Filter, filter and filters...

Shocking news.  The photos I take are all adjusted.  

All of them.  

It isn't actually hard to figure that out, but in case you lived under a rock or recently left your Amish lifestyle, I wanted to clear things up. 

Now with that said, I don't use filters.  This could be semantics, but allow me to explain, or summarize.  

A filter is commonly thought of with Snapchat, or Instagram or other things like that.  It's a button you hit and a bunch of preset changes are made to your image, or maybe it adds bunny ears.   But the filter does the same thing, the same way, every time.  

When I used to take snapshots with my phone I would use the Instagram filters because it was easy.  I would also layer them on top of each other to keep pushing the image into the abstract.  It was fun and it was a way to kill time in airports when I traveled more. 

I post pictures to Instagram because it is the de facto medium to post images.  On that note, I don't like how they compress things and how it destroys colors.  But it's free. So, suck it up. 

I still post to Instagram, but I also post to my webpage so the quality is substantially better. 

I take all of my pictures on a Nikon D500.  I import them to my iPad and then use a program called afterlight to adjust them.   I am currently shooting on the highest quality jpeg the camera can use which makes the image size around six meg.  I plan on moving to the uncompressed tiff soon which makes the image around 60 meg each.  In order to make this change I have to get off the iPad.  Why you ask?, Because the transfer speed is too slow, the images are too large and the processing can't handle what I am doing.  I will migrate to my laptop and photoshop when I do this.  

Please note, I said adjust.  This isn't the same as a filter.  It's close, kind of. 

I typically adjust the contrast, shadows, temperature and exposure.  A by-product of this is it creates richer colors and darker blacks.  It is very similar to adding saturation.  But it's more than that. 

Sometimes the pictures are over the top.  I know this and I keep what I like.  

Each picture is different in how I adjust it.  A filter does the same thing to any picture you use.   It's why the bunny ears look the same on everyone who adds them.  

Below is an example of what I did to kind of illustrate my point.

I decided that I wanted the flower, or whatever it actually is, to glow.  

I know how to do that, so I layer four or five effects and stack them in varying orders to get what my mind saw.   If I don't do this in a certain order I get a different outcome.  In this case, I knew what I wanted.  I saw it before I took the original picture  

Sometimes I like the final results, sometimes I don't.   I delete four or five times the number of pictures than I post.  Probably more now that I think about it.  

This particular picture is actually blurry or not sharp enough for me. I may have made different choices if it had been more clear.  

In order to get the white leaves to turn that neon blue color I have to use the temperature adjustment in between a few other effects and mix in a little saturation and enhance the mid tones a little. 

In other words, there is no filter here and I can't necessarily replicate the steps I took.  I conceptually know how to do this again, but no two pictures will ever be the same.