Thursday, March 15, 2018

The price of technology...

I love my MacBook Pro laptop.  Well, for the record, the current one is my 4th MacBook Pro, and I have enjoyed each and every one.  They are work-horses.  Unless you do something stupid to them, they just keep working.  Intuitively.  While each new version is a bit more expensive than the previous, they have all had increasingly more computing power and memory.

Same with the iPads.  We bought one of the original iPads when they first released the version with cellular capability - not because we wanted it for the cellular data aspect, but because that version had a GPS radio in it (the wifi-only models did not).  I knew it would be great for marine navigation... for the first couple years, I had all kinds of people telling me that would not work (including a couple Apple Store "genius" types) - "You have to be in cellular range in order to use it for navigation."  Man, were they wrong!  Now, it seems that all cruising mariners use iPads (or another tablet) in their boats, because they are a very cost-effective means of navigating.  Instead of (or along with) a dedicated chartplotter, which could run you thousands of dollars, then charting cards for the chartplotter that will run you hundreds more, for the cost of an iPad and a $49 app, you have amazing nav info right at your fingertips.  Oh, and the iPad will do all kinds of things, like e-mail, internet, play music or movies, word processing, and the zillion other things that apps can do.

I have been a Photoshop user for about 25 years.  I think it was PS2 when I first bought it... for around $600.  Each new version update was only around $200.  We used it in our photography studio, and were early adopters of the then-new digital technology.  Our first studio quality digital camera cost almost as much as our first house.  That was the price of technology.  With digital data approaching the quality of film, the ability to use Adobe Photoshop meant we were limited only by our imagination on what could be done.  It was an amazing time to be in the photographic industry.

We didn't have much amateur competition because of the high cost of entry to the digital imaging world.  As camera prices came down (dramatically), more photographers made the change, and more amateurs got into digital imaging.  We made the change from a full color lab in our studio to a digital lab, giving us full control from creating the images to making finished portraits from wall-size canvas prints to wallet-size on dye sublimation material (more durable and longer-lasting than typical photo paper).  The process was more expensive to produce that silver-based photo paper, but the quality was better... again, the price of technology.

Then, after we retired from that business, things changed.  In 2007, Apple came out with their first iPhone.  At one seminar for professional photographers I had done in the late 90s, I told of my "future prediction": a device that would hold all your digital images... instead of high school seniors trading wallet-size photos, they would beam each other images from their hand-held photo storage devices.  Some people laughed at me.  Turns out, I was right... I just didn't realize it would be a phone that would be that device.  Now, everyone with a phone (and this is most of the people) has a camera with them.  They don't "trade" photos - rather, they show people the photos on their phone, or they post them on the internet, Instagram, etc.  Photographers who didn't change their business model to one of providing a photographic service instead of selling photographs were doomed to dwindling sales.

The price of technology.  Probably what buggy whip makers thought when those new-fangled automobiles came along.

So, why the trip down Memory Lane, you're asking?  Thanks for asking.  I bought an iPad Pro a while back.  I thought it might be a good, even more portable replacement for my MacBook Pro.  Turns out, I was less than enthused with the photo apps available - nothing came close to the Photoshop I use on the MacBook.  Until recently.

Dan told me about Affinity Pro Photo app.  When I read up on it, it sounded very impressive.  The version for the iPad is a whopping $19.99.  First impression with it: there will be a substantial learning curve after all those years of Photoshop.  When I get comfortable with it, it looks like it will eventually be even as, or more, powerful as Photoshop.

These days, you hear a lot of people use the word "photoshopped" as a verb; and generally with a bad connotation.  (As in: "She doesn't really look that good, she has been photoshopped.")  Virtually every image I have posted on this blog has had something done to it with Photoshop: cropping, an adjustment of color, density, and contrast.  Oh, the photos you've seen here are not "artificially enhanced."  If that were the case, I'd make myself taller and thinner.  ;-)  Back in the olden days of film, your photofinisher made changes in every snapshot of yours (generally by program built into the printer) before it was printed.

The cameras keep getting better, even the ones built into the phones, but they still need to be "spruced up" to present the best image.  And now, the price of technology is only $19.99.


A test shot today, with grandkitty Tasha...

Decent detail in the highlights and shadows.  Image size reduced for quick loading here.  Eyes lightened just a bit to make up for the ambient room lighting.  Nothing else done to enhance her natural beauty.  It wasn't "photoshopped," it was Affinitied.  ;-)

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