Tag Archives: camera

Friday Photo — RAW deals

Last week, I said I would delve some into my experience with RAW images.  If you have looked into reasons why shooting RAW is the way to go (in many cases, though not all*) if you want to achieve professional results with your photography.

instamatic x-35

instamatic x-35 (Photo credit: alexis mire)

English: Canon PowerShot G5 camera

English: Canon PowerShot G5 camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I’d the first to say that I’m not a professional photographer.  I’m using an older digital camera that is just a few steps away from one of those old Instamatic Polaroids and not even as convenient to use as newer ones because I still need to find someone to print my photos.

Left image ≠ right image, but they’re more similar than you might suspect.

But I do have some advantages too.  With my G5, I have a full manual mode, allowing me to set my f-stops, ISO and shutter speeds.  While I still usually use the automatic white balance, I have toyed with it in the manual mode, and I’m enjoying the flexibility of manual focus and being able to add specialized filters and macro lenses to my camera for different effects.

MY camera --taken w/ my hubby's iPhone (with which I take really crappy pictures)

MY G5–taken w/ hubby’s iPhone (with which I take really crappy pictures)

However, I’m starting to think that the best feature of my camera is the ability to shoot RAW images as well as jpeg files.  If you’ve ever worked with film negatives before, you know how powerful a tool they are.   I actually never used them myself, but I’ve seen the different ways a single negative can become a multitude of different images.

You can do this sort of processing with a RAW image a lot more precisely than you can a jpeg (although there are a lot of programs out there to help you with your jpegs too).

As close to the original as I dare upload

As close to the original as I can upload

Now a RAW image pretty much is “meh” if you use a viewer (like Picassa) to see it.  Booooring! Colors are washed out–the amazing reflected sunset we saw that night was just…well gone.

So I used RAWtherapee to tweak the white balance and saturation (as well as applied some noise reduction) as per this page (A Simple Workflow for RAW Processing) to get this:

MUCH closer to the tree we saw

MUCH closer to the tree we saw

It still needs work.  A lot of work actually…  But it’s a start.

I’m still learning all of this stuff–in fact today was my first “close to successful” attempt to use RAWTherapee for processing my RAW images.  I was taking them all this time, without being able to really use them, because I knew someday I would.

I need to decide if I want to pay for a Photoshop subscription for further editing, so I just applied a few finishing touches in Picassa to the second image for this final result.  I like it.  I think it’s a pretty cool tree too.

Lovely Tree

Lovely Tree

Don’t you?

* There is a movement (in part because of the direction camera manufacturers are taking in their technology) that advocates using the built-in camera jpeg format as opposed to the more work-heavy RAW processing.  My own camera does OK with jpegs, but its 5MP limitation and the blue-haze it edges things with often make RAW mode work a necessity.  Look at both sides of the RAW/jpeg debate and choose for yourself–it’s still worth considering despite changes in the technology.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You learn something new to try later.  🙂

Opinions Wanted–Every Friday

Contrast and color: Flowers at Russel Sage College

Contrast and color

This Wednesday I posted my tentative schedule for this blog.  Tentative as this work in progress is something of an experiment in self-discovery and will likely change several more times before it becomes anything stable.

Until I get around to rewriting the sidebars (challenging on my laptop screen as if doesn’t give me a very clear “overall” view of the page’s appearance when I’m previewing things), here is a recap of the new schedule with updated notes:

  • Sunday — Writing and the ROW80 check-in
  • Wednesday — Life as I know it and the ROW80 check-in
  • Friday — Friday Photoblog

Today being Friday, welcome to the first installment of Friday Photoblog, where I will share some of my favorite images, ask opinions of composition and edits.  On occasion I will give my (amateur) opinion on the equipment I’m using or hope to use some day.

But not today…

For now, let me simply share some links.  The first two link to my public photostreams on Imgur and Flickr.  The third is a generic Canon Powershot G5 search in Flickr so that you can compare what more experienced photographers have achieved with similar equipment (assume photos have been edited unless the photographer posts information to the contrary). The others are links to reviews of  G5 (the camera I use now) so that people can see what more professional photographers say about advantages and limitations of the machinery.

English: Front view of Canon PowerShot G5 digi...

At the moment I’m looking for a more suitable site to store my pictures on.  Imgur is definitely an easy site to work with, but I’m not comfortable with the site security over long-term (it presumes rights rather than states them clearly).  Flickr has a lot to recommend it, save that it’s a Yahoo toy, and I have issues with the recent changes in their corporate structure.

Any suggestions?

Any particular photos (mine or other people’s) that stand out to you?  What do you like about them?

Feel free to post links in the comments that you’d like me to see.

Photo credits:

  • My own work, taken April 2010
  • English: Front view of Canon PowerShot G5 digital camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)