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

Well, Hello There!

Me: “Oh yeah, I have a blog!”

An Adventure in Awesome: ” I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me. Where have you been? Why haven’t you posted anything? Do you not like me?”

Me:(with a devilish grin) “I haven’t forgotten about you and I still like You! “

An Adventure in Awesome: “What happened? I barely saw you last year!”

Me: “What? I posted Star Wars day!”

An Adventure in Awesome: (upset) “Yeah and that was it! What the fuck dude?!”

Me: “Well, things change. My passion shifted from photography and writing to model making for most of the year. I did started a pretty ambitious project, My Sea Flankers. Three 1/48 scale Sea Flankers from my imagination or insanity?!”

An Adventure in Awesome: “Whatever… Did you even go to any airshows or some type of aviation event? Did you even pick up your camera in 2019?”

Me: “I did not go to any airshows or any aviation events in 2019 and may not in 2020. I’ve been to so many shows in the past 15 years, seen the same acts, demos and jet teams and it is not enjoyable seeing the same things over and over again.”

An Adventure in Awesome: “So, are you done with photography and writing? What happen to having more meaningful content along with photography with intention?”

Me: “Oh, heck no. I’m not done yet! I just want to see and do different things. Matter of fact, I’m working on my largest post ever. Tons of new and cool images and exciting experiences. I think your going to like it!  I can’t wait to share it with you!”

An Adventure in Awesome:(super excited) “What is it about? Where did you go? What did see? Come on, Come on!”

Me: “Hold your horses their Missy. It’s coming and very soon. Along with I will posting more this year. I promise! I already have a few adventures planned for 2020.”

An Adventure in Awesome: “Its good to see you are back!”


Happy belated New Year!

Like I said above, last year I lose interest in going to airshows and my passion to build models fired up. But things changed over the holidays season and I’m going to do more traveling in 2020. The more I travel, the more I will post. Stay tuned!




A look back at 2018 and my thoughts about 2019

Here we are at the end of 2018. Time to reflect on this year’s goals I set for myself and see what I accomplished. Yeah, I reduce my online presence with my photography this year. I quit Instagram and just recently I abandon Facebook. Both are not the platform in which I want to share my work. Last year, I had just about 1200 visitors with 4800 views. 2018, I got about 1100 visitors but with over 6600 views. I don’t care about the number of people who visit my blog, I care about the one who come, look around and stay for a while. People who read what I say and enjoy it.

I felted that I did embrace my idea of “It’s about concentration and not validation”. I started a series called “Exploring My Creativity”. The examination of my creativity starting with Passion and followed up with Inspiration.  Two of my most difficult post and currently working on part three, “My Eye for Aesthetics”.

 Let’s me be honest, I like the attention I get from showing off my work. We all do, in some shape or form. But that should not be the reason why we create and share. We live in a time where photography is oversaturated. If you don’t believe me, just google “number of images on instagram, on Flickr or on Facebook” and see what you find. And it seems like the spotlight shines on those who can get the most “Likes” verses those who have a true talent or have a creative and artistic vision. I can’t say I am either.  Ansel Adam once said, “The production of beauty without other motivation.”  That really resonates with me and I’m going to make that my focus of all my passions during 2019.

My Photography and Writing

  • More meaningful content along with photography with intention. It may upset some of you and I might even lose some you. But they’re things I need to speak about. Things I feel are important to me and I must do what I feel is right.
  • To keep growing, struggling with things and to keep pushing my creativity. Maybe play with abstract, shoot more landscape, to continue to travel to new places.
  • To continue to create images that are unique to Me. If I only go to one event or a thousand next year, I don’t care. And just like 2018, I will not continue to attend the same shows and events in past years. 

Here’s my favorite 10 images from 2018. Each of them has a story behind them as well as they clearly define what I remember of events of 2018. Every time I look at them, it’s like a time machine taking my back to those moments. Doing things I enjoy, hanging out with friends, meeting cool people and seeing some cool shit.

I also got into trouble along the way. While back in Virginia, my sister, her husband and I when to the Tidewater Comicon. Like Rick, I pissed off Negan! This Summer, the Detroit Institute of Arts hosted the Star Wars costume exhibit. Vader got a little frustrated with me and tried force choking me. Then out at Vegas during the Star Trek convention, the Borg tried to assimilate me! After that I found out what happens when you call a Klingon a p’tach!

About Gear

I’m not buying into to the mirror-less trend. Until Canon comes up with a singles lenses mount, I’m sticking to DSLR. And in 2019, I’m going full frame baby! For X-mas, I got myself a Canon 5DS R and the 24-70mm F/2.8L MK II. Both came with a bundle of goodies. Extra cards and batteries, grip, filters… Got a new sling bag too. It’s not as big as my backpack and larger then my messenger bag. And just like last year, end of the year is a great time to back-up your images. I back-up my images(including images from my phone)on 3 different hard drives to reduce the chances of losing everything at once and in one location. Back That Shit up Photographers!

My Model Making

  • Like my photography and writing, to keep growing, struggling with things and to keep pushing my creativity.
  • To be more of a model maker, making my own parts and be less of a kit builder. Been playing with the idea of getting a vinyl cutter, so I could make my own custom paint mask along with making custom vinyl surface detail.


If you like what you see and read here, click the “Like” button! Along with feel free to leave a reply below or start to follow my blog.

See you all next Year!


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