Friday, 30 December 2016

take advantage of the future

One of the reasons I like to use RAW mode on my images (and have done for some years now) is to be able to take advantage of advances in image processing.

The same is true with Negatives, which I preferred over slides because I actually wanted prints not projector time. As time went by I was able to get successively better prints from the same negatives and the same is true with RAW digital.

Back in 2007 Anita and I were on a trip to visit my family in NSW in Australia. We stopped at this lookout after some hiking and the light was perfect. However I could see quickly that the JPG produced by my Nikon wasn't doing it justice so I engaged RAW and took another shot.

I tried to get a good image from that RAW file a few times over the years and was always disappointed by the processing tools available, but encouraged as they got better over time. First I was using dcraw then ACR, then Photomatix ... all gave interesting results that I liked, but each was somehow unsatisfactory in other ways.

Just the other day I tried snapseed on the raw file (converted NEF to DNG)

So, as RAW also stores the original JPG too you can actually see the differences between the:

Original Camera JPG

which is very black in the shadows, indeed has the look of a startled squid squirting its escape...

and the RAW that I've processed just the other day with Snapseed:

The clouds were darker and "menacing" as I recall and yet the visibility of the tree (the actual subject) in the foreground is present without being too saturated in colour or too strongly bright.

Despite this being a humble (by todays standards) Prosumer Coolpix 5000 (which was able to make NEF files thanks to a post-manufacture firmware update by Nikon) I was able to finally make a print from my image of nearly ten years ago just the other day.

If I only had the original JPG it would have forever been "well it was nice on the day..."

Images are memories and you can't often know in advance which ones you'll want to come back to as valuable. My trip to these places with Anita is more special to me now than I would have anticipated then. So I'm glad I knew enough to make the right decisions then.

I could say that of so many things ...

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