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.

 

Colourising old photos

I’ve been playing around with colourising old black and white photographs using Photoshop. The technique is quite simple – if a little time consuming – and makes use of various blend modes to overlay colour on black and white while retaining the detail of the photograph.

Rather than trying to mimic a colour photo, the technique replicates the days when colour photos were simply black and white prints that had been hand coloured. Part of the fun is selecting the colours for clothes, backgrounds and the like. There is no reference colours so it’s all up to the imagination.

Below are a few examples of what can be done – using shots of various members of the family – well mainly me from many years ago.

 

I’ve always wanted a Leica camera

LeicaI’ve been an SLR camera guy for as long as I can remember. Ever since I bought my first camera back and lens – a Ricoh KR10 with a 50mm lense – I’ve relied on the control and quality a good SLR provides. The downside of an SLR is the bulk of the camera and various lenses – my current camera bag weighs around 6kgs. There is nothing subtle about taking the camera out for the evening and nothing subtle about using it.

I’ve always wanted a compact camera that could go anywhere, which still took great pictures, and which gave me the ability to control things like depth of field and shutter speed.

I’ve also always wanted a Leica camera but have always been put off by the prices – particularly in New Zealand.

The opportunity to get both came my way when we stopped to browse at the Leica shop at Hong Kong airport. Leica’s range of compact cameras have always got good reviews and their latest mid range compact – the D-Lux 6 – has been no exception. And there sitting in the display cabinet was one calling my name.

Now the geeks among my readers will know that the D-Lux 6 is essentially the same camera as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. There are some minor cosmetic changes – like the addition of the round red Leica logo – but the cameras are one in the same. Leica have been working with Panasonic for years, using Panasonic’s hardware but then writing their own software to control image capture and processing.

This is where the two camera’s differ and the results are impressive. In fact it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a shot taken on the Leica and a shot taken on my Nikon DSLR.

The Leica version of this camera carries a price premium but it seems worth it – for the added image quality as well as that small red circle on the front.

From one generation to the next

One of the things that our dear old dog Daisy used to enjoy was standing on the arm of our couch, looking out the lounge window to the street, and barking at everyone that walked past.

She taught Poppie and now, it seems, Poppie is passing it on to the next generation.

On Friday I photographed Poppie and her barking apprentice Bella, on the arm of the couch, waiting for a new victim to come into view.

It reminded me of a similar photo from 2005. The only difference is 8 years and a new couch.

Warning – gratuitous dog shot

Today I was playing with Poppie the dog on the study floor. I just happened to have my camera and a wide-angle lens with me at the time.

After about 5 minutes and 50 photos we both ran out of steam. Well I ran out of steam, Poppie just got bored and wandered off. But somewhere in the middle of those 50 shots was one I really liked.

Sorry, it’s another gratuitous dog shot.