Why Mac? And Martin Plant was Right, but only 100% « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why Mac? And Martin Plant was Right, but only 100%

The Streak Continues: 342

Yesterday I worked on the Bosque Photo Seminar that Denise Ippolito and I are presenting on Thursday afternoon at the Festival of the Cranes. If you are in the vicinity, it would be foolish of you not to attend :). Scroll down here for details.

I enjoyed an easy 1/2 mile swim and a nice nap. This blog post, the 342nd in a row, took about two 1/2 hours to write: it was published from my home at Indian Lake Estates just before 6:30am.

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Why Mac?

As pretty much everyone here knows, I have been working hard recently transitioning from I’m not sure of how many decades of using PCs to my new Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display .

More than a few folks have written asking why I made the change.

The answer, as if often the case as we get older, is a very simple one: weight.

Here is the tale of the tape:

My old HP, the rugged, reliable, industrial strength Elite Book 8740W, served me well for more than five years. It functions as well today as it did the day I took it out of the box. As I recall, it failed after a day or two–it needed a new mother board. Since then it has a perfect record. IAC, it weighs 8 pounds, 2.5 ounces. The AC adapter, in this case appropriately called “the brick” by many, weighs 2 pounds, 2 ounces. The total weight of this machine is a hefty 10 pounds, 4.5 ounces.

Ny newer ASUS tips the scales at 8 pounds, 13 ounces. The AC adapter weighs 1 pound, 7.4 ounces for a grand total of 10 pounds, 4.4 ounces.

The Mac weighs 4 pounds, 7.5 ounces. The adapter only 15.6 ounces. The total here is 5 pounds, 7.1 ounces.

There were a few surprises when I put this stuff on a scale this morning:

1- I was surprised that the ASUS was actually a bit heavier than the HP.
2- I was surprised at how much the Mac weighed. Why? In comparison to the other two behemoths, it seems light as a feather.

Consider that the AC adapter for my HP weighs nearly half as much at the Macbook Pro…. And let’s not forget about size. The Mac is tiny, slim, and svelte. The PCs that I have been using can only be described as huge.

Do understand that if I never left my home I would pretty much be fine with a PC. But alas, that is not the case.

Mac Myths

Macs are faster…

This state of the art Mac is supposed to be far faster than any PC. While it may be a bit faster across the board for most applications, I would not describe it as blazingly fast as compared to the two PCs. And as far as NIK is concerned, applying my 50-50 recipe still seems to take forever. I had hoped for instant.

Macs never get viruses…

Two days ago, my brilliant older daughter Jennifer, the Executive Director of BAA since 1998, downloaded and ran a Mac OS virus protection program. It found and deleted two malwares.

Editing Speed: the Biggest Hurdle…

I am always in a hurry. Folks watching me edit a morning’s worth of images were always amazed by how quickly I worked. In BrBr you are actually viewing the embedded JPEGs. I do not have time in my life to wait for each image to render….

My original plan was to install Parallels on the Mac and to run BreezeBrowser on a Windows platform on the Mac. Thanks to Jennifer, we were able to do that. But….

Martin Plant was Right, but only 100%

About two weeks ago, old UK friend Martin Plant left this comment: “Good luck with your Mac though I think you’ll probably end up frustrated with BreezeBrowser and Parallels. Photo Mechanic is a good alternative.”

Responding to a question from Denis Glennon about running BrBr on a Mac via Parallels, Martin wrote, “The frustration is that you are effectively running two operating systems with shared files, so Windows see the OSX drives as network shares. It just gets a bit tiresome after a while. And Windows sucks compared to OSX so you want to stay in the OSX space. But you may be prepared to work with the drawbacks if you are wedded to BreezeBrowser.”

You can read his additional comments in context by scrolling down to the bottom here.

IAC, Martin was was right on all counts. I quickly became frustrated with running BreezeBrowser via Parallels on my Mac. As he predicted, there were many problems with having Windows on the Mac. So Jennifer deleted Parallels from the Mac. I decided, sight unseen, to place all of my faith in Photo Mechanic. If PM did not work for me, I would likely have been forced to sell my new Mac….


Photo Mechanic Saves the Day

So I downloaded a trial version of Photo Mechanic here. As with BreezeBroswer, you view the embedded JPEGs with Photo Mechanic.

Though they have extensive tutorial libraries, impatient me quickly became frustrated. I called their help line. I spoke with Bob and Tony extensively over the past week. I must say that I have never in my life encountered such great customer service. Both are as nice as can be and both are extremely knowledgable. They taught me how to set up my image downloads (they call them ingests) so that I got exactly the same results as with the BreezeBrowser companion program, Downloader Pro.

They patiently taught me how to select my keepers, and how to delete the rejects. After a day or two I became comfortable editing a session folder in Photo Mechanic. I was thrilled to find out that viewing is at least as fast as (if not faster) than with my beloved BreezeBrowser. Downloading with Downloader Pro is a bit faster than with Ingest in Photo Mechanic and there is one BreezeBrowser feature that is not available in Photo Mechanic that I miss dearly. I plan on speaking to the Mick Orlosky at Camera Bits in hopes that the next update of Photo Mechanic might rectify that situation.

Mac Challenges and Frustrations

Once I started working on the Mac, there were many frustrations. The biggest one was trying to navigate to various programs. I was constantly getting stuck in one program or on one screen, unable to get out of it or to get where I wanted to go. Moving or copying files seemed to require a degree in nuclear physics. And learning the new and different keyboard shortcuts has been a big challenge. At one point I was considering selling my new Macbook Pro for $2100 and going back to PCs with head hung low.

With Jennifer’s help and constant encouragement, I am now comfortable on my Mac and will likely make the trip to Bosque PC-less.

Sometimes I Continue to be Mystified by Mac

While preparing this blog post, I attempted to cut and paste Martin Plant’s answer to Denis. I highlighted the text that I wanted and hit Command C. I went back to this post and hit Command V. I have been doing exactly that for weeks without a problem. It had worked just fine two minutes before with Martin’s first comments. Only this time when I hit Command V, the only thing that pasted was the previous text I had copied. I tried it several times with the same result. I wound up having to open a separate tab and type the text that I wanted. Right now in this tab Command C, Command V, and Command X are working as they should.

As I said, “Sometimes mystifying.” Just like all computers.

On a Positive Note

On a positive note, I am having no problem adjusting to the smaller (but spectacular) screen or to the small type, the latter due in part to the close reading glasses prescribed for me about nine months ago by Dr. Roy Z. Braunstein in Lake Wales.



Morro Bay offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects in a variety of attractive settings.

2015 Morro Bay 5-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): MAR 14 thru MAR 18, 2015: $1999 (Limit: 8/Openings: 8.)

Meet and Greet after dinner on your own at 8:00pm on MAR 13.

Join me in one of the most beautiful and scenic places on the planet to photograph a large variety of birds of the sea and shore. As above, the star of the show will be Long-billed Curlew. There will be lots of Marbled Godwits and Willets as well as lots of the smaller shorebird species. Black Oystercatcher is likely and we should get to photograph large flocks of Western Sandpipers in flight over the bay. With any luck we should enjoy some great sunrise and sunset photography. There are lots of gulls including Western, California, and Mew. There is one good location where we should get to photograph Western, Clarke’s, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, and Common Loon. We may get to photograph some passerines including Anna’s Hummingbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, and White-crowned Sparrow. And we have a chance for several species of raptors. Yikes, I almost forgot California Poppy. And California Ground Squirrel. Sea Otters are also possible.

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, five 2 1/2 hour afternoon sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and of course tons of great in-the-field instruction and photographic instruction. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to use at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 12/1//2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

See lots more Morro Bay images here.

Used Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Lens

Mike Stevens is offering a used Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM lens in like-new condition (used just once) for a ridiculously low $7999. The sale includes the front leather hood, the rear dust cap, the original case, a Wimberley P-50 lens plate, and insured shipping to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made; Paypal is an option.

Please contact Mike via e-mail, by phone at 951-260-2507, or on his cell at 951-821-1600.

The 800 was my go-to super-telephoto lens for about 4 years.


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36 comments to Why Mac? And Martin Plant was Right, but only 100%

  • Hi Artie. I’m glad you’re enjoying your new Mac. I’m not a fan of Apple, on the contrary, but I’ve been using a Mac laptop since 2005 now. Indeed, being a software engineer, I often need many operating systems, but in the end OS X is the one I’m more comfortable with, especially with photos. I agree with everything you said, included the need for an anti-virus, even though OS X navigates in a quieter sea.

    I have a question. So fare I’ve owned 15″ MacBook Pros, non Retina. Usually my laptop lifespan is four years, my next one will be bought probably in 2016. Indeed there’s still a lot of time, but I’ve started thinking of reducing weight too… Did you evaluate a 13″ Retina? If so, do you think is it a valid option for photo management? A bit of context: I’m an amateur, when I do serious post-processing I work at home with a 24″ NEC monitor, wide gamut. But I’m mostly around for business and I take advantage of time slots (e.g. train, waiting at the doctor, lunch break at work, etc…) for working on my photos – let’s say the things that are not strictly related with colours and tonal range, for instance labelling, organising, selecting keepers, etc… Do you think that 13″ would be ok for that?


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You should be fine. I do all of my image processing on the laptop so I need the 15 inch. Would have preferred 17 inch but no longer available.

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    Hi Artie,

    To address the small type problem, try Command +. Then Command – to resume small type.

    See you in Bosque.

  • avatar Denny

    Artie, I have linked to this article from a photo site that I’ve been an active member of for 10 years, and got some good feedback. As you know, the PC vs Mac debates are as plentiful as the Canon vs Nikon ones, and it’s no different on our site. However, I got a bit of negative feedback on concerning your website design, and I agree with it; here’s the reply of one member to my posted link to this article: “Sorry Denny, I can’t read an article with white, yellow, red, blue and green text on a black background, it will give me a migraine.” A bit extreme, but so are the colors on your site, especially when most of us are viewing black on white for hours prior to coming on this site. No offense, just an observation.

    A big fan as always,

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      HI Denny,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. When we first went to light type on black, we got one or two complaints. None since then. With more than 3500 folks visiting the blog each day for the past two months there has not been a single white on black type complaint…. Many commented that the white on black is easier to read and easy on the eyes. I spend a lot of time looking at it and have no problems. More importantly, I like the look. Yellow and green is used for titles an sub-titles and red only very sparingly.

      BTW, I am not involved in a PC vs. Mac debate, just as I have stayed out of the Canon vs. Nikon debates for years. I simply tell folks what I use and why, and how to use it better :).


  • avatar Larry Brown

    I just recently went down the MAC-PC and Breezebrowser road. . I, too, totally agree with Martin Plant. Not being a computer geek I found it hard working in both the windows and mac systems. Also, I have installed Photomechanic. In a short time, you will working in your new system with ease.Bob, the person you talked with at PM, does video tutorials for PM. I received my 7D MK II which I ordered from B & H thru your website link. Going thru the 500 page manual trying to get the custom functions to match my 5D MK II.Lots of luck to us both.

    • Art/Larry/Martin
      Following my exchange of comments with Art & Martin on the choice of purchasing a PC or moving to a Mac Book Pro together with Parallels (I have used Breezebrowser Pro & Downloader for years), I did a lot of research on the experience of people using Parallels on the Mac. Martin’s advice was accurate and very valuable. Additionally the high gloss screen on the Mac was a huge disadvantage as I work a lot in Africa/bright sunlight. I decided to stay with a PC and purchased an ASUS N550JK-CN451H 15″ with a matte/non-touch screen, Windows 8.1 Pro, Processer speed 3.0-3.8 GHz, Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1980X1080 HD screen, 1TB Samsung SSD, Nvidia /GeForce GTX850M, Blu Ray Writer & 3 year warranty. The unit weighs 2.6 Kg/5lb 10 ounces, i.e. about 1lb heavier than the Mac, which I can handle easily. There will be no learning curve with a new Mac OS and so far the performance of the unit is stunningly fast. The original1TB HDD removed to house the SSD is serving as a nice compact/light external hard drive. I have full flexibility to choose either the Breeze System software or gradually move to Lightroom. I do hope Art’s new Mac goes really well for him, but I “chickened out” on a conversion!

  • avatar graham hedrick

    Hi Art, congrats on the move to the Mac. I have been using Photomechanic for close to 10 years. Through all the various digital photo things I have tried since I went digital in 2002, Photomechanic has been my constant friend. The customer support a Camera bits is the best I have ever experienced. I talk to Bob almost all the time. This guy flat out knows his stuff. – Graham Hedrick

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Larry Brown. Agree. a

      ps: the 7D II is a lot more like the 5D III than it is the 5D II. Our 5D III Guide should help you out until I start and finish the 7D II Guide 🙂

  • avatar Mark

    Hi, Artie. So when Apple switched to the Intel processor some years back (probably close to 10 years now), I immediately dumped my ThinkPad, my Dell, my HP, and never looked back. But I’ve gone through two 17″ MBP’s, a 15″ MBP, a 13″ MBP, and now own the 13″ and 11″ MB Air.

    But I use them exclusively for my work (not photography), and my work software only runs on Windows. I’ve used Bootcamp since day 1 with no problems whatsoever. I’ve never used an antivirus program, and I’ve (knock on wood) never had a virus or malware, at least to my knowledge.

    One question: I remember when I attended a seminar you and Denise gave where a lot of her (and perhaps some of your) photos had been edited with Genuine Fractals which you said was not available for Mac. Will you miss it?

    Question two: Why don’t you use, or at least try, LR5? I’ve been using it since LR first came out and it’s great. Yes, it was very slow in the beginning, but for file maintenance and manipulation, I feel it can’t be beat.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I had never had a serious virus in 20+ years. Best part is that I got sucked into downloading it…. I have never ever used Genuine Fractals.

      As I have said before, why should I use LR? 🙂


  • avatar Ar

    Sony is out of the laptop business. I’m struggling to find a replacement.

  • avatar Jeffrey Friedhoffer

    Artie, have been using Photo Mechanic on Windows for years. The only issue is seeing the focus points. He you can get them to include this feature

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I can’t get them to do anything. No worries on the AF points for me; I use DPP. Does PH show focus points for any other camera bodies? artie

  • avatar Renato Fernandez

    Greetings from Guatemala! Thanks for the tip…being a Mac user, I never have liked Parallels…thanks for the tip on Photo Mechanics. sure will try it out…

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    “Two days ago, my brilliant older daughter Jennifer, the Executive Director of BAA since 1998, downloaded and ran a Mac OS virus protection program. It found and deleted two malwares.”

    Which Mac AV tool did Jennifer choose?

  • avatar James Saxon

    I switched from a PC to a Mac and understand the frustration in the learning curve. It gets better with time. My biggest problem was all my external hard drive was formatted to NTSF and had to be reformatted to DOS in order to read both the PC and Mac formats. Recommend formatting hard drives to DOS which allows for larger files. I know you have back up files of your images so make sure you have back up files prior to reformatting any drives.

  • Artie, do you know if the two malwares you found and removed on your Mac were likely to cause real harm, or were they just items which the anti-virus program did not like? In other words, did they really matter? Which anti-virus program did you use? Enjoy your Mac, in a few months it will seem like you have always used it. Thanks for all your great blogs!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No clue. But most likely related to the stuff that–for the first time ever–totally destroyed my ASUS PC. We were forced to scrub it and are still not done rebuilding it :).

      I will try to remember to ask Jen what she used. My understanding is that Macs are in fact vulnerable to some degree. artie

  • avatar Bob

    I went through the same issues and ended up with an older model 13″ mac book pro with i7, 16gb, and 2 1TB ssd’s. No dvd drive (removed to install second hard drive). I too tried parallels and did not like it at all. Put in Boot Camp and run the machine as as windows machine all the time. Never touch the mac system. Been very happy.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    I am pretty sure that I have the fast SSD drive and 16gb of memory. We will have to have a NIK race next time we get together 🙂 a

  • As a Nikon/PC guy, I’ve found PhotoMechanic to be just great for ingesting new images. Easy to tag, rename,and keyword. Tried BrBr on a couple of separate occassions, but didn’t find the 1 missing item that Artie will be writing about to be worth switching. Thankfully, I’m not travelling nearly as much as when I was working full time, but long ago got in the habit of a 13″ Sony Vaio for traveling. Not good for serious image optimization in the field, but does a great job of ingesting and holding my photos until I get home.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks John. How do you know it was/is not worth switching if you do not know what the feature is? 🙂

      I need to be able to do my optimizations on the road. I have always done them on a laptop and will continue to do so most likely until they nail the box shut. artie

      • Guess we’ll have to wait until you blog about it and then we’ll know for sure. Don’t want to steal your topic. 😉

      • avatar Anders Bjorling

        Hello Art. Now that you have switched from PC to MAC, is your next step to switch from Canon to Nikon?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Anders,

          Good to hear from you. Not today :).

          later and love, artie

          ps: you should join us in the UK for puffins and gannets! You would love it

  • avatar Clemens Vanderwerf

    Glad you made the move to PhotoMechanic. It has been working great for me on my MacBook Pro since 2012. With a fast SSD drive and plenty of memory (16Mb), my Nik filters run pretty fast (about 5-7 secs for Color Efex).