The current missteps by Adobe with Lightroom seem to have reinvigorated the conversation about photo management systems. Those who are dedicated to Creative Cloud will most likely stay put. But there's a large group of disenfranchised photographers still looking for an answer in the post-Aperture era.
And many of them have visited my mailbox. "What is your go-to app?" is the most popular question I receive these days. And it's one that I don't have a solid answer for.
Like any working photographer, I need to deliver my product. And for those jobs I'm still depending on Aperture running on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Yes, Aperture works on El Capitan, but many of its plugins don't. And when I'm striving to deliver the best images possible, I need every advantage.
But I'm also a technologist and teacher. In that world I'm testing Capture One Pro, Photos for OS X, DxO OpticsPro, and mishmashes including Perfect Browse 9.
No, Lightroom isn't a leading candidate at the moment. I use it, primarily in concert with Lightroom Mobile and for HDR and panorama stitching. It definitely has some wonderful features. But I don't love it. And that's the problem.
Passion is what keeps me going. I'm not motivated by wealth or fame. As long as there's enough traffic to pay the bills, I'm content. But if I don't love the camera I'm using, the subjects I'm shooting, or the software that brings it all together, I'm not happy.
And that's why I haven't settled on an application beyond Aperture. I haven't fallen in love yet.
I sometimes feel like Walt Longmire, the Sheriff of Absaroka County, who pines for his deceased wife. He pushes forward. Sometimes with her ashes by his side.
For now, it's Aperture on Yosemite. Because as much as we hate to admit, it's hard to part with the things we love.