Up in the Air – 3

Up in the Air - 3

Tech Info: Nikon D300s | 50mm | ISO 800 | f/2.5 | 1/800s

Somewhere close to Salt Lake City, Utah. Shot during our Yellowstone vacation in 2009.

You might be wondering why would I post an image shot 3 years ago. The story for working on this pic goes something like …

I had multiple Lightroom catalogs to manage my pictures. Over a period of time, I had so many catalogs, that I lost track of them. If I had to visit some pictures, I’d have to first find out which year, month it was shot to get started, then find the catalog in that folder and reach the photo I was interested in.

The reason for using multiple catalogs was to ensure that Lightroom (LR) maintained its speed while I worked on the files. If that catalog file grew in size, then it’d slow down – which I hated and hence my multiple catalogs.

This method was fine when the amount of pictures were small. Now I’ve a huge collection and using the above method was really a pain. And over time, I kind of lost interest in processing photos, as trying to get to a photo itself was so hard. So I took a drastic step of consolidating all the pictures in one catalog – I was prepared to take a hit on the performance benefit from a one-place to see all my photos.

After consolidating all the pictures in to one catalog, I can now make use of the real power of LR cataloging feature. It makes it so easy to get to a photo. Also I’m making a disciplined effort to keyword them at every opportunity I get. It might take just couple of more minutes, but I think its worth it in the long run and searching a huge collection by keywords is so damn easy (duh!).

Now storing 3+ years of photos into one catalog resulted in a very huge file – 48GB. After seeing that size, I was like What the %@$#! did I just do. The catalog hosts about 20,000 photos, so the file size of the catalog was understandable. (I’ve barely deleted my reject shots and hence that huge number of photos). What amount of performance hit? How much time would I have to wait for LR to open? Would there be some delay in processing the photos?

All these questions lingered in the mind for sometime. But they all disappeared after just 2 days of using a single Lightroom catalog.

Hardly any noticeable performance hit. The application opens up quite fast (SSDs really help there) and can’t feel any noticeable lag while working on the photos.

Coming back to I worked on this photo – As I was browsing my pictures, I’m actually deleting my rejects. This photo (published above) was a reject, but I just wanted to see how much can I extract out of it as it was shot in raw. With the help of LR, curves, masks and sharpening in Photoshop, managed to get what you see.

Not convinced that a single raw file can contain so much data, hover your mouse over the image to see the before version of it.

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