Adding to the Mental Portfolio

After a weekend of family visits, AFA-CSU football (not the result I wanted) and a birthday celebration for some good friends, it was time to sharpen the saw so to speak. Colby Brown, Jay and Varina Patel spent a full Sunday walking a group of Colorado photographers, me included, through their post processing and workflow techniques. Clearly, the pairing of the Patels with Brown served a valuable purpose. Both offered up some valuable composition ideas that follow the time honored principles that should be commonplace to the studied landscape and natural world photographer but the larger value is in the journey to the final image. Jay and Varina utilize and evangelize a more Photoshop centric technique that they call iHDR that is rooted in a the concept of retaining the maximum level of control while Colby Brown shared multiple techniques based on the usage of some specialized plug ins for Lightroom as well as Photoshop. There is no doubt that both processes produce some very impressive results from the captured files. The real take away for me was that there are many ways to skin the post processing cat. It is great to be able to have 17 different plugins or images processors but getting to the level where you can master 2 or 3 will do more for your photography than the next new camera body.
The message here is to take advantage of all these opportunities that the photo communities offer and take a class, participate in a workshop, attend a seminar. What you may find out is that you know more than you thought, you have all the gear you need and your processes are just fine. The validation is important to keep you motivated to get out there shooting and processing to a finish point. That's where the real learning is.