Shoot Raw … a Rude Reminder
Long breaks from shooting have proved to be bad for me. This is following my Failure To Focus post from last month. This next lesson came from an entire shoot that was mostly of un-useable images. Such a drag since the location I walked to was a couple miles along a treacherous terrain. Hopefully I won’t make the same mistake again.
12 years ago I made the change from shooting all JPEG to shooting all RAW images. It didn’t really matter if the subject I was shooting needed to be RAW because it was going to be shot RAW anyway. Well now I have become so custom to developing RAW images that I forgot what the difference really was. Well I learned the difference today.
My camera is getting old. The last photo shoot I had was underwater at Mahaiula beach. Unfortunately the housing leaked and when I removed the camera, although the camera worked fine, the settings began to change on their own. ISO, focus, white balance, and PASM; I just didn’t realize the RAW capture settings changed as well. I had thought something was different when I noticed the 1250 number on the screen, but it didn’t dawn on me what that number actually represented. The 1250 was the available images I could shoot on the memory card, where that number usually is around 200. Thinking it was the ISO I went to adjust the settings, but it was already at 100. It was at this moment I should have stopped to figure it out, but of course I didn’t and proceeded to shoot the new location.
I left thinking I may have gotten some great shots… I was wrong. Once I saw the JPEG at the end of the files while loading them on my hard drive I was mortified. “Maybe they will be fine” I thought to myself. That was until I began to work on the images.
The first thing I began to notice was the amount of artifacts in under exposed areas. Then the minor adjustments in the highlights and shadows really started to make the images look fake. Instead of having the ability to fine tune these areas, small adjustments would completely blow them out or flatten the image. Then there was a lot of blotchy areas where the pixels try to make up the detail in dark and highlighted areas. Followed by the objects in the distance at the far end of focus had a weird sharpening look to them. Almost like the objects were wrapped in plastic. These camera compressed images were total crap. All flexibility for development is gone. The only way this JPEG setting worked is if the image shot was technically perfect and in a tight focal range.
The shot I posted needed very little development and for the most part worked. With a little bit of loss in the shadowy areas I am fairly happy with it, but as for the rest, it was a sad night.