Chicago Sun Times fires photographers to replace them with iPhones

The New York Times writing about the Chicago Sun Times firing it’s staff photographers a couple of weeks ago:

The Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire full-time photography staff …, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, in a move that the newspaper’s management said resulted from a need to shift toward more online video.

The shift toward online video makes sense. Paper-based newspapers are a relic of the past and the devices we all have are perfect for video. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops almost beg to display video. Hell, some will even watch video through their glasses. But more importantly, I assume most news “readers” today prefer to watch a video than to read a long essay.

But I don’t believe that “people want to watch online video” is the main point in this case. The real issue is that content consumers, in general, don’t like to read long texts anymore.

People are getting lazy. Facebook, Twitter, et al have gotten us used to quick fixes. A few bursts of 140 characters is frequently all people want. An article with more than 250 words is often considered too long.

This is exactly why this doesn’t make sense to me. A photograph with a caption can be very engaging. A series of photographs can tell a compelling story. And people want stories. The Boston Globe wouldn’t be publishing The Big Picture if nobody showed up to see the amazing photography.

Of course, I don’t know the full story. I have no idea what’s happening inside the Chicago Sun Times that would suggest this was the right decision. I can only comment from the outside, but from here it seems like a really dumb move.

And then reading (yes, I still enjoy reading) that they plan to replace the photographers by “training its remaining staff to take photos with iPhones” just makes me want to bang my head against the wall. What the hell are they thinking?

What’s the plan here? Turn the Chicago Sun Times into YouTube?

Subscribing to the site

Last week, Google decided to kill Snapseed Desktop. But that wasn’t all that happened. At the same time, they announced the death of several other services, one of them Google Reader. That got me worried about 2 things:

  1. Many of you have subscribed to the site via RSS and most are using Google Reader.
  2. My RSS feed is managed through Feedburner, another Google service which might be discontinued at any moment.

In light of this, I’m moving my RSS feed out of Feedburner and using the one built into Squarespace, the platform where this site is hosted. If Google ever decides to discontinue Feedburner (which I think is likely) it won’t affect us.

Please re-subscribe to the site using this feed URL:

I realise this is a big ask and I might loose some of you, but it’s for the best in the long run. I sincerely hope you’ll stick around.

I’ll post a reminder in a couple of weeks. The old RSS feed won’t work after that.

Subscribe via email here:

Even better, I’ve now added subscription via email. This is a great option as it doesn’t depend on a third party service. Your email will be kept private and never shared. I won’t do anything I wouldn’t like done with my own email.

Google Acquires Nik Software

Today on the Nik Software site:

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

All our best!

The Nik Software Team

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think Nik’s software is amongst the best out there and love their plugins for Aperture and Photoshop. Their U Point technology is awesome and truly revolutionary. If you’ve used it, you know what I mean.

I assume Google bought them to acquire Snapseed in an attempt to compete with the Facebook/Instagram combo. It makes sense from a business point of view. Snapseed is arguably better than Instagram and has both iOS and Desktop apps.

However, I’m not confident Google will continue the plugin business. It doesn’t seem to fit with their vision. It would be a shame if they discontinued them.

Apple Aperture trial version is no longer available

I just found out Apple removed the trial version of Aperture. It seems to be available only on the Mac App Store and you have to purchase it. There is no longer a try before you buy.
Apple aperture 3 trial version not available
This is unfortunate I think. Although I’m a huge fan of Aperture and I would recommend it to almost anyone, the reality is that Lightroom is also a very good option and the differences are more in workflow than anything else. Some people get the Lightroom way, some people the Aperture. The best way to decide, and what I recommended, was to download both trials and spend a good month with each. I’m not sure why Apple would have removed the trial version.

Aperture 3.2 update adds iCloud integration

I’m currently updating all my Apple devices to the latest operating systems so I can use iCloud. And I just noticed Aperture was updated to integrate with it and support iOS5. Now all references to MobileMe have changed to Photo Stream.

According to Apple, the update also addresses “minor stability, performance and compatibility issues, including”:

  • Resolves an issue that could cause the “Loading” indicator to reappear in the Viewer when cropping a photo
  • Aperture now automatically relaunches into Full Screen mode if the application was in Full Screen mode when last quit
  • Pinch-to-zoom gesture now automatically activates Zoom mode in the Viewer
  • Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in the Viewer
  • Microsoft Outlook can now be chosen in Preferences as the application used by Aperture for emailing photos
  • Fixes a problem that could cause Aperture, running on OS X Lion, to quit unexpectedly when using brushes to apply adjustments
  • Loupe now correctly displays magnification levels between 50-100%.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Aperture, running on OS X Lion, to display the incorrect color profile on externally edited images
  • Import window now includes an option to delete photos from iPhone and iPad after they have been imported into Aperture
  • The Lift & Stamp tool now displays the correct cursor icons when being used in Split View and Viewer only modes

Full info in this Apple support article.