While processing a RAW file, using the ‘Auto’ white balance option is easiest, but obviously the chicken’s way out. Here is an example.
I have started a new photography project. Though I had scanned most of my paper photographs using a scanner, they are quite small in size (compared to the sizes we are accustomed to today). The size was primarily because these photos were scanned almost 10 years ago and storage space was not as readily available as it is today.
I have started taking pictures of each photograph using the DSLR. I am using the 18-55mm kit lens and am shooting in RAW so as to make minor adjustments.
The initial results are quite encouraging.
A few evenings ago, a Plain Tiger butterfly flew into my house. I was pretty excited and took out my DSLR for a few pictures. As it was dark outside, the room was lit with a tube-light. I was shooting on aperture mode.
To add some brightness to the scene, I decided to use a mobile as a flashlight (to light the subject). One of the images I got was this.
I was planning to delete the image but decided to play with the settings. I dropped the image into a RAW photo editor and played around with the settings.
One of the settings was for ‘Highlights’. I set the value to zero and this is what I got.
Just for comparison, here is another image that I shot without the flashlight.
It was pretty amazing. A totally unexpected result. I am sure that many people will advise me against such action, but I am pleased with the effect.
Now, I need to understand how that parameter affects images.
With a DSLR, the stark reality of space keeps staring you in the face. Recently, I shot a few hundred pictures using RAW format and the size ended up being around 5.5GB. While going through the pictures, I obviously deleted the bad ones, but am still left with 60. I have converted the RAW images into JPEG, thus adding to the space requirements. Now the question is, should I delete the RAW and keep only the JPEGs? Alternately, I can delete the JPEG and keep the RAW as it is always possible to generate the JPEG from the RAW.
Am undecided and hence going with the ‘retain all’ option.
Recently, I shot a couple of pumpkins in RAW format. The size of each RAW file was around 25MB. Then I converted the RAW to JPEG and deleted the RAW files. Now I am wondering if I need to retain the JPEG at its full resolution of 5184 x 3456 (17.92 mega pixel resolution) (~6MB each file). It is not like I am going to print the images at high resolution. It may be prudent to reduce the image to 25% its original size.
Though I have been taking pictures using RAW mode, I have yet to get a good RAW workflow in place. As I am not part of any photography group, most of the RAW processing trials that I try on the photos may leave much to be desired (this is with the assumption that the photo itself is ‘decent’ in the first place). I keep fiddling many of the controls, like exposure, clarity, vibrance and try to get a decent effect. But I still need to work a lot on this skill.
It goes without mentioning that the foremost thing I need to try and do is get sharp pictures (without a tripod, which I am reluctant to purchase) and also learn to compose a ‘good’ frame.
AS mentioned in an earlier post (Viewing CR2 files – https://twentymegahertz.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/viewing-cr2-files/), my default file viewer software is FastStone Image Viewer. The best part of this software is that I did not face any headache when I started viewing photos from my Canon 700D. Neither the JPEG gave trouble, nor the RAW (CR2). The viewer was able to show me the image.
But, there is a difference between the ‘JPEG view’ and the ‘Raw view’ generated by FastStone Image Viewer. The JPEG view appears to be more White, as if the brightness has been bumped up during processing. This is very different from the JPEG generated by the camera itself, when saving images in both formats – JPEG and RAW.
Hence, the simple option of using FastStone Image Viewer’s batch convert option to RAW to JPEG conversion does not really work out due to this quirk.
On the advice of a friend, I have been trying my hand at shooting photographs in RAW mode. As you might be aware, a RAW file is kind of equivalent to the old-age film negative, that needs to be processed, before getting the actual image. Due to this factor, a RAW file is much larger than a its JPEG equivalent.
After a recent shooting spree, I ended up with many photographs in RAW format, occupying multiple GBs of space on the hard disk.
Now, the decision facing me is, should I store CR2 or JPEG for posterity? On one hand, with a CR2, I have the ‘digital negative’ that takes a lot of spaces and needs processing to get an image. On the other hand, I have a converted, JPEG image, which cannot be processed further without loss of quality.
At the end of the day, I am only an enthusiast photographer and hence would like to find a balance between quality and flexibility versus storage and backup.
In an earlier post (Viewing CR2 files — https://twentymegahertz.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/viewing-cr2-files/), I had mentioned that I use FastStone Image Viewer as my ‘go to’ image viewer. One of the reasons for this was the inability of Windows Explorer to show thumbnails of .CR2 (Canon RAW) files.
A few days ago, I came across a solution. Microsoft has a Codec Pack that allows Windows Explorer to display thumbnails for CR2 files. The codec pack supports many camera formats.
After installing this pack, I can see thumbnails for CR2 files as well. But, FastStone Image Viewer continues to be my image viewer of choice.
- How do I view RAW pictures in Windows 7? — http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/how-do-i-view-raw-pictures
- Microsoft Camera Codec Pack (6.3.9721.0) — https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=26829