Trying to Fix What’s Broke…

Today’s post will have no images to accompany it, and for that I offer my apologies. Things have not gone entirely as planned.

If you don’t already know, I live aboard my boat. The move from land to sea has had a significant effect on my work. This was not unexpected of course, but the range and depth of it has been something of a surprise.

The selling off of my DSLR gear was where I believed the impact on the work would come from and I had that area covered: I bought a used Fuji X100 from a friend. It’s a fantastic camera, undeniably cute, and renders beautiful images. Although it’s taken some getting used too, I’ve grown to appreciate it tremendously. It is my go to camera now, enough so that I can say with confidence I don’t see myself returning to a DSLR system. – I’ll likely stay with a mirrorless system, but one with interchangeable lenses. (The X100 is a fixed lens camera.) I doubt I would have said that a year ago.

If it’s not getting used to different equipment, and less of it, then what is it? I touched on the matter in an earlier post from this year, here. The issue’s not at the camera end of the spectrum, but is with the work necessary at the other: post shoot work. Editing. Developing the final image. And I’m a bit miffed I didn’t think about this, as careful as I felt I had been in my other considerations.

The issues with this are multifaceted. First is my workstation. My powerful desktop PC and gigantic monitor have no place on the boat. Aside from space and power issues, they wouldn’t likely survive the beating they’d take from constant setting-up and tearing down, and from existing so close to the marine environment. Plus, they were getting old; I was already beginning to deal with subtle color shifting in the monitor. One option I’m considering is a docking station and separate (external) monitor, but I still have the same storage and potential power issues to resolve.

This pretty much leaves me with a laptop with which to do my edits. I’ve run my business from laptops for years, but photo editing from a laptop? I’ve done it in the past, but conventional wisdom says laptop monitors are generally not good for editing work. However, my direct experience has shown they can work just fine – but they can also be downright awful.

(Let me say right now, that laptop suitability for photo work is a contentious issue within the photography communities. I am only writing from my own direct experiences. I get they’re often not the best option. I have also edited and even printed gallery shows from laptops, so I know they can work. I’m not looking for a debate on the subject, or on PC vs. Mac, and so on. Please.)

However, the laptop I had prior to the one I’m working on now was decent. I had some control over the colors and tonal adjustments, and I had used it for editing work on occasion when on the road. The results were quite good, yielding nice images for the web and prints. Unfortunately, that little Dell went to computer heaven last fall. Its replacement, a Lenovo Edge 15, has been…well, I’ll leave it at a politely said, ‘less than desirable,’ even when calibrated, as all of my monitors are. Now, along with an external monitor, I’m considering a replacement laptop, one specifically for editing work. But regardless of that decision, I’m still faced with issue number two…

…which is the lighting inside the boat. It’s all LED. That’s to reduce power consumption and keep the cabin cooler. They’re easy on the eyes and good enough for reading, and they are much, much cooler than the xenon or halogen bulbs we used to use. And the power consumption, for a battery dependent lifestyle, is stellar. It’s milliamps per hour. Plus, the LED’s are incredibly long lasting. The one thing they are not good for, at all, is image editing. No way. Forget it. That said, I can be mobile with a laptop. I can move to better light when needed.

All of this is a work in progress, clearly. While I’m feeling quite stuck between a large rock and a very hard place with this, I’m optimistic. Temporary measures are in place, and new images are forthcoming. I’m continuing to work on the solutions, but honestly, I’m not at all sure what they will be. Fortunately, I have options. And most of them are good. Most of them.

I’m also working to modify and improve my presence on the web. There’s nothing new yet to report with that. As always, stay tuned. And thanks, many, many thanks, for sticking around.

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