Monday, December 6, 2010

Blue Hawaii - Changing moods with RAW files

Photographing in RAW can give you many future options for changing the mood of your photos, allowing you to create new markets for your prints. If you're not shooting in RAW, you're missing half the fun, and throwing away your DNG (Digital Negative)!

Changing day to night. This romantic evening view of a tropical beach was originally a daytime photo. I photographed these silhouetted palm trees almost seven years ago when I was in Hawaii. This idyllic beach is on Maui, near a great restaurant along the north shore (Hwy 36, in Paia) called 'Mama's Fish House'. I am glad that even in those early digital days, I had the good sense to set my camera's menu to capture the image in RAW as well as in the typical JPEG (.jpg) mode.

Yes, shooting in RAW produces larger files, that fill up your memory cards quicker. However, the end results can often save your neck or give you more options later on. That's because a RAW file is a digital negative that contains much more information than a regular JPG file. Today's RAW files typically contain 16-bits of information per color channel (48-bit RGB) vs. the 8-bits found in JPG files. This extra information can often salvage an over or underexposed image or allow dramatic color changes without producing ugly noise or banding problems.

How I did it: The image on the left is the daytime original. The "evening" image on the right was created by taking the RAW file and sliding the color temperature from daylight (5000 degrees Kelvin) to a cool 2000 degrees within Photoshop's Camera Raw plug-in. That's it! (Click on images for a larger view.)

View my most interesting Flickr images on Flickriver.

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