Unrelated to my efforts at eliminating non-value-added stuff in my little sea cabin here, has been a reconsideration of my photographic workflow. (A word that arouses an irrational feeling of hostility in me, but one for which I can't seem to find a suitable synonym.)

My previous practice was to simply import all new images into Photos and then do everything from there. I'm not an expert at post-processing, I can live without layers for the most part. I had long hoped Photos would eventually incorporate Aperture's brushed-in adjustments, but it seems that's never going to happen.

Until fairly recently, you could use Topaz DeNoise AI from Photos by means of the External Editors extension, an App Store Photos extension seemingly rendered obsolete when Photos acquired the ability to use external editor extensions natively. But Topaz never made their apps register with Photos, so you couldn't select it from the Photos extension manager. External Editors, the app, still allowed you to do so.

Topaz Sharpen AI still works from External Editors, though I don't know if I'm running the latest version. For a while, I could keep DeNoise AI running by using an older version, but even that seems broken now.

Then there's some anxiety about iCloud, which is where my library lives. Not that my images are so precious that if anything were to happen to them it would be some incalculable loss to humanity, it would certainly be an inconvenience to me.

So I've been casting about for some revised process where importing to iCloud is the last step, and all the originals and their edits still exist in local storage.

OM Digital Systems has their own image editor, OM Workspace, inherited from Olympus. It has a number of unique features that offer some advantages when working with images from Olympus cameras. I hadn't taken advantage of those because of my one-and-done Photos approach; but that has changed.

Storage wasn't really an issue with Photos, since I have 2TB in iCloud, and the library lives there. Now I have to park images someplace until I work on them and they can add up pretty quickly.

I hadn't been in the habit of deleting images from the cards because Photos was very prompt in identifying the new, unimported images when I popped a card in. Given my new anxiety about iCloud, I decided to use Image Capture and import all the images I had on every card in every camera into external storage.

I have a 1TB Samsung T5 SSD hanging off the iMac that still had over 200GB free. Mainly it held a consolidated Aperture library converted to Photos that was kind of a backup, though it's hopelessly out of date in that regard. Anyway, I filled up the remaining free space on the T5 pretty quickly.

Not a problem, I bought a 1TB T7 recently for scanning my dad's old photos. Plenty of space still on that. But it wasn't connected to the iMac, I mainly used it with the 13" M1 MBP. So, now to figure out where to plug this guy in...

The 2019 iMac has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. One of those is used by a CalDigit Thunderbolt Dock, a purchase I think I regret making two years ago. It's pretty unreliable, periodically just going offline somehow, or failing to register when an SD card is plugged in.

I mainly got it to put some USB ports and an SD card slot in front or me where I can see them, rather than hidden behind the iMac. It generally works, but I wouldn't buy it again. It's flakey and annoying.

I'd made a mental connection between high speed and USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. The only USB-C port on the dock is in the front, and I don't want even the tiny T7 hanging off the front of my computer. I thought I needed a new dock with more USB-C ports in the back.

Well, the T5 only offers about 400MB/s anyway, and I finally had a little "Aha!" moment before I bought another stupidly expensive Thunderbolt dock. I could use USB-3.1 in a Type A port and get that kind of throughput, and I did have a couple of Type A ports free on the back of the Mac. So I had to dig out a Type A to C cable and move the T5 to that, while the T7 hangs off the Thunderbolt port in the back of the iMac, giving me 800MB/s.

The SD card slot in the front of the CalDigit dock is UHS-II, so everything moves along pretty quickly.

I think I've got my storage issues resolved for the moment. I have BackBlaze online backup, but I need to chat with them about how to go about backing up these drives with hundreds of gigs of data on them, when I have a 1.2TB bandwidth cap from Comcast/Xfinity.

Maybe upload doesn't count?

I've been using OM Workspace, mainly just identifying images I want to keep or share, exporting those and importing them into Photos and then editing them there. I want to figure out an editing process that leaves Photos out of it. Maybe use some combination of Workspace, RAW Power or Affinity Photo 2 and Topaz. We'll see. That's next.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 07:51 Tuesday, 31 January 2023