Thursday, July 27, 2006

Shooting RAW+JPG or JPG - and considering space constraints

Originally uploaded by Nikographer [Jon].
When I first got a dSLR I shot in JPG, then did some RAW, and probably shot mostly in JPG with that camera.

In March 2006 I sent my D70 in for repair and a few days later got a D200. With that I shot a lot of RAW+JPG. Occassionally I'd shoot just jpg. I got stuck on a location and time that didn't offer much good light, and was almost always shooting at long distance (Eagles at Great Falls, MD in the evening). It was very hard to get a good image here. I went over 20 times afer June 11th 2005 (and before July 22nd) but a single day stands out, June 18th, 200. The light was great, I was there mid-day, not just later, and I saw some great action. I shot almost all of these trips in RAW+JPG, maybe 30 or 40 GBs of pix/files.

In regards to shooting in JPG only, I shot the above Osprey in JPG, and shot that day in JUST JPG all day. The light was perfect, and the encounters kept on coming.

RAW can help, but there is no making up for conditions and encounters. I've also learned to tweak my camera and adjust for a lot, some of which the RAW format allows for after the shooting, like exposure comp. With these Osprey and good light I lowered my ISO a good bit. When I was on the boat I raised it some to avoid having the motion of the boat blurring every image. Half way through that boat ride, it was so good, I switched to RAW+JPG.

After nearly a year of shooting, almost 70,000 pictures between my D70 and D200, space has become a problem on my computer and DVDs that I make backups to. I think I've got about 300+GBs of pix. I've made about 100 DVDs of backup copies and keep two copies on HDDs when I am caught up in all my steps for backups.

Disk space being what it is, and the curve I've been on for learning, I think it might be time to start deleting at least some copies of images I've taken. I don't need 3 copies of the 20 pix it took to get the one good shot, or the 100 it took to get the 1 good shot.

To put it bluntly, the quality of an image is not determined by the format it is recorded in, be it JPG or RAW. Sure you can crop and enhance much better from a RAW file, but if the light is poor, subjects far off, is it worth it to take tens or hundreds of pix at RAW+JPG and keep buying DVDs and HDDs to protect this data?

I'm currently of the mind that I can now shoot 90% of the time in JPG only and get the best (or nearly the best) results I can and still keep my storage loads to a modest amount. When a spot is rockin' I will switch to RAW+JPG, but otherwise I don't think I will.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mentos and Diet Coke

Try #2 - The best it got

Lol, we tried it and it worked!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Photography and Flickr

I've been reading the writings of some famous photographers lately.

One article I read recently was by Galen Rowell. He worked for National Geographic, and is a wealth of information. His articles are here: Galen Rowell's Articles.

In his "Grand Illusions" article he talks about how an image should inspire a mental response, and how analyzing a photo on its technical merits can break the spell or vision the photo created.

I've recently been trying to find the best way to present an image on flickr, and, when it is one that I think tells its own story I need to lay off the long commentary and let the image do the talking...

This osprey photo is one of those photos I think, and I just made a title: "Happy to meet you OR happy to eat you?"


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Flickr's down, OM*G!@#$!

Lol, ok, not the end of the world...

I worked today, and then went to Great Falls afterwards, for about my 24th or so visit since June 11th 2006. Not sure, but I think that's a bit more than every other day since I first went.

Going in the evening after work is more about the experience than the potential photographs. Sure there might be some nice sunset light, or even a nice sunset, but the main thing I go for is the eagles. The eagles are situated in evening shadow with the sun setting directly behind them. Possibly the worst conditions... I guess it could be pitch black, and that'd be worse.

I like to go to a newly discovered place up until the point where it doesn't keep offering new sights and experiences. With the DC Zoo that took about 25 visits from roughly Oct 23rd 2005 to March 2006. Since then I've still gone, maybe every other weekend or a bit less frequently. I think I've been about 35 times now as of mid-July 2006.

Anyway, back to Great Falls and going a lot.

So I've been now 20+ times, how can there be new stuff? Well, last weekend there was a Kayaking competition. I photographed some of the first run they had on Saturday through the main falls. Probably a couple hours worth of shooting. This was fun, and I ran in to someone I know from the DC Zoo's photoclub. We walked up to the area where you can spot the eagles, and did see one of the adults, but the adult stayed in a tree across the river... Later this day I had my first encounter with the Red Fox that lasted more than a half second. I've seen the fox twice before this day and each time for not even a split second... The fox encounter was really awesome. To see him in his natural environment, and either unaware or unconcerned with my presence was a gift. I later left rejuvinated from the experience...

Last night I went, and took a few photos, some eagle shots of the eagle in a tree, and the other adult in the river (drinking/cooling-off), and some sunset photos, but nothing came out that good. I need to learn to shoot photos better in lower light. Be it a tripod and much lower ISO, or flash and different areas in Great Falls, I don't know what will work. When I was there mid-day over the weekend the light was excellent.

Wow, looks like flickr is up, just checked and it is somewhat responding. They must be getting crushed right now.

I used the time to post this, and to start some much needed backups of the stuff I've shot since 7/1/2006. I almost never get this behind, and now I've got to burn about 7 DVDs worth of data (to make it fit right most of the disks have between 3 and 4GBs of data...)

Happy flickring now that it's back up.

-Jon/Nikographer ;)

p.s. it appears that almost none of the images are being served right. I'd guess that most of the recent photos are there and available, it's just that the servers are being overloaded at the moment......... so DON'T hit refresh a million times, you'll make it worse. Give it a bit and then check back :D

Flickr Outage Message Posted here for this one:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Melanie Mason Performs @ Lake Kittamaqundi, Columbia Maryland 1 [2]

I went to another concert, this one at Lake Kittamaqundi. Melanie Mason performed.

Here's photos:
Melanie Mason Performs @ Lake Kittamaqundi, Columbia Maryland [1] 2

The other concert I went to was Dani Cortaza @ Centennial Lake in Howard County Maryland on July 12 2006, yesterday...

Dani Cortaza @ Centennial Lake Maryland 7/12/2006



Saturday, July 01, 2006

This week I learned to cast aside pixels and long lenses.

American Airlines landing at Reagan National (DCA) 7/1/2006

So, I've been shooting lately with a lens OTHER THAN my 80-400mm VR one. I've used my 18-200mm Tamron, as well as today when i used the nikkor 18-70mm on my D70s.

The week I also experimented with fill-flash. Here's one where I think it helped, but I wish I could have dialed it down just a bit more.

Foot Bridge Closed to the main overlook, here it is, the Potomac @ Great Falls 6/28/2006