Shooting in the Raw

October 07, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


The road to Peppersauce CaveThe road to Peppersauce Cave


So there I was, looking at the road to Peppersauce Cave this past weekend.  I took a photo and got what you see on the top, a slightly overexposed picture of a roadway with a blown out sky and not much color. Because I shoot in raw on most occasions, with a little digital burning, dodging and manipulation, I ended up with what you see on the bottom: the road to Peppersauce Cave with a bit more ‘pop’.


I thought this would be a good time to show what only a few minutes what a ‘digital darkroom’ of today can do with a raw photo.  


The top image came from a raw file right out of the camera and was minimally processed.  In basic terms, the raw file generally gives you over 65,000 levels to work with.  A JPEG image gives you just 256.  This is important, as the more levels you have to work with, the more you can open up shadows or alter brightness. 


If you look at the upper left of the top photo, you can see the sky is pretty blown out.  Shooting raw allowed me the ability to bring down the sky’s exposure, allowing more of a natural blue.  Using Adobe Lightroom, my regular photo editing software, I was able to take the raw photo and change the contrast, highlights and vibrancy.  All resulting in the image you see on the bottom.  


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Photography, Lessons Learned, and Cycling.



I have been taking pictures since I was about 6 years old.  I started with a Kodak Instamatic.  Just holding that Kodak was fun back then. Today, the camera badge may say "Nikon", but the fun of taking someone's photograph is still there. 


Times have changed regarding photography over the past 20 years.  My first business was in in Corpus Chirsti, Texas back in 1992.  I went under the same name, my name, David Whitney French Photography.  One of my favorite photo gigs was doing weddings.  Why?  Well, besides being a challenge at times, with the stress of getting the right shot in the age of film, everyone was happy!  It was a happy time for the groom, bride, attendants, everyone.  What more could I ask for?  Hanging out, with a camera for a few hours or more with a bunch of happy people.


Oh, and I like riding my bike!