RAWvsJPEG

Your digital camera can produce two types of files – Raw and JPEG.

One can be seen instantly, because it is already processed – JPEG. The other, needs to be processed to be seen – Raw.

Few people have actually seen what an unprocessed Raw file looks like. To be seen properly Raw files need to be rendered or changed. What you see on your camera’s LCD is a JPEG produced on the fly by your camera. What you see in programs like Adobe Lightroom or Bridge are previews made with their default renderings.

Raw files are curious things. They contain color, but not a color image – yet.

Most digital cameras arrange their photosites in a Bayer pattern array; half are filtered red or blue or chrominance-sensitive (hue and saturation) elements and the other half are filtered green or luminance-sensitive (light and dark). To create a full color image, Bayer pattern images need to be demosaiced (estimating the relative color values as RGB pixels).

Bayer_pattern_4

Bayer pattern

Unlike your eye, which adapts to changing levels of light, digital cameras simply count the number of photons falling on a photosite in a linear manner. (A typical 12 bit camera is capable of recording 212 or 4096 levels of gray between black and white, which are distributed unequally across its dynamic range, currently +/-13EV.) As a result, half of the data in Raw files are contained in the brightest stop. (This is the reason it’s recommended that you expose to the right – ETTR – to get more data and reduce the likelihood of noise during capture and posterization during processing.) Consequently, Raw files need to be tone mapped into a gamma encoded color space (such as ProPhoto) by a Raw processor to render an image with a normal appearance.

7 top step linear

Gradient – linear

Gamma Encoded Gradient 

Gradient – gamma encoded

 

Raw files contain all the color saturation a camera can capture, but you’ll only preserve that saturation when you convert a Raw file if you convert it into a wide-gamut editing space. Of the four standard color spaces Raw files are typically converted into – sRGB, Colormatch, Adobe RGB 1998, and ProPhoto RGB – only ProPhoto can contain the full gamut of a digital camera.

GamutComparisons_EditingSpaces

Gamut comparisons – camera in white inside ProPhoto RGB

In addition Raw files have three types of metadata (data about data) to be aware of; EXIF, IPTC, and XMP. The first type of metadata, EXIF contains information embedded at the time of capture such as date, camera, camera settings, private maker notes and sometimes including GPS coordinates. The second type of metadata, IPTC contains information added after capture such as photographer, copyright, keywords, caption and other descriptive information. The third type of metadata, XMP contains information added after capture about a file’s processing history stored in sidecar files that hopefully travel with the Raw file (DNG Raw files can save XMP metadata in their own wrappers and so don’t require an additional sidecar file.). It’s the XMP metadata that tells a Raw processor how to interpret or cook the data in the Raw file.

Metadata_EXIF

EXIF screenshot

Metadata_IPTC

IPTC screenshot

Metadata_XMP

XMP screenshot

Now that you understand these fundamental aspects of Raw files, what actions do you take?

1   Shoot in Raw. Expose to the right (ETTR).

2   Edit Raw files in a wide-gamut color space like ProPhoto.

3   Save your edits as XMP metadata – and don’t lose your sidecar files or save Raw files in Adobe’s DNG format.

4   And, of course, use a good camera, lens, and appropriate exposure technique (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO).

Read more on Raw processing here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

Quotes_Risk

Enjoy this collection of quotes on Risk.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ― William Faulkner

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” — Andre Gide

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” ― Hunter S. Thompson

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” – John A. Shedd

“I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Read more

Amazing!

View more creative music videos here.

1Humpbacks_

On our DPD (Digital Photo Destinations) 2018 Fly Antarctica Cruise The Polar Circle voyage, we’d spotted many humpback whales, from a distance. But late in the trip, we came face to face with them. Having seen, far in the distance, a whale breach high in the air, we moved our zodiacs closer to explore them further and found three whales relaxing and playing together.  We watched curiously as they spouted water into the air, made low rumbling noise as they exhaled, flapped their fins, rushed each other, and spun pirouettes to avoid collision at the last moment. Often, they would dive, leaving whirlpools behind them, as they disappeared from our sight. We’d continue searching for them with anticipation. We’d glimpse the flash of a white fin under water and then lose sight of them until a dorsal fin or two or three, and sometimes a tail, broke the surface once again Surprised to see where they would surface next, we were never disappointed, as they continued to return again and again.

Gradually the whales grew more curious about us and turned their attentions to us, coating us in spray (the slightly oily whale breathe smelling like old krill), waving their fins in the air, poking their noses above the surface and sometimes their eyes.  At one point, two whales, side-by-side, having just created a wet cloud that drifted onto us, lowered their noses just below the surface of the water and blew enormous bubbles. It was clear they were playing with us now.  They began rushing us, drawing closer and closer to the surface of the water, and finally one twirled its massive body, lifting its fin out of the water, inches away from our boat. It’s wake rocked us, but it didn’t touch us. I was so focussed on making photographs to bring home to my family that I failed to realized that if I had just extended my arm, I would have been able to touch the whale and he or she could have touched me.

In the end, it was us who left them, as we were called to return to the ship, which none of us wanted to do. It was one of the finest wildlife experiences of my life.

Learn more about my Antarctica photography workshops.

Download our ebook Antarctica Two Visions.

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“Inspired by the “Overview Effect” – a sensation that astronauts experience when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole – the breathtaking, high definition satellite photographs in OVERVIEW offer a new way to look at the landscape that humans have shaped. Benjamin Grant, creator of the Instagram project Daily Overview from which the book is inspired, discusses how the project and book came about.”

Follow the Daily Overview on Instagram here.

Find the book Overview here.

Influential Books of John Paul Caponigro

“Enjoy this collection of photographic books that have influenced me during some of my most formative years.”

– John Paul Caponigro

Find out more about my influences here.

Megaliths by Paul Caponigro

#1

Paul Caponigro’s Megaliths.

Watching the production of this project from start to finish had a profound effect on me. The book was the culmination of decades of work on so many levels.

Alfred Stieglitz

#2

Alfred Stieglitz Portrait Of Georgia O’Keefe.

These portraits and nudes set the highest standards for me. Deep complex emotional connection. The variety of Stieglitz’ printing was eye opening. Meeting O’Keefe was interesting; I still wonder what it was like for her as an older woman to produce a book on her younger self.

Eliot Porter's Nature's Chaos

#3

Eliot Porter’s Nature’s Chaos.

Fortunate to see my mother design many of Porter’s books, this one confirmed my feeling that he saw a deeper order in nature before we more fully understood complexity in the sciences.

Christopher Burkett's Intimations Of Paradise

#4

Christopher Burkett’s Intimations Of Paradise.

Formerly a Gnostic monk, Burkett renounced his vows of poverty so that he could afford film and continue to faithfully transcribe The Book Of Nature. There are so many ways to live life in a sacred way

Dune / Edward Weston And Brett Weston

#5

Dune / Edward Weston And Brett Weston collects works, many never before printed, by father and son showing how similar and how different each artist’s vision was. Working with Kurt Markus to produce this book was eye-opening.

Ansel Adams / The Making Of 40 Photographs

#6

Ansel Adams / The Making Of 40 Photographs.

It’s wonderful to read how an artist works and even better to see them in action; I was lucky to do both. I do wish Adams wrote more about why he made each image and what it meant to him.

Jerry Uelsmann's Process & Perception

#7

Jerry Uelsmann’s Process & Perception.

It demonstrates how process changes perception – and the process you engage is a personal choice. The inside is just as important as the outside.

Edward Burtynsky's Manufactured Landscapes

#7

Edward Burtynsky’s Manufactured Landscapes.

While Eliot Porter didn’t want to beautify trash through art Burtynsky turns an unflinching eye towards industrial impacts on land crafting a complex statement on land use and ultimately identity.

Minor White Manifestations Of The Spirit

#8

Minor White Manifestations Of The Spirit.

No other photographer is as articulate about the inner experience of making art. His essay in equivalence is seminal.

Wynn Bullock's Revelations

#9

Wynn Bullock’s Revelations.

Bullock’s marriage of science/physics and art
became as much a philosophical statement as a celebration of beauty.

Kenro Izu's Sacred Places

#10

Kenro Izu’s Sacred Places.

Izu tries to photograph the spirit of ancient sacred places. When he talks about atmosphere he means more than weather.

Chris Rainier's Keepers Of The Spirit

#11

Chris Rainier’s Keepers Of The Spirit.

If Edward Curtis met Joseph Campbell you’d get Rainier’s survey of spirituality in world cultures.

Sebastiao Salgado's An Uncertain Grace

#12

Sebastiao Salgado’s An Uncertain Grace.

Salgado sets the bar high by bringing out the dignity within his subjects no matter how undignified their circumstances.

oyce Tenneson's Transformations

#13

Joyce Tenneson’s Transformations.

Tenneson’s images remind me of what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Arnold Newman's One Mind's Eye

#14

Arnold Newman’s One Mind’s Eye

Beautifully constructed portraits from the father of environmental portraiture.

Harry Callahan

#15

Harry Callahan

The rest of his wrestlessly inventive work intrigued me but his deeply honest extended portrait of his wife set a standard I hope for in all others.

Sugimoto

#16

Sugimoto

It’s minimalism that isnt shallow or evasive; the collection reinforces the concept, creating a context for itself. It asks so many questions? Enough? Not enough? Do all the world’s oceans look the same? Or is it just one ocean? Is it the camera or the artist who makes them look the same? Is it the way we look? How is it that by looking at them long enough I begin to see myself?

 Richard Misrach's The Sky Book

#17

Richard Misrach’s The Sky Book

Pleasant as it is this minimalism ordinarily wouldn’t be enough for me. But then he adds the titles of time and places in many languages with a history. Together they grow stronger and placed within his life work as one of many Desert Cantos they grow stringer still. Rebecca Solnit’s accompanying essay is excellent. I learned a lot from looking at this – about art and myself.

Witkin

#18

Witkin

I find Joel Peter Witkin’s work profoundly challenging. I can’t say I love it; I can’t say I hate it. I can say it continually crosses back and forth between self-indulgently expressing his individual perversions and courageously looking unflinchingly into a universal heart of darkness.

Michael Kenna's Night Work

#19

Michael Kenna’s Night Work

Kenna’s elegant minimalism is laced with a quiet spirituality that comes less from tradition and more from being in the moment, growing most emotional when he’s in the dark.

Huntington Witherill's Orchestrating Icons

#20

Huntington Witherill’s Orchestrating Icons

It’s musical for its flowing compositions and exquisite tonalities. Extraordinary separation in extreme highlights and shadows, no one prints quite like him in.

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For more reading material, go to:

http://johnpaulcaponigro.com/creativity/reading/


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