Whenever I look for a new gadget or program I research the heck out of it and get the fullest feature set I can afford. And I tend to not even look at “consumer” level products. I go more for “prosumer” and up. Consider my new Canon 400D. I didn’t even consider a point-and-shoot or SLR-like camera. And when I started looking for a program to handle my RAW image editing and organization I took the same approach.
I started my search with Lightroom. I don’t have the money to buy it, but I know that it’s the (Windows) gold-standard. So I looked for copycats, or similar programs with similar features and tools. I searched and asked questions for days, even testing Linux offerings (the real reason I recently installed openSUSE). I found nothing. Nothing affordable (free), anyway.
So after a week or so of frustration I heard that Google’s Picasa does face recognition. I was disappointed to find that you had to upload your images to a web album to take advantage. But since I had already downloaded it, I played around for a few minutes.
To my surprise, I loved it. And the longer I used it, the more impressed I was. It is heavily featured, but not overly so. Everything I might need for tweaking, batch processing, tagging, sorting, and, well – looking – was just a click away in an interface that is pretty intuitive. There are some quirks, but it works well.
It also reads RAW files, and the nondestructive editing is great. When you make edits to a photo Picasa saves the settings, but doesn’t alter the file. You can export your changes to a new file, but if you don’t your file will remain intact and your special tweaking will be available next time. I’m hooked.
This little adventure has pointed to a lingering problem I have with pride. The reason I avoided Picasa is the same reason I avoid rubber basketballs and branded computers. It makes me feel so “regular”. If I’m using the same editor as my mother-in-law, who has little experience with editing technology, my professional status doesn’t show. Apparently I have to prove that I’m smarter than you, because I got a better stuff for less money, and you don’t know how I did it. I’ll be happy to teach you, though (as long as you understand that knowing doesn’t make you “professional”).
One day I’m going to have to face up to the truth that I am regular. And no matter how much time and money I spend boosting my ego, I’m still the same broken fool who turned off his XBox in anger – while it was saving – thereby losing about 15 hours of work. That was yesterday. How in the world do I manage to feel superior to anyone?