I think I just had a breakthrough. For some time I’ve been taking pictures in RAW and JPG, leaving the RAW files on my hard-drive to collect magnetic dust. I didn’t have the time or the energy to understand just what I could gain from them. There are some things in life that I study in detail before I even have the courage to attempt: medicine, for example. In my hobby world, I dive in and play around until I discover something new. Then, when it strikes me, I go back and study the details having some context to understand them. Here is a post-raw processed picture of the Bay Bridge I took a few weeks ago.
And here is the same image using the RBG Profile directly from the camera. When I initially took the image I was disappointed! It looked nothing like what my eye saw.
Such a drastic recovery of color and light! Where was I going wrong? Here is another example of a recovery of color by using RAW. First I will demonstrate the original.
And now the recovered image.
Here’s what I have learnt as the nutshell of RAW photography (essentially a digital negative). Photons hit an individual photo site or pixel and the imaging chip records an analog voltage which is converted to 12 or 14 bits of information depending on the camera type. This comes out to 4,096 brightness levels (2^12) or 16,384 different brightness levels. Color filters are placed over individual pixels, and a complex algorithm determines color by comparing the level of neighboring pixels with different filters. Immediately converting to JPEG converts the image down to 8 bit (256 levels).
For now, here are a few more pictures. In the future I will teach my self some of the further details of editing in RAW. What are all those silly sliders in Photoshop for anyway!?