I’ve been shooting more and more stills with my DSLR Canon 7D lately. It started with getting Lightroom and Photoshop leased for $10 a month. I really needed Photoshop for the Charles Steinmetz documentary I was editing to clean up all the old archive photos. Once I had the programs, I started watching online tutorials (can never stop learning) and was intrigued by what these two programs could do. I never shot much in the RAW format, I found the files too big and the workflow too cumbersome, but with the new software, the image possibilities were to enticing not to give it a try! What RAW does is basically record on your CF card the exact data that is hitting your cameras sensor. This allows you to change almost any setting after the fact! You can adjust color balance, exposure, sharpness, bring back detail in the white parts, pull up detail in the shadows etc… It basically allows near complete tweak-ability after you get back from shooting.
In the past you had to expose for the highlights and let the rest go into darkness, or expose for the shadow areas and the highlights would get blown out, but now you can get both to be properly exposed by shooting in RAW and tweaking in Lightroom and Photoshop after the fact. Is it “cheating”? I guess in a way…however it allows me to present the image closer to how I saw it in the filed, which before was always a compromise. Some times I do “paint” the image up with some added highlights and shadow areas to give it interest that werent really like that in the original scene, but to me it’s almost a blend between painting with paints and photography. It’s an artistic interpretation that is opening up a whole new level of “fun” for me! Here are a few examples: Click on them for larger views!