Rotunda at the Palace of Fine Arts

I’m in Northern California to co-lead a photo workshop with my friend Mason Marsh for the next 12 days. The actual workshop starts tonight, but last night we met up in the Presidio with a fun group of photographers who participate in The Arcanum, where Mason is a Master. After shooting the beach at Crissy Field, we ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts, where the cloudy skies worked wonderfully against the lighting of the rotunda.

I’m looking forward to this trip, which is going to be a lot of work but also rewarding (and maybe a little exhausting).

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Apple Watch Inception

My review of the Apple Watch appears in today’s Seattle Times: Apple Watch impresses, amuses even though it’s the 1.0 version.

My editor wanted a tight review in 700 words, which was hard to do because there’s so much to say about the Apple Watch and because writing shorter is always more difficult than writing longer.

The Apple Watch experience, more than that of any other Apple product, is defined by details. Some are amazing and genuinely delightful, while others remind you that Apple’s foray into a new category of computing is still a first-generation product.

Speaking of which, I’m hard at work on the expanded version of my book Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course. It’s currently 50% off at $5, and will return to its normal $10 price as soon as the update is ready; if you buy the book now, you get the full version for free when it’s released!

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My latest column for the Seattle Times delves into Apple’s Photos for OS X application, looking at how some aspects will change customers’ behaviors. I also throw in a handful of tips based on questions and feedback from readers.

Read it here: Exploring Apple’s new Photos app for OS X.

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It’s been a busy week! After reviewing Lightroom CC for Macworld, I turned around and wrote a general what’s new article for the great folks at Lynda.com: What’s New in Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6?

Right now I’m working on another related article for TidBITS while seated at my dining room table, listening for the rumble of the UPS truck that will bring my new Apple Watch. And drinking lots of coffee.

(I love my job.)

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Apple’s Family Sharing feature, new in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, shows a lot of promise for handling Apple media and software purchases among several people. In an article supporting my book The Connected Apple Family, I write about 10 things you should keep in mind before turning the feature on. Go read it at Peachpit.com: 10 Things to Know Before Enabling Apple’s Family Sharing.

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Adobe released Lightroom CC today, and you can read my review of it at Macworld right now: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015 review: New features and major performance gains. There are a few very cool features—like in-app HDR merging to create raw DNG files—but what I find most interesting is that Lightroom now takes advantage of the GPU (graphics processing unit) to speed up performance. The amount depends on your hardware, but let me just say that I now desperately wish I had an iMac with 5K Retina Display.

Lightroom CC is part of the $10 per month Creative Cloud Photography plan (the least expensive CC option), which also gets you the latest version of Photoshop CC (still 2014). However, if you don’t want to jump into the subscription model, Adobe is also making a standalone version called Lightroom 6 and selling it for $149.

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Seattle Skyline, Dr Jose Rizal Bridge

Despite living in Seattle for more than 20 years, I’d never been out to photograph the Seattle skyline at Dr Jose Rizal Bridge until last night. Part of that is familiarity: did I really want to make a photo that everyone has seen (and half of everyone has shot)? And part of it is just inertia—I’d simply never done it.

Well, inertia is a pretty lame excuse, and I know better that even well-photographed spots will have different characteristics depending on the weather, the time, and the season. But mostly, it was an excuse to get out and do some shooting, which is enough. A friend-of-a-friend is in town to visit family, so he suggested we go out shooting while he’s here, so we headed up to this iconic spot, just down from Jose Rizal Park.

Initially we were going to shoot from the park, but a pair of extremely inebriated guys made that uncomfortable. I don’t want to take away anyone’s right to get lit in a park, but one of them was unintelligible as he tried to talk to me. So we wandered down to the bridge and set up.

It turned out to be a beautiful evening, even though the most promising clouds earlier in the afternoon disappeared by the time sunset began. One challenge when shooting from the bridge is vibration: several times I’d set up a long exposure and forget to look down the street, then chuckle as a bus turned my photo into a soft mess as it rumbled by. But after many tries, and some genial conversation with another photographer who was set up (it wasn’t crowded), I ended up with a few photos I like.

Lights and Hues, Seattle Sunset

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My latest article for Lynda.com (yep, the same company that announced this morning it’s being bought by LinkedIn) came about when I made a surprising discovery. When playing with the app Storehouse, I saw that I could import photos directly from Lightroom mobile/Creative Cloud, versus having to use the built-in Photos library as an intermediary.

This was also a good opportunity to play with Adobe’s latest iPad app, Slate, a tool like Storehouse for creating visual stories. It’s really well done.

Read the article here: 3 Ways to Share Your Lightroom Mobile Photos on iOS

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Apple dropped OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 today, and with it the release version of the new Photos for OS X. You can read my detailed review of the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture at Macworld here: Review: Photos for OS X is faster than iPhoto but less powerful than Aperture.

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Have you read Becoming Steve Jobs, the latest biography of Apple’s late founder? I chatted with Glenn Fleishman, Susie Ochs, and Leah Yamshon for the Macworld Podcast about the book, Steve Jobs, and a few other newsy topics. The book is good; go read it, and listen to the podcast first: Join our ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’ book club!