I'm very new to digital photography and looking for advice on which software to learn. My career is in technology so I actually want to spend as little time as possible in front of the computer in my spare time. My main interest is in learning how to take great landscape and wildlife photos. I have access to Windows or Mac but prefer Mac. So please respond with your best "If I was starting out as a beginner…"
#1. "RE: Getting started in a digital world" In response to Reply # 0
I can understand wanting to avoid time on the 'puter when you do it for a living, I'm sort of in the same boat. The truth is great landscapes almost require thoughtful and sometimes somewhat painstaking post processing. In fact, I would venture that while our digital cameras are quite a technological marvel today the best photographers in all genres also understand the importance of time spent optimizing their images. The key is to always work to add efficiency to your workflow.
I think you should download the 30-day trial version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It is pretty easy to learn and easy to operate. The best thing about it is that is designed with the photographer in mind and is probably the best tool available to build in efficiency in your post processing tasks. Photoshop, on the other hand, while being extremely powerful, is the Swiss Army knife of image editing. A lot of tools that require a lot of time and effort to master. It is a great tool for the photographer and most of what is in Lightroom you can find in Photoshop, but the learning curve is pretty steep. That is why I recommend Lightroom first and then once you get your sea legs you might want to try out Photoshop.
#2. "RE: Getting started in a digital world" In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to digital Jim!
Ernesto is correct in his estimation of Lightroom. It is an excellent application for photo editing. It is also one of the better tools for organizing your images. So, I would encourage you to first give some consideration on how you are going to organize your image files, if you haven't already, before you get too deep into the post-processing editing part. Many of us, myself included, use the folder/sub-folder technique. That is something like year as the high-order folder with the months as the sub-folders. You can also add info to the images like location, groups, subject, etc. for searching out later.
No matter which image processing app you decide on you will need a well organized catalog from which to work.
Before I got smart (at least smarter) about organizing I had digital images all over including the C: drive, SD cards, CF cards, thumb drives, and all manner of places. It took a while to get them somewhat organized. Drove me nuts.
Now, Lightroom is my go-to image processor from import to organizing to editing to export. If I Want to do bit manipulation and/or fancy wrapping of the image for output then I consider Photoshop Elements.
There are many options for designing your workflow. I'm sure others will chime in here soon.