The Power of RAW

Many people do not understand the power of a RAW file. If you’ve set your camera to shoot .jpeg (or .jpg) files only AND you like to post-process the captured images in your favorite editing program – like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or The GIMP – then you’ll miss out on the ability to perform fantastic photo adjustments.

A photograph of a birch tree against the landscape and orange glow of sky just after sundown.
A raw file was used to create this jpg image of a birch tree after sunset. Without a raw file, this image could not be possible to make from another jpg.

That’s because the RAW and .jpg file formats have different bit-depths: the number of color tones assigned to each pixel that makes up the image. The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group, sometimes just .jpg) file format is great for photography, but images made with the RAW format are AWESOME! Continue reading

Autumn Backlight and HDR Photomerge

A beautiful forest of colourful, autumn foliage on a body of water with a backdrop of hills and sky presented a tricky lighting situation. The problem was the sky and the position of the sun.

This photograph displays a colourful stand of autumn forest on the ocean, boldly accented by backlighting.
A colourful stand of autumn forest on the ocean is accented by strong backlighting (click the image to view in a lightbox and for more detail).

Backlighting through autumn leaves is one of my favourite subjects. Continue reading

Photo Focus Merge

On a recent trip I made two images of the same subject; one with the foreground in focus and the other with the background in focus. I settled on the image with the foreground in focus for future use in a gallery, article or print, as it conveyed a stronger message of the subject at hand.

A few weeks later while reviewing my images again, I thought to myself ‘What if I could overlay the two images and combine them to give me one in-focus image?’ The use of a tripod on the original shoot would have let me capture at a slower shutter speed and stop down to an aperture as small as f32, if necessary. However, I didn’t have it with me so,¬†as they say, no use in crying over spilt milk! The image below focused on the background, with the rear of the boat not in critical focus.

Note: Click through any of the images for a larger light box view to see more information about the image and technique.
A photograph of an old boat and village in the background, with the camera lens focused on the background. This image is used here to show a technique in Photoshop known as Focus Merge.
In this image I focused on the background. Because the boat dominated the frame, this did not work for me.

I decided to try my luck with Google and search for ‘combine images, focus near, focus far.’ The search result Continue reading