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Working Working Working

I've been quite abscent, as for the process of actually writing a photography/art blog. Not a lot written, and some of that is due to all those other things that make up Life. As in, still working at Hospital (even if less so), still working here at home on the Ranch (perhaps a bit more so, since not working at Hospital as much) and ... well, we've gotten to the Hot Time. My body is telling me to estivate.

This is, actually, a difficult thing for me to overcome at least to some extent. It needs to be overcome because of those things to do on the Ranch. At the same time, living here south of the Mason-Dixon Line in Baja Jorja I've learned why 'Southerners' seem slow to folk living elsewhere. Gets to the Hot Time, and the humidity up, and one simply doesn't move fast unless ones life depends on it.

Life. Not necessarily livelihood.

So the Ranch chores get done, and we take our time about them. And the Chores of Daily Living get done, and pretty much likewise. The Border Collie Bros continue to exercise Mamma Mudge's Lesson, as do I, that at this time of year the shortest distance between two points includes All The Shade There Is.

Still, I did manage to work up that one piece, posted two weeks back or so. And, what with lessons learned on that one I worked up a portion of it to provide an additional background, a different image. I'm learning more as I go.

One of the lessons I picked up from a workshop class on using image editing software (such as Photoshop but not limited to that package; anything that allows layers and layer masks) is 'non-destructive editing'. This means what one does doesn't destroy parts of the image, it hides them. Copy a portion to a new layer, mask that, adjust that, leave the original base alone. Makes the process of backing up easier, even if sometimes backing up means simply getting down to that original part and starting over.

And, working up composites, more lessons come in. Like, make sure one looked over the entire aspect of the original parts, to eliminate any distractions or anachronisms or such before saying, 'I'm done.'

Thing is, working up composites, at some point that non-destructive editing still becomes somewhat destructive, at least with the release version I'm using of Image Editing Software Package. The work done to create a portion (say, a background) needs to be combined with another portion, and at least with my version the only way to do that is copy the mask layer merged with the items being masked. No more editing the mask, hiding things.

Can still go back to the original and start over, of course. See above. That though is another one of the basic lessons; open up the file one wants to work with, and immediately 'save as' another name, leaving the original totally alone. Even without the fancy masks or whatever.

I'm OK with that, since I am leaving the originals alone. Now, though, I get into another issue which is related to file organisation. Where is that original located, should I need to get back to it?

Anyway. Both the issues of image editing software and image organisation bring myself (and nearly any other serious photographer) to the exploration for both, and also means to do this while minimising expense. Sure, I could write the purchase off as a business expence on the Schedule C. On the other hand, I need to possess the funds to purchase in the first place, and on the Gripping Hand if you haven't noticed, the economy rather sucks somewhat just now.

Think I'm leading up to ideas for future postings. One on the organisation side, and my most recent experiments in that. Applications I've used so far include the wonderful Microshaft Explorer (not Internet Explorer, the one called Windows), which is... semi-free, coming with the operating system. And Adobe Elements, though not recently, and the version I did use ran into a glitch coming from the database engine used in the background (IIRC, Microshaft again) which once one got to a certain number of images in the orginisational database froze it up totally. No Can Open D00dz frozen. And that led me to ACDSee, which is useful, and the older version I used fairly handy, purchased used, and... not entirely compatible with Win7. (::sighs::)

I'm trying Picasa just now, and finding a lot of useful aspects, and a few not so helpful which may be due to my not understanding how to use it or may be the totally expected software quirks called either Bugs or Undocumented Features. Take your pick. So there will be something about Picasa coming up.

I've also downloaded, not yet installed, Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), which I've heard has a steep learning curve and should be able to do most of what Photoshop does as does also Paint Shop Pro. Unlike Paint Shop Pro, Gimp is free. That's rather attractive.

So. Be patient. Stay tuned.

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