Monthly Archives: September 2012

Copy, don’t move

Let me follow up a bit on my previous blog about “lost files” in Lightroom.

A possible problem with moving files and folders, whether by dragging and dropping in Lightroom, or by using the Move command in Explorer or the Finder, is that Move deletes the file or folder from the previous location after completing the move.  Call me paranoid, but what if something happens as the files are being moved?  The deleted version of the file or folder is not in the trash; it’s just gone.  While I’ve never had any problem, I do know one person who, while moving several large folders of images, accidentally bumped a bus-powered USB drive and disconnected it.  The folders — and all the images — were gone, never to be found again.  For relocating folders, I use the Copy command outside of Lightroom, and then re-link the missing folders inside Lightroom as described in my earlier blog.

Lightroom lost my pictures

At every workshop I teach, someone always complains that “Lightroom lost my pictures.”  Well, not exactly true.  There are no pictures actually stored in Lightroom.  Lightroom is a database of the last known location for those pictures.  Remember library card catalogs?  They told you where a book was located on a certain shelf.  But if someone moved the book, how was the card catalog to know?  It’s the same with Lightroom.

If you move an image file outside of Lightroom — using your operating system’s tools (Move or Copy) — Lightroom has no idea what you have done.  There is no way that it can know.

Consequently, the next time you look in Lightroom for that image there will be a ? thumbnail badge.

Click on that badge and a dialogue box opens.

Click on the Locate button and navigate to wherever you moved the image.  If you have several missing images and they are all from the same folder, locating one will automatically locate all the others.  If they are from multiple folders, you’ll have to locate each individual image.

If you have used your operating system to move a folder of images, the folder in Lightroom will have the ? thumbnail badge.

Right-click on the ? badge, and you get this option:

 Select Find Missing Folder, and either Window’s Explorer or Mac’s Finder will open.  Navigate to the missing folder and select it.  Lightroom will now be reconnected to the folder, and the ? badge will be removed from both the folder and the images within that folder.

Good news concerning NIK

As you might know, five days ago Google announced that it had acquired Nik Software, the maker of fantastic plug-ins for Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture.  Many of us were concerned about what the future would hold for support and development of Nik products.

Yesterday Vic Gundotra posted this on Google +:

Photography first: for everyone, and for professionals

Earlier this week I proudly welcomed +Nik Software to Google. They’ve been making pictures more awesome for 17 years, and we’re excited to bring Nik’s expertise to the entire Google+ community!

I also want to make something clear: we’re going to continue offering and improving Nik’s high-end tools and plug-ins. Professionals across the globe use Nik to create the perfect moment in their photographs (e.g.,, and we care deeply about their artistry.

Together with Nik, we’ll continue to put “photography first.”

Petrified wood

Several years ago I bought some pieces of polished petrified wood, intending to photograph small sections of abstract color.  This past week I finally got around to doing so.  Here’s one of the images, taken with my Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-180mm macro zoom.  The area I photographed is about 2 inches in the long dimension.  My wife and I liked this one so much that I made a very large print.  Matted and framed, it certainly draws attention.

Petrified wood

Camera choices

I’ve gotten quite a few emails over the last several months asking about the cameras I currently use, the Nikon D4 and D800E.  One specific question was why I switched from my previous D3s and D3x bodies.

Let me start with the D4.  I do believe this is ergonomically the best camera I’ve ever handled.  It fits my hands, and, for me, all the control buttons and dials fall in the right places.  I definitely like all the little tweaks Nikon did, compared to the D3 series of bodies, such as how the AF patterns are selected, or how auto-ISO is turned on and off, plus I’m happy to get the increase in megapixels.  But to be honest, part of my decision to get the D4 was an encounter I had late last year in the sub-Antarctic with an ill-tempered male southern fur seal.  Just let me say that salt water and electronic cameras do not go well together.  The bad news from Nikon repair:  the camera was beyond resuscitation.  OK, but then what to do?  I knew the D4 was going to be available shortly, as the internet was rife with rumors.  So…purchase a replacement D3s, or wait a few months and buy a D4 and get newer technology?  The price differential was not too great (hey, after the first several thousand dollars, what’s another $500 or so?) and yes, I purchase my cameras retail just like everyone else does.  My conclusion was to go for the latest and greatest.

But why get a D4 at all?  The answer lies in the subjects I photograph and where I photograph them.  I do enough wildlife work that I want a fast motor drive, and I often work in far off locations, including under some extreme weather conditions, that I need a rugged pro camera (and, given what happened, perhaps a fur seal repulsion unit also).

As to the D800E, it offered four features that I wanted:  a self-cleaning sensor (perhaps it was just me, but my D3x sensor always seemed to be a dust magnet), better high ISO performance, more dynamic range, and, yes, more megapixels yielding a larger file size.  For me, that last point becomes important for advertising photo use, and for sales of large prints.  I also liked the smaller size and less weight of the camera, compared to the D3x; consequently I was not interested in the add-on battery grip.  And, given the price of the D800E, I could sell my good condition D3x, purchase the D800E, and still have a few dollars left over.

You might note that video capability played no role in my choices.  I don’t do video.  I’m just not interested in shooting it.

In short, my camera choices can be summed up as “D4 action camera,” and “D800E landscape camera.”  Please note that this was a business decision for me, since I make my living with my cameras.  I’m certainly not suggesting that you ought to make these purchases.

Am I happy with the newer cameras?  Absolutely.  Any problems with either of them?  None whatsoever.  Anything I would like to change?  Sure, I wish they both took the same model battery so I didn’t have to carry two chargers.  Any advice for readers of this blog?  Be careful of southern fur seals, especially one really mean male who apparently doesn’t like photographers.

Salar de Uyuni

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to photograph a location I had always wanted to visit:  the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia.  This is the largest salt flat on earth, covering over 4,000 square miles (over 10,000 square kilometers).  The salt is mined by hand, shoveled into pyramids to drain, before being shoveled once again by hand onto trucks.  “Flat” is an apt description of the Salar, as the surface varies by less than one meter over the entire expanse.  I timed my visit to be just after the rains, when the flats are covered by a few inches of water, as I wanted reflections in this giant mirror.


Salar de Uyuni


Salar de Uyuni


Salar de Uyuni


Salar de Uyuni