Windows just got the only MacOS feature I missed

When I switched to Windows as my main machine last January, I found that, except for one thing, it worked more-or-less the same as MacOS. Many details were different, of course, but both systems had the same functionality (almost). Some apps, such as Lightroom, Photoshop, and a few others, were identical.

The feature I missed was being able to open up a UNIX shell. I used that a lot, especially when running scripts.

Well, I just discovered that Windows now has a Subsystem for Linux, which runs a genuine Ubuntu shell. It’s the real thing, a joint project between Microsoft and Canonical. Linux itself isn’t there, but the kernel API is. (As I understand it–I only spent 2 minutes looking into the technicalities.)

This is somewhat more convenient than what MacOS has, because its shell has BSD commands, whereas the Linux (GNU, really) commands are more widely known.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, there is no non-superficial difference between Windows and MacOS as OSes. There is still a difference between what apps are available. For example, there’s no Coda for Windows. In fact, there’s no ProofSheet or ExifChanger, two of my own apps. There are also, of course, lots of Windows apps that aren’t on MacOS. But all of my important apps (notably Lightroom and Photoshop) are on both.

And Windows hardware is substantially cheaper, no matter what Apple and Mac fanboys say.

Your situation is, of course, different.

You can now buy prints

You can now buy prints from my SmugMug gallery, at a very reasonable cost. For example, the regular price for an 8×10 is only $12.99.

And, until Oct. 10, 2016, you can use the coupon code Basepath50 for a 50% discount of the pre-shipping cost on any order.

What the heck do you do with a photo of Half Dome?

Taking a pretty picture of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park is incredibly easy. You put on a telephoto lens (90 mm equivalent, say), aim the camera, and shoot. I goosed it up a bit in Lightroom and used the new de-haze control:

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Not a thousand words here, but just one: Boooooooooring.

But, if you take it into Topaz Adjust and choose Spicify, you get this:

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I was in California for a week, and got seven photos worth showing you, all processed by Lightroom and Topaz Detail or Adjust. To see them, click here.

Two Lightroom non-alternatives

From time-to-time I take a look at Lightroom alternatives. Not because I’m thinking of switching, but just to stay informed. ($10/month for Lightroom + Photoshop is an incredible bargain.)

First, I tried Lightzone. Didn’t get far, because the screen font was too small to read on my monitor, with no way to make it any bigger other than to change the resolution of the monitor, which is out of the question. So, can’t say too much about Lightzone. Maybe whoever works on the Windows port can get a better monitor for Christmas.

Next up, DigiKam. Lots of features, but it won’t work for me because (1) the raw editing is incredibly clunky, and isn’t parameterized like Lightroom (no going back to tweak an adjustment), and (2) no way to export JPEGs to a folder, something I do all the time when I create magazine and books, prepare a slideshow, upload to Photo.net, and lots of other things. I couldn’t believe the app couldn’t do this, so I spent a couple of hours working on it, but I’m convinced. Maybe they think that since they’re changing actual image files, they can stand for themselves when you need a JPEG externally. That’s hopelessly wrong.

In the course of investigating digiKam, I came upon several very positive online reviews and user comments, and found most of them pretty sad. A combination of group-think, denial, ignorance, and boosterism. They don’t know what they don’t know. One guy made a comment that he didn’t use Lightroom, but his brother did, and, from what he could tell, the two apps were pretty much the same. Another reviewer was bothered by digiKam’s white screen, figured out how to make it gray, and then showed screen shots of digiKam and Lightroom side-by-side and figuratively patted himself on the back.

digiKam comes from the Linux world, although there are ports to Mac OS X and Windows, and the Linux people usually grade on the curve. If the Linux, MySQL, and Apache developers had that attitude, they would have gotten nowhere.

If a Lightroom competitor comes forth, it will most likely come from Affinity, whose Photo and Designer apps probably are giving Adobe sleepless nights. But, like Adobe, their apps don’t run on Linux.

Visiting Manzanar

In 1943 Ansel Adams photographed Manzanar, the War Relocation Center where Japanese-Americans were interred. I have published two versions of the book he wrote, Born Free and Equal, and a collection of all of his Manzanar photographs. You can find those books (and the others I’ve written) here.

Last Saturday I visited Manzanar, which is now a National Historic Site. There’s not much left other than building foundations and roadways, the restored Pleasure Park (but with no water), the cemetery, and the auditorium (now the visitor’s center, with an excellent museum), which was built after Adams’s visit.

But what you realize when you visit that you can’t get from the photos is that the place is huge, it’s hot (even in September), and it’s windy. I was uncomfortable walking around for an hour or so while I took photos. Living there must have been hellish. In Adams’s photos the people look comfortable enough, but his visit was in Winter, as you can see from the snow on the mountains.

Here are four photos I took along with corresponding Ansel Adams photos from 1943.

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