IT @ 93 – my mother

My 93 year old mother lives nearly three hours away from me, and not much less away from my sister. About 10 years ago I persuaded her to get a laptop, with a printer, and she soon took to emailing friends and family and looking at the photos we shared with her. In her youth she had used a typewriter and those skills very quickly came back.
With the arrival of the first tablets I soon realised that here was a device that she could adopt as her ability to type declined as her arthritis limited her dexterity. She’s now on her second iPad. It’s been a godsend. As well as her email which she still uses regularly, she uses the social network Google+ to chat with her grandchildren, and watch the progress through videos of her great grandchildren. She plays online scrabble with a grandson in Australia, and others as well and she occasionally wins – which gives her a huge amount of pleasure – as does the occasional Facetime (video call – skype-like) session she has with us.
She also reads the news off the web and browses the internet using Google. Just recently she took her first photograph using the iPad and shared it with the family. All of this in a safe and secure IT environment with privacy ensured so that only the family share in these communications.
The iPad has kept her in touch with her family. She passionately advocates its use and adoption to her friends as a way of them keeping in touch with their relatives and with her. It’s become an essential part of our “care package” for her.

Photography, technology and workflow – a further update

In an earlier post (in 2012) I detailed how I went about integrating my photography with the technology I use for post-processing and publishing. In what is a fast moving world everything is in need of constant review and revision

I use three cameras. The main one is the Sony Alpha 700 – it uses Compact Flash cards but I usually transfer pictures off it using the USB cable because my MacBook Pro and Windows 7 machines are set up for SD cards. The everyday camera (used on walks as well) is now a Sony NEX-6 – it uses SD cards, but again I tend to use the cable to transfer pictures. I use it also for short video clips. It’s worth noting that I have several Compact Flash and SD cards. I try NOT to delete any pictures  from a card (apart from obvious rejects) until I’ve uploaded the images into Lightroom. Finally I use my iPhone 4s for both pictures and video clips using the Capture app, although I have had difficulties with it as described previously in this post.

Incidentally, the iPad with the Camera Connector kit also works reasonably well and is a good travelling companion with the two cameras. I intend to experiment with the mobile version of Lightroom on the iPad as soon as I have the time … but I’ll leave that for another post.

If you read the earlier post you’ll see reference to using iCloud to synchronise images between systems. Not any longer. I found that “managing iCloud” and iTunes synchronisation was just something I didn’t want to engage with. At that time, I’d also switched-off Google+ Instant Upload (now Auto Backup) for Photos on the iPhone/iPad – did I really want a double dose of synchronisation? I wasn’t using Dropbox to synchronise either.

So … you’ll gather I changed my mind. This occurred principally because I changed my thoughts on how I was going to use Lightroom. I moved to a strategy of storing all my images, together with the main Lightroom catalogue, on an external USB disk. That meant the external hard disk became a hub for my photography. As long as images got uploaded to the disk and added to this catalogue, all would be well and synchronisation was unnecessary. I backup the catalogue when closing Lightroom, and the images at the time of uploading them into Lightroom. [With a secondary periodic backup of the external hard disk to satisfy my paranoia.] I move between the MacBook Pro and the WinPC and the move is seemless.

And as for the iPhone photos? Well I created an IFTTT (If This Then That) recipe to move images from my iPhone Camera Roll to a Folder called Camera Roll on my Google Drive. I also Enabled Google Drive as a source for Photos when posting from Google+. With that in place, after possibly some editing in Snapseed or Camera+, the act of  saving to my iPhone Camera Roll, added the image to the Camera Roll folder on my Google Drive. I could then import the image into Lightroom from that Google Drive folder, as well as have the capability of posting directly to Google+ (the only social media platform I use) from my desktop browser.

So nearly all my images are imported into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (v.4.4) being placed in a Folder for the Year, within a Sub-folder for the import-date, residing on the external USB disk with a Backup Copy of the imported pictures being made at the same time automatically to a folder on a different drive either on the MacBook Pro, or the WinPC. The import is controlled by a Pre-set in Lightroom which I change every year to reflect the change in year folder. The backup folders are cleared-out periodically after other scheduled backups have taken place.

After processing images in Lightroom, which includes tagging them and adding them to Collections they can be exported  as JPEGs to Picasaweb or to the Google Drive folder as a Hard Disk export – for sharing in Google+, or to 500px, or Flickr (all using Lightroom Plugins).

Iris at RHS Harlow Carr

Why the image of an iris? Couldn’t think of anything more different from what I’ve been writing about 🙂