To Pay for Post-processing Software or not….

Luminar AI LogoThere seem to be a lot of questions about post-processing software. This is a personal take, opinions differ and there is plenty more software out there.

Photoshop and Lightroom

PS and Lightroom is the best with lots of support and training out there. They offer a monthly photography subscription plan which include Lightroom and Photoshop.

Lightroom and Photoshop Alternatives

For free Lightroom alternatives DarkTable is a bit lightroom-cloney but fairly good and usable for a free program. RawTherapee is powerful but not particularly user-friendly. Affinity photo is a good one. Options like Darktable is good. For a PS alternative Gimp is good. Most of these free alternatives is not always as user-friendly, so a person need to do some YouTube or training videos.

Skylum Luminar

Skylum is sort of PS and Lightroom combined. Free training is also supplied via training videos and a free online course. It also has a plugin that can be integrated via PS, Lightroom and some other photo editing tools. The sky replacement tool is better than PS, and they have an AI that make suggestions on editing if you drop a photo in, easier if a person is totally new to editing. Not always crazy about automated edits, so generally use the custom editing tools custom rather than using presets. Opinions differ.

Skylum Luminar Payment Options

  • To try out the trial version visit https://skylum.grsm.io/dxine.
  • Use the code LUMINAR-FRIEND to get a $10 discount on the purchase price when purchasing.

A trial version of Skylum is available to test out. Skylum Luminar is a software purchase rather than a subscription with free support and updates for a year until a next major release, after which upgrading software is discounted, and usually comes with a 1-year SmugMug subscription which is usually charged for at just over $55,00 a year for a basic package, as well as a user course from ThinkTap Learning.

 

Skylum Luminar: Photo-processing software simplified.

  • More Possibilities
  • Innovative technologies give a whole new world of possibilities to express your ideas.
  • Less Routine.
  • AI deals with the boring tasks, so you can focus on your creative story.
  • No Learning Barrier.
  • Whether you’ve been a photographer for 20 years or 20 seconds, you’ll get awesome results right from the start.

What is SmugMug

Smugmug has some photo sales tools built in and if a paid subscriber, can be set to your registered domain as a website.

Bitcoin Mining

2020 was a challenging year. Covid-19 lockdowns resulted in a lot of rejected and deferred visa’s. A lot of lost opportunities for permanent and Work-Away employment nationally and internationally.

The result, some volunteer work was done in South Africa and working as a permanent freelancer for the last year. Adobe Lightroom, Skylum, a cup of coffee or tea have become good friends over the last few months. Most recent and current projects seem to be design or photography related. That also seem to be much less in demand than prior to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Online Work Search.

It is no fun trawling online in search of paying work, with millions of previously employed people doing the same. I am currently researching affiliate programs and other solutions, but may have to start looking for permanent employment soon. Nobody knows when international borders will open again. We have no idea we will be able to travel to the country where we were supposed to have started working almost a year ago.

Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Purchase Infiltrations.

I do not like Cryptocurrency schemes after almost being scammed by such a project in the past. Posts about Bitcoin scams seem to be infiltrating every job post on every work-related social page. Posters are trying to reel desperate individuals in with promises of big money if they buy training or software. It made me wonder… if this is making them so rich, why spend so much time hijacking job work-related posts. If bit coiners are doing so well, why keep trying to get people to buy software setups, or Bitcoin training? According to the posts the money is just flowing into the accounts.

Computta Bitcoin Miner Trial and Referrals.

I found a Bitcoin mining app that do not require selling an organ to invest. It is freeware software called Computta. Giving it a test-run. It runs in the background of the system all the time. I registered it on a separate Gmail account, running it in a sandbox app for security reasons. It promises little return, $20 a year unless you do referrals. However, you do not have to sell an organ or family member to make use of it. I am still reading up on how exactly it works, or not. It is running numbers up in the background, but what it does with it, I have no idea. Here is the referral link if anybody want to check it out. https://computta.com/?ref=662396

 

 

 
 

2020 In Retrospect

My point of view on the year 2020 is hardly objective. We were supposed to have departed for New Zealand in March 2020. Interviews were lined up with some companies in Christchurch. There were prospects of starting to work there by June 2020, maybe earlier. My partner had a job offer. The only requirement was that the company wanted to see him before formerly making an offer. Easy-peasy, a visitor’s visa could help accomplish that. By end 2020 we would have been sort of settled in New Zealand in our new home. Everything seemed planned and straight-forward. No such luck.

Best laid plans of mice and men.

Covid-19 lock-downs happened a few days before departure date. We ended up in Jax’s Place in Edenvale. The few days stay turned into a few weeks, and then a few months. Despite the extended stay our hosts was always gracious, hospitable and helpful. We were lucky to have been able to stay there. Guest house stays does cost money. It becomes quite expensive when you have no idea when that stay will be coming to an end.

2021©Anthony Gillespie
Jax Place, Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa

2020 Positives.

Work have always been an escape when things bug you for which you have no solutions; when you feel down or struggle to process something that happened. Having a lot of work is a good distraction from every day issues. It makes it easier to survive loss and trauma. At the expense of your own mental well-being. It does affect the physical as well as the mental aspect. You rarely realize how much strain your body takes, when not dealing with the matters of the mind as needed.

Small mercies.

I am thankful that 2020 has allowed me the opportunity to have some time for myself. I could spend more time with my partner and family. Being on my own for most of my life; a 5-minute hi and bye was very often at the order of the day when I was dating. Working night shift, being at the office for extended periods of times beyond the normal 8 hours, was the norm that both neglected and deterred friends and family.

Realizing that, it is not a surprise that few previous flings lasted longer than a few months or ever developed into more. There is no better stunt in relationship growth than always prioritizing work above personal commitments. Surprisingly, my partner stuck around the last few years. It could not have been easy. In 2020, I have learned that I want more time for myself and my partner. I also learned how to do rock-building, lay paving, fix leaking water pipes. Working in a garden can be a welcome distraction from being stuck in front of a pc for extended periods of time.

Volunteer work.

My partner and I had the opportunity to do some volunteer work in Eastern Cape in 2020. Communal gardening, some maintenance, water pipe repairs and rock building projects, among other things. We left there, leaving something behind that we know will be there for a while, to be used and enjoyed by visitors that go there in the future, also serving as an anchor the ground on the steep hill. It is an awesome feeling knowing something will stay behind for a while, a lot of manual labour went into creating and building it. Volunteer work is probably something we would not have done if it was not for Covid-19 lockdowns. We would love travelling and volunteer in other countries, maybe see somewhat of the world, but after 3 visa applications being turned due to lockdowns already, that seems like a pipe dream. Exploring the possibilities, but the viabilities seem to be at odds.

Final look, rock building in front of one of the safari tents built as part of a volunteer project. The small outcrop serves as a small stoep in front of the tent, a step up the hill, and also anchors the ground on the steep hill. The plants still need to grow.
Rock Building Project. Wild Lubanzi, Eastern Cape, South Africa

An unclear future.

We have no idea what is going to happen with our Visa’s, or exactly what the future holds for us. There is fear, but I believe we will survive and prosper. I may be proven wrong in my assumption somewhere in the near future. The positive here; if you have to start job hunting, you can go to any place where you want to be. It is not necessary staying somewhere you dislike because work is there. Unemployed is as unemployed does; you can pretty much do that anywhere; as does remote work if you can actually find it.

2020 has also given me the opportunity to start studying again. Studying, that is a struggle at age 46. Your mind seem to cover all the other things you should be doing, instead of studying. That off switch just do not always work well, despite your best efforts.

I guess the same story apply to many other people. 2020 has caused its fair share of damage. People will be struggling with these challenges for a considerable time to come. So far we were lucky; we had some income from odd freelance jobs, had food and a roof over our heads. Having some kind of skill set that allows us to return the favour does make it easier. It does not feel like that every day. Life seems unsettled and the future unclear. We see a lot of people struggling out there, and occasionally try to help, but that is not always possible. Hopefully 2021 looks better for everybody out there, and the future will be brighter going into 2021.

Disturbing realizations and Bitcoin jackers.

I am pretty good at what I do, and used to like doing it. I believe I have always been a decent team leader; and a pretty good graphic designer. Not only that, but I can certainly teach people a few tricks when it comes to my trade; having done it for over 20 years. I have also discovered I am much more productive when working from home, rather than from an office. Try convincing an employer of that one.

The idea of sitting behind a desk for 12-16 hours a day has lost its appeal. I can’t help but think I want to change careers. However, I have no idea which way to head or how exactly to go about it. Working in it, and stumbling along the way. It would be nice not to be bombarded by Bitcoin jackers around every corner when looking for remote opportunities online though. I am wondering how many other people are struggling with similar realizations, and how they are dealing with it?

 

 

 

 

Wild Lubanzi Volunteer Work

We had the opportunity to do some volunteer work in Eastern Cape in 2020. Consisting mostly of communal gardening, building maintenance, building, flooring, water pipe repairs and rock building projects, it was something very different from a day at an office, and so much more satisfying; other than cleaning toilets. Apparently, it is hard to work to fathom how to use a toilet brush or flush a toilet when finishing off in a bathroom.

Satisfaction is a feeling that can’t be beat.

Our visit was short, but it was a nice feeling leaving something behind that will be used and enjoyed by visitors that go there in the future. This is probably something we would not have done if it was not for Covid-19 lockdowns.

Pipe Dreams

Travelling, volunteering in other countries, maybe see somewhat of the world could be awesome, but after 3 visa applications being turned due to lockdowns already, that seems like a pipe dream at the moment. Exploring the possibilities, but the viabilities seem to be at odds.

A Project Completed

Final look, rock building in front of one of the safari tents built as part of a volunteer project. The small outcrop serves as a small stoep in front of the tent, a step up the hill, and also anchors the ground on the steep hill. The plants still need to grow.The final look, a rock wall with natural seating in front of one of the safari tents; looking out onto the ocean. The small outcrop also serve as a small stoep in front of the tent, a step to climb up the hill; and anchors the ground, protecting against ground erosion that is so common on these steep hills. The plants still need to grow.