con's of JPEGS and RAW formant photographs and the experiment that I was going to undertake on this trip. Well spoiler alert it went great!  I decided to shoot in RAW + JPEG but instead of using the RAW as my main photo I was going to use the JPEG and see how it went.  It worked great. I took almost 1000 photos and only used the JPEGs to edit and post with in LightRoom and they looked great!  I even took my experiment a little farther and I used my Full Frame Sony and prime lenses for the first two days and used my Canon Point and shoot for the last two days.  And all of the photographs looked good. The Full frame may have Boston Harbor at NightBoston Harbor at Night done better in low light but that seemed to be the only advantage to it over the Point and shoot. The point and shoot was more stealthy than the full frame.

So talking about going full circle.  When I first started in digital I started with a point and shoot camera then a crop sensor camera then a full size DSLR then I went to a Crop Sensor Mirrorless to a Point and shoot camera .  I started shooting in Film then Digital Jpegs then RAW and with this trip to JPEG. When I started in photography I was shooting in Manual only, then went to Automatic modes on my cameras.  And with all the Revere Beach Sunrise BostonRevere Beach Sunrise Boston camera's and formats I always got good results.  I always had good looking photographs. So what does all of this mean?  Well for one thing I'm not always going to shoot in RAW.  Only when there is a time and place for it.  I'm not going to shoot in Manual all of the time. Only when there is a time and place for it. And I always don't have to shoot with the Full Frame camera. Only when there is a time and place for it. When will I shoot RAW, JPEG, Manual Settings, Automatic Settings, Full Frame, Crop Sensor or Point and shoot? Lets go through the list.

RAW Format- Landscape work , Portraits , Astro anything that require some more intense post processing. Stairs and Shadows BostonStairs and Shadows Boston  

JPEG Format- Shooting Street, Sport, Wildlife and everyday stuff that I can quickly edit.

Manual Settings- When I'm on a tripod. Dragging the Shutter. Or having to overcome some drastic lighting situation that the camera can't figure out.

Auto Settings.- Almost all of the time except when mentioned above.

Full Frame camera- Portraits, Street, Still life

Crop Sensor camera- Landscape , Sport, Wildlife

Point and Shoot camera.- Everyday shooting, Street

Piano ManPiano Man What it really comes down to is that it really doesn't matter what equipment or how you adjust your camera or what format you shoot in you can still make great photographs because a camera doesn't take the photograph you make the photograph.  Thats what I've found out with this big experiment.  I will start to use my point and shoot without worrying about quality issues. I won't shoot in RAW all of the time because there is no need for it. If you have a somewhat modern camera it will let you make great photographs not mater what brand or size.

There was one more thing that came out of this experiment that I wasn't expecting to happen. All of the photographs that were taken in Boston were edited on an iPad mini. That's right! Nothing was edited on my desktop or a laptop. It was fairly seamless .  I created an Album in Lightroom on my iPad and added all the photo's from each day.  They were automatically synced with my Lightroom Classic on my Mac at home. All the edits I made were synced through the cloud to my main computer.  I didn't have to upload anything when I got home they were already there. All 1000 photo's. Editing on the iPad was easy I just had to get used to Lightroom instead of Lightroom Classic that I'm used to. Using the apple pencil made editing easy.  I liked that I wasn't tied down to a computer to do edits I could do them anywhere. I'm going to keep trying this editing process to see how I like it.  Whats nice about it is that if I want to do some heavy edits its on my Mac the photo's are there already where I can do anything to it. As most of my edits are light ones the iPad seems to be the new thing I didn't know that I needed to incorporate into my editing flow. More to come on this subject as I learn more.

Be open to new ideas and maybe some old ones too to make your photography more fun and exciting.  So take what camera you have and get out and shoot! Make some great photography!

Raw or JPEG?

September 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I want to talk about the difference between shooting in RAW and JPEG and what I think about it.  In a few days I'm taking a photography trip to Boston Massachusetts in the US.  While there I'll be conducting an experiment on RAW vs. JPEG file format.  I'll shoot RAW+JPEG but I will only use the JPEG files and have the RAW's for Backup. Its backwards of what most people do (me included) but I thought I would give it a go.  I was listening to a Podcast and it was talking about how to get out of a slump and shooting in JPEG was one of the ways. Just shoot. So on this trip to Boston I'll only be posting JPEG shot images and see how it works out. Lets talk about RAW and JPEG files a bit.

RAW Files. Images shot in RAW is exactly as it sounds. It is the most amount of information (data) recorded by your sensor with no post processing done to it .  Its RAW data. And when we look at it on a computer it looks dull and doesn't pop at all.  We have to post process this image to get it looking like what we saw on the back of the camera on the display which is a JPEG. We can do a lot to these images in this format and is what is shot by professionals around the world .  It is the standard that most photographers use. Shooting in RAW. But it does have some disadvantages also. The files are larger and it take longer for your camera to write to the memory card you have in your camera. So if you're  shooting high action sports or wildlife this could be a disadvantage to shooting in RAW.  You have to post process this format if you want it to look anything like you have on the back of your camera. When you take a photo the image that you see on the display is a JPEG file which means that it has been compressed and processed by the camera. For me a lot of the time I'm trying to get the final photo to look like it did on the back of the camera.  So isn't that unnecessary editing? RAW format is excellent for Portraits , Landscapes and any type of art  photography where post processing is a must.

JPEG's files. Images shot in JPEG are compressed files and have had some processing done to them that cannot be undone. This means that they are smaller files and what you get is what you get. You cannot back out of a JPEG and make it a RAW file. It doesn't work that way. These files are smaller and take up less room and can be processed by the camera and written to your memory card faster than RAW files.  This makes them great for Sports and Wildlife.  With JPEG's there is less editing .  And there is also less room to post process.  Although you still can process the images. When using JPEGs you can have camera profiles burnt in or cooked into your files.  Like film simulations or different effects can be "in camera" edited. But remember you can't undue what is done. 

So why would you ever shoot in anything but RAW?  You have full control over everything.  Well I guess its in how you shoot and what you shoot and the style of shooting that you do. If I were doing professional work where I was getting paid I would definitely shoot in RAW with a JPEG backup. But if I don't plan to sell my photo's?  If I am doing fine art photography I think shooting in RAW is also a good idea.  But if your like me and don't sell or really do fine art photography.  I mainly do landscape and travel photography. Do I need to shoot in RAW.  It would be quicker and easier to shoot in JPEG and just lightly edit my photo's.  That's what the experiment is going to be about when I go to Boston.  To see if there is a big difference between shooting RAW and JPEG.  Or can I just shoot in JPEG and shoot in RAW when I need to? It doesn't have to be either/or but maybe and. To me its kind of like shooting in Manual all of the time because someone on the internet said that professional photographers shoot that way.  But if your like me and have been shooting manual for most of my life I like shooting in an auto mode like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. When I started photography many moons ago there was no auto modes. Just manual. I know that if I don't see what I like that after years of shooting in manual just a couple of adjustments and I have what I want but 90% of the time the camera gets it right. Really the only time I shoot in Manual now is when my camera is on a tripod and I'm doing some sort of long exposure like a waterfall shot. So why can't I do this with RAW vs. JPEG? JPEG is like shooting in Auto and just go to RAW when I need to Like doing Astro Photography or long exposure when I'm on a tripod. And since I'm shooting RAW +JPEG anyway there is nothing to change. Anyway those are my thoughts about RAW vs. JPEG .  I'll let you know how the experiment went and if it changes the way I photograph things.

So get out and experiment with your photography. Don't be afraid to try something new. And until next week Get out and Shoot!


Fall Colors Workshop Waynesboro VA

September 25, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! This blog is a special edition than my normal Friday blog. The Goldsboro Area Photography Club (GAPC) has a couple of openings for our Fall Colors Workshop that will be in Waynesboro Va from Oct 15 to 22 ,2022. During this workshop you will get hopefully some really good fall foliage , sunrises, Sunsets, Waterfalls, quaint towns all decked out in holiday and harvest decorations photographs.  You will have a chance to really take some time and learn maybe a new technique like photo stacking or HDR. Maybe learn something new in Post Processing. Most importantly you will be Seneca RockSeneca RockCheck out the people on the top of the rock! able to fellowship with like minded people about photography. Have you ever been on a workshop before?  Maybe it was a day or half a day and you learned one thing or another. Think about a whole week what you can learn and experience as a photographer doing photography every day for a week.

We have two slots available the first one at a discounted price because we had a member that had to drop out and he is selling his spot at a Dry FallsDry Falls great price and the other slot is at regular price. I'll go over the numbers at the end of this blog. If you like fall colors (and who doesn't?) we will be right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just outside of Shenandoah National Park. I know what you're thinking. It's kinda weird to go off for a week with people that you don't know that well.  I understand. I have been to all of our Fall Color Workshops. The first one I had only been a member for maybe a year but really only saw members at the meetings and workshops that were half a day. This was out of my comfort zone. When I arrived at the meeting place I got into the car with a mother/daughter duo. I had met the mother at the meetings but not the daughter. I Looking Glass 2Looking Glass 2 can say that after that trip we have become life long friends.  I just got back from a trip to Boston to do some photography with them. So don't be shy we are a welcoming group.

Let me explain how it works.  We get a house through Air B&B or VRBO for a week.  We split the cost by who's going. This trip the cost came to 310 dollars. That pays for your lodging the more people usually the cheaper. You can't stay anywhere in a hotel for 310 a week. We have separate sleeping arrangements for guys and gals. We usually always have a Guy bathroom and a Gals bathroom so you ladies don't have to follow one of us. LOL  We car pool everywhere and the price of all of the gas is split between all of us. Depending on the price of gas this Mill Shoals at NightMill Shoals at Night is usually in the 60 dollars range maybe a little more.  Food for the house. Coffee , sandwich materials, bottled water, Pizza's etc.... is all split between everyone. Maybe 25 or 30 bucks not much. Most meals are eaten out and you pay for your own. We do sometimes make sandwiches and take for lunches. Thats pretty much the cost. Let me give you a typical day.

Early Rise. We usually start early to get a sunrise shot,Waterfall or destination. Depending on how far we need to drive will dictate how early we get up. If the place is close by and we aren't doing a sunrise we will get breakfast at a local restaurant if we leave super early we will grab a New River Gorge BridgeNew River Gorge BridgeNew River Gorge Bridge at Fayetteville Station in New River Gorge National Park. biscuit or something at a fast food place because they are the only ones open. This is the only time we eat at chain restaurants.

First location. Whether its a Waterfall, or scenic shot we will spend plenty of time for you to get your shot or many shots.  This is the time that you could borrow say a lens from someone that has the same camera system as you or get advice on how to shoot.  We don't have one instructor teaching anything we have many with decades of experience in shooting that can help you if you need it.

Glade Creek MillGlade Creek MillThe Famous Glade Creek Mill in Babcock State Park in WVa. Lunch. Lunch can either be a bag lunch that we prepared or a sit-down lunch at a local diner or restaurant.  We have had sit in the grass picnics on the blue ridge or in a National park at picnic tables where we got to see a bear get tagged and measured.  Usually not the big meal of the day.

Afternoon Location. This could be a scenic overlook or looks or a charming small town like in the morning you will have plenty of time to shoot we try not to rush anyone.

Supper. Depending if we are doing a sunset shot or not this is usually at a decent hour. Usually at a local restaurant .  This is usually a nicer meal but it could be order in pizza. Bull ElkBull ElkThis Bull Elk was at Cherokee North Carolina.

Evening time. This time after a long day is spent taking showers, sitting around in your PJ's editing the days shots. This is where you can get great post processing tips and tricks.

This is a typical day and we stay busy all day. It's called a workshop for a reason. The Fall Colors workshop has been the highlight of my year ever since I've started going.  I rearrange my yearly schedule around it. The fist day is where you'll make most of your mistakes with the camera but as the week goes on you'll be surprised how easily the Cass Scenic Railroad State ParkCass Scenic Railroad State Park photographs come and you just have to concentrate on composition. You don't need any special equipment if you have a camera no matter what type you are good to go even if its only a smart phone.

This deal is for members of the GAPC only! If you are not a member you can join for 35 dollars membership dues. Being a member has many benefits this trip is just one of them. 

Prices .1st person 250 dollars payable to Jack (we will get you all the info) if not a member 35 dollars payable to our treasurer.

2nd person 310 dollars and must be a member or pay the 35 dollar due.

Please leave a comment that you want to go on the Facebook page (not this blog) and someone will get in touch with you. This is for people in the Goldsboro NC area and surrounding counties.  Come have fun with us. 

Here are some video Links. 2021 West Virginia Workshop  2017 NC Fall Colors  2016 Fall Colors WV

GAPC Washington DC

What is your EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera

September 22, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week.  This week I want to talk about the camera you take with you where ever you go. The Photographer Chase Jarvis once said “ The best camera is the one you have with you”.  I am a firm believer that if you are a real photographer at heart that you should always have a camera on you. If your like me I’m always looking for great photographs and wouldn’t it be a shame if you found that great photo oppotunity and didn’t have a camera with you.  I have been shooting long before digital and tried to have some sort of camera with me but it always didn’t work out. But since digital started and I got my first Kodak digital camera I have always had a EDC camera with me.  I know , I know now a days we have Smart Phones that can do a great job and I agree the new iPhones and Google phones take fantastic photographs and all I have to do is have my phone with me and I have my EDC camera.  And that is a great option. I just listened to a Podcast on “This Week In Photo” where they were talking about what a iPhone 13pro can do even control ProPhoto lights.  Here is the link to the Podcast I’m Referencing “This Week In Photo iPhone 13”.  Also A link to the Website which has great Photography articles in it  TWIP (This Week In Photography) .  I think phones are great and I use mine to do Panographs when I’m out and about they work great and the photo is already stitched together.  But I like to have a dedicated camera when I do photography. The ergonomics are better for taking photographs and I don’t have to worry about getting a notification when I’m shooting.

What is my EDC camera? Well I have had it for a few years and its an older point and shoot but I like it very much. It’s the Canon G7XMarkII.  It’s a fantastic little camera.  I have just sold a lot of Sony Gear that I had grown out of and I sold one of my Crop Sensor Body’s that I was using as a backup camera so now this Point and shoot has become my backup camera when I’m on photography shoots with my big boy camera’s. It has a 1 inch sensor can shoot in manual and RAW. A one inch sensor is many times larger than a smart phone sensor and just smaller than a micro 4/3 sensor found in Olympus and Panasonic camera’s.  The touch screen makes going through the menu’s very easily and I wish that Sony would use the same touch screen on their camera’s. When it first came out on the market it was used mainly as a V-Logging camera but it’s out of date now because it doesn’t shoot 4K video which doesn’t matter to me because I shoot mainly still photographs which it does great. I have put an adapter on the front so I can use circular polarizer filter on it and have put a bottom plate on it which makes it a bit bigger and feels better in my hand. Gives my pinky finger somewhere to go. It doesn’t have a view finder but works well in low light. It’s has a 24-100mm f1.8-2.8 lens and can get some good bokeh out of it. It is a great walk around camera and would not hesitate to use if my main camera failed for some reason. I do have a cell phone a 2020 iPhone SE which is just a boosted iPhone 8. It’s basically the hardware of the 8 with the microprocessor of the 11 inside.  It’s small and compact and only has one lens instead of three or more of the newer and larger cellphones. So I guess its a backup to the Canon.  You can still pick up this camera from Amazon New for about 640 dollars. That’s 200 more than I paid for my phone. So a little pricy. The newer G7XMarkIII cost about 750 dollars. So you can spend a little more and get the newer version or save some money with the older one. The newer one shoot 4K that’s the biggest difference between the models.

So there you have it my EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera.  Let me know what you use. Is it your phone or do you have a dedicated camera like me?  Until next week Get out and Shoot!