Lightroom and The Traveling Photographer

by George Mann


I know it often seems like several of us on this blog site are talking about the same thing, but I assure you that it is pure coincidence and I hope all the readers get as much out of the varying opinions as I do. It is actually interesting to me that so many of us are talking about using Lightroom on the road lately and how much it helps us perform our daily jobs.

In many ways it shows me that no matter how much some things change, everything seems to go full circle at some point. At the dawn of the photographic art experience, photographers used to carry their entire studios and darkroom laboratories with them on horse drawn carts. In America this was well documented during the Civil War and the western migration of settlers, miners and cowboys, immediately following the war.

Over the course of the 150 years or so since those earliest days, darkrooms became ever more complex and stationary. In the last half century most photographers, even professionals, actually gave up using the darkroom all together and started using professional photo labs with large and very complicated processing equipment, instead of controlling the images themselves.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom may not have been the first digital darkroom software package, but it has brought the power of the self operated photographic darkroom back to every photographer and most significantly I think, it has brought back the completely self sufficient mobile photographer.

The big difference is of course that we no longer need to carry a wagon load of equipment and chemicals with us. As a matter of fact if we are selective with our gear, we can carry the equivalent of what Mathew C. Brady used to carry in a horse drawn wagon, in our carry on airline bags.

This may be a sneaky way to do it but after a month or so of negotiations, I can finally announce that I am now in the process of producing a new book for Rocky Nook, The Traveling Photographer - which deals with the subject of managing both photographic equipment and digital workflow while on the road.

This book would not have been possible to write without the current digital darkroom revolution and I consider Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to have played (and is still continuing to play) a very major role in that revolution. So it is of course natural that in the next three months during which I will be working on the book, all my blog postings here at O'Reilly Digital Media - Inside Lightroom will be in some way be related to the production process of this book.

Not that I will be mentioning the book all the time, but the subject matter of my posts will be closely related to what I am working on. Which is what I first started speaking about in this post, all of us who are posting here are having many similar experiences, so we report on those experiences and sometimes our paths cross pretty closely.


2007-09-14 07:13:26
Any of the bloggers using LR 1.2 yet?
Mauricio Matos
2007-09-14 07:39:54
As a travel photographer myself, I'll be looking forward to your thoughts and conclusions. I also feel that lightroom made my life much easier, after a couple of trips using it.
2007-09-14 07:43:02
LightRoom is not for every photographer. Beta ran well on my iBook g4, v 1 was also successful; v1.1 became a bloated pig that brings my computer to its knees. I can't wait to see how poorly v 1.2 runs.
2007-09-14 08:28:45
I've reverted back to LR 1.0, because of the image quality issues with 1.1. Have you noticed the same problems?
2007-09-14 14:01:24

Thanks for the history lesson. Looking forward to your future blogs relating to "The Traveling Photographer". Good luck with the book!

I can envision my camera equipment and a laptop fitting in that carry on though I'm not so sure of a high quality 13" inkjet printer. ;-)

George Mann
2007-09-14 17:17:19
I am using LR 1.2 but it is a bit too early to make any comments.

Steve and Stephen, sorry but I think those kind of discussions are best held on the Adobe forum where you have access to Adobe staff.

I am glad to hear that there is interest in travel related Lightroom posts and I appreciate the printer comment.If I really did have to travel with a printer, I guess I would put it in a Halliburton or Pelican case and check it in.