Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why I Shoot in RAW


We FINALLY went to the top of the Washington Monument on Sunday. We've lived in DC almost two years, and have not made it there before Sunday because, as I have mentioned before, we are lazy about arranging things that require pre-planning.

The day before we went, I went on a photo tour with PhotoTour Excursions, and so my camera was set on Manual mode. (I'll tell you all about the photo tour tomorrow, I promise...I know I'm all out of order...) I use Manual here and there, but generally rely on the Aperature Priority mode for most of my shooting, and so when we got to the top of the Washington Monument, I started snapping away...not even considering my camera's settings. I was so excited to be up there, I didn't even look at the preview panel on the back of the camera ONCE during the time we were up there.

The last thing I shot on Saturday was inside the National Gallery of Art - there's a really great installation between the east and west buildings with randomly generated LEDs over a moving, very low-light, indoor conditions...


All that to say...when I started shooting the views from the top of the Washington Monument, my camera was still set on those conditions...perfect for the corridor in the National Gallery - not so great for a bright sunny almost noon-day landscape...

I didn't discover my error until we were back at the base of the monument - when I snapped a photo of the boys and decided to check it on the back of the camera...

my boys

...which actually turned out to be kind of cool for this shot...except you can't even see the massive 555 feet tall monument behind them...

And then I started looking back at the photos I took at the top of the monument and realized they all looked like this...


...that's when I started banging my head against the white marble bench the boys were standing on.

I mean, good grief! What a fabulous photographer I am! I DIDN'T EVEN CHECK MY SETTINGS. ONCE. I'm pretty sure Canon will be revoking my rights to use of their camera any day now.

BUT...because I shot in RAW, rather than in jpeg, I was able to recover some of the data that was hiding there in the blown out whites of that photograph, and walk away with a couple of decent images.

Not GREAT images, but decent enough to show I've been there...