Stuff, Catching Up, and My Thoughts on the Creative Cloud « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Stuff, Catching Up, and My Thoughts on the Creative Cloud

Iris Garden Workshop This Week!

I will be joining Denise Ippolito as a previously unannounced co-leader on her Iris Garden Flower Photography Workshop this coming Thursday, May 16, at the spectacular Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Upper Montclair, NJ. I will be bringing my 600 II along so if you’d like to learn long lens flower photography techniques this one is perfect for you. I will also have my 180mm macro along. Rain date: May 17. Learn more and register here.

The MiniMag

Denise Ippolito and her skilled team of contributors put in an inordinate amount of work each month to bring you the MiniMag. This month’s edition is online and can be accessed here. Do not click on the preceding link unless you have at least an hour to be enthralled. This month’s articles include “Dramatic Flower Photos With Focus Stacking” by Steve Ellis, “Where the Buffalo Roam” by Nancy Bell, “Texas Hill Country” by Paul Lagasi, “Dare to Do Something Different” by Cheryl Slechta, “Shoot with a Purpose and Tell a Story” by Gaurav Mital, “When Mother Nature Goes OOTB” by Andrew McLachlan, “The Sponge Tool” by Anita Bower, “A Peek at Amsterdam” by Denise Ippolito, “Long Lens Flower Photography” by yours truly, “Creating Bubbles in Your Images” by David Woeller, “Recorded Bird Calls” by BPN Avian Moderator Daniel Cadieux, “Gear Up for Wildflowers” by Steve Adkins,”Start with the Light” by Mary Stamper, and “People Can Make a Difference” by Dennis Bishop. Best news? It’s free.

This Pied Avocet image was created at Texel, Holland with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/200 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual Mode.

Central sensor Surround AI Servo/Rear Focus on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Here, I converted the image to Black and White using NiK SIlver Efex Pro’s High Structure pre-set. In addition, I eliminated some nasty dust spots that I missed the first time around and ran a heavy layer (6/10) of Filter/Blur/Surface Blur and erased the effect on the bird using a Regular Layer Mask.

Catching Up

In the “Not Just for Potato Chips” blog post here, most folks liked the second image a bit better than the first. I like them both but prefer the first image (above, in Black and White as suggested by Bill Griswold). The right hand bird is pretty much on the lower right rule of thirds point and the left hand bird is nicely placed on the lower left rule of thirds point. I remember moving to my left to open up space between the two birds and create what to my mind is a pleasing juxtaposition.

In his comment on the 2nd image David Pugsley wished for a bit more space between the foreground bird’s left leg and the nesting bird’s head. I would not disagree. I responded to each comment that was left.


In the “Variety… blog post here, I must confess that when I posted the three images I thought that the last one was by far the strongest. But after reading all the comments and reconsidering the 3 images–make sure that you look at the large versions–I like all three almost equally well with just a small edge to the last one.

My Thoughts on the Creative Cloud

Wow, the “Photoshop Creative Cloud…. Confusion for Sure. But is it a Ripoff or a Boon?” here garnered lots of comments and even got a few folks pissed off. Interested folks might wish to see more on the topic here.

Here is my take on the whole thing:

1-As much as I have read on the subject, I am still quite confused.
2-I have long loved CS-5.
3-I have a copy of CS-6 installed on my main machine. I rarely use it. Why? Every time that I open it and start working I am beset by one glitch or another. Nothing major, just things that have been changed from CS-5. And these changes wreck my workflow and slow me down to a crawl at best. But that only happens 100% of the time…. Lots of folks on BPN have been helping me but the moment that I get over one hurdle another pops right up and grabs me by the neck….
4-For now I will continue using CS-5 but will make more of an effort to learn to co-exist peacefully with CS-6.
5-What no cloud? As for now, I have no interest in giving Adobe $20 a month for life for who-knows-what? after having paid several thousand dollars for various versions of Photoshop. Might I change my mind in the future? Of course.
6-As for Lightroom, my position remains the same: I have no clue as to why so many folks own and use Lightroom. Yes, it offers great cataloging and key-wording features but in today’s world where selling even a single image is cause for a bit party who needs a great catalog? The simple file drawer system that we have set up in BreezeBrowser has served us well for more than a decade. Not to mention the constant complaints that I hear: “I lost my library.” “I cannot find my images.” And the like. It is possible that my comments are in part made in ignorance as I have never used LR….

Short-Notice Dirt Cheap Nickerson

This sub-adult Lesser Black-back Gull was photographed at Nickerson Beach in June, 1012 with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus Lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV (now replaced by the Canon EOS-1D X). ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/9 in Manual Mode. Central sensor (by neccesity)/AI Servo/Rear Focus on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

When I first began birding nearly 40 years ago this species was a mega-rarity. Today they are not at all uncommon all along the east coast of North America and even on the west coast of Florida.

Short Notice, Dirt Cheap, In-the-Field Nickerson Beach Photographic Instruction with Arthur Morris. May 14 (am/pm) & 15 (am), 2013. (Yes, that is soon.) 6-9:30 am/4-7:30pm. This one is priced so low that you need to e-mail for the rates. Limit 4/session. Only a few openings left.

Payment in full due immediately. If you would like to join me please get in touch via e-mail. Breeding American Oystercatcher and Piping Plover (small chicks possible). Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, Sanderling, and other shorebird species. Early-arriving Least and Common Terns, and breeding plumage Lesser Black-backed Gull likely. Courtship and mating behaviors; flight. Learn digital exposure and creative image design.

Amazingly, five folks have signed up for various sessions or combinations of sessions. But this still gives you a chance to take advantage of some practically private instruction with me at give-away prices.

Next Year In Holland

Despite a 100-year record cold spring with very few tulip fields in bloom this trip has been a spectacular success. The colors and variety of tulips at Keukenhof simply stun the mind and the senses. Denise and I are planning our Holland trip for next year: the Keukenhof Creative Tulip Photography IPT with a Touch of Holland. If you are a Happy Camper who is interested in joining Denise and me next spring, please shoot me an e-mail. Details will be announced soon.

We are currently fleshing out the details. The dates will be about the same, in mid April. In addition to the Keukenhof and the flower fields we will do an afternoon of windmills at Kinderdijk, a day in Amsterdam including a morning at the Rijks Museum and an afternoon visit to the Ann Frank House plus some street photography. We will do some street photography and fine dining in the little town of Edam. There will be about 7-9 days of photography in all. Those will include an afternoon option for a day or two of Purple Herons for those with long lenses.

Note: not surprisingly, early interest has been huge with several folks who want to sign up right now.

New York City–On Location with Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris May 25 – 26, 2013, 2-day Workshop-$495

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for a two-day creative workshop in the Big Apple. This exciting adventure through the streets of NYC will begin with an informal get-together at our hotel on the evening of May 24th. This will give us all a chance to get to know each other before we hit the streets in the morning for our first exciting photo shoot. We will explore China Town, Little Italy, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station (tripod permit included) and much more during our two days together. The emphasis will be on street photography, seeing and capturing dynamic images, and expanding your creativity using a variety of in-camera techniques including HDR and Multiple Exposure.

Please contact me via e-mail for complete details and the itinerary.


On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

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30 comments to Stuff, Catching Up, and My Thoughts on the Creative Cloud

  • Bobby Perkins

    What features do you like in CS-6?

    Well for one, I like that in CS-6 the Patch Tool now has a Content-Aware option in the Options Bar.
    I also use Breezebrowser as theres many features I really like. I hated Bridge, and with BreezeB, DPP, & PSCS I have no need for Lightroom. (All of this is subject to change of course). But as suggested here there’s simply to much you cannot do in Lightroom that I regularly do in PSCS.

  • Joe Elliott

    Artie, I love and use Lightroom 3.6 as my only image editor. I had Photoshop CS2, but I uninstalled it and use Lightroom exclusively now. I have never regretted this decision. I tried using DPP, but hated the user interface.
    I think that if you gave Lightroom an honest try, you would like it too ! Remember, Lightroom was designed by Adobe specifically for digital photographers !

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Joe et al,

      For those who use and like LR, I am glad.

      Joe–Can I make selections with LR? Work on layers? Add Layer Masks? Even if the answer to those questions were all yes why would I switch as I am happy with my workflow and the way my images look? As for DPP, there are one or two things that bug me but I love the simplicity and speed. Move two or three sliders and I am good to go.

      Lastly two more questions:

      1-Aside from cataloging, what can LR do that Photoshop cannot do?

      2-Aside from cataloging, what can LR do better than Photoshop?


  • Nancy Phillips

    I am a happy LR user, a novice in the world of post-processing. The catalog function and the non-destructive editing make LR very user-friendly. I like keywording as a means of annotating images for my own use. I like non-destructive editing because I don’t worry about screwing up, everything can be returned to the original state until I export into .jpg or .tif . I have very little experience with PS though, having used the really early versions circa 1992 or so (for image analysis), but not much since, so I haven’t developed PS-specific workflow habits. I am just beginning to get into PS for specialized edits.

    dcRAW has been around for a while, as a free open sourceware for converting proprietary RAW formats to tif, and is kept up to date. I daresay that there will be freestanding programs that convert proprietary RAW into DNG, even if Adobe quits the business of providing that free DNG converter. I guess that I think that I should be able to keep LR and its plug-ins and PS CS6 going for quite a while, even through camera changes and operating system updates (with OS emulation if necessary – hey, I am from the Mac universe).

  • Mike Vanecek

    As stated earlier,

    If I purchase a boxed version I can use it forever. If I buy a subscription I can only use it if I continue to pay the monthly price – which will increase over time. Stop paying and one will no longer be able to use the program. Monthly subscription is not acceptable for me. I am looking at other options.

    My first thought is keep CS6 (with no future support) and keep buying the upgraded boxed version of LR. What is not clear to me is what support, if any, Adobe will provide boxed LR owners? There are indications and comments that suggest that support will minimal (if any) for boxed versions – only the CC version will receive true support? However, this approach does allow me to have access to updated camera raw versions via LR.

    Is Elements a viable alternative?

    Is Aperture a viable alternative?

    I could stay with CS6 & LR4 and not do a CC subscription nor buy LR “boxed” upgrades; however, raw files from new cameras will not be supported?

    It is probably not a good idea to keep files in psd format? Also, I think I will continue to avoid the dng format and stay with cr2 and tiff.

  • Like I mentioned in the previous blog, I wish Adobe would remove the word
    ‘cloud’ because the name implies cloud computing, which this isn’t. The
    software is physically on our machines.

    If anything, I consider what they’re doing a lease without the option
    to buy.

    In a way, Adobe has always been doing this by way of requiring an internet
    connection to activate their software. The difference in this case is,
    we’re paying, what, $20 a month now so Adobe can verify our activation and
    upgrade the software.

    I don’t have a problem with the $20 a month for the new software on my machine,
    IF, that would go down to something more managable for updates, like maybe $10
    a month, after the $20 a month covers the original purchase price.

    Right now I’m on the fence. One day I’m for it. The next day against it. I’m
    using the 30 day free trial of their cloud with CS6 and see what happens after


  • Jon

    Artie, I am with you on the cloud, it is in my view a purely finance driven project whereby Adobe are looking to get a regular income. Regarding CS6 it may be worthwhile removing it and reinstalling it (provided you can do that still), I cannot tell you how good that ACR converter is, I am sure you will think it worthwhile if you could get rid of those glitches.

  • Denny

    I just started using LR a couple months ago. Before that I was using DPP for RAW conversion, and liked using it, but I switched from Canon to Olympus and needed a good program. After several aborted attempts, I went to Adobe’s site and watched a few tutorials, now I wouldn’t give it up.


    PS: PS is too complicated for me, I never need to go outside LR.

  • Bill Mc (Singapore)

    Regarding LR: It has evolved impressively. LR 1 was horrible. LR2 was almost useable. 3 was much better. LR4 is awesome and like others have mentioned, I can cover 95-98% of my editing/adjusting in LR4 without the need for PS. The cataloging frankly is just a positive side effect at this point, and was never really the reason I chose LR. It’s worth watching the online videos to see what it has to offer, or spend some time with the free trial download. (but I also get the point about the tools we are used to) The LR5 beta is out and looks like some very good additions are coming. Plus most of “our” plug-ins also work in LR. I too have CS6 and enjoy it. But If it comes to having to pay a monthly fee for CS/CC it might help me to stop “needing” CS.

  • Artie,

    I agree strongly on all 6 points of your points regarding the cloud, CS-5, etc. Is it our age? Anyway, you are right on, in my opinion.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good to see you here Big Guy! Age is a possibility. That and we do not like getting ripped off and at some point we believe, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sending much love. artie

  • Ron May

    Hi Art. Just a comment – if you were photographing gulls in June 1012, then you are a bit older than I thought you were. 🙂 Thought you might like to know about the typo.



    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Ron. Actually, the date, June 1012 is correct. I was using stone film back then….

      • Ron May

        Art, I think they were actually called tablets in those days – a bit different from the ones we use to day 🙂 🙂



  • With PS I have always tried to skip at least one upgrade and then get the next one so I guess I made be one of the people Adobe is after. Will watch Adobe to see how things unfold but happy with PS5(with complete Nik plugins) and BB.
    As far as LR is concerned I had high hopes for it and bought LR1 . I hated it so I never upgraded! People now say LR is great but they lost me at the beginning and can see no reason to start over. Interesting discussion! and it seems as a group most of us are not happy with Adobe–of course that and $2 will get us a cup of coffee !

  • Nancy Bell

    Artie, I am in your camp – CS5 and beloved BreezeBrowser! But it is interesting to read what others think and how they organize and process their images.

  • There are some legal reason for not using the cloud also, I can’t post a link here but if you google “Mac performance guide lopsided legal agreement” you might come up with the page explaining how adobe can terminate your contract, or give your trademark away, etc.

  • Artie, I’m with you regarding CC! I am on a fixed income now and every time I turn around, someone wants more of it!! I am very happy with CS5. I use Capture NX2 as a converter, then on to ACR as a tiff for some tweeking and then into CS5 for layer work. It works great! I hope that I can hold onto this workflow from now till!!! As for future camera profiles not being supported by good old CS5, if you are using DPP or NX2 proprietary software as a converter, you don’t need to worry, they will upgrade! I hope Canon and Nikon don’t decide that they also need to reach into my pocket monthly :-(! dan

  • I am not sure I can disagree with you about Lightroom. I don’t have BreezeBrowser, and have not used it. I was using Lightroom for a long time before I ever got into bird photography, or found your site and your wonderful work. To me, I kind of have the inverse question:

    “Why would I leave Lightroom, and my nicely organized catalog, in order to move to BreezeBrowser?”

    I think in big part, you use the tools you have, and once you have an established system, you stick with it. Lightroom is a core part of my established system, I can’t really leave it (not without a lot of hazzle and a LOT of hours reorganizing my work, and my pre-export exposure edits, from one system to another.) I’ve read about BreezeBrowser on your blog a lot, and looked at their site a few times. Aside from the ability to see AF points in the tool, I don’t see any featureset that makes it compelling enough to move to. I guess that is the same reason you don’t move from BreezeBrowser to Lightroom…not a compelling enough reason.

    I have also looked into Canon DPP. Right out the gate, I struggled and fought and wrestled with DPP. It feels completely unnatural to me, I loath the user interface, and I have never really been able to tell whether it is a destructive or non-destructive editor…does it preserve my original RAW images…or does it muck with them, and save changes to them? To me, the BIGGEST benefit of Lightroom is its non-destructive nature. I KNOW that when I import my photos into Lightroom, and make any base exposure edits, the original RAW is exactly where I put it, untouched, untainted. Edits are just instructions to Lightrooms rendering engine, and they can be changed at any time, in any way, without ever changing the original RAW. I have untouched, pristine master RAW files. I don’t think I could live without that.

    I purchased Arash Hazeghi’s Noise Reduction guide a few months back. He made the assertion that DPP handles noise for Canon CR2 raw files better than Lightroom. At the time, I believe LR3 had just been released, and the version of ACR (the RAW conversion engine, also usable in Photoshop) was around 6.x. Today, we have ACR 7.7, maybe we are up to ACR 8.0 (LR5). The newer versions of Lightroom and ACR handle noise better than they did back in the LR3/ACR6 days. I am not sure they are quite as good as DPP yet…in my experience, DPP (I periodically open a RAW in it to compare the differences) still does a better job. If minimizing noise as much as humanly possible is of the utmost importance, I think that is probably the one strength of DPP. To me, and to a lot of photographers I know, Canon DPP is just too convoluted a tool, with too poor a UI experience, to really bite off and chew most of the time. I think LR presents a more welcoming user interface, not to mention a much more expansive toolset (many photographers can spend less money buying only Lightroom (no photoshp at all), and gain catalog management, full post-process development tools, geolocation, book printing, fine art printing, and web export), and even though it might result in slightly higher noise levels, all the rest of the tool brings a considerable amount of centralized convenience.

    Just for the record, integration between Lightroom and Photoshop is excellent. You can move back and forth between the two seamlessly. Edits in one will show up automatically in the other. Exporting directly from LR into Photoshop is a single right-click menu away. Images exported to Photoshop are also automatically grouped with their original RAWs in LR’s catalog, making it easy to find them in the future.

    If a photographer comes along who has no established system, BreezeBrowser, DPP, and Photoshop might make a great platform off which to launch a career in bird photography. For a lot of photographers, though, I think Lightroom is already the centerpiece (or even the only piece) of their established system for post-processing their work, making it inconvenient to change (especially if they have a years-old catalog with tens of thousands of photographs cataloged, tagged, and otherwise metadataed up for easy searching.)

    Last…if Adobe ever makes Lightroom a “subscription” app, requiring me to *rent* it…I’ll ditch my existing system in a heartbeat! I have zero interest in renting something I already own. The most infuriating thing about Adobe’s new Creative Cloud system is the potential to lose access to your existing, already-edited content if your subscription ever runs out (can’t pay, forgot to pay, internet glitch mucked up the call-home process, etc.) Adobe is effectively slaving anyone who buys into CC, forcing them to keep paying to maintain even basic access to their content. Sad day, all I can say. Photoshop CS6 will be my last Creative Suite product. LR4 may well be my last Adobe product purchase if the next one comes tethered to a subscription (and if so, I may well become a PS6/DPP/BreezeBrowser junkie soon enough, if begrudgingly! 😛 )

    • David Policansky

      Jon: I don’t think you ever lose edited content; you lose only the ability to edit new things. You store the edited images on your own computer if you want, or in the cloud wherever you choose. This is an important point, and I hope someone else can confirm (or correct) it.


      • That is certainly my hope, but from what I’ve read, Creative Cloud software basically stops functioning if you miss enough “call home” attempts. You don’t necessarily need to be online all the time, from what it sounds like, Adobe’s new subscription management “engine” (for lack of a better term) will periodically check in and validate your subscription. Around “once a month” is what I’ve been told. If you aren’t connected enough around the end/beginning of the month, you’ll lose access until you do get connected and the software is once again able to verify your subscription.

        I believe this process exists regardless of whether you are using cloud storage or local storage. I don’t think how you store your work has anything to do with the verification process for your subscription.

        I could be wrong. As Art stated…a LOT of confusion around all of this. This is the best information I could find online, though. I would be very happy if I am wrong, and if there is some concrete information somewhere that explains how a subscription actually affects your ability to utilize the software, I’d love to see it. Even so, the Creative Cloud scares me. Adobe is in complete and total control of it…and terms, as well as prices, often change.

        *Renting* software just so the company writing it has a “stable” stream of income is an irksome state of affairs…

        • David Policansky

          Jon: I think we’re talking past each other. You don’t lose your already edited content (your original post); you DO lose access to the software (your reply).


          • Yes, that would be true. However, without software to edit the files, they aren’t much use. I do save everything as TIFF, but still…Photoshop has a suite of tools that are rather unique…particularly the Content Aware tools. Losing access to the software means I lose access to the ability to open, edit or print existing content, let alone create new content.

            Here is the relevant FAQ, in case anyone wants to alleviate some of their confusion:

            Q: What happens if I decide to stop my membership?
            A: You will continue to have access to free Creative Cloud member benefits, and if you saved your work to your computer you will continue to have access to those files. You will no longer have access to the Creative Cloud desktop applications or most of the services that are components of a Creative Cloud membership.

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I was reading about this on DP Review as well. It seems clear that beyond CS6 any version you own will stop working after some period if you don’t keep your subscription up to date. Like many–but apparently not all–people, I hate this idea. As for CS6, I love the content-aware things it does, which apparently are more than the content-aware things CS5 does, but I’ve used only CS6 so I don’t know if it really matters. Judging from your images, I have to say it doesn’t matter. I might have to learn to use DPP; the price is right and apparently it’s pretty powerful once you figure it out.


  • Artie,
    I am sorry to disagree with you, but for me Lightroom is the way to go. It has a great cataloging system and I can find pictures when I need to. As long as you do not move pictures from one hard disk to another outside of Lightroom, Lightroom does not lose your pictures. Since the develop module is basically Adobe Camera Raw, I do 95 to 98% of all my postprocessing in Lightroom and then go to Photoshop for any finishing touches. I move from Photoshop CS five to Photoshop CS six without any difficulty and do not find any problems, and utilizing the tools. But we all have our own workflow and what is best for one is not best for another.
    Have a great day,

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am happy that it works for you. Aside from the catalog, does LR do anything that Photoshop cannot do? As far as I know, Photoshop does dozens of things that LR cannot do. I guess that that is why you go there after converting in ACR…. I find all of my images in BreezeBrowser.

  • Bill Richardson

    I love CS6 and its new features so I cannot agree with you there. However, I also don’t like Light Room. Never have seen any benefit for me over ACR and Photoshop. I am wondering how many people will switch to LR or Elements to avoid the monthly fees for PSCC. And will Google or some other company see the subscription controversy as an opening to bring out competing editing software. Big hill to climb there.