Ammo in the armaments

Last night the DALPUG (Denver Area Lightroom Users Group) had their bi-monthly meeting and host Brian Reyman walked us through some of the features of the Lightroom 3 Beta.  It was a gret seminar and offered an opportunity for many to get an idea of what to expect.  I had not realized that there are many work flow options out there because when queried, the audience responded with quite the variety of software approaches.  We didn’t officially count votes, but it seemed roughly along these lines:

40% Lightroom 2

40% Photoshop CS (no query here on version #)

10% Aperture

10% Elements or some other platform, including GIMP, Corel, and others…

If you think about it – the first software platform you learn for editing photos is usually the one where you really cut your teeth, grind your fingers to the bones, and once you know it, you just know it.  So, for a new software application to come out and challenge the fact that you have this established work flow, suggesting that there is a better way can often be both disheartening and somewhat defeating.  After all, some of us can even remember dodging and burning negatives in a dark room not too long ago.

It was quite an epiphany though to see people from such a wide variety of backgrounds – some younger than me (in their 20’s), many in my age range (30’s – 40’s), and others even senior to me (50’s and up) coming out to learn about this new-fangled technology of Lightroom 3.

What it brought to mind for me was a fundamental dichotomy in the way photography has transformed us.  We have learned so much and in such a little time frame, yet there are always barriers to learning more, not the least of which is our own prejudices.  We learn something, we know something inside and out, and then something new comes along that changes the paradigm.  It’s no wonder there is still so much confusion over what “the best” way to work through images is.

One the one hand, if you have a flow, and it works – why change something that does what you want it to do, and it’s something you not only know, but are reasonably good at?  Meanwhile, on the other – what if you are spending countless hours doing something much slower than you wish it could be and this new carrot is being dangled?  Do you stick to your guns or do you lay that gun down and find a new one that fires better?

It’s a struggle to be sure, and while sticking to your guns can be a good thing in the face of a changing technology, for those of us that stick too long, we can ultimately find ourselves actually staring down the barrel of a gun.  It’s all ammo in the armaments and the important lesson I learned is that while the principles may not change the tools to flex those principles are always changing.

So, the answer for me is to stick to my guns in principle, but be ready for a new rifle and prepare to adapt to meet the needs of that new tool, because odds are, the new one will ultimately do it better, faster, and cleaner than anything that came before it….eventually!

Sort of a philosophical musing for today, but nonetheless one I wanted to share, and hopefully get some feedback on.  Are you an early adopter?  Do you come out guns blazing with new technology whenever it becomes available, or do you stick with the rounds that you know how to fire until the proven replacement has been demonstrated and taught?  Sound off in the comments, and come on back tomorrow for yet another round! 🙂