Archive for December, 2008
Vancouver had a record snowfall over the past week making it rather difficult to go anywhere. However the weather conditions presented an opportunity to stay indoors and catch up on the Camera RAW self-study I was supposed to do in late November/early December. The self-study group was arranged by one of my classmates in the last PPSOP course and in preparation for our next course on HDR. It follows the Kelby Training DVD on Camera RAW Workflow Essentials by Matt Kloskowski which is a great DVD and one I highly recommend.
For readers who find this stuff technical, here’s a short explanation. You probably own a digital point and shoot camera that takes photographs in JPEG format which is a compressed format. Information is lost as it goes through the process of recording and saving the image on your memory card. Some digital point and shoot cameras and all DSLR’s can save images in Camera RAW format which is basically a digital negative. This format does not lose any information as it is saved. In addition each time you open a JPEG file, you will lose information and ultimately the quality of the image is affected. This is not the case with Camera RAW files. You can open up and manipulate the file and the quality remains unchanged.
Above is a photo of the Astoria-Megler Bridge which spans the mouth of the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. It was taken last October when we visited the Oregon Coast. Compositionally it isn’t great but it is a good image to demonstrate the power of Camera RAW. The first image is the original Camera RAW image and as you can see, it is dark and the horizon is crooked. The second image is the edited Camera RAW image which is cropped and straightened. Also I adjusted the white balance, hue and saturation and in doing so I was able to reveal the details that were hidden in the dark areas of the original image. While the results are quite amazing, I do think about the debate between photographers who believe you should get it right in-camera rather than spending your time fixing your errors in post-processing. On the other hand as long as the weather remains frightful and we’ve no place to go, we have an excuse to play around in Photoshop.