Yesterday my D4 made its 50,000th exposure. That’s 1388 36-exposure rolls, or almost 70 bricks. If you had to buy slide film and have it processed, that many shots would cost you at least $25K. And the camera isn’t even two years old.
I blame Lightroom.
In the film era, you were limited in exposures by what you could carry and what you could afford to pay for. At the dawn of the digital age, when you carried a battery-powered disk drive over your shoulder like a speedlight battery pack, you were limited by how much you could store. Then came Compact Flash, with tiny spinning 1GB disks and smaller semiconductor memory. The files got bigger, but the flash memories got bigger faster, and pretty soon you could store a couple of thousand raw images on a card.
When the photo editing was done in Photoshop, the thought of loading all those files one by one made you keep a light finger on the shutter button. Life was too short to edit thousands of images that way.
Then came Lightroom.
Actually, then came Aperture, followed closely by Lightroom, but Lightroom – Lr to its friends – is the program that casts a long shadow these days.
Without Lr, dealing with thousands of images at a time would be hell on earth. With it, it’s a breeze. It’s an enabler of nasty addictions: trying every possibility, taking risks with long odds, going for the perfect expression, not accepting any compromise.
In short, to making better pictures.
I know that some of you will deride any photographic approach that involves averaging more than 70 images a day on a single camera as “spray and pray”, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as freeing me to do my best work.