Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘color

Why I Shoot RAW

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Just like any given subject on the planet, there are many varying opinions on the JPEG vs RAW issue. As for me, I shoot RAW. Ok, so I’ll shoot the occasional JPEG, perhaps when using my Canon S90. But other than that, it’s all about RAW for me. Why?

There are many advantages to shooting RAW, but let’s stick to one for this post. In the screen capture above, the color of the image on the right is very close to what came out of my camera when I took this shot. If I shot it in JPEG, the warmer white balance I chose on-camera would have been locked in, making this the only possible interpretation of the scene’s color. The ability to reinterpret a scene by selecting a different white balance later is one key reason I shoot RAW.

When I first took this photo, I was pretty happy with the way the warmer color looked when viewing image on the LCD of my camera. After uploading it to my computer and viewing it larger, I was still pretty happy with it. Upon giving it even further thought, however, I decided that the warm color didn’t really represent how I truly felt at the moment of capture, when I was actually there. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s very important for an artist to convey not just what a scene looks like, but what it felt like to actually be there, experiencing the scene.

So what was I feeling at the moment of capture here? A little bit of loneliness from strolling the streets of Kyoto very early in the morning for one. The cool spring air was chilling yet refreshing, and I was dazzled by the all the reflections on the ground that were caused by the light but steady rainfall that day. I decided to convey that feeling more effectively by turning down the white balance temperature (in LR3 beta), resulting in the cooler, bluer version of the image (above). If I had shot JPEG, I would have been stuck with the warm version. It would have still been a nice image, but again, I would have lost the ability to reinterpret the scene in a way that truly conveys my feelings.

Couldn’t I have just taken a second shot with a cooler white balance adjustment at the camera? Of course! But that idea didn’t really hit me until much later. Only after several times of coming back to this image and thinking about the scene did I finally decide that I wanted it to look different than I originally intended. Shooting the image in RAW allowed me to go through this longer thought process, and then make the desired changes to the image. Who knows, maybe I’ll want to change even more aspects of this image later, with newer, more powerful software that will inevitably be released as time goes on. RAW gives me that flexibility, JPEG doesn’t.

…and that’s one reason why I shoot RAW!

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Top Image: Screen grab from the develop module in Lightroom 3 Beta 2
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 60mm f5.6 ISO400 1/125 second

Be sure to check the progress of my gallery of images from my last trip to Japan on flickr!

Rain in San Francisco

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8

We’ve seen a ton of rainfall over the last week in San Francisco. While in some ways, rain can be a photographic bummer, it does open lots of other opportunities to make nice images. At night, the wet ground reflects light and adds drama to your photography, as shown above. Suki doesn’t like getting wet, but she loves walking enough to make the compromise.


Rain or shine, the camera stays with me!


Rainy days usually mean nice, even lighting from the cloud cover, which helps you capture really saturated color (this is not my car!).


Between the several storms that hit the city recently, beautiful clouds not typical of our area appeared. Of course, I was at work every time these sorts of formations showed up (sigh). I took this shot during lunch before heading back to the office. There were no other angles other than through a cyclone fence.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8

After a storm passes, the air in the city is amazingly clear and clean, allowing for great city scape photography. This image has a cooler white balance applied to it than the original that I posted to Flickr.

Written by Jonathan

January 27, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Our Favorite Dog Park

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This is our favorite place to take Suki: the recently renovated dog park on 30th street and Church street here in San Francisco. Look how big it is! This image doesn’t even include a long stretch of run behind me. Suki approves of this park too:

There’s plenty of area for her to run at full speed!

There are also lots of tennis balls for her to play with.

And lots of smells for her to sniff!

Of course, her favorite thing to do is meet new dogs, and there are plenty of very friendly dogs to meet at this dog park!

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 22mm f/11 ISO200 1/200 Second

….Like this guy for instance. Look at that face! He’d drop this slobbery ball on the ground and then dash off to get ready for me to throw it before I even had a chance to pick the ball up. I had to kick the ball since I had my camera in hand.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 70mm f/4.5 ISO220 1/500 Second

But if you threw the ball, he’d catch it in mid-air! Wow! This guy could play outfield in the MLB.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 125mm f/8 ISO500 1/400 Second

See how happy Suki is when she’s at the park?

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.8 ISO1000 1/1250 Second

After releasing a bunch of energy at the park, Suki walks very obediently. We usually take a walk through the neighborhood and hit up a local cafe, where she’ll patiently wait for us as we socialize over coffee:

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 18mm f/4 ISO200 1/250 Second

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 31mm f/2.8 ISO200 1/125 Second

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 38mm f/2.8 ISO200 1/200 Second

On a side note, I’ve noticed something sort of strange with how images are displayed on my blog posts here in WordPress. Each of the pictures in this post contains a link that takes you to the image source. The images on this post look like they were stripped of some color and contrast, but if I click on any of them, I see an image with more color and contrast, closer (but still not exact) to what I see in Lightroom 3 beta. Do you see this too? It’s driving me crazy!

Written by Jonathan

January 2, 2010 at 11:57 pm