A Quick Lesson on Shutter and Aperture Priority

Since the advent of digital photography, I’ve become more or less addicted to photography. It’s a compulsive thing, but most of the time it’s fairly constructive. I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years and 70,000+ photos (most of them are bad…). There are tons of helpful infographics and cheat sheets on the web. Here’s one from Lifehacker. But I had to share a quick series of images I caught tonight. It’s not as thorough as the other guides or cheat sheets, but it does illustrate some pretty marked differences at the extremes of shutter priority and aperture priority. Plus, my kid just made me laugh. Enjoy!

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 Splash Screens

Looking for the December 1, 2015 Splash Screens?

I haven’t had time to post those yet. Got work to do and promises to keep.


Note: This is a follow-up to my post showing images of the new Adobe Creative Cloud splash screens back in 2014 when a major update was released.

New Adobe Apps, New Splash Screens

Adobe just released a major update to Creative Cloud, complete with new splash screens for many of the applications. Illustrator has some major performance enhancements for rendering. And there are tighter integrations with Adobe’s mobile apps. One notable addition is Adobe Stock, a built-in stock asset marketplace. Sadly for existing Creative Cloud subscribers, Adobe Stock is priced as a separate, add-on subscription that will add $30 to your monthly subscription this year. That’s a 40% savings, per Adobe. Who knows what the price will be next year? The pricing uncertainty is probably the only downside to Adobe Creative Cloud. But Adobe has stepped up their game and delivered a fantastic experience for creative professionals, despite the occasional pricing discomfort or uncertainty. In my opinion, the value is a good match for the price. Get the latest Creative Cloud pricing here.

Now, without further adieu, here are the 2015 splash screens. Click to view the full resolution image, then use your arrow key to advance.

Photoshop CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Photoshop CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 Release Splash ScreenAdobe InDesign CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe InDesign CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe After Effects CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe After Effects CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Muse CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Muse CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Flash Professional CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Flash Professional CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Audition CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Audition CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe InCopy CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe InCopy CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Prelude CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe Prelude CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2015 Release Splash Screen

Look at your phone. Creative Cloud is there too.

The iPhone apps were sadly neglected by my 2014 splash screen post. How rude?! I can’t make up for that, but I’ll make sure to show off a few of Adobe’s mobile splash/launch screens going forward. Want to see the rest of the story? Check out Adobe’s full lineup of iPhone and iPad apps.

Adobe Brush CC Splash Screen

Adobe Brush CC Splash Screen

Adobe Shape CC Splash Screen

Adobe Shape CC Splash Screen

Adobe Color CC Splash Screen

Adobe Color CC Splash Screen

Adobe Hue CC Splash Screen

Adobe Hue CC Splash Screen

Adobe Illustrator Draw CC Splash Screen

Adobe Illustrator Draw CC Splash Screen


Adobe Preview CC Splash Screen

Adobe Preview CC Splash Screen

Adobe Lightroom for Mobile Splash Screen

Adobe Lightroom for Mobile Splash Screen

Adobe Photoshop Mix Splash Screen

Adobe Photoship Mix Splash Screen

Adobe Edge Inspect CC Mobile Splash Screen

Adobe Edge Inspect CC Splash Screen

Adobe Creative Cloud Mobile Splash Screen

Adobe Creative Cloud Mobile Splash Screen

Adobe Creative Cloud Tutorials Splash Screen

Adobe Creative Cloud Tutorials Splash Screen

Here are the Nerdy Details

The desktop screenshots were taken on a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. I used the built-in feature to take a partial screenshot (Cmd + Shift + 4 then hold the space bar over the desired window). The resulting images are unedited.

The mobile screenshots were taken with an iPhone 5s.

Thanks for reading! Love them? Can’t stand them? Comment below!

Update All: Adobe Releases Major Update to Creative Cloud for 2015

Adobe just released a major update of Creative Cloud. I’m updating now, and I hope there are great things to blog about later. Looking forward to it!


Underpromise and Overdeliver: Scaramanga Has Earned My Respect Before I’ve Even Touched Their Product

We here at AJ Design strive to be top-shelf, but as little more than a one-person design firm, I’m no stranger to running a shoestring budget and a just-in-time delivery operation. I’m 100% mobile. My 15″ MacBook Pro is my only workstation. My Targus laptop bag served me well practically every day for the past four years or so. It was actually my laptop bag before I upgraded to the MacBook in August 2012.

I was disappointed when the shoulder strap anchor point broke this week, but it was understandable. Four years of stress and daily use takes its toll. Ouch…that kinds hits close to home!

So I did some homework and asked some friends what they recommend in the way of a quality laptop bag/briefcase. A fantastic U.S. product was available, but as much as I wanted to buy quality, I couldn’t bring myself to pay nearly $500 for a bag. I looked for a lower price point.

scaramanga-logoI had heard of Scaramanga a year or two ago on social media. I shopped them and ended up selecting a Medium Overlander Satchel. I read their shipping information for international orders, and I prepared to wait a couple of weeks.

The order was placed Tuesday, June 2. Guess what’s arriving today, June 5?

They promised 5 – 20 days for delivery, and they, well, delivered in only four days. These days, the only response that is appropriate is a #micdrop:

I will post a review of the bag once I get a chance to move in. But for now, I’m heartily impressed.

The New 12″ MacBook is Just a Toy

I didn’t carve out time to watch the product announcement video about Apple’s new 12″ MacBook. I completely missed it. But I saw the articles and videos about the new MacBook trending the day after. As an Apple user (and occasional Apple fan), I was intrigued by the impossibly slim 12″ MacBook released last week.

What’s not to like? Sleek, color coordinated with my iPhone, well built … wait, where’s the USB port? Or the SD card slot? Surely they at least have a Lightning port, right? Nope. There are only two ports on the beautiful little body: a headphone port and a USB-C port.

I’m charmed by the promise of USB-C, really I am. But to have a computer that can’t be connected to power and connected to storage or an external display at the same time without extra adapters or ports is just unconscionable for Apple to pass off as “Pro”.

But let’s look again. The new little hot rod 12″ glamour notebook we saw is not Apple’s idea of a “Pro” tool. In fact, Apple removed the “Pro” moniker for a couple of good and purely hypothetical reasons:

  1. They know the new MacBook is less of a pro tool and more of a toy.
  2. Apple hasn’t abandoned those of us who really are pro users of their top-shelf hardware. They just haven’t updated the 15″ MacBook Pro yet because they can’t get the Broadwell chips from Intel until later this year.

There you have it, folks. I would advise against buying the new MacBook if you are a pro user (if you earn your living in the creative arts and currently use a slightly older Mac Pro or MacBook Pro).

Let toys do their thing for the people who love them.

But the real pro users should opt for the updated MacBook Pro 13″ or wait for the revised 15″ MacBook, rumored for release sometime this fall.

Too Much Work: A Good Problem to Have?

Friend: “How is business?”

Me: “I am soooooo busy! There’s a lot to get done. I’m trying to keep up.”

Friend: “That’s a good problem to have!”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that phrase, “a good problem to have,” I would have some serious coin.

A “good” problem. How is that possible? The implication is that it is better to have too much work than to constantly be running low on sales and trying to drum up business.

Well, my all-to familiar response is something on the order of, “Yeah, but it’s still a problem.” My clients who have been so kind to me in dealing with my capacity issues know this to be true. But my “good” problem is simply their problem. It’s their delay. It’s their broken promise or blown timeline.

Let’s all agree that even the good problems must be solved.

I’m tired — and I’m certain a few of my clients are tired — of this chronic good problem of operating at or beyond capacity. I know I have to say “no” more or arrange for more capacity through multiplied effort (subcontractors or employees). I’m doing both (saying “no” and lining up help), but apparently not quickly enough for some.

That’s something I deeply regret.

Keeping promises is one of the greatest strengths and most vital of my business and personal values. It is inordinately painful to see yourself as the go-to provider of business-friendly graphic design and yet live in a near constant state of trying to catch up.

This post, my first in quite a few months, is even something I’m questioning the value of doing, given the state of a few critical and overdue projects. However, I’ve decided that it’s a cathartic, therapeutic process for me to help decompress and process what I’ve allowed to happen in my business. It’s confessional and hopeful in nature.

The next few weeks and months will be very telling for me and for the treasured relationships I have with my clients. Will I be able to keep the promises I’ve made? Will I be successful in identifying like-minded and talented individuals to help carry the load? Will I be able to shut down the thought processes and decision matrices that lead me to say, “Sure, we can do that,” or, “Yeah, let’s meet and talk about that project.” Time will tell. And time won’t lie. I’ll keep promises I’ve made, as God gives me strength to do so.

But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.
Matthew 5:37 HCSB

Veteran’s Day 2014

Many thanks to all the veterans who fought to secure and maintain our freedoms. We honor you this day, and we thank God for your sacrifices on our behalf.

An Open Letter to Our Re-Elected Governor, Nikki Haley

South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley

Dear Governor Haley,

We haven’t met yet, though we almost had a chance when you visited Natty’s on Trinity Street in Abbeville last weekend. I had a birthday party to attend, and when one has the chance to take small kids to Jumping Jax, one just doesn’t decline. Ever. Even for a chance to meet the Governor of South Carolina. (sorry!)

But enough about me. Congrats to you on your re-election as Governor of the Great State of South Carolina! You earned my vote with your principled conservative stance on economic issues, your perspective on the balance of power between states and the federal government, and your refusal to take the baited hook that was the Medicaid expansion. I think your first term in office did most residents of South Carolina proud. There are a few thousand people who will be leaving the unemployment system as a direct result of your administrative priorities. Thank you for your service.

But not everyone is happy with what you’ve done (or not done) so far. I believe there will always be smoke-and-mirrors accusations that come from political opponents. These attacks are rarely more than political maneuvering, and they are rarely fair. However, one such attack caught my eye. I’m referring to the recent trouble with the S.C. Department of Social Services.

One of my acquaintances is a social worker within DSS, and he didn’t have very many kind things to say about you because of the predicament in which he and other DSS workers find themselves. Actually, he and many of his colleagues were quite adamantly opposed to your re-election. They already have a difficult, thankless job. But then they are overworked and underpaid. I’m told the case load and the resources to address it are still sorely mismatched. Let me offer a quote from a social worker who volunteered some information on the matter when I asked about it. Pardon the colorful language:

[DSS State Director Lillian] Koller called for higher standards without backing the requirements with funding or more workers. Or better working conditions. Or more supervision. Children are literally dying because we do not have the resources to keep them safe. I triple dog dare any Republican to come work for Anderson County DSS. Witness firsthand the aftermath of the last four years. Ask any employee what their opinion is. Nikki Haley does not care about children, the elderly, or the poor. To her they are numbers. She makes a big deal about veterans … but there is a war here. [My colleagues] and I go to war every day to fight for the safety of SC’s abused and neglected children. It is f*cking brutal, we get no support. We are sent into dangerous situations with no protection, and all we ask is for lower case loads and better supervision so we can actually do our jobs. Nikki Haley has consistently ignored our requests and the department has deteriorated to the extent that children are dying because the workers are responsible for so many children that kids are just falling through the cracks. Haley is ultimately responsible for what happened at DSS. She made the decisions that led to the chaos.


I read some of your remarks about the deaths that occurred and the condition of DSS which you delivered during a recent debate. As a wife and mother, you seemed to be understandably appalled and disturbed by what happened. To be fair, I would expect a senior executive such as yourself to be more keen on the numbers coming out of DSS than on the individuals and stories that comprise the caseload. And I expect that reality would bother social workers who care about their work. There’s only so much one can do, and the realities of executive leadership dictate that you must necessarily focus on metrics and fundamentals to the exclusion of the human element.

But let me offer some encouragement: now that the gubernatorial election is settled and you are in leadership for another term, please continue to take ownership of the problems within DSS. It’s no longer a campaign issue. It’s now a real-life problem that you have the next 4 years to address with real solutions. Please commit to identifying solutions that will enable the department to function well. I was encouraged to learn from District 11 representative Craig Gagnon that there were some stopgap measures taken earlier this year to increase social worker pay and improve conditions. He tells me there are additional efforts coming in the next legislative session. This is a very good thing. And those transformational efforts will need your executive leadership to ensure their success.

There are a plethora of opinions about the extent to which the government—even state and local governments—should be involved in correcting the social and familial dysfunction that DSS is tasked with addressing. I personally believe you can’t remove Godly principles from a population and not have tremendous problems. Broken families are just a symptom of deeper spiritual problems. So as far as the source the problems that manifest in DSS cases, there’s not much we can do. Can you use the powers of government coerce men to be good and loving fathers? Can you coerce drug addicts to prefer honest gainful employment to a life of addiction? Can you engineer a utopian society? Many have tried, and all efforts to date have failed. But perhaps there are non-government organizations, nonprofits and religious organizations that could be involved in carrying or at least supporting the DSS case load. What can we do to better empower and deploy these resources to help accomplish the goals of DSS? Maybe it would be inadvisable for volunteers from churches to take on cases. Many have the heart but few have the training and expertise. But perhaps a Sunday school class could “adopt” a social worker and provide support and encouragement. We don’t always have to expand government to fix things. You have helped demonstrate that in the past four years. But until the problem is resolved and alternate solutions are in place, I think we will have to fully fund DSS to match their case load.

I encourage you once again to make a priority of fixing the issues at DSS. Continue to set high standards. Install a high-quality, proven director (and I’m sure the search is already underway). Fund the organizations and people best equipped to attain those standards and serve people. Usher in a new era of effectiveness and professionalism. You have the bully pulpit. You have the authority to set the agenda and set priorities. And it looks like you will have plenty of political colleagues and citizens who will support your efforts.

I don’t hold you personally responsible for the hurtful actions of others. We humans are by-and-large hopelessly broken creatures. And goodness knows we don’t need a bigger government peering, prying, and taxing it’s way into every nook and cranny of our lives. But I applaud your efforts to make government more effective and to ensure the most vulnerable among us are offered protection.

Thanks you for listening,
Andy Johnston