Back From the Brink

I’ve made it back, and amazingly, all seems to be intact. I owe a grateful ‘thank you’ to the geeks at Tweaks by Geeks for their efforts.

Here’s the entry I wrote on the night of the crash.

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Last Sunday’s session with mom to be Corinne B. went well. In a few weeks, Temperance Imogen Olivia B. will join the rest of us on Planet Earth.

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Fellow blogger and photographer Dave Rudin has been writing of his recent experiences with technology, most of them bad. I can relate; last summer, one of our television sets was taken out by lightning. Shortly afterward, my Windows XP system crashed, and crashed hard.

The television was toast. It would turn on, but not turn off unless the plug was pulled, but it continued to work for a day or two. Then, it began to smoke and buzz as soon as it was plugged in. In contrast, I was able to recover just about everything from the computer crash in mostly good working order, with the exception of two embedded applications: Adobe Bridge and Apple Quicktime. I also lost the drivers for the CD/DVD drive, but was able to download them and get the drive working again. My biggest loss, however, was Adobe Bridge.

Many people have told me they don’t like Bridge. Coming from a film background, I work in PhotoShop as I did in the darkroom, with one image at a time. For me, Bridge was the digital equivalent of a light table, where I sorted and culled my negatives. For three days following the crash, I was on the phone with Adobe and Microsoft tech support trying to sort out the problem. There was even a three way conference call between us, at one point. After a cumulative 14 hours on the phone, the final assessment by both techs was to either wipe the hard drive, do a System Restore, or replace the computer. After all, the launch of Windows 7 had just been announced. I didn’t like the idea of completely wiping the drive and am planning to upgrade this year anyway, so I opted for the System Restore.

In the absence of Bridge I began using the Windows Picture Viewer to sort my images, but found it extremely limiting. I couldn’t see RAW files at all, only JPEG’s, and the abilities to label and tag images were non-existent Since my anticipated system upgrade isn’t financially viable for the foreseeable future, I began searching for a basic third-party image browser that was “Bridge-like.”

I liked what ACDsee and other similar programs offered, but in order to do what I wanted to do with them, particularly where RAW files were concerned, I’d have to purchase one of the “Pro” versions.The costs were more than I was willing to pay. Eventually, after multiple postings on several photography forums and boards, I settled on the ‘FastStone Image Viewer’ free shareware through C-Net.

Much to my surprise, I’m quite happy with it. It’s not exactly ‘Bridge Like’ but it’s close enough so that the learning curve hasn’t been an issue. If you’re looking for something similar; a basic yet reasonably efficient image browser, I highly recommend it. Did I mention it’s free? (You can make a donation to the developers through C-Net if you wish.)

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Over the last few days, and for a few to come, I’m dealing with shoot planning and all it entails; the coordination of studio schedules and/or locations, assistants, models, etc. As mentioned in the previous post, I’ll have a couple of weeks break from being behind the camera, as the next session is set for February 20.

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Here are another two of Michelle R. from The Bolton Street Sessions.

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A Post Crash Note:

Adobe Bridge and Quicktime are working once again! Even so, if I was asked to recommend an after market image browser, I’d still go with the FastStone Image Viewer.

I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, that opting for a System Restore after the first crash was a mistake. Wipe the drive; it’s the only way to be sure.

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