Lynette Kent: Blog en-us (C) 2015 Lynette Kent (Lynette Kent) Sat, 11 Nov 2017 19:28:00 GMT Sat, 11 Nov 2017 19:28:00 GMT Lynette Kent: Blog 96 96 Got Data ? Get a RAID !

Store More with Faster Access and Keep it all Safe!

I live in earthquake country, and they say it is not IF but WHEN an earthquake will happen. It would be nice to know when a quake is coming so I could plan and prepare.

l use computers for a variety of tasks, both personal and work projects. It would be convenient to know in advance when a problem is about to happen which could put my data at risk. Well, I can prepare for problems with my computers, with SoftRAID, as I just found out!

If you use any type of computer, you are using some sort of disk drive, or probably multiple disk drives. And like with earthquakes, it’s not IF but WHEN any disk drive might fail.

However, unlike with earthquakes, it IS possible to know when a disk is about to fail!

Using a simple application called SoftRAID, you can be aware of a drive that is about to fail, so you can prepare a replacement to save your work and files. 

I did not know this was possible until recently when I bought a brand new disk drive. After installing it, the drive was not showing up on the desktop. I called the manufacturer who then asked if I had checked the SMART system. 

Yes, I said, the Disk Utility application did show the newly installed disk had passed and yet, it just did not work. The manufacturer said that sometimes a disk will fail even when Disk Utility shows the disk as operational. The manufacturer suggested I try running an application called SoftRAID. I downloaded the free trial and it definitely showed my brand new drive as failing.

The SoftRAID application can check a new disk when you first install it using a “certify” feature - and sure enough, my new disk was problematic! So the manufacturer replaced the drive immediately. Problem solved…however I also learned that SoftRAID has many more useful features!

SoftRAID monitors your disks and lets you know if one is becoming unreliable! That could be really useful - like an early-warning earthquake system!! 

Although this product has been around since 1996, I had never considered getting an application called SoftRAID, nor setting up a RAID system at all because my data storage needs were not that large. I did not need the speed nor the redundancy of a RAID for my single computer or even my small business.

Plus I had heard early on that a hardware RAID is better than a software RAID. So why should I consider a SoftRAID system?

Since that experience with a non-working new drive and the suggestion from an unexpected source (the drive manufacturer), I have now learned a lot more and really do see the need for SoftRAID, both for protection from any single drive failure and for setting up a RAID.

So why a RAID?

In the most basic terms, a RAID consists of multiple drives working together as a single drive. The RAID is managed either by hardware, where the drive controllers are built into an enclosure for the multiple drives, or by software, where the drives are controlled by a software application on your system.

First, here are 3 simple advantages of the SoftRAID application over a hardware RAID:

1. Redundancy:

With a hardware RAID, the enclosure controls the multiple drives it contains. If a drive fails, the RAID maintains redundant information on the other drive or drives in the enclosure so your data is safe. However, if the enclosure fails, you could lose data. 

With a software RAID your data is also split across separate drives. In fact the data can also be split across separate enclosures. With SoftRAID even if the enclosure were to stop working, your data is still safe, because the RAID is controlled by software not the hardware box that failed. So although a hardware RAID has redundancy by using multiple drives for protection, a software RAID, which also uses multiple drives, has an added level of  protection. Plus you could even gain another level of redundancy by “Raiding” multiple enclosures.

2. Obsolescence:

The speed advantages of a RAID comes from the RAID box controller chip. As technology advances and chip speeds improve, your hardware RAID chip eventually becomes obsolete with newer chips and faster speeds hitting the market so quickly.With a hardware RAID, the speed of access to your data on your hardware RAID will not improve even if you were to get a new faster computer. You would have to purchase a new hardware RAID system and then move all your data over from the old one to take advantage of the newer speeds. 

- SoftRAID uses the power of your computer’s CPU. When you need more speed or newer tools, you will most likely upgrade your computer. You simply use your existing RAID ( your series of raided drives) with the new computer and the SoftRAID application. Your Software RAID can take advantage of the newer speeds.

3. Updates: 

Firmware updates vs software updates:

The hardware box and its controller is most often proprietary to that particular brand, so if the RAID box itself (the enclosure or the controller) were to require an update or fail, you need to repair it or you may have to purchase a newer model.

- SoftRAID can use online updates to take advantage of improvements and new tools without changing hardware, which is also a time saving in of itself. And SoftRAID has been around since 1996! In Technology years that is a long time!

Second, RAIDS are used by most companies for speed of access and ever-increasing storage needs. However, even my personal files and data are starting to accumulate and I now need more space and speed to use them efficiently. Plus the applications I use seem to require more and more speed to be convenient or just function. Today the idea of creating a RAID solution with my stored data for my personal files seems a great way to go.

- So yes, a RAID system does makes sense, even for individuals. 

Third, with SoftRAID, you can create a mirror clone of your system drive. Then if your computer is ever destroyed, or stolen, and you have to replace it, SoftRAID can actually help you keep right on working without loss of either time or data.  You won't lose the time it takes to restore old data onto a new computer and you won’t lose the data that was on the old computer.

- With a new computer and a SoftRAID mirror of your old one,  you can start working right away on the new computer without having to wait hours and hours for data to be restored onto it from a backup.

Imagine this scenario to simplify setting up any new computer: 

  • First create a SoftRAID “mirror volume” of your existing drive using an external drive of at least the same size. 
  • Update this mirror volume on a regular basis using SoftRAID.

• When you need a new computer, plug your SoftRAID mirror drive into the new computer and turn it on.

  • When you hear the startup chime, hold the option key down until you see the ‘boot selection menu’.  Select your SoftRAID mirror volume to boot up from it.

Instead of having to wait to start working while you update the new computer, you can start working right away from the SoftRAID volume, while it is restoring all your old computer files onto the new one. Essentially it’s just like using your old computer at the same time you are rebuilding your new one from your SoftRAID mirror volume.

Finally, you can double your drive preparedness and data protection with SoftRAID, and be totally covered for both loss (from earthquakes or fire or theft) and disk failure.

Simply create a second SoftRAID mirror volume, but keep this one off-site, bringing it back to mirror it on a regular basis. Although this would not be a constant backup, if your computer were to be stolen or destroyed in an earthquake or fire, your off-site mirror volume would have your data saved and ready to begin just about where you left off! 

 SoftRAID offers a lot of protection - and it’s a lot less expensive than earthquake insurance!

]]> (Lynette Kent) data raid safety speed storage Sat, 11 Nov 2017 19:27:44 GMT
Make a large external drive from multiple smaller ones!

After years of keeping documents, photos, and other digital files on multiple external hard  drives,

I recently found a more practical, compact, and still affordable solution.


Over the years, I had purchased multiple 1 TB drives to store files, because one TB was the largest I could afford.

And now after a good number of years, the 1 TB drives could not hold everything, so I had accumulated a bunch of them. 


It sure would be more practical to not have to label each drive with what it contains and then search the pile of drives,

and connect one at a time to figure out where that document I wanted to use again was stored. 


Today with the cost of larger hard drives going lower and lower, purchasing a 4 TB drive or larger is more affordable.

So I purchased two 4 TB drives. Two? even though my storage needs only required less than 4 TB?

Yes! The golden Rule of Computer storage: Never have less than two back ups with the same items on them! 


Ok so if two is necessary and good, wouldn’t 3 be better? 


Yes, three duplicates of every important digital file is a great idea! Why 3?

You keep one off-site - i.e. at a friend or family’s home or in a safety deposit box.

You keep the other two on-site, so if one goes down, you can immediately use the other one.

And you rotate the 3 copies, by updating the two on-site almost daily, and then change one with the off-site unit on some regular basis


So after copying all the data from my original 1 TB drives onto a new 4 TB drive, I duplicated or cloned that 4 TB drive to another 4 TB drive.

Then I checked the 4 TB drives - using both repair software and visually scanning and comparing the folder structures

- just to make sure all my documents were there and that I could open them.

Making back ups is important, and testing the back up to make sure it works is essential before you erase or repurpose any older drive!


So now, I had a bunch of 1 TB drives left over. The information on these 1 TB drives was already duplicated twice on the 4 TB drives,

so I really did not need them, however I did not want to throw out those 1 TB drives, and I did want a third back up.


Of course, I could purchase another 4 TB drive to have a third back up, however there was a less expensive and still very simple solution!

I purchased an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2, basically an empty aluminum hard drive box with an internal power supply and a fan,

that can hold 4 separate bare drives. That “box” was not expensive - especially compared to another 4 TB drive.


I opened the housings of the external 1 TB drives to free up the bare drives. Then using the instructions that came with the Qx2

and the online OWC- MacSales videos, I simply installed the bare drives into the Qx2 housing and set the Qx2 up as a “span” drive. 

Then I plugged it into my computer and it showed up as a 4 Tb drive. Ta da - my third back up!  


Of course the Qx2 can also be set up as JBOD - just a bunch of drives - or as a RAID system, 

using a simple dial on the front of the aluminum housing. OWC has clear explanations of what RAIDs are and how and when to use them.

And you could also purchase an OWC enclosure with space for only 2 drives inside.


Now here is the interesting part! You do not need to be an engineer to accomplish this technical project!

OWC has easy to follow directions and videos that explain and show you every step.

And they explain the different RAID options  - or how you can choose to set your external drives for different purposed from storage to speed. 


OWC has storage options galore with clear explanations and live tech support!

That's great for us non-engineer types who only know a flat from a phillips type screw driver!

]]> (Lynette Kent) Back UP Hard drives RAID storage Fri, 29 Apr 2016 00:53:24 GMT
Update to Big Storage - Small Size


MacSales (OWC) now sells a larger capacity EnvoyPro Mini. You can now have up to a 480GB SSD drive to use as a travel back up system or any other external drive purpose.

Not only is this a small and easy to carry anywhere device, the storage capacity is huge.


As a travel drive back up, it is a fantastic solution that won't take up space or weight in your carry-on bags!

Just wear it around your neck like a necklace! 


So now there are three sizes on Envoy Pro Minis: 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB.


I just cloned my laptop drive, including my image editing and viewing software onto a 240 GB Envoy Pro Mini.

And even though it is an external drive, starting up from the external 240 GB Envoy Pro Mini is super fast. 

In addition I also put some repair software - like Techtool Pro, Disk Warrior, and ProSoft Engineering Data Rescue and Photo Rescue on that Envoy Pro Mini boot drive.

I carry that one as a back up to my computer, and I can also use it to trouble shoot my laptop, by starting up from it….just in case!


I now use two (or three) of the Envoy Pro Minis - 480 gb or 240 gb depending on the length of my trip -  as back up photo storage.

By copying the photographs I take to my internal laptop drive and then making copies to two 480 GB or two 240 GB Envoy Pro Minis, I always have three back ups of the image files.

And if my internal laptop drive were too small, I would simply put all the photos on one Envoy Pro Mini 480 GB, and then make two backup copies on two other Envoy Pro Minis.

So basically I now travel with 3 or 4 Envoy Pro Minis - one with a start up system and some photo and repair software on it, and the other two or three to hold 3 copies of the travel images.


These little Envoy Pro Minis house some serious storage space, and because they are solid state drives (SSD), they are also very responsive.

Copying or cloning images or anything else is so easy and fast, and I need nothing other than these drives - no additional cables or power supplies!

And did I mention I can wear them around my neck?

 … Excessive compulsive about backups? true, but you never know!​

]]> (Lynette Kent) Back Up Photography Travel drive speed Wed, 27 Apr 2016 22:49:35 GMT
Big Storage-Small Size

As a “BackUp Guru” I am always looking for more and better external drives that I can use to back up my system and/or my images, in case of disaster. And because I like to travel, I am also looking for external drives that are small and lightweight so I can keep a back up with me. 

I just found a fantastic solution to both situations: A very small, very lightweight, portable external drive that fits both those requirements and in addition is very fast! 

The new Other World Computer Envoy Pro Mini - the name is much larger than the device - looks like a larger than average thumb drive but has the capability of an external back up drive. And it is super fast because it is an SSD (Solid State Device) as opposed to an external hard drive with moving parts. The 240GB model can hold not only a trip’s worth of RAW images, but also a minimal boot system  - so I could start up my laptop in case of an internal hard drive failure. OWC also makes a 128 GB model, which would still hold quite a few images. 

It uses a USB 3.0 interface but is backward compatible with USB 2.

Does the OWC Envoy Pro Mini read and write data as quickly (433MB/s) as the makers claim? I am not going to compare advertised speed to bench tests - there are plenty of internet sites to do that. I am more interested in how it works for my purposes - that is as a lightweight, super small, storage device I can stick in my pocket for travel.

Still I was curious to see if it really would be faster at copying data both to and from the computer than my previous travel drives.

I plugged the Envoy Pro mini in and copied 32 GB of Raw images and then repeated the same exact task using the external portable hard drive I normally take for travel. And both were using USB 3. 

In my unscientific comparison the OWC Envoy Pro Mini was several minutes faster at copying the same relatively small amount of data to and from my laptop as compared to my normal external storage drives. So, I consider the OWC Envoy Pro Mini fast!

As for it’s size and weight, it is larger at 31/2 inches long than most standard thumb drives, and it weighs about 1.5 ounces. The Envoy Pro Mini is encased in a solid aluminum housing which not only protects the drive but helps dissipate heat. This drive does feel warm to the touch when it is working, which is to be expected with the amount of data moving to or from the drive. As a test, I ran it continuously overnight, again an unscientific test, and although it was warm to the touch, it never stopped working and cooled down immediately once I disconnected it. It even comes with a 3 year limited warranty and of course is both Mac and PC compatible.

I have now changed my set of digital travel tools and my recommendations. My latest travel solution?Travel with at least 2 (or more) of these Envoy Pro Mini thumb drives so you can have two back ups of all your travel images and more without adding weight to or taking up space in your carry on bags!

Check it out:

]]> (Lynette Kent) Back up Drive External Lightroom Photography speed storage Sun, 05 Jul 2015 00:40:48 GMT
A Quick Guide to Great Lightroom Training

 Here are a few links with great resources for learning more about Lightroom CC or Lightroom 6, or just learning Lightroom.

From Victoria Brampton ( 


From Laura Shoe: (

Adobe Releases Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6 

Lightroom CC/6 Free Tutorials


From Piet Van den Eynde: (!

Lightroom 6 Up to Speed 


From Colin Smith: (

videos on the new features right here!


From George Jardine: (

]]> (Lynette Kent) Adobe CC Lightroom education new training Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:16:15 GMT
Adobe Lightroom 6 or Lightroom CC

Adobe just released Lightroom 6 also known as Lightoom CC.

This is the first major upgrade in almost 2 years, and includes some truly workflow-altering changes!

So has Photoshop been updated also?

Not at this time, however, Adobe Camera RAW has been updated to 9.0,

which matches the changes in the Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC Develop module.


Some major changes:


• You can now merge multiple RAW images into a Panorama right from Lightroom.

• You can now do an HDR merge of RAW files, without going into Photoshop or another application.

• And the resulting merged images are RAW (dng) files, giving you all the editing options of the Develop module. 

• The result is quickly shown to you in a preview JPG and the work is done by handing it off to the GPU

   on your graphics card so it all works much faster than ever before.

• That speed enhancement basically helps everything in the Develop module.


Other major additions include:


• Face recognition and face tagging.

• Additions in the Slideshow module

 - including a controllable pan and zoom option on slides

 - the ability to add multiple sound tracks

 - to sync transitions to sound track

 - speedy previews of your slide show using a reduced quality on playback just for previewing and testing.

• Ability to apply a radial or gradient mask and then “brush” out areas of the mask to exclude them.

• CMYK support in soft proofing

• Ability to reposition the Adjustment Brush Pins

• An auto Crop that levels and crops an image

• A “pet eye” correction (similar to red eye correction)

• Import directly into a collection

• “Paint” a  whole set of keywords with the keyword painter tool

• Improvements to Lightroom mobile on iDevices and Android


• Tons of lens profiles have been added


Of course there are basic system requirements to take advantage of all the new features:

Minimum system requirements: 

• 64-bit only

• OpenGL3.3and up

• Mac OS 10.9 and higher 

• Windows 7 and higher


And make sure your video drivers are up to date!

For Mac users, these are updated with the Operating System updates.

For PC users you may need to check your video card manufacturer’s website

to be sure there are no updates - even if your system is saying your drivers are OK!


SO what is the difference between Lighroom 6 and Lightroom CC as a subscription?

For one, no Lightroom Mobile on Lightroom 6.

And the continuos updates and additions will only show up on Lightroom CC,

as part of the “Creative Cloud Photography Plan Spring 2015 update”

- that’s the $9.99 a month subscription version for which you not only

get the latest Lightroom but also the full version of Photoshop CC.


In the next post, we will list some great resources for learning Lightroom!

]]> (Lynette Kent) ACR Adobe Camera HDR Lightroom Panorama Raw difference between Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC education Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:45:25 GMT
BagLadyReviews - Photography and Travel I admit it. I am a bag lady - I love bags! It used to be all about purses for me, different ones for different occasions, not necessarily looking for fashion but rather what would be the most practical for a certain scenario. Today, I rarely if at all change my purse. What I do change, and too often according to my family, are travel bags (luggage) and especially camera bags! And it is still not about fashion! It is about the occasion, or for photography, the place to which I will be going and the mode of transportation I will use getting there and getting around when I get there.

You’d think by now I would have all the camera bags I could possibly need. After all, I have been searching out camera bags for well over 12 years now. My storage space for the bags is overflowing. And yet, I just found, despite the family’s objections, a couple of new incredibly useful camera backpacks that I really, really need!

(The word “need” here is the way to convince others that you want and must have a new bag!)


But seriously, this new camera bag, a backpack, will be a great fit for our next photo trip. No,  I am not a serious hiker, nor backpacker. It is just that when you have to walk through long airport corridors, bustling with people dragging their roll a boards behind them or slinging large duffles on the side, a back pack makes it much easier to maneuver. Plus if I do have to carry any gear for a while on a photo walk, I can put just the essentials in the backpack, carry my camera, and comfortably walk and record images, knowing I have a change of lenses handy, as well as a bag to stash the camera in for inclement weather. 


I am not a tall athletic man - quite the contrary! I am a short woman. To answer the obvious question: “Doesn’t having that weight on your back make you hunch over and make it difficult for you to walk?” Not if that backpack fits well and has specifically adjustable straps to evenly distribute the weight!


I do have other camera backpacks that also fit me well, it’s just that I cannot fit all my needed camera, lenses, and other photographic necessities into them. In other words, if a back pack fits me, it is usually a small bag that can only include one DSLR camera  and a minimal amount of gear. And yes, I have that type of backpack and will continue to use it - for specific photo projects. But when I am getting on an airplane and traveling to a destination to take photos, I do not want to check my camera gear somewhere in that plane’s belly - for obvious reasons! So this GuraGear backpack can serve both purposes.



GuraGear has a number of different backpacks that all look good. The trick here was to find which one fits me while all my needed photo gear fits inside.

Actually, I tried two different models: the Bataflae 18L-which stand for 18 Liters of capacity, and the Bataflae 26L, or 26 Liters. And surprisingly, both these backpacks fit my short stature comfortably. Even with each of them loaded with gear and weighing a total of more than 24 lbs, I could easily stand straight and walk comfortably. 


Although both these bags share the name, Bataflae, they function a bit differently. Both have a water resistant coating and YKK RC Fuse zippers, and both come with a separate rain cover that fits into its own small zippered compartment on the front of the bag. And on each of these two bags, you can carry a tripod or monopod attached either at the center back or on one side. In addition,  both offer  two full length zippered accessory compartments on the front of the bag for storing anything from travel documents, to cel phones, light meters, and the like. 


Other than their overall size, these two backpacks vary in the way you can access the gear inside.


 The 18L opens completely as a traditional backpack revealing all the spaces at once, while the 26 L offers the user the option to open it like any other backpack, or to open only one 

side at a time, like individually articulated butterfly wings, making it easier to pull out just one lens or a camera and lens combination. A 300mm f2.8 lens did not fit as conveniently into the 18L, however it seems the 26L was made to carry this and even a longer lens on one side, with the rest of the equipment on the other. The Bataflae 18L has a separate back compartment for a 13 inch laptop or iPad, while the Bataflae 26L is all about camera gear. On the 26L You can stow the backpack harness to make it fit more easily in an overhead bin and it has an additional side handle which is angled to make it easier to carry like a small suitcase.




Of course it is important to balance the load inside the bag as well as adjust the straps properly for your body. Still both of these backpacks worked for me. So which one will I purchase? Ahem - both! The 18L for me, and the 26L for my six foot tall sherpa, my husband. And surprisingly, both these backpacks also fit him perfectly with a different adjustment of the straps.


Now I just have to decide which color…..



]]> (Lynette Kent) Camera bags backpacks photo gear photography travel Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:13:23 GMT - Lighten up your Lightroom catalog If you feel your Lightroom Catalog is too bloated and slowing down as you import more and more images, you might read through Jeffrey Friedl's blog page on the topic. Jeffrey is quite knowledgeable on Lightroom — he develops useful plugins for Lightroom. 

The technique is simple and he details the steps very clearly. I've tested it on a catalog and it did reduce the catalog size.

However, please read the article twice and carefully. These steps delete the editing history that accumulates when you work on images, thus trimming down the overall size of the catalog.

You first need to ask yourself:  if I were to revisit the images at a later date, would I want or need to go through the editing history of the images in the catalog?

If you do decide to follow the steps, and have read through them twice, be sure to back up your Lightroom Catalog and store it on another drive or separate location before your start.

You do keep at least one back up of your catalog or catalogs, right?

 Remember, the Lightroom Catalog is a database that stores information. The Lightroom Catalog does not store your image files, which should also be backed up to another a separate drive, a different one than where you keep the main folder of images.

Here is a link to the article:

]]> (Lynette Kent) Catalog Learning Lightroom Lightroom Lightroom education Lightroom speed photography Sun, 29 Jun 2014 19:39:14 GMT
BagLadyReviews - Photography and Travel        As we readied our tripods, cameras, and filters in the predawn light, I wondered why Phillip, our photo guide and instructor, had chosen that particular location. After all it was only a viewing spot, a pull-out on the highway leading out of Queenstown, New Zealand.

     “Just make sure you have your filters on and get ready!” For 11 days, Phillip had found incredibly beautiful spots for us to capture the varied landscape of New Zealand’s South Island. But this time the view across a lakewith mountains on the horizon, was no more than any other viewing point.

     “Take a few shots to set up your composition and then wait,” Phillip repeated. Click, the blue tone-mountains appeared on my camera’s LCD. I changed position and clicked again, setting the horizon in the bottom third of the frame and adding a graduated neutral density filter to adjust for the sky. 

     All of a sudden, the clouds turned an iridescent pink. I took several shots. The whole sky then turned several shades of red, pink, and orange, as if there were glowing embers in the clouds. Several camera clicks later, the peaks of the mountains in the distance glowed red. The only sounds were those of our shutters clicking away. 

     And then it happened! How could Phillip have planned this? How could he have known exactly where to stop and set up the cameras? A bright rainbow formed from one mountain peak to the other, just as the sky flared it’s richest reds. The shutters clicked and clicked for about 3 minutes. 

     And, just as suddenly as it had appeared, all the red in the sky was gone and the scene looked like any other early morning mountain view. 

     Another car stopped at the viewing point. The passengers pulled out their cameras, looked at us and our equipment, wondering what we were photographing, took a few shots, and got back in their car and drove off. They had totally missed the extraordinary light show.


     Traveling with a photographer and guide who not only knows how to use a camera but also knows the landscape can make all the difference in a photographic adventure. Phillip Bartlett knows New Zealand, has scouted out locations for years, and understands photographic light. As we now look through our many extraordinary landscape images, we have already decided to plan another photo trip with Capture New Zealand.


     Check it out:      



]]> (Lynette Kent) Bartlett Lightroom New Zealand Photography Photoshop South Island Travel beautiful light landscape Sat, 05 Apr 2014 22:50:06 GMT
BagLadyReviews - See a large preview on this Camera-Top Monitor!

If you use your DSLR to shoot video and find that squinting at a 3 inch live view screen is difficult, Marshall Electronics offers an easy to use solution. 

The Marshall CT-6 is a 6 inch portable field monitor that fits in the hot shoe of the camera and makes it easy to see exactly what is in the shot. It works with Live View and an HDMI connection.


For those who create training videos, the Marshall CT6 is an indispensable tool!

You can turn the monitor forward, put yourself in the frame and see your video as you are recording it! This also works for self portraits, or when you shoot stills with live view and want to see what you are recording!.


The field monitor connects to the camera with the included cables and works on its own batteries so you don't run down the camera's battery. In fact, you can choose several different battery options, or get the universal one that uses AA batteries.


If you plan to shoot outdoors, do make sure to order the Sunhood! And we recommend using a tripod because the 6 inch field monitor on the camera is a bit awkward to handhold!


The Marshall CT6 field monitor is a great solution for seeing what you are recording as you shoot.

]]> (Lynette Kent) DSLR LiveView monitor Thu, 05 Dec 2013 00:10:10 GMT
BagLadyReviews - This case WILL save your iPhone!

I originally got this case for myself, put my new iPhone 5 in it and thought my iPhone was well protected. This case is very affordable, slim, feels good in hand, and does not obstruct any of the ports. I watched the "drop test" on the manufacturer's website, however, I chose not to test it with my own iPhone. However, when a friend purchased a new iPhone 5s last month, I immediately gave him my NuGuard KX case. He had dropped and broken his iPhone 4 over 3 times. He had not dropped it onto concrete, but rather a padded gym floor. And each time, no matter what case he had on his iPhone 4, the  screen had shattered and the phone never really worked correctly afterwards. He had the first phone replaced, and the next one repaired. By the third time, he just lived with the shattered screen and a partially working phone.

When he received his new iPhone 5s, my friend immediately put the NuGuard KX case on it. Now, a month later, he has actually dropped his new iPhone already twice!! 

But Wait…. both times after dropping it on the same gym floor and once outside,  the iPhone completely survived the drop, not a scratch on the screen, and it continues to work perfectly!!!

This case really does protect your iPhone!!!!!!!!

I am getting another NuGuard KX case - this time for myself!!!

]]> (Lynette Kent) affordable iPhone case protection Tue, 29 Oct 2013 17:57:11 GMT
Great Beginners eBook for New Lightroom Users SO much to learn - SO little time!

SO how about a free, easy to read, introductory book on Lightroom? Oh and did I mention it was free?

From the LightroomQueen (aka Victoria Brampton), this 76 page very clear eBook will help you get started with Lightroom 5.

If you enjoy photography - from advanced "Happy-Snapper" to Pro, you can get a great start with this ebook.

Click here - long link but it works!

]]> (Lynette Kent) Free Lightroom education guide learn quick start Tue, 15 Oct 2013 16:18:06 GMT - Lightroom speed Lightroom can really be speeded up when you use an SSD - solid state drive. Of course, if you are like me, your photo library is huge and it would cost a fortune to purchase an SSD big enough or multiple SSDs to store all the files. 

The easy solution? Get an SSD that can store your Lightroom catalog and the previews, with  some spare room for growth. Check the size of the existing folder containing both these files.

Then copy the Lightroom catalog folder onto that new SSD.

***Why copy and not move the folders? Safety step! You want to make sure everything is working before you move something permanently!

Next open the Lightroom catalog that is on the SSD drive. Click the question mark on one of the photo previews and direct Lightroom to your image library, that is, the folder where your photo files are stored. And update all so Lightroom will know where the photo files are stored.

Once you are sure everything is working, you can delete the original Lightroom catalog and previews from the original location - probably that old hard drive. Or if you are paranoid, rename that original catalog folder so you will know that is the old one and keep it for a while!

So where is the Lightroom folder with the Lightroom catalog and previews? Depends where you put it when you first started to use Lightroom. The default location is the Pictures / My Pictures folder. Many people put it in a separate location or even on a separate hard drive. Either way, it is one folder probably called Lightroom catalog and inside are at least two files: ~ catalog previews.lrdata and ~ catalog.lrcat.

If in Lightroom's preferences, (Lightroom>preferences>Presets tab>Location on Mac or Edit>Preferences>Presets tab>Location on PC), you chose to store the Lightroom presets with the catalog, then the Lightroom Settings folder is also inside the Catalog Folder. Either way, you want to move the whole Catalog folder to your new SSD drive.

And if you are looking for an easy to install internal SSD - check with the people at also known as Other World Computing. They have a Chat function with an incredibly knowledgeable staff! Tell them what type of computer you have and they will suggest the easiest way to add an SSD drive!

]]> (Lynette Kent) Catalog Drive Lightroom Previews SSD Solid State preferences speed Sat, 31 Aug 2013 18:37:15 GMT - Improving Lightroom Performance If Lightroom seems to be working slowly, you can improve the speed with some simple steps:

1. The first thing to try is to restart Lightroom. This step refreshes the memory, like giving the application a clean slate. It does not delete any work you have done in Lightroom!

2. The amount of available RAM is important (the minim of 2GB really is not enough). If you have other applications open when working in Lightroom, try closing these down.

3. If you use Lightroom with Photoshop, make sure you check the RAM allocated to Photoshop in the Photoshop Preferences. You may be using most of your computer's RAM on Photoshop and not leaving enough for Lightroom to work efficiently. 

4. If Lightroom seems to have slowed down when you edit your images, try increasing the Camera Raw cache. This should help the performance in the Develop module. With Lightroom open, on a Mac, select Lightroom > Preferences >File Handling. On a PC select Edit > Preferences > File Handling. Now increase the Camera Raw Cache number which is set at 1 GB in the defaults. Try 3 GB to start. Depending on the available space on the hard drive where the cache is stored, you can increase this number even more. 

These are just the first four steps to try. There are others and we will write about those later.

]]> (Lynette Kent) Lightroom Photoshop RAM Speed performance speed up Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:32:29 GMT Lightroom  

People learn in different ways. Some of us like to read an instruction book, others like to watch videos.

Some like one instructor's methodology, others want multiple instructors.

Laura Shoe is another great instructor. She is an Adobe Community Professional and an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop Lightroom, and teaches at Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington. She also taught for many years for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. 

Check out Laura's video workshop, "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: The Fundamentals and Beyond"

and take advantage of this 10% discount code:


Another great way to learn Lightroom!!!

]]> (Lynette Kent) Laura Shoe Lightroom discount education learn Lightroom photography Fri, 26 Jul 2013 01:17:03 GMT
BagLadyReviews - SSD Solid State Drives and MacBook Pro Do you feel the need for speed when you start up your two or three year old MacBook Pro?

Not really ready and don’t have the funds to get a new model?

You may be able to satisfy your speed need without breaking the bank. OWC - Other World Computing (MacSales) - has a line of do it yourself bundles ranging from about $100 to $650,  so you can replace your laptop’s internal hard drive with a Solid State drive. The kits come with all the necessary parts and tools and you can choose the amount of space you want from 64 to 480 GB. 


Or better still, get the ultimate in speed and space by replacing the super drive (DVD) in your laptop with an SSD, put the super drive into an OWC external enclosure, and use the super drive as an external CD/DVD drive. You then can use the SSD in your laptop as your start up drive with the operating system and applications on it, and use your original internal hard drive for storage. The 480 GB can hold a system and quite a few applications. 


You can do the work yourself following the video tutorials on the OWC website.

This is the easy and affordable way to get more speed without buying a new computer, and without spending a fortune. Your older laptop will just feel like a new computer.

]]> (Lynette Kent) Hard Drive MacBook SSD drive internal hard drive upgrade Fri, 26 Jul 2013 00:54:46 GMT
BagLadyReviews - fabulous and affordable photography books photography book education photo

Photographers and photography buffs tend to read a lot of instructional books and articles. Here is one source for very affordable photography books.
And as a bonus they often include short videos for those who need to see the action to learn!

Check them out at:

Click here to visit Craft And Vision.

]]> (Lynette Kent) Lightroom Photoshop books education focus photo photography Thu, 27 Jun 2013 19:33:09 GMT - Upgrading to Lightroom 5? Have you been using Lightroom 4 and wondering what's new in Lightroom 5? 

Here is a fast and very affordable way to find out quickly!

Adobe Certified Expert, Piet Van den Eynde, created a little ebook that not only

describes all the new features and how to get started using them, it includes video tutorials!

All for just $5.00 !!!!

Check it out by clicking the link below:

Click here to view more details

]]> (Lynette Kent) Fri, 21 Jun 2013 17:38:58 GMT to learn Lightroom Lightroom Tutorials Whether you are already using Lightroom 4 or just purchased or upgrade to the new Lightroom 5, learning to use this fabulous photography tool will improve both your workflow and the quality of your finished images.

Lightroom is a powerful image editor, so learning the best ways to use the editing tools in the Develop Module will help you create a better photograph.

Lightroom is also a powerful digital photo manager. And after all, getting your photos organized so you can edit and enhance them is the first step. You need to learn how to build your own personal photo library in the Library Module.

There are many Lightroom tutorials available online and in books. You can also spend days in the classroom learning Lightroom.

One of the best tutorial series we have ever found for learning Lightroom - really learning Lightroom, by learning to organize, build a custom library of images, and then edit or develop your images with finesse - comes from George Jardine. 

Check out the multiple Lightroom tutorials  - great learning, great value, just plain great!

]]> (Lynette Kent) Thu, 13 Jun 2013 19:29:36 GMT - Viewing Angle Gauge from Acratech

       If you use a laptop, whether it is a Mac or a PC, you know that moving the screen back and forth changes what you see. Although an estimated guess at what you should be seeing may work for text, it is a whole different situation when you are looking at images or worse, trying to edit images on a laptop. The color, brightness, and contrast of the image change as you move the screen. and you cannot really know what the correct position of that screen should be to accurately view the image.


       Acratech has a simple solution: the Viewing Angle Gauge. This inexpensive ($14.95) little tool enables you to open the laptop and immediately set the screen at the proper viewing angle for where you are in relation to the screen, whether you are sitting or standing, whether the laptop is on a table or on your lap.


       Made from aircraft quality aluminum, the gauge can be attached and removed quickly with the Velcro tabs included. And the gauge does not need to be removed to close the laptop. In fact, I leave the Viewing Angle Gauge on my laptop even when I put the laptop in its zippered case. This is one of those items you will not want to be without. In fact, you will most likely ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that!”


]]> (Lynette Kent) Viewing image editing laptop photography tools Mon, 03 Jun 2013 23:33:56 GMT