Train Station Etiquette

My wife and I are planning a trip to Florida via rail, and I came across this timely article on Wednesday (where or where did I find this excerpt?). I was able to find the original here:

Your conduct in the the railroad station should therefore be composed and unruffled. If you have time to idle away before train time, it is quite all right to go to the newsstand and purchase a paper or magazine and read it; but there is no reason why you should have to invest in chewing gum, salted nuts and gum drops, weigh yourself, and have your fortune told by one of the penny-in-the-slot machines, pace back and forth in the station, delve in your traveling bag to see whether you remembered to bring your slippers, or ask the station attendants innumerable unnecessary questions about why the train is late.

If you have been unable to get tiny lunch and really feel the need of nourishment, then you may he excused for eating a little milk chocolate while you wait, but remember thut well-bred people do not eat in any public places, save restaurants and other places especially intended for that.

And the consensus of opinion seems to be that the very well-bred people do not kiss in the station. At any rate, they do it without attracting any undue attention, and save such signs of devotion till they have reached home.

Mary Marshall Duffee

The Beaver Herald (Beaver, Oklahoma)
September 08, 1921

Pass it on!!!

Affinity Photo


Seriff’s Affinity Photo Sings

I’ve been using the latest version of Affinity Photo daily, since it was released on the App Store. The more I learn about this software, the more I am loving it. I especially am impressed by the speed with which tasks are executed.


Affinity Photo has also taken to releasing gobs and gobs of video tutorials (most in easy to digest lengths). They seem to be created in response to questions people bring up in the forums. The videos range from Affinity Photo – For Beginners, to Affinity Photo – RAW – Overlays … and lots in between.

For the type of photography I do, Affinity Photo meets and exceeds all my needs. Of course, when you purchase new software, you are not just buying the code, you are buying the company and the support staff. I think you’ll like these folks as well as the community of users.


Quick Note: DNG is Open Source

I came across yet more dis-information about DNG (Digital Negative) format. The hosts of this particular Youtube channel indicated to their audience that DNG is a proprietary format owned by Adobe, and encouraged their viewers to only save their images in whatever proprietary RAW format scheme their camera makers provided. Wrong,…. Wrong,… Wrong!

From Wikipedia page on DNG (including footnotes)

Use of the file format is royalty-free; Adobe has published a license allowing anyone to exploit DNG,[4] and has also stated that there are no known intellectual property encumbrances or license requirements for DNG.[5] Adobe stated that if there was a consensus that DNG should be controlled by a standards body, they were open to the idea.[6] Adobe has submitted DNG to ISO for incorporation into their revision of TIFF/EP.[7]

I am unhappy with Adobe’s new scheme to charge people on a subscription basis, but not need to make stuff up. I have used a few photo applications that read DNG files. It is open to people to examine and alter. There are more proprietary RAW camera formats than there are cameras. DNG offers a universal solution to the quagmire of the present proprietary jungle.

New (Free) Photo Editor

The App Store

Often when I check my iPhone for what apps have been updated, I will peruse the latest apps that have made the Featured page. Mostly I look for photo utilities that may help me in my editing pictures on the phone. Usually what I find are “one trick ponies” that are fun to play with once in a while, or filter editors that come with various and numerous filters to change the look of the photo. Occasionally, I come across a real editor. One that allows the user to alter contrast, crop, tint, sharpness and more.

It was during one of these recent excursions that I happened up a fairly complete photo editor called Polarr (note the double “r” at the end).


Polarr is a very nice photo editor for the iPhone and includes things such as working with curves, toning, cropping, clarity, and much more including the ubiquitous (mandatory?) filters. Of course, as is typical in apps of this caliber, the app is free unless you want some of the more advanced features. Then you will need to make an In-App purchase. In this case it is $4.99. Not bad for what you get. But, this is not the free app I’m referencing in the title. While scanning the reviews and description (I always read the description after the reviews), I came across this sentence:

This is our new mobile version of the existing and already popular Polarr Editor 2, which is available for free (and highly-rated) online, no download required.

?! logo


Checking It Out

I had to see this online editor. Generally I dislike online editors because they often havef rough tools and yield rougher results. But since this little mobile app had all these cool tools I wondered what the full online version would have. Off I went! to the website.

It’s Like Lightroom

Display of Polarr tools

As you can tell by the image on the right, Polarr Online’s tool array looks very much like the array in Adobe Lightroom. They operate the same as well. I have not had time to work with Polarr 2 very intensively. The few images I have processed with it worked very nicely, however.

I’ve only found two caveats in my hasty examination:

  • Only JPEG, thank you. No Tiff or RAW processing and
  • The shortcut keys using things like Option will not work

It seems obvious the reasons for these two things. Imagine up/downloading those size files over a wifi connection. Keyboards are individual affairs and that’s fine when the app is on your computer, but not so when working ‘distantly’.

Here is a before and after of a very shaky, underexposed image treated with Polarr 2. It was taken with an iPhone 5s somewhere between 116th street and 125th street stations on the “A” train.


Train image before using Polarr

Photo after some processing using Polar




Affinity Photo

Meanwhile, keep and eye out for Affinity Photo being released at the App Store. Looks real close to publishing. Gold Master:

Affinity Photo about to be released

I Told You So!… or “Oh Adobe :( part 2”

Well, it didn’t take long to increase my reputation as a clairvoyant. And, I’m sorry but, it is just too good of an “I told you so” to let it just ease by.

I Told You So

Way back on May 6th, I mentioned why I did not like the subscription model that Adobe has instituted. One of the reasons I gave, was that they could change the price at will. You may recall that joining Creative Cloud™, at the time was $10. Well, here’s the new pricing structure as of today ( 25 June 2015 )

Now, you can get Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator for $9.99 a month ($119.88/yr) But if you only want one app, it will cost you $19.99 a month ($239.88/yr) but you get a whole bunch of things you don’t get with the low end price. Of course, if you are a student or educator, you can get a discount. Isn’t buying software fun?!

Corel Aftershot Pro 2

We didn’t work out. I guess it was me mostly. I just got tired of trying to figure out how to do things. Then I discovered that ASP2 would not open DNG1 files. There were all kinds of excuses as to why that is, but it seems every other photo editor can handle them. I think it’s a stand the coders have taken and they won’t back down. Too bad. Bye, bye. It was fun while it lasted.

Affinity Photo Beta


I am really, really liking this app and it’s up to Release Candidate 2 (RC2). When the app is released, it will be in the App Store for around $50. Affinity Designer is already there. You can still get the free download of AFB. There’s lots of help available at the forums.

Adobe Photoshop

So in announcing their new product (Creative Cloud 2015), I downloaded the 30 day free trial of Photoshop. Mostly to compare to AFB and AFD. The pasteboards idea inPhotoshop does not seem to be that different from some methods in AFD.

  1. DNG stands for digital negative. Though some think this is an Adobe standard, it is actually an open source standard. 

Oh Adobe :(


I am not an Adobe fan, nor am I a hater. I think many of Adobe’s products are good. While working as a photojournalist, I used Photoshop exclusively on a daily basis. It stood the test of time and reliability. When I stopped shooting for news, I even beta tested the original Lightroom. I still use Lightroom today (version 5.7).


I have come to appreciate Lightroom. It is an excellent program for processing and managing images.
So, when I opened Lightroom recently and got a notice about a new version being available, I looked forward to trying out the new features. I quickly discovered, however, that I would have to change over to the Adobe’s Creative Cloud product1 in order to upgrade. I have no interest in subscribing. A few of the reasons I do not want subscription software are listed below.

  • I don’t use Photoshop anymore. Nor do I use any of the other Adobe products, so I would be paying $10 a month or $120 every year for one application.
  • There is nothing to prevent Adobe from changing the rules, such as increasing the price, whenever they want to.
  • Presently, if you do not pay on time, you will be prevented from using the Develop module in Lightroom. So what was originally a photo editing and management program becomes a photo management app… only .
  • I’m willing to bet “Dollars to Donuts”, that the number of the Adobe products available to the consumer will decrease and/or consumers will be forced to pay for additional upgrades (you want that new HDR module? Well, you can pay an additional $5/mo or not pay and live without it. – As an example).

It is important to remember that the purpose of the company, Adobe, is to increase profits… not to make sure the consumer is always happy with everything. Surely anyone can come up with at least three more reasons that demonstrate how subscription software is anti-consumer.

Facing these facts, I decided to look for a photographic product that would meet my needs without having to engage in a subscription contract.

What I Discovered

There are a great many companies that are willing to sell you their products without forcing the consumer to stay connected to their company. The one that I came across which seemed to come closest to doing what Lightroom does, is Corel’s Aftershot Pro 2.

Aftershot Pro 2

I was a little surprised that I had not heard of it in comparison to Lightroom before, since it is a worthy competitor. For one thing, it is fast, fast, fast. It allows non-destructive editing and multiple versions (without filling your drive with duplicate images). You can see how they do this by visiting their website, or downloading the 30 day free trial and just diving right in.

I’ll admit that it may take some getting used to because both companies do many of the same things but in different ways. I even found a YouTube video comparing the programs. The video is a little dated (5 months) and the speaker seems to favor Aftershot Pro 2 but it is very informative. If I want to create identical keyboard short cuts, AP2 will allow me to do that.


Aftershot Pro 2 is basically a PC product ported over to the Mac. What this means is that some of the easy to use features that Mac has, are not present in this version of AP2. You know those color buttons on the top left of Mac products that allow you to close the window or enlarge to full frame, or put in your dock until you need it again? Well, they aren’t there.
The biggest issue I have found so far, is that the program kidnaps your entire desktop screen with no means of getting it back until you quit the program. This is not like the Apple full screen mode. You can swipe to other full screen open applications, but you cannot get to your desktop to open apps except via dock or menu bar. And then, whatever app you open, will be sitting on top of AP2.
Secondary to this being a port, is the fact that finding info for the Mac can be frustrating. I learned this when attempting to install a plugin. Very easy, once you know where to look.

Now What?

I have only been using AP2 for a short time, but I am already impressed with the detail and work that has gone into this program. I have not as yet used it in my daily workflow, but that can come slowly. After-all, Lightroom has not stopped working. Eventually I may switch over completely, but for now, I can use both apps with each other. When Lightroom becomes outdated, I’ll be ahead of the game and up to speed with AP2.

My birthday is the end of the week, so I will – in all likelihood – purchase Aftershot Pro 2 then. I’m just so glad that there is an alternative to Adobe’s subscription model. If I decide I want to use Photoshop, I am currently beta testing Affinity Photo, which appears to hold much promise. The company has already released their graphics program – Affinity Design.

  1. Creative Cloud is Adobe’s subscription product. In order to use any of Adobe’s products, the subscriber must pay $10 a month. Whereas it is true that you have access to all of Adobe’s main products, I do not like this financial model. If you think about it, it has many drawbacks for the consumer. 

Extra Cash

Okay,… I’ve resisted for years.
I’ve avoided ads on the side of my pages.
The time has come, however, to yield to the financial siren.

I’ve decided to attempt to make some money from blogging.

First Choices

After investigating how to go about it, the first two I have come up with are:

Anyway, PPP asks you to answer questions such as topics you are interested in (5 only please).


Setting up with PayPerPost was pretty straightforward.  The only curve ball I didn’t prepeare for was signing up with Google Analytics (interesting that analytics contains the word, anal).

I found it a pleasant surprise when the question asking about what racial group your blog is geared toward, allowed to check all the boxes.

The last item that surprised me asked what age group my blog was geared toward, and it gave me range choices (I was allowed three).  To tell you the truth, I never thought about it…. specifically. Old enough to read and think? What age range is that?

Let’s Go

PPP gave me 23 choices of articles to be written that I could bid on. You have to write a 300 characters pitch (That’s characters not words) on why you should be chosen to write for the thing the company is pushing. Meanwhile, I ran into another surprise — Only three bids allowed per month for the free account. The other accounts types are fairly inexpensive ($1 and $5 per month), but i’d rather see what the potential is before plunking down more more money. The upgraded accounts allow for more bids and other niceties.

Tomorrow, I’ll go through the registration process for Blogsvertise.