Why shooting RAW is the best idea

For those photographers who are shooting using the jpeg format, here’s a pretty compelling demonstration of why you should change to a RAW format if you can.

Recently I took some car interior shots while the car was in being repainted. These were shots for my insurance company who, quite unreasonably I thought, wanted to have on file  some photos of the cars they insure.

Suffice it to say the shots were taken quickly with no real attention to detail.

With one shot the flash hadn’t fired and you can see the results below –  an interior that looks virtually black with no detail – but by tweaking the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw the shot was made passable.

As a comparison I wondered how a jpeg of the same image would perform if tweaked the same way and the results were quite dramatically worse. I wasn’t expecting the quality gap to be so big.

The amount of detail contained in the shadows of the RAW file which can then be brought out is phenomenal.

So, if you can shoot in RAW but choose not too, think about a change.

An app worth grabbing – Prisma

Ever so often you run a cross an iOS app that is very cool. Prisma is one such app. It turns photos into art. Yes, I hear you say, there are lots of apps the do this – most produce a result that is absolute rubbish.

Prisma is different – it has a number of different styles you can choose from – and it’s free from the App Store.

 

Moon over Hataitai

F5.6, 1/160th sec, ISO400, Effective focal length 450mm


Tonight was close to a full moon, and as it rose over the horizon and cleared a bank of clouds I managed to capture this shot.

I’ve tried to get a shot like this many times before but I usually end up with a white blob on a black background. This time the fact it was only just dark and that the moon was magnified because it was close to the horizon all helped.

But this shot was still not what I’d seen through the viewfinder. Given the fact I was hand holding the camera and shooting at 160th of a second to minimise camera shake any detail outside of the moon was lost.

So with a little assistance from my favourite image editor, I’ve put together a view more in keeping with what I saw.

San Gimignano – quintessentially Toscana

 

San GimignanoWhen we were living in Tuscany having visitors arrive was always a treat. The opportunity to show people around “our neck of the woods” was always something we looked forward too. And as an experience of the essential Tuscany, San Gimignano was always a winner.

You may have heard of this village and it’s many towers. Originally it is said that there were up to 40 towers but now only 7 or 8 remain. But even with only a few towers it is still one of the most recognisable villages in the region.

Initially we thought that San Gimignano might be “too touristy” for our friends, but everyone we took there loved it. The walk up the hill from the Porta San Giovanni to the Piazza della Cisterna was always a great introduction, with the multitude of small shops that line the street adding to the feeling that this was the quintessential hilltop village. A drink or lunch in the main piazza was a must with a leisurely stroll down to the Porta San Matteo to follow.

We always seemed to leave with something – linen for the table or fresh pasta or a simple gelato from the award winning store Gelateria di Piazza located in Piazza della Cisterna.

 

 

Night and day

Over the last few days I’ve spent a bit of time playing around with Photoshop turning day shots to night shots. It’s one of those things that sounds hard but is relatively simple.

The key is to making things look realistic is to work out where the night light is coming from – street lights or the moon or an open window – and to work from that.

See what you think.

 

 

A comparison that surprised me

Two camerasMy first ever digital camera was a Canon Digital IXUS V. It boasted a 2.1 megapixel sensor, an optical view finder and a LCD screen on the back that was about the size of a postage stamp. Overall it was about as big as a packet of cigarettes and built like a brick.

I purchased it over 10 years ago and it has sat in a draw, unused, for the last few years because the battery has refused to charge. I ran across it a few weeks ago and decided to see if I could track down a new battery to bring it back to life. Surprisingly I managed to find a new battery  – thank you dc-battery.co.nz – and the camera came alive.

A comparison seemed to be in order – my rejuvenated Canon versus the Leica D-Lux 6 purchased in Hong Kong last year.

This is in no way a scientific comparison, just me playing around one afternoon at my desk. I was expecting the Leica to blitz the Canon – which it did – but in good light the antique Canon held up reasonably well – much better than I expected.