Sunday, August 24, 2014


As titled, Unfiltered, today you may experience my lack of cohesion. Somewhat Focused but with my usual rants.

More, I want to discuss the use of filters and/or lack thereof. I bring you today's photo of Stefanie.


Since posting this particular photo on the Facebook Fan Page, I got more than a few messages in my various inboxes.

Friends, fans and associates questioned the effect they are seeing.

Photoshop action?

Lightroom plugin?

Aperture effect?

No, no and no.


Amigos, amigas, guilty as charged. Do I use filters? Sure. Ah, but I'm very very particular about when they are used.

Lemme explain.

I enjoy being creative with my iPhone. iPhoneography as it's sometimes called. I give personal rules and regulations to follow, helping to hone my craft both with an iPhone and discursively with Betsy.

Rules? Yes. As a creative rules aren't usually our friends. Conformity? Not for us.

I bestow these rules upon myself to gain discipline. I only allow myself to use available iPhone apps to edit my iPhone photos. I will not allow myself to use any of the Adobe Master's Collection to edit these snapshots.

These days I primarily use Instagram filters for my iPhoneography. I don't go crazy with iPhone processing. Simply slap a filter on, adjust and call it a day.

Conversely, I NEVER use any sort of filters with my, for lack of a better term, professional work.



A whole lotta the same shit. How many photos out there a simply slapped with a Sutro or Earlybird or Lo-fi or you get the point.

I'm not knocking filters as I have in the past but they have their place. Giving the iPhoneographer a way to spice up their snaps. It's cool. I'm one of those iPhoneographers.

But for actual portfolio work? I work from my heart, my brain, from scratch. Like an artist with a blank canvas, that's how I build those works that make the website, the photos that I deliver to clients.

Filters are like picking pizza toppings. You get what the shop offers. Maybe they have only 5 options: pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, pineapple or anchovy. Down the street they have gourmet pies offering toppings such as pancetta, prosciutto, grana padano, arugula, fontina, you know, the good expensive pies.

Your mobile device offers the same. Instagram gives about ten toppings or so, down the street at Photoshop Express you may be able to customize, mix and match some toppings. Bottom line? Your creativity is somewhat finite isn't it?

When I'm hitting the iPhoneography, the toppings at either shop may suit my needs, dependent upon my mood.

On the other hand, when I'm working for a client? I build my own pie. I will go to the farmer's market for the best veggies and to a real cheese shop for the best of cheeses.

Are you getting my metaphor? Without filters only you can limit your creativity.

Nerd File ::

So the emails came with questions about the edit. I was processed with heart - ZERO filters.

Speaking of farmer's markets, Stefanie and I were at Pete's Market (Donio Farms), off of The White Horse Pike, in Hammonton, New Jersey, the blueberry capital of the world.

Along with the purchasing of some super fresh and incredibly delicious local vegetables, we were there to create some awesome photographs.

On the north side of the road was vast farm land. On the south side, the farmers' market. I was really drawn to the roadside signage. It's the kind of stuff you just don't see to much these days as we are overtaken by the world of digitized advertising. Hey, it's cool but to see the old, solid big and bulky signs like this is always a delight.

The skies? I usually like overcast skies; dark enough to drop the ambient and throw up some strobes.

On this day the sky couldn't be more of an antithesis. Bright with a few puffy clouds scattered around.  I decided to work this in my favor.

I worked the camera in a pretty even exposure. Straight ambient at ::

Aperture :: f/1.4 (Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G)

Shutter :: 1/5000

ISO :: 100

Proper exposure but towards the right. A highlight or two clipped. Perfect.

Out of camera, this was not a photo I would typically love. In fact, you don't typically see me share photographs with happy blue skies.

Dark drama wasn't an option so I decided to (and stoked that I did) process favoring those blinking highlights that most would fear.

No holds barred, here is a screenshot of the Adobe Camera RAW editor, my main editing tool these days.

That giant red blob? The clipped highlights. Look at that histogram! A pixel peepers nightmare! Me? I pushed it there. Look at the exposure. +2.00! Yes, I pushed the exposure two stops past what was already a properly exposed file. Call me kooky.

The edit? It's all right there. The only thing you can't see on this screen is the Sharpening slider which I typically push to about 50. Nothing crazy.

5500 Kelvin.

Pumped the blacks, contrast and a few others. Export to .jpg and that's it. ZERO filters. ZERO Photoshop.

Just me and my canvas.

Limitless options.

Pure liberation.

Until next time...