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It is amazing how one change can have a ripple effect and cause other changes and create a whole new learning environment and new workflows.  So, my little change came when I decided to upgrade and buy a new computer. The old PC was becoming inefficient for my photo processing and was in dire needs of some serious upgrades. This cascaded into adding additional hardware and adapting a new photo processing software.  At the same time, Redbubble, a global, online market place for artists has drastically changed its format and has caused a mass exodus of its members seeking a new venue.

Change #1: In search of a new PC, I researched to find the best features and components that would meet my needs at a reasonable cost.  The best configuration to obtain all the needed and desirable features was a gaming computer. I always have favored HP and eventually found the perfect combination that included the latest Intel Core I7 processor, IPS FHD display, 16GB RAM expandable to 32GB, 512 GB SSD plus a 1 TB hard drive, GeForce GTX1650 graphics card, etc. Now that I am moving at light speed it was time to add software. While I use a cloud-based service to back up my images, I always had a manual redundancy and backed up weekly to an external drive. The 3TB external hard drive was almost to capacity, so I opted for a new WD 8TB external hard drive with an auto backup system.  To keep all my peripherals plugged in and operational without using all the USB ports I went for an Anker 10 port 60W data hub with 7 USB 3.0 ports and 3 power IQ charging ports. Everything is nice and neat and no more plugging and unplugging accessories.

Change #2: Everything comes with a 30 trial and then you have to pay for a subscription. Even your standard office suite is now a paid subscription. I have been using Light Room 5.7 for years along with some addons such as the Nik collection and Portrait Pro.  As LR 5.7 is no longer supported and as it has gone to a cloud-based subscription, it was a good time to explore ON1. At first it appeared intimidating, but as advertised, it is very similar to LR and in many respects better.  Both are non-destructive RAW photo editors. One of the best features of ON1 is that you don’t have to import your files to work on them.  ON1 is browser based so you can keep your images in one spot and work on them instantly. Raw processing tools are very similar including cropping, retouching and local adjustments. While locating and working your images in ON1 is easier and more intuitive, you still need to export the image in order to share it onto your favorite sites or webpage.  While all the features are very similar, their 5 part foundation series tutorials are highly recommended.

Change #3:  Redbubble is an online, global market place for artists.  I joined RB as a venue to display my works, meet other photographers who are passionate about their art and to learn from them. The various groups (genres) was a place to selectively display your specific types of works and receive feedback from other photographers. The challenges were a place where your work was recognized by the group members voting on your works. I thoroughly enjoyed in moderating my groups (Historical Sites, Preserving History, America: Rural, Urban, Wild & Free and co-hosted the Nikon DSLR group. I met and interacted with members from all over the world and learned from them. Alas, RB has decided to eliminate the groups and this has caused a mass exodus, including myself.  I found a new home in Fine Art America. There is a new learning curve and now I have to rebuild my portfolio on this platform.  I have already found many former RB members and am meeting new artists.

Now, due to COVID 19 we are all living in a period of social distancing and doing all we can to protect ourselves and loved ones. While this may limit photographic opportunities, it does lend to a time to learn new technology, new software, new platforms and even a new blog! Now I can look back through my unprocessed RAW files and put to work all these new changes in a creative environment.

Stay safe and be healthy!

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