BitDepth 763 - December 28

For the end of the year, I make some technology related resolutions that you might find useful.
New Year’s Resolutions

I have the spheres, do I have the determination? Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

So what does BitDepth have to share with you on this curious Tuesday, midway between the staggering gluttony of Christmas weekend and the determined inebriation of a year’s end that also happens to fall on another weekend?
Here’s three items from my list of resolutions for the New Year that might help guide your own thinking on starting 2011 right.

First up: don’t stand in judgement of the way other people have their fun. Even if you can’t drink anymore and have developed a dislike for the entire Christmas season that borders on the psychotic, live and let live, so cast a stink eye on the entire first paragraph of this column knowing that I’m determined to do better. Someday soon.

Let. Go. Of. Technology. Lust. 
Got to put this one right up front and keep working at it. I’ve already abandoned the never-ending quest for the most powerful and capable computer, hunkering down for at least a three-year long run with my current main axe, but I’m determined to work at letting the whole of 2011 pass by without acquiring a single new major piece of technology.
No matter what Canon and Apple have up their sleeves to part me from my money. 

Really. I’ve already resisted the iPad. I actually held the 11-inch Macbook Air in two different Apple Stores and placed its insane ninja weapon sleekness back on the glowing countertop without rushing to the cashier like a giddy fool. Until you’ve actually held one, you will never know what that took out of me.
I have got to learn more about the work I do, and this is a great time to nurse that kind of ambition. Some of my peers still sulk about how easy today’s photographers have it.

Well that happens to be true. If I had become a photographer at anytime in the last four years, my career would have had a very different arc. Being able to see what you’ve just shot utterly changes how you approach taking photos and having what amounts to an endless roll of film with no developing costs would have seemed like a gift from a particularly benevolent deity as recently as ten years ago.

If I wanted to play the crusty old photographer, I could go on and on about mixing chemicals, watching images appear in developer and spotting prints one at a time. What’s cool is that I had that whole experience, with all its magic and frustration and I get to have this new experience as well. It really is like living in two entirely different eras, and there’s value to both of them.

Time to stop being nostalgic though and get more firmly up to speed with what’s happening today. I may be used to getting my information from expensive photography books, but today’s young photographers are hitting up websites (and torrents, let it be said) with an extensive array of tutorials on Adobe’s Photoshop and photography techniques.

It’s clear that I have to change my slower, more deliberate game if I want to play in today’s faster paced matches. That’s going to mean working with Photoshop as if it were released this year and not a two decades ago, revamping my understanding of the new capabilities of old tools and coming to grips with all the stuff Adobe has been pumping in there over the last few years.

Those are the two tech related tactics that I plan pursue during 2011, both of which step away from the pursuit of the new in favour of exploration of the tools already at my disposal. Taking a deeper look as the software and hardware you’ve been working with can pay dividends for you in productivity and speed as well.
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