Photoshop CS 5 in the Twilight Zone? Mystery Solved! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Photoshop CS 5 in the Twilight Zone? Mystery Solved!

Snow Goose landing, early morning light, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NW. From the recently concluded Bosque IPT. This image was created on the morning of 11/18/2011 with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 640. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the low blue sky: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 set manually.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Lens/camera body Micro-adjustment: +2. For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

Photoshop CS 5 Twilight Zone?

About halfway through the Bosque IPT Photoshop CS-5 started acting strangely. The first thing that I noticed was that when I brought an image into CS-5 to convert it in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) it looked hazy, dull, and flat and the color looked way off. Some images looked so bad that I simply went started over and converted them in BreezeBrowser. With others I spent 10 minutes adjusting the sliders in an effort to get the image to look right…. That process (as described in detail in Digital Basics) usually takes 10 seconds…. I soon noticed that all of my keyboard shortcuts, both Tools and Applications, had disappeared. One by one I re-keyed each of them. But the problem with the ACR conversions persisted. Robert O’Toole took a crack at it on the IPT to no avail….

Mystery Solved!

Last night I called old friend and Photoshop expert Ellen Anon. She spent 30 minutes with me trying to solve the problem. Also without success. Finally she said, “CS-5 somehow became corrupted; you need to delete all of your preferences and start from scratch. Here’s how you do that:

  • Hold three fingers of your left hand over the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys.
  • Double left-click on the Photoshop CS-5 icon on your desktop; the instant the program starts to open push and hold down the Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys with those same three fingers of your left hand; note: put one finger on each of the three keys.
  • When the dialogue box below opens, click Yes.
  • Now you have the fun task of re-keying all of your Photoshop preferences and keyboard shortcuts. That whole process took me all of three minutes (though I might have missed one or two.

Well, I guess that you have figured out by now that the fix worked! Each image that I open in ACR now looks great at my default settings. Tanks a stack Ellen! The next time that your copy of Photoshop starts acting strangely consider deleting your preferences and getting back to ground zero.


Ellen Anon, a former BIRDS AS ART IPT co-leader, is an award winning photographer, an author, a Photoshop and digital imaging expert, and a good friend. She has co-authored a series of best selling books including Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers; A Workshop in a Book and Aperture3; Portable Genius along with several video series. She and her son Josh are very excited about being in the process of creating a new book (and workshops) that will help people develop their photographic eye via visual intensity.

You can learn more about Ellen and see lots of her great images here She asked me to let you know that she needs to update her workshop and public appearances pages as life sometimes gets in the way of photography and career.

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

10 comments to Photoshop CS 5 in the Twilight Zone? Mystery Solved!

  • avatar Jon Sostaich

    Photoshop Preference corruption is well documented on the internet. Google “photoshop preference corruption”. I have had this happen more than once. Once you get your preferences rebuilt, you should save a copy of the files. Then if they ever get corrupted again you can replace the files in the photoshop general preference folder location without having to reenter them. This problem can occur in CS3, CS4, Cs5, etc. For windows 7 the preference files are located in the following location:

    General Settings:

    Documents and Settings/[user name]/Application Data/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings

    Adobe document showing the location of all Photoshop CS5 Preference file locations:

    The Preferences we are dealing with are called “General Settings”

    Hey Jon, Thanks a stack for your most helpful comment. I shall back up my preferences today. artie

  • I certainly appreciate all this dialogue regarding CS5. I’ve routinely updated my Photoshop with every new version until this last one. Makes me feel better about waiting until I update to a new computer before replacing the CS4 (which incidentally hasn’t given me any probs)!

  • This is a temporary fix not a ” mystery solved” solution. The mystery is why the software failed in the first place. What is described above is a “work around”.

    The software appears to be unstable and could fail again ( at a more critical moment possibly) .

    Also the fix you described above does not deal with issue , it never addresses the root cause of the problem.

    The cause of the problem needs to be found first . This is a job for the vendor.

    Allan, While you are surely semantically correct I have been using Photoshop for more than a decade and it it the first time that any version has become corrupted. Adobe has know about the problem for years and has either not been able or willing to go anything about is. My goal here was to post the info to help others…. artie

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    Thanks Cheapo, I managed to open, I thought it was a website about photography. No, I do not nead this type of help. In the meantime I e-mailed to Artie directly. I am flying to Florida (Boca Raton) tonight and hope to take some good pics over there…I live in Jerusalem, Israel.
    OK, this conversation really does not belong here! All the best, Ruthie

    Have a great trip. Doing The Work has brought me peace. Perhaps one day you will be ready to do The Work too; it is obvious that you are not ready now. later and love, artie

  • avatar cheapo

    @ Ruthie just type into your browser. That’ll do it. Artie’s right, discouragement is something we bring upon ourselves, I know I do it. 🙂 But you don’t have to have the best camera or software to take the best picture. Plenty of people take comfort from having the best they can get. But it’s so. Be inspired and keep clicking away!

    Good thoughts Cheapo. Tanks a stack for sharing them. artie

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    Dear Artie, The website you indicated did not come up on my PC. No, Iam not going back to film. I apologze to have used this space to vent my frustration.
    Have a good week, Ruthie

    See my comments immediately below. artie

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    Dear Artie, The website you indicated does not seem to come up in my computer. I guess this was the wrong space to express my frustration, and I apologize, and no, I am not going back to film. Ruthie

    I fixed the link. Thanks for pointing it out. artie ps: You are free to express your frustrations here, just as you are free to believe what you want and free to choose to have a negative attitude. I know two folks–Daniel Cadieux and Aidan Briggs) who “only” have the Canon 100-400mm lens (that you own) and routinely produce superb images with “only” a pro-sumer camera body (just like the one that you own).

  • Love the picture. The water droplets are cool.

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    Dear Artie, For years I have subscribed to”Birds as Art”, and recently to your blog. But lately I have the feeling if I do not buy tons of equipment which I cannot afford) and spend hours with the computer and zillions of programs I shall not create a good picture. I think this is most discouraging and for me it takes away the joy and spontanity of using a camera. Take care, Ruthie

    It is of course your choice to believe what you wish and to choose to be discouraged. I would advise that you spend some time at (You could use an attitude adjustment) and/or switch back to film. artie

  • avatar cheapo

    Good tip Arty.
    I’ll send a link to this to my bro and sis. I don’t know if they’ve had that problem, but they both work with images and likely use PS.