“Corporations are evil”, is what we hear around us often enough. I have often thought that this was at best an exaggeration, but now I am not so sure: Adobe is doing a good job of appearing to be as evil as possible.

I am talking about Adobe Lightroom, the application that I, my students, and most professional photographers use to run their business. Lightroom rocks. Or rather, it used to rock.

There are now three versions:

  1. The almost-impossible-to-find standalone version. This version is now at 6.13 and, even though it is already missing features, will not be updated anymore. So if you run this, do upgrade, but expect nothing new, now or ever.
  2. Lightroom CC. This is a dumbed-down version for web- and portable-based use. It is missing many essential features: it is basically a toy for people who are unable to learn file management and similar sophisticated features. CC means Creative Cloud: meaning you get to pay Adobe US$10 (which will go up, no doubt) each and every month for the rest of your life (yeah, do the math). Worse, it will need regular permission from Adobe to run. Who on earth would allow their business to be held hostage by some US mega-corporation in this way? Your payment does not reach them, or the login server malfunctions, or Adobe goes broke (you can always hope), or your Internet connection is down when it is most needed – and wham, you are not given permission by Adobe to see your own work.
  3. Lightroom Classic CC. This is basically the existing Lightroom, but with upgrades, and alas, also with the same huge “CC” drawbacks.

Both versions 2 and 3 do everything they can to drive you to the web and to mobile devices. From my perspective, this is dumb, dumb, dumb. Mobile devices are limited, and the last thing a pro needs is “limited”. Why would I handcuff myself? I’ll edit on my Mac, thanks.

And web-based: right. I have 8 TB of photos. which would take about 8 months to upload, with my Internet connection pinned at full capacity for all of those eight months. Not gonna happen. Also, with the top version of the app you get 1 TB of capacity, not 8.

My strategy is simple.

  1. Continue to use 6.13 for as long as I can.
  2. Wait desperately for a competitor (and many companies are working on it)
  3. Change from a Pro-Lightroom evangelist into an Anti-Adobe evangelist.

The Adobe support person who just confirmed all this to me said “if I were you I would feel the same way”. Who knows, if enough of us refuse to move to CC, Adobe may yet reverse their decision. But I am not holding my breath.



Equipment matters in flash photography. It’s not everything, but sometimes you just need it. And I mean the stuff around the flash and camera. Like light stands, brackets, and so on.

A scene like this:

Turns into this…:

…if you use a flash on a light stand, like this:

The work behind the shot

Not a lot of gear, but you cannot do without this, my usual minimum kit;

  1. Camera
  2. 2x Pocketwizard
  3. Hotshoe cable (from or from Pocketwizard)
  4. Light Stand
  5. Bracket for mounting flash and umbrella
  6. Umbrella

That’s all. Small, folds up to nothing, so it’s easy to carry.

But I have a lot more… things I occasionally use. I collected these over the years; you can simply pick up an item every now and the, or you can get it all at once.

On that subject, a recent student in Guelph is selling this-an extensive kit. If you’re near Guelph, you may wish to take advantage.

TRAVEL THOUGHTS — I am just sitting down after an uneventful 11 hour drive back from the Dordogne to the Netherlands. Wake up in Bergerac; go to sleep just outside Gouda. And this trip reminded me of a few things; primarily why, as a “third culture kid”, I like travel so much.

Also this. I loved lunch in a small French village, where it is *assumed* that on a weekday you will have an apéritif before lunch (and wine with lunch). And where the Onion Soup pan is left on the table so you can help yourself. God give that France never becomes like the rest of the world, please.

Also, I was able to drive all day at 130 km/h. In all these countries the maximum speed is 120 or 130 km/h. (Ask me why I get speeding tickets in Ontario, which has the lowest top speeds in the developed world. Absurd, and no surprise no-one sticks to that maximum of 100 m/h, 62 mph, in a province larger than Europe. And they act so holy, like 120 is “so dangerous it is not allowed anywhere in Canada”. Fuck off!).

Also, I see how France *is* changing. Nothing like the highways to see what is happening in a country. France is being dragged (willy-nilly, I presume) into the globalized economy: one “logistics” truck and advert after another. And wow, trucks from Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, you name it. All very international. Join, or be left behind.

And I muse over how I will never go back to the UK. Example: all European cars have a small blue “Europe” part of their license plate, where they show the European flag and their country designator (“F” for France, “B” for Belgium, etc). Only the British cars overwhelmingly do *not* do this. If there is ONE thing I hate in life, it is people who think they are superior due to their stupid nationality, and the Brits are foremost in that list. Have been since the “empire”. Screw that, and end up in isolation, Brexit idiots: I will *never* go back to the country where I spent my formative years – unless they pay me.


I would share, but…

Adobe Lightroom is the only game in town.

Hence, Adobe has zero incentive to fix large bugs. Like this apparent bug: slideshow export fails if both portrait and landscape mode slides are included. It is incredible that a corporation would let a huge bug like that just sit there, but I too cannot make an export of a slideshow that contains both portrait and landscape images. It just hangs at 1% or thereabouts.

On top of that, Adobe tries to force everyone to sign up for the Creative Suite, i.e. online software as a service with regular payments, and pay at least double what you would pay for a simple app.

Don’t be evil, anyone? Adobe does not even pretend to not want to be evil. The global dislike of corporations really is not a surprise, when you look at this.

Personally, I would not mind paying fair prices for Lightroom. Even high prices. But being manipulated and ignored at the same time by a huge corporation leaves a bad taste in my mouth.