Saturday, February 16, 2008

Technical Wonder

I read this great little article by Richard Legg some time ago. It seems that there is a misperception that if you have a big fancy camera you must be a photographer. It is as if people assume that the camera does all the work...

"Wow that is a fancy pen you have there you must be a writer!"

Richard Legg a local photographer of extraordinary talent puts it this way:
I bought this expensive camera, but my pictures look blah!

The funny thing about those big fancy digital SLR cameras is that they actually require more work to give you great images. You can't treat those cameras like you do your point and shoot, in fact the more expensive cameras ussually don't have those auto modes. You are expected to have a basic understanding of F-stops, shutter speed, ISO, white-balance, exposure compensation and the list goes on and on.

In fact if you shoot a DSLR, to take the most advantage of the camera you will want to shoot RAW. What is RAW? Any digital image that your camera captures is most likely written to the camera card as a Jpeg. The amount of processing that the camera performs before it is written to the card would make your head spin. Just a few of the parameters that you can tweak in camera for Jpeg processing are:
-color/hue corrections
-noise reduction
-compression levels etc.
This doesn't even consider all the parameters you can't tweak.

When you shoot raw you are taking the image from the camera before any of this processing has occured. You have a file you can tweak nondestructively that is optimal for archiving. An example could be likened too cakes. When you take pictures in Jpeg format you are buying a cake at the store from the bakery ready made. When you set raw it is like going to the store and buying eggs, flour, oil, salt, water, sugar etc and baking the cake in your oven at home. One takes more work but gives you a lot more options on the final product.

This is what I love about the digital SLR. All the changes that you can make the tweaks and little things that just make an image better. Here are two images of my beautiful wife. The first is nearly straight from the camera.

The second is a processed image with canges that include selective sharpening, selective blurring and a little bit of color changes. I think unless you look hard you won't see the changes. Of course I will admitt that I am getting better at getting my image closer to what I want as a final image straight from the camera.

Anji portrait 2

It is funny that the more money you spend on a camera the more work the the final image requires but hey that work is soooooo worth it.

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