Computer Cleanup Becomes a Necessity

My hard drive on my MacBook Air was chock full. I was unable to process photos, video or even download a small paper. It needed cleaning. Yesterday, I undertook this chore. I had to.

Most of you know that Adobe went to a subscription based model last year. The last time I had downloaded the creative suite was in 2017 when I took a graphics course for my graduate degree in Environmental Education. I had to make a wayside side or kioske for a wildlife area of my choosing. Using the InDesign program was a challenge but my sign came out well and I learned a lot.

Since then, I’ve continued to snap photos both with a camera and my iPhone. Thousands of photos. I am an avid amateur photographer. With a trip to Bermuda in 2017, Banff National Park in Canada in 2019, and Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2020, my devices were filled. I also made a phenology video, documenting the changes from winter to spring this year, for educational purposes. This does not even account for the educational power points I made for community presentations at schools on monarchs, our forests, prairies, and citizen science.

I also started writing daily in 2017 and that has continued on this blog with almost 1,500 posts to date. Often I need to snap a few photos to go with my blog postings or enhance my writing.

I had run out of space – for good reason. I haven’t been able to use my adobe software for several months. It kept crashing. And I, like many were disenchanted with Adobe’s decision to go to a subscription based model. So, despite my interest in continuing to use their programs, I didn’t have enough room and I did not want to pay for a subscription.

I began to look for options for alternative photo editing programs for a MacBook Air. I found plenty. But. And, it’s a huge, BUT. My operating system is also old – Sierra 10.12.6. Most of the programs I looked at needed 1) space on my hard drive, 2) a newer operating system, or 3) a high learning curve such as what I found was being written about GIMP in reviews.

What was I to do?

The first step was that I cleaned up my computer. I was able to free up space by transferring files to an external hard drive. I’ve had the Toshiba drive for years and new how to use it so this was not difficult.

30 GB were freed up by lunch yesterday.

Then, I looked into updating my operating system.Most of the programs I looked into required at least Mojave as the OS. Okay. I had enough space to update. I needed to create a back up of my current OS/files. The Time Machine option did not work. It did not like the fact that I already had files on my external drive and wanted me to delete them. No way! I had thousands of files! Lesson plans, community presentations, photos from vacations, and more on my external drive. I was definitely not deleting them! Thus, I manually saved everything I could to my external drive. It seemed to work.

And, it also seemed that I was going to take a leap of faith and update my OS to Mojave.

That was until, I could not find valid link to download this OS version from the Apple App Store. It came out in 2018 and thus was not new, but not finding it? Weird! After some digging, I found a computer geek’s post about the link being hidden and how to get to it. I tried. After pressing the button, it said the version I was trying to obtain was corrupted. Well, I wouldn’t be doing that!

Huh?! What was I to do? Well, I took a break for a few hours, as I felt my frustration mounting.

Having photo editing software is a necessity for me. I have an online Etsy shop and taking great photos of my products is a necessity for me. I also intend to continue making educational videos and lessons that need high quality photos, as well as potentially including some of my photography in my written work. I told my husband of my dilemma and that I was taking a break for for a while.

When I went back to my computer, I started looking at individual programs for photo editing. I had done this in a cursory way over the last week but was more focused on what they could do and how much they would cost instead of what they needed to run, as listed in their tech specs. I also knew that updating to Mojave OS was now not a very good option. I was very leary of doing this.

I discounted GIMP due to a high learning curve.

I discounted PixalMator due to finding it needed at least Mojave to run.

I discounter a few based on the price or the fact it was a subscription model, such as Adobe.

I found Affinity, and looked closer. Hmmmm? I could use the operating system I have – Sierra. I had enough space on my hard drive. It wasn’t cloud based. It was $49.99 to buy – and have. And, there was a free trial.


I jumped. And, I’m glad to report that I have successfully edited two jewelry photographs for my Etsy shop. Was it actually perfect? No. I did find a couple of minor technical issues I have to address by making a few extra steps, But, that was necessary with Adobe Photoshop, too. I’m on my second day of my one week trial and very happy with the ease of use (very much like Photoshop, which is not known for the ease of use but I had become comfortable with using it for what I needed), and the results (similar to Photoshop), and the price I might end up paying ifI decide to buy it. And, unless I find something unexpected, I will gladly spend the fifty dollars to purchase the Affinity program after the trial.

For now, I am happy. I have a cleaned up computer, space to work on more videos, and a photo editing program that seems to do the job I need! Whew! It was a lot of technical work for a Friday, but well worth the effort!

What do you use for photo editing? And, why do you like it? Leave me a note in the comments!

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