I recently “upgraded” (right now this word seems very much like an oxymoron to me) to an all-new computer and system, with all new software. I am really struggling with it and feeling extremely frustrated by all the new features that are supposed to be “improvements” over my old system. Other than running very slow, I was happy with my old system, but in the field of digital photography there is something called “planned obsolescence” which means that your camera, the software, and your computer were designed to force you to buy all-new equipment every 2 – 4 years. Talk about a captive audience! I resent this expenditure very much, but worse, I am now forced to spend many hours learning a new system that I didn’t want in the first place! (The new camera I bought as part of this package comes with a 250-page manual. It’s more about engineering than taking pictures. There are so many features and so many steps to be able to use those features, that you must either have a photographic memory (no pun intended) or keep it in “point-and-shoot” amateur mode lest you miss that once-in-a-lifetime shot.)
Currently I am “navigating” new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom, but to put it politely, I am very much lost at sea. I called several of our local rural libraries to see if they have any books on this software to make my life easier. (I also tried 4 book stores in North Conway, but they do not carry any computer-related books whatsoever.)
I live very close to several rural libraries. The one nearest to me, only 3 miles away, is a former one-room schoolhouse in North Lovell. It is only open twice a week from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and it draws two or three “regulars” who come more to shmooze in their thick Maine accents, than to read (in so doing, I have learned much about local culture; it’s extremely friendly and haimish – – the wood floor creaks; other than a limited amount of current bestsellers the rest of the books were last popular in the 1950s; they have a complete collection of Stephen King books, which is really more like a shrine; the small interior is so loaded with books that you can’t easily walk around; and they have free Wi-Fi.) About 10 miles down the road is the Lovell Library, which is extremely modern thanks to a $750,000 donation by Stephen King. There are also libraries in Bridgton, Waterford, and Norway in Maine, as well as in Conway NH (these are about a 20 – 25 mile drive but in these parts that’s considered local)..
None of the libraries had any relevant books, although I could have ordered older editions which don’t support the current versions I’m now using, through an inter-library loan. But for now it looks like I will be watching amateur how-to clips on youtube and buying books sight unseen from amazon.com I guess I should feel fortunate that living so remotely, the world (and its commerce) is literally at my doorstep with the click of my mouse (thank you, UPS).
That said, I thought you’d enjoy hearing about my conversation with a rural librarian on the phone. The branch shall remain anonymous.
Me: Do you have any books on Lightroom 5?
Librarian: Never heard of it.
Me: It’s a popular computer program for photographers. I am hoping to find a book that will help me learn to use it.
Librarian: Well, I’ve never heard of it. And if I haven’t heard of it, we probably don’t have it.
Me: Uh . . . would you mind checking?
Librarian. Oh . . . okay. Give me just a minute while I turn on the computer.