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Even Though its Digital, You Still Have To Start Out with Pristine Images

About 6 years ago, I went on a photography trip up to the North Country. For the 5 days I had scheduled to take photographs, it rained and sleeted for 4 of those days. On day 5, I had my chance to shoot some areas I had scoped out earlier. It took me an hour to get to my location and on the way I nearly got stuck driving up a steep mountain with narrow muddy roads, but I did eventually get to where I could shoot my vista. It was sunny out later in the day, so I wasn’t worried about the dreaded afternoon sun washing out my fall colors.

JPEG, Raw and TIFFs to be Exact

Shooting digital provides the photographer with many choices of size and format of images. Choices we didn’t have using film cameras. For fine art photographers who wish to output large prints, the highest quality file settings should be used. Photojournalists and sports photographers are interested in speed and don’t need huge files that choke up our memory cards as shown in Figure 6-1. Sports photographers will often turn down the file size, shoot JPEG instead of RAW and maximize the speed in which their cameras write to the card.

Figuring Out File Types and Sizes

Firing up your digital camera and trying to figure out all those techie things can be intimidating to most. Most people don’t know the difference between a JPEG and a TIFF, and that’s OK. Its like when you bought your first VCR and tried getting it hooked up to the TV, at least for those of us who remember the days before VCR’s! The point is, making all those settings in the camera can be lets say, a little complicated.

Conclusion

Upon returning to my campsite, I downloaded all my images to my laptop. Made a cup of coffee and proceeded to review my catch in Photoshop (that’s my personal Java workflow). To my dismay, most of my shots were just plain washed out. Even though I shot later in the day, the sun was so bright, most of my shots just didn’t cut it. Nothing in Photoshop would have helped the shots I took that day.

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