The Importance of Post Process

Now that you have managed to sort through your images, it’s time to start Post Process. This is where you can refine your images to what you envision. It has been around as long as photography itself. Getting rid of spots and blemishes, leveling the image, adjusting the exposure along with dodging and burning in details. Photographers still do it today; it is mostly done in software and not in the darkroom. With the explosion of digital photography, having a post-process routine is essential. Here are a few suggested practices as a base to a post-process routine.

Basic Post practices

  • Know your Post Processing software! If you’re using Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, or whatever. You should know how to use it properly. How to import and export images, to have a basic understanding of the tools, how to adjust the exposure, and the list goes on and on. I’ve said it before, YouTube is your know-it-all friend.
  • Removing dust spots. You got a dirty sensor, and it shows. Clone out all those little distractions, they’re taking attention away from your subject.
  • Level your image. If you intended the horizon to be level and it’s not….it draws your viewers’ eyes away from what you are trying to show. With an unintentionally tilted horizon, it can give the illusion that everything in your photo is going to slide out of the frame.
  • Adjusting exposure. I can’t stress how important it is to understand how your camera exposes objects in different lighting conditions. And you can adjust for it “in camera” and adjust in post.
  • Resizing and sharpening. Whatever platform you’re sharing on, you should resize your images before posting them. After you have your resized images, you’ll want to do a tad bit of sharpening to them. You just want to sharpen up the details soften from resizing.

These are just a few basic examples of post-processing techniques. There are far more advanced and complicated methods.

Until next post,



Philosophy about Photography Part Four: Elements of Art in Photography

Bored and in Lock-down? How to keep yourself occupied

Run out of entertaining shows and movies on Netflix and Hulu? Sick of scrolling through the same crap on Instagram and Tik tok? Or have you had your fill of the depressing news from the media? It’s time to get up and do something that could help occupy yourself and get you through these unprecedented and troubling times. Here’s a few things I have been practicing to keep myself busy while staying at home.

  • Create some kind of routine for yourself. Wake up, take care of yourself, work from home, workout. whatever it takes. Set aside time to do certain activities. An hour to reading, a half an hour to workout, 45 minutes to clean. Just wake up, get and stay active. Go to bed and do it again tomorrow
  • Reduce your time on social media and watching the news. To save your precious mental health, ration the time you spend on them. Yes, by all means stay informed but don’t let your appetite for information start to disturb your peace and calm.
  • This is a great opportunity to work on your products around your house or apartment. Got a leaky faucet, a door that squeaks or any home repair that needs to get done or finish, now is the time to get after it!
  • Reach out to family, friends, loved ones and coworkers. We are all social beings and especially during this global pandemic, we need to talk to our families and friends. To hear those recycled bad jokes, to remain your mom that your dad is not crazy! Do it for them, you’ll hear the appreciation in their voice.
  • Cook your favorite meals. Banana pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch, throw some rib eyes on the grill for dinner. Why not?! Along with your “Quarantine food”, try cooking one of your favorite meals. If you don’t know how, YouTube is your know it all friend! And if you don’t have the supplies you need, the next time you go to the grocery store, practice social distancing along with protecting yourself. And pick up the things you need for your favorite meals.


  • Listen to all those podcasts and audio books you have been wanting to get to. Like the song says, “Time is on my side“. Get your tasty beverage, grab those ear buds or that busted ass pair of headphones you got and start listening. Heck, you might even learn something new. Or dare I say it, laugh out loud.
  • Start a journal. “Day 6 in lock down. This morning after my lame ass breakfast, I stumbled across an enlightening and amazing blog today that help me occupy my time. Today seemed to fly by with all the activities I did.” When we get through this, and we will. Looking back and reading our quarantine journals could be entertaining.
  • Rediscover your lost and forgotten hobbies. There is no time like the present to douse that old withering fire with a bunch of fresh gasoline. Get back into whatever you love to do! Unpack that project you got hidden in the bottom of your closet. If all you have are outdoor hobbies, maybe it’s time to unearth something new.

Hobby Time

  • Never stop learning! Sign up for online classes. There are so many to choose from. Some are paid but if you don’t have the coin, I get it. There are plenty of excellent educational channels on YouTube.
  • Working out indoors. “Get your sweat on!” You can still get huge and ripped. There are countless indoor workouts you can do. If you live in an apartment, be considerate of your neighbors.
  • Redecorate your house or apartment. It is Springtime. And a change in season could also be a refreshing change in your living quarters (Star Trek reference). Switch up old artwork on your walls, maybe rearrange your furniture. Heck maybe go down the rabbit hole looking for ideas online. I’m sure your find something interesting.
  • Update your Resume and Portfolio. This could be an excellent time to dust off that tired resume and stale portfolio of yours. Lord knows I do. There is a shit ton of helpful and useful information online. Be brave, you might just find your dream job.
  • Play online games with friends. There is nothing like talking smack with your friends while gaming. It’s stupid fun! Doesn’t matter if you’re on PC, console or even on your mobile device. Just don’t be a Leroy Jenkins!

Game On

Whatever you do, don’t waste this time being unproductive or even worse, full of worry and anxiety. Feel free to share this with others. Stay safe and busy!

Until next post,



This is the last part in a series I call “Exploring My Creativity”. An examination of my creativity. Being an inspired individual, this is something I feel I must do to expand my thought process. As long as I can remember, I have been doing creative things. And it seems to grow more complex the older I get. At the start of 2018, I told myself I wanted to embrace the idea of “Concentration and not Validation”. To focus on what drives me to be creative and not seek out the instant gratification of social media. The last part in this series, I want to talk about is my sense of Aesthetics. If you haven’t, be sure to check out parts one and two, Passion along with Inspiration.

What is aesthetics? According to Wikipedia, it’s a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty. Here’s my simple definition, why things look good, how to create something appealing as well as how to present it. I know it is far more complicated than that. I have always been a bit of a philocalist, a lover of beauty. From images & artwork, music & movies, the human body, and even moments in time. This will not be a post about me explaining my sense of aesthetics. What I do want to share with you all is how my sense of aesthetics effects my everyday life, how it effects the things I create along with how it effects the way I see the world. Be warned, this will be subjective.

My sense of aesthetics is responsible for me having an extremely critical eye. It doesn’t matter what I’m looking at, if it’s an image, a scale model, a surface detail on a vehicle or how light shines on someone’s hair. How is it composed? Are the proportions balanced? Should I Shoot in Landscape or portrait? And that’s just for photography. My eyes and brain are constantly evaluating the aesthetics of things. I’ve learned to put my critical eye to good use. And a good example of this is at work.

I’ve been an automotive clay sculptor for various major companies for the past 20 years. The easiest way to describe my job is, a designer draws an idea, I sculpt that idea out of clay and change it until management is happy with it. First in scale, then full-size making hundreds of changes along the way. As I model, I’m constantly asking myself questions. First, does the model look like the designer’s sketch? Then, if not, what do I have to change to make it look like it? Then I’ll make the necessary changes and ask the same questions again. All the while, being very critical and brutally honest about every surface I create.

Just like my passion, my attention to detail has infiltrated and spread into every part of my life. Over the years, it has become a finely tuned way of seeing the world around me. From how I see images with my photography to sculpting new automotive products at work. It is something I have learn to embrace and use to better my work. Because of it, I know I see things differently than most. I see all the details before I see the whole thing. And if the details are done poorly, I lose interest, move on and don’t see the complete object or picture.

That sharp attention to detail is also a habit that has found its way into my model making. As I build a kit, I treat each part like little models. Putting as much detail into it as possible. I also spend a considerable amount of time addressing how the kit comes together. Hiding the seams and joints to make it appear to be seamless. Even come time to paint, I’ll sometimes spend 30 to 40 minutes masking something off that only takes 2 or 3 minutes to airbrush. All the extra care and attention I put into the build, will make for a more visually appealing model. That ceaseless questioning the aesthetic’s of things along with my attention to details has made me a masterful sculptor and model maker.

Holy Tape Batman

As a photographer, knowing what makes a good image along with being able to see the image before you shoot it heavily influences my sense of aesthetics. When I’m behind my camera, if I’m at an aviation event or on one of my adventures, I’m not looking for subjects to shoot. Instead, I’m searching for some interesting light. “Shoot the light not the subjects” is a fundamental principal of my process to capture images. I feel the light in an image can make or break it. It can set the mood, make it pop, add dimension, and even direct one’s eye.

Fear the BONE

One of my photographic practices I enjoy doing, is to walk through the belle isle conservatory with my camera in hand, but not shooting anything. As I walk from room to room, I’m looking at the light. What is it doing? What direction is it coming from? Is it a reflection? Once I’ve made a complete lap of the conservatory, I then go through again shooting the subjects in the light that stood out to me. I try to keep track of the time of day, weather and sometimes even the season. Maybe the image is an afternoon shot, maybe it would be better on a sunny day or even wait until springtime when everything is in bloom? And yes, I have waited for months to capture a certain image. I have found that I produce better images if I do this walk around first then if I had not. And I did something similar during my trip to Antelope Canyon, by booking two differently timed tours.

We all have a medium of storytelling that we love, mine is cinematic. Some prefer to read; I enjoy watching storytelling. My sense of aesthetics has altered the way I view movies and shows. Some say I’m overly critical when it comes to things I watch. My suspension of disbelief does not tolerate garbage. A poorly conceived story, weak characters, predictable plots, shitty visual and special effects along with crappy cinematography and editing. All contributing to poor storytelling. Which is becoming a dying art form that is increasing due to absurd number of reboots along with the poorly rehashing of established materials.

Even though they are only a few minutes long, there are videos on YouTube that I enjoy far more than those multi-million-dollar Hollywood productions. For example, “Nerdwriter’s” brilliant video essays, to the entertaining maker “This Old Tony”, along with “Sean Tucker’s” personal life-long journey into photography. Regardless of content, they all are clearly passionate about their work. And it’s that noticeable hint of passion I can identify with.

This personal journey of exploring my creativity has been a healthy personal struggle. And through struggles, we grow. It started with a question and took me along an unexpected path that taught me something about myself. And what have I learned? That my creativity is divided into three unique elements. Passion is my fire; Inspiration is my fuel and Aesthetics is my vision. That all three needs to be nurtured and managed with care. My creativity is only one of my numerous fragments that makes me who I am.

Thanks for coming along,


On a side note, my distaste for social media has slowly eroded with my return to Instagram along with the start of a Flickr account. I’m using Instagram as a creative writing exercise. Sharing a brief story with each image. And Flickr is going to be the place where I show my images. Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, my March and April adventures had been put on hold until we get through this. Stay safe everybody.

The Pain of Sorting

If you ever photographed an airshow or sporting event, you know just how fast you can shoot through a thousand images. After a two-day event, you can easily shoot over 10,000 images. And it can be a bit overwhelming trying to sort through them all and finding the ones you want to share. After years of shooting, I have come up with a system of sorting that helps me find the images I want to share. There’s no right or wrong way to sort your images. This is just what I have learned that works well for me. And this may or may not work for you. With that being said, this is how I cope with the pain of sorting.

To start, it would be good to know what you are trying to share and for what platform.  Are they for your personal website, an online forum, Instagram, Facebook or maybe a yearly photo book? For this situation, I want my images to show the overall feeling of the TICO show on my blog. So, I want to limit the post to 50 images. The first step is to copy all the images from the show and place them in a separate folder. I never play/sort/edit the original files. My system is quite simple, it is looking at all my images from a show and in a series of rounds deleting poor images until I get to my set number.  

Yes, I have seen every photo I have shot from all the airshows and aviation events I’ve attended. Easily well over 250,000 images. You do not know what you got until you have seen it. It is exciting when you stumble upon something unexpected. I could not imagine creating images and not looking at them. This is not a process to speed up sorting. But it is a system to find the most visually pleasing images of an event that you want to share.

I am a Window user, so I use ImageGlass to view and delete unwanted photos. I find the copied folder and open the first image and start sorting. Hit the next button if it is a keeper and, Trash bin if it’s junk. The first round of images to be deleted are out of focus and soft images. Along with images that the aircraft is blocked by something. Hats, heads, antenna, speakers, airshow smoke, other aircraft. And images that part(s) of the aircraft are cut off. Missing noses, tails, wings, horizontal stabilizers…  

For the TICO show, I shot just over 7,900 images over 3 days on 2 bodies. And after the first round, I’m down to about 3500 images. The next round of deletions are images where the subject(s) are too small for my taste.

Tiny Subjects

Also in this round, if the sky has clouds (not overcast but a few here and there) as TICO did on Friday and Saturday. Those images are preferred over ones with a clear blue sky. I feel clouds adds visual appeal and a sense of location. This round is purely subjective, but I love showing clouds.

A new thing I’ll been working on is to blur the clouds by shooting a lower shutter speed than normal. It’s difficult to do but it makes your subject really stand out along with adds a sense of speed. Here’s a few examples.

In the next round, undesirable photos are deleted. Images such as belly shots, images where the wing is blocking the canopy, and what I’m calling “going away” shots. Starting with belly photos, I feel looking at the belly of an aircraft makes for a boring and uninteresting photo. Unless there is something of interest such as ordinance, open weapons bays or if your lucky, firing flares. An easy way to go about it is to ask yourself this question, “Why are my viewers going to look at this?” If you don’t have an answer, it goes in the bin. Next are images where the wing of the plane is blocking the view of the canopy. It’s an odd situation that happens soon after an aircraft passes in front of you and starts to head away. Its more noticeable with smaller low wing aircraft. I reject these images if I already have one showing the cockpit. And finally, “going away” photos. There are along the same lines of belly shots. An image where your subject is going away from you and has no visual appeal. But some “going away” images are cool. For example, photos with afterburner blazing and or vapor of some sort.  

Now I am down to about 250 images. In this round, it is time to get rid of the duplicate images that look the same but are shot on different days. There is no reason to show multiple images of the same aircraft especially at similar angles. This is harder to do if the weather is similar during the duration of an event. Sunday the weather crapped out and made this round of deletions much easier. There are very few Sunday images that made to cut. Here are two sets of duplicate shots, the first one is from Saturday’s show and the second is from Sunday. The Saturday image is clearly has better light. At the end of this round, my image counts is down to 100-120.

On to the final and hardest round. Weeding them down to 50. This is where it is important to know what you’re trying to show. To pick the right images that properly captures what you’re trying to convey. What helps me here is a series of questions that guides me to choose the most visually appealing images. What makes this image better than the others? Is there some element of design such as line, color, composition or symmetry incorporated into the photo? Which image has the cleanest/least distracting background? And which photo has the better exposure? With the last major huddle cleared, I now have my batch of visually appealing photos I want to share. But now come the Importance of Post Process. Which should not be a major chore. Nor do I want to spend an extraordinary amount of time in post either.

The less time I spend in post, the sooner I can upload and share my images. This system of sorting can work for any genre of photography. Again, this process is to help find the most visually pleasing images possible, and I hope it can help you with your sorting. Here’s a link to my final set of images from the TICO show.

Until next post,



Philosophy about Photography Part Three: The Importance of Post Process

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