Adobe Lightroom is a database. Some even call it a “Relationship database”. I have never found any contacts of the opposite sex in there, so I will keep the term as “Relational Database” Smile . Lightroom does not keep your images inside that database. The database itself is called a Catalogue, to make things more palatable for the general public. Nobody in his right mind would want to buy a “Photographic Relational Database”, however, most people would buy “Lightroom and Catalogue”. Simple question of marketing. That Adobe felt the need to create different versions of the same product with virtually the same name was not very wise, but like they say: “It is what it is”. Nothing I can do about that.

So, Lightroom is a database.

For a long time, I thought that my single monitor had the correct colour settings. It was brand new, after all, a brand new monitor should be set correctly, right? Wrong. They are set “approximately” right. Switching between the different colour profiles on the monitor menus gave different results, 9300K, 6500K, sRGB, “PhotoRealistic”, all different displays. Since many of my pictures go on the web, the use of sRGB was recommended. For me, that didn’t look right, and when I compared the display of my monitor to another computer in the house (over the internet) the result was less than appealing.

But what the heck, my new monitor should be good, right?

So now I have my usable images still in the “Previous import” collection, a good place to not mix them (yet) with my other pictures. Keeps things simple, you know. By now it’s time for two different operations, one mandatory for my organisation and the other if I didn’t forget to switch on my GPS unit.The first one is the most tedious and boring operation: keywording.

In my capacity as admin on a Facebook Lightroom Help group, I often come across the question of “How to do this or that…”. Most of the time it is about people that don't know where to start when they come home with a lot of images. The images end up in folders on their computers that they have no idea of, presets get applied that they have no idea of and so on. The list is endless. So is the list of solutions for each problem.

So the question is: where to start? Here’s my take on this, but your mileage may vary.

A while ago I saw a question on Facebook from a renowned photographer. It went like this:  “Would you still be taking pictures if there was nobody to share them with?”

It looks like nowadays you can’t go online without seeing an ad for Lightroom Presets.11,000+ here, 7,000+ there, some for free, some not so. By now I have some 70,000 pictures in my Lightroom Library and none have received a preset development treatment.  Does that make me a reactionary curmudgeon? Probably.

But here’s my take on it.

Some people travel a lot and have a fairly big Lightroom Catalogue as a result. Finding those pictures can be a chore if they have not been keyworded properly. You may even have no keywords at all. So how to find those pictures that you took “some” years ago in New York? If you have geotagged your pictures, there is a very easy way to find those pictures.

Photoshop was perfect for what I needed. Since 2005 I had a digital camera and all my pictures went on my C: drive in several folders. Right from the start I had decided to organise my pictures by date, or at least by year. Then came the moment where the first 9999 pictures were taken and the camera restarted its file numbering. Another folder for that year and everything went fine from there on. That occurred a few times, then I got a “real” DSLR, a Nikon D40X. File numbering restarted at 0001, luckily with a different prefix for the name (DSC_).

Photo files started to accumulate in different folders, with duplicates named slightly differently for processed pictures. Then came more folders as sometimes I was shooting panoramas or (difficult with with a D40X) some HDR-type shots.

Windows had been my OS since 1991, so I was used to the folder system and organisation. The first thing I did when I started shooting was to get out of the “My Documents”, “My Pictures” and the “My …” type of folders. Windows was storing stuff in there that I definitely didn’t want mixed with my own. Back then it was Windows XP, escaping from the “My anything” grasp was fairly easy. Later that became more of a problem, so I resolved in putting all my stuff on a second internal hard disk.

In 2007 Lightroom made its appearance and I was immediately sold on its ways of organising my pictures. The catalogue became bigger and more organised by the day it seemed. Also, the number of photos grew exponentially, filling up my internal drive.

So, here I am, trying to lose some weight. In the last 25 years I have been a programmer, a teacher and now again programmer. Apart from showing off in front of a classroom, my life pretty much passes in a leather chair. The only muscled parts of my body are in my hands and fingers. I got a “warning” from my doctor that if I stayed the way I was, I’d have a 16% “chance” not to get through the coming decade alive. Talk about a chance.

I don’t do heavy lifting and I don’t swim. I hate walking like a zombie in the neighbourhood under the pretext that I need to walk. Walking in a mall or in a supermarket, ok, but that is only for a small period of time. But walking is exactly what I am doing, hopefully I don’t look like a zombie. But then again, who cares?

Everybody was always “astonished” that I would gain weight seemingly just by breathing.

Using Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, you will have noticed the “Camera Calibration” panel at the bottom of the develop screen. I never paid much attention to it when I started using Lightroom. Mind you, I was shooting jpg at the time and the panel didn’t give me anything useful. Only “embedded”. When I started using RAW, the panel had some choices, but they looked the same as on my camera. Selecting one or another didn’t seem to make much difference apart from the colour saturation here and there.

For a long time I have resisted the temptation to write about politics. Personally, I hate politics, it always looks as if everyone has a secret agenda and whatever you want or decide, someone else will put a stop to it. Yesterday I attended a meeting in support of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan movement. A movement that we now know has had the Ukrainian government topple and the president scrambling to save his greedy ass.