Colour over the billabong.

Evening dusk photograph of a billabong on the River Murray system with strong colour reflections.

The image above was shot earlier this evening as dusk settled over a billabong at Merbein. It was shot for a continuing project we’re involved in shooting. So in that regard enough said. It isn’t the picture that we went to shoot, and most likely won’t make it into the final selects. But when plan A goes dramatically pair shaped. Plan B always seems to be a good idea. Even when it’s not. I’m here so I might as well have a go at getting something.

So why post the picture at all? Simple really. The image above is pretty much the colour and look we went hunting for. Just not the subject or angle we had in mind. It has been through Photoshop, we added the logo, and the black line around it plus retouched out a couple of roof tops, but that’s it. Now take a look at the image below.

Jpeg from a flat raw file straight out of a MF digital camera

This image is a straight jpeg conversion from an original camera file. Some of you will think there is something wrong with lower photo. Or that we have worked the top image heavily to change it. Or as someone said the other day fix it. Truth is the photo at the bottom was exactly what we wanted to see from the cameras raw format. A flat, low saturated image that contains all the information that we could ever want. The image at the top hasn’t had it’s colour changed. All we have done is striped away the information we didn’t want which left us with the photo you see  at the top of this post.

The really cool part is, I can reprocess the bottom file again tomorrow and get a completely different looking photograph without losing any of the quality of the original. You see when we process a raw image in  raw conversion software, we are still keeping the original in tact, returning to it as many times as we like to reprocess it without ever losing image quality. If however, we let our camera process the file at the time of shooting. A popular method used by many photographers. The camera discards any information not needed to produce its final image file. The picture straight from the camera looks way better than one of our raw files. But that’s it. Any significant reprocessing to change colour, contrast or saturation is difficult, and also destructive because the reprocessing again chucks out more file information. Often lowering the image quality dramatically.

I’m not going to kid you. Not all of our raw files look this flat and lacking colour. But even if they did, I would much rather a raw looking like this to an out of camera file looking like the image at the top. Why? because the flat uninteresting file has virtually unlimited possibilities. Why the one at the top is about as good as it can get without going south in quality terms.

When someone says to me,  just burn the files from the shoot to disk and we’ll get them printed. I wonder if they have any idea what the print may look like.

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