Prior to being a father, I used to carpool to work with my friend Jerry. I'd pick him up in my little truck* and we'd drive the fifteen minutes to our office at 6:30ish. We liked to get there early play AC/DC, Dave Matthews Band and whatever other rock anthems we could dig up loudly and proudly until everyone else started to trickle in. Once 8:30 rolled around we'd break for coffee, sometimes scooting over to the nearby Starbucks for breakfast. One day I noticed Jerry perusing a career website and I asked him what he was doing. Jerry's about three times my age and is hands-down one of the most interesting and entertaining people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He told me that he had an offer from another company and was looking it over. When I asked "why" he told me that "life is too short to not consider all the options." That phrase has stuck with me and I think about it every time I look at other job opportunities, shop for furniture, consider fantasy sports trades, and weigh photography hardware and software decisions.
*This routined changed in the summer months as we would take his Mercedes convertible, which in turn, ruined most American made cars for me.
I apologize for all the geek talk you're about to get, but this is more for me than it is for you. I'm in the middle of a huge software switch and it's one in which I hope will stick. Last week I made the plunge into Aperture 3. I'd been using Lightroom 2 and 3 for years and loved it. And I continue to love it. It's managed all my photos and post-processing for a couple years. I truly have nothing bad to say about it. But like Jerry said, "I'm considering all the options." The more I use Aperture the more I enjoy it. I'm already pretty entrenched with Apple (which if you knew me two years ago, you'd never dream) with my iPhone, Apple TV and two MacBook Pros in the house. This decision played into that mentality a little. Every gadget I own plays pretty well together, and I'm a big fan of technological harmony. I find that Aperture doesn't really slow down my workflow, allows me to create some pretty sweet books and prints and has a couple cool bells and whistles as well. Are there trade-offs from Lightroom? Sure. It's a program that's not all that widely used (it certainly doesn't have sections of magazines dedicated to its use) but I've never been a guy that plays into what most people use. I shoot with a Sony DSLR whereas most pros favor Nikon or Canon. But the core photo adjustment tools are there, just as they were in Lightroom.
But in the end, the vision, creativity, voice and photo are more important than the tools that help you make it. As one of my favorite photographers David duChemin says, "gear is good, vision is better". I agree. When I look at a print on a wall, I'm not thinking about the Photoshop plugin that may or may not be responsible for the brilliance and warmth. I'm more concerned about how that photo makes me feel.
So I've decided to run with Aperture. One week in, and I'm very happy.
Now if we could just get moved into the new place before a freak October snowstorm. But when would that ever happen? Oh. Really? Last year? It did? Hmmm. I wrote about it? Yep...looks like I did.