What I work on

I thought about doing something different for today, so how about a tour of my desk setup? What I use, what I work on, plus a few things here and there. I shared similar photos a few years back and looking at it, I changed almost everything I use. It was probably because I worked from home office during the quarantine years, and I had too much time to think about what I use on a daily basis and how my desk setup should be. Actually, the SmartDool, that decorates my table since I got it in 2015, is the thing I kept for the longest (I have been following the creator of SmartDool, Danny Choo for years, and I got one right when he started to sell them).

Here are the older photos. The first one is my desk from 2014, right before I got an ultrawide monitor. Not missing that setup, but I really like the Nokia Lumia 1520 I had then. Such a great phone. The second is my gaming setup from 2018, and the last is my work setup from 2018. I really used to have a lot of consoles.

Gaming setup 2018

You will also notice that I switched to Apple products almost completely. I will write about that in a separate post, but the main reason was M1 and that with it you can have a completely silent setup. The other things just followed after it.

I tend to update things mostly after 3 years of use when I gift them to my family or friends or sell them second-hand. I am careful how I use them, so usually they look like new. All have happy new owners :). I find 3 years to be a sweet spot, where the old stuff still has enough value to be worth it for sale, and the new stuff brings a big enough change to warrant an upgrade.

What do you think? Do you keep your things longer?

Desk setup

So what do I use now? Let’s go through all the things I use, in no particular order.

Mac Mini M1

This is currently my most used PC, not really much visible in the photo, as it’s hiding behind the Ipad. It is the lowest configuration with the M1, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD. I don’t use it for editing, but it has two main uses. I use it for web surfing, writing, or other work that just does not need that much RAM on a daily basis. But mainly it works as an always-on server. I attached a drive array to it, and it’s always on, so it’s a host for all my photos and other media files. I then just connect to it from my other systems. Works well, even though MacOS implementation of network sharing is often really slow.

As with other M1 systems, one just has to love how totally quiet it is. You don’t even know it’s there. When I was changing my setup, this was one of my main requirements, making it completely silent all the time. And it works.

MacBook Pro M1

Currently my main editing machine. With the M1 chip, 16 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD. It’s fast, totally quiet, battery life is great, and I can easily use it at home and also on the road. And surprisingly, also like the touch bar, even though I mostly use it for volume and brightness changes. Still, I get more use from it than from the F keys.

I was looking at one of the new 14-inch ones, but since I don’t do video, I just don’t need the extra memory or CPU power. The M1 is still powerful enough even when editing big panoramas. I also don’t need any of the extra ports. For years now I have been trying to move completely to USB-C and except for a few Lightning devices, I’m almost completely done.

Dell U3223QE Monitor

One of my latest additions is the Dell U3223QE monitor. It’s a 32-inch, 4K, 60hz, IPS black monitor, with support for USB-C. A really nice monitor for work, with higher contrast (2000:1), higher brightness (400cd/m2), and a huge amount of ports. It’s so great to just connect the MacBook using one USB-C cable, and you have everything in the monitor. Charging, LAN network, legacy USB ports, audio. I have not used the charger from my MacBook once while I am at home.

As you can see, I don’t have separate speakers, I don’t need those in my desk setup, just the SB521A magnetic soundbar from Dell. I almost never listen to music or watch videos directly on the monitor, so this works fine for me. And the way it magnetically attaches to the monitor, it’s just perfect. It’s fine for random youtube videos or such.

Desk setup 2023

Ipad Pro 12.9 (4th gen.)

I got the Ipad as a replacement for the Surface Pro 4 I had before. But it is just not a full computer and it could not replace it. So that was replaced with the Macbook Pro, and the Ipad stayed more as a media consumption machine. And for that, it works great. Especially the speakers are superb. I also use it a lot when learning Japanese Kanji, with the pen and GoodNotes application. The Magic keyboard while nice, it’s almost useless, as apps are just not made to be used with a cursor.

Here is actually agin a comparison to the Surface Pro I had before. That one I could use completely with the pen, I did not even travel with a mouse. In IpadOS most things don’t even react to the pen. It’s quite frustrating. I was looking at the newer versions, but yet to see a reason to update. Maybe they introduce something interesting next week.

Logitech MX Keys and MX Master 3

For a while, I have been using the Magic Mouse and Keyboard from Apple. But as I had to also use a Windows PC in my last job, I needed something that I can switch easily between multiple PC. And I’m quite happy with the MX Keys. MX Master 3 is a bit more problematic, as it is prone to problems. Random scrolls, zooming, not working macro buttons, and such. Would have replaced it by now, but I’m waiting until there is a MX Master 4 or I find something better. I used to have a Wacom Tablet too, but I sold that one. I’m just too used to edit using just the mouse, and in case I need a tablet, I can always just use the Ipad.

Airpods Max and AirPods Pro

I have not had a phone with a 3.5mm audio jack for years now, so long ago I completely switched to all wireless. First I got the Airpods Pro, which surprisingly I could use. I tried many (really many) in-ear headphones, but all caused a really horrible pressure in my ears and I was not able to use them for more than a few minutes. I never had this problem with the AirPods Pro. One just has to be really careful when crossing the street with them in one’s ears.

After that, I got the Airpods Max. Yes, the price is horrible, but of course, I did not pay the full price here. With a bit of searching, I got them for much less during Amazon Prime Days sale :).   I got them because I really like how songs are in Spatial Audio. Once one gets used to it, it’s hard to go back.

SteamDeck and Sony Playstation 5

As you can see in one of the older photos, I used to have many consoles. I’ve been a gamer for a very long time, and I also used to create games before, so it’s more than a hobby. But I recently sold almost all of them. I used to have a PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, PSP, PS Vita, Switch, and a gaming PC. That I scaled down a lot, keeping only the Switch and replacing the PC with the Steamdeck. Recently I got the PS5 as a trade for some of the older consoles, but man, is it huge. That’s why it’s hidden so nicely behind the plants. Not that there are many games I want to play right now, but Final Fantasy 16 is here shortly.

Desk Setup 2023

Desk setup changes

Overall I reduced my setup a lot. Also, the number of cables just got smaller, which makes for a much cleaner, more pleasant look. I’m trying to be a bit more minimal, while still keeping what I like and what makes for easy work. But also about that, I will write another day.

What do you use? Do you use a Windows PC or a Mac? What is your desk setup?

Mobile AI wallpapers

Some time ago I added a new AI-generated section to the blog, and at that time there were only a few of them. Over time I keep adding that there are almost 500 of them right now. All in 2000x4000px resolution, suitable for most mobile photos.

If you have not checked them out yet, you can find them all in this gallery.

Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers
Mobile AI wallpapers

Don’t forget to check out other available wallpapers:

New Super ultra-wide wallpapers

The super ultra-wide page keeps being the most popular part of the blog for a year now, so let’s do another update today.

In this update, new pictures from Bratislava, Porto, Paris, and Zadar. As always, these are in 5120x1440px resolution, so perfect for a 32:9 monitor. Also as always, feel free to share them further, just please link back here and give me credit as the author.

The next one to be updated is the 4K selection, as that one is lacking a bit right now. Or would you prefer a different resolution?

Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px
Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px
Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px
Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px
Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px
Super ultra-wide wallpapers 5120x1440px

Photoshop Beta with Generative Fill

Recently Photoshop released a new Beta version, that now also includes Generative Fill. This is an evolution of the content-aware tool that was there for a long time, but this time it uses AI image generation to create the fill.

I have been playing with it since it was released and today will take a look at the most prominent uses, for me as a photographer. So it will be the removal of objects, canvas expansion, and object generation.

Photoshop Beta

Using Generative Fill is easy. You just select a part of your image and a small popup shows up. You select Generative Fill, and in the new popup, if you want, you can add keywords. But it can be also left bland. Once you confirm by selecting Generate, Photoshop will create three versions for you. You can then view them, or regenerate the result. Then, you can another part of the image, even the just generated parts, and continue.

Removal of objects

This one is the most interesting part for me, as a photographer. It is not that easy to get rid of things in a photo, and one has to use many different techniques. This makes things much easier. The only issue is the quality of the result. While it looks good, the resolution is just lower and there is a loss of detail. If you compare it to a traditional way, of creating multiple exposures and then blending them (as shown here). But that technique is not always possible, or you just do have time to wait.

I can also imagine this helping a lot with problems like burnout highlights and lens flares. When you miss this when taking the photo, it’s hard to fix.

Here I edited one of my photos from Paris, where I removed all the people waiting in front of the Moulin Rouge. What do you think?

Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - removed objects

Expanding the canvas with Generative Fill

Another use I can see is expanding the canvas. There could have been many reasons why you could not capture all that you wanted. Something in the way, the lens not wide enough, people standing around, small space to shoot from, or something else. Photoshop Betta using Generative Fill will give you multiple options and the results are quite impressive. From what I saw, having a transparent background sometimes gives better results. Also expanding already existing photos gives better results than trying to add new elements to photos. It just looks more natural.

Here first is an example of the Scott monument in Edinburgh, where I could not move further away from it, due to a road. Generative Fill nicely expanded the photo, giving the monument more space in the shot.

Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - expanded

Or a bit different example with a photo from the 5 Fingers in the Austrian Alps, where using the Generative fill, I change a simple photo into a panorama. But yeah, the loss of quality is visible. I included two different versions here, but you can regenerate the result as many times as you want.

Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - original
Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - expanded
Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - expanded

Generating images

The last option where you can use Generative Fill is to completely create new elements for empty or existing images. As mentioned you can continue selecting part of the image and so adding more elements to it.

Here, I took the initial image from Santa Magdalena in Italy, and at first I selected the bottom part, and used Generative Fill with the keywords “pond reflection” to create the bottom part. Then I selected a few areas around the newly generated parts and with the keyword “rocks” added a few rocks to make it more interesting.

I did try to add a few other things, like horses or a bench, but the results were quite bad. It just did not blend into the image at all.

Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - AI generated
Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta - AI generated

Overall, the results are impressive, especially with removing of objects and expanding the canvas. If you just want to add something to a photo, the results are a bit of a hit-and-miss, and you will have to try multiple times to have a usable image. But this is still in beta and with the progress of AI image generation in recent months, I think this will get better really soon.

Have you tried Generative Fill in Photoshop Beta? What do you think of it?


I did not though creating images using AI would be so much fun. Just entering what one wants to see and getting a result. No limits to one’s imagination. Too bad there is no way to specify things like composition at all. But probably in the future. The results are not really always what I imagined.

Mobile wallpapers

While experimenting I created quite a few that are very suitable for mobile phone wallpapers, all 1:2 aspect ratio, 2000x4000px. Should be good enough for almost all phones available. They especially look good on OLED screens. Since there are a lot of them, I decided not to post them directly here, but in a separate gallery on my portfolio page. You can find them here.

Mobile AI generated wallpapers
Mobile AI generated wallpapers
Mobile AI generated wallpapers
Mobile AI generated wallpapers

Master Exposure Blending series now free

A while ago (actually quite a long while ago) I created and started selling a video tutorial series about HDR editing and luminosity masking. After a while, I decided to upload it whole for free, but somehow never got to doing so. But that changes today.


The series includes over 2 hours of video, covering these toppics

Master Exposure Blending1. Welcome
2. Preparing brackets in Lightroom
3. Working with layers and layer masks
4. Luminance masks explained
5. Creating luminance masks
6. Blending two exposures
7. Blending multiple exposures
8. Using Oloneo Photoengine
9. Using Photomatix Pro
10. Blending panoramic photos
11. Adding glow

I don’t go through the edit from start to finish on the provided photos, I rather focus on the blending technique of the images, which is the main subject of these videos.

Additionally, you can download all the videos and also the RAW files I’m using (28 in total), so you can try all the edits also for yourself.

Head over to the Master Exposure Blending page to get them now!

download free hdr tutorial
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