Life Before Photoshop: Cessna

by Joe on February 9, 2013

in Life Before Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop!

Here’s another post in my never ending quest to bring to life the: over the top, incredible, amazing, unbelievable, and yes even scary idea that you can actually create your pictures “in the camera”.

I started teaching workshops in the early eighties when we used film, and Adobe was thought to be a type of building material that went into houses in the southwest part of the US. Through the years I’ve seen the transformation from film to digital, and for the most part students of mine that I teach online at the PPSOP and the “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet fell in love with photography after the sorrowful end of “cellulose acetate”…momma they took my Kodachrome away!!!


For the most part, my fellow photographers think that Lightroom and Photoshop are just part of the process; a needed part of the process. An integral part of picture taking, the results being a good photo that we can show our friends and family and watch them react favorably with plenty of “Ooh’s and Aah’s .

Well that’s all well and good, and truth be told I also enjoy Cs5, but my first thought is to take on the challenge of creating my photos before I pull the trigger (that’s Texas talk for clicking the shutter). That includes cropping in the camera. You see, by not cropping in the camera, you’ll never know where the edges of your frame are. The best thing that ever happened to me was that I’ve spent the majority of my forty-six year career in film and without the added help of post processing…why you ask?

Because I think it’s made me  better photographer.


The photo above was taken for Cessna. I was in a shoot plane designed for taking air-to-air photos of their line of aircraft. As you can see, one side of the plane is completely open. We took off first and I positioned our plane so the Citation Jet would get the best light. As the jet approached, I sat on the edge with my feet hanging out and I started shooting until it veered off, leaving a lot of turbulence in its wake. We went through the steps a couple more times until I felt I had it “in the can”. You see, there wasn’t a way I could view my shots in the back of the camera!!!

Checking the direction of the light.

Visit my website at: and check out my 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to:



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