RAW OR JPG? WHAT’S YOUR FORMAT? Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Raw

All of my cameras, including my pocket-sized cameras, are designed to shoot either jpg, which is the standard publication format for graphics on the Internet — or RAW, which is strictly data, but can capture subtleties of detail, color, and texture of which jpg is not capable.

I have always been advised to use RAW because it produces finer detail and gives you more room for advanced processing.

I don’t use it.

I did try it in the beginning when I got a camera that could handle it, my first Olympus. I was underwhelmed. Sure, you could process for those fine details, but since I wasn’t printing my pictures or publishing them in a book, the difference between RAW and jpg was invisible to most viewers and RAW files take up a staggering amount of room on ones hard-drive.

Red-bellied Woodpecker with a very pointy beak (jpg)

I finally asked a few people I knew well what they did with all that RAW data? Surely they didn’t try to store it on their computer — or even back it onto a hard-drive. Each raw image was at least triple the data quality for an equivalent jpg. The answer was the same, often a slightly ashamed and embarrassed “I don’t use RAW … there’s no point when you are using a computer and not printing.” Or, alternatively, “I transfer it into jpg then dump the RAW files.”

It turns out I was far from the only shooter who just couldn’t see substantive advantages to using that much memory. Memory may be cheap at the moment, but they will make changes to it and suddenly — again — we will all have to buy entirely new external back-up devices because the industry changes constantly.

Worse, RAW data is always changing. For me, that additional step of having to transfer the RAW into a processible image was one step beyond my time constraints. If I was doing this professionally, maybe.  But maybe not. I rarely — if ever — have images that profoundly out of normal range to work with and since I overshoot everything anyway, I always have another, a nearly identical image with which to work.


All these are jpg images.


For those of you who have grappled with this RAW versus jpg issue for years, there are tons of articles about it all over the internet. But consider how much time you already spend processing and ask yourself if you have the time to do that much more processing on top of what you already do. Get back to me on that. I’m genuinely interested. I doubt I will change how I work, but I’d like to know how other people feel about it.

So I don’t shoot RAW. Sometimes, I have a guilt reaction about it. Maybe I should be using the format. “Everyone says so.”

Except that everyone doesn’t say so. Everyone thinks everyone else is saying so.

THE NEW TOPAZ STUDIO 2 – Marilyn Armstrong

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE Topaz filters. I love them so much I totally panic if I think they aren’t working correctly.

One of the things I love about Topaz is if you buy a filter or a plug-in when they upgrade it — even if it’s a major upgrade — they give the new version to you for free as long as you owned the previous version. It’s a life-saver for me because I couldn’t afford to repurchase the filters.

Today they gave me a new version of Topaz Studio, or more precisely, Topaz Studio 2.

This involved a good deal of reorganizing all my Topaz filters and plug-ins. Although they provide complete instructions, my computer is not exactly standard. It’s not the “home version” of the operating system and Windows 10 has made more than a few changes to the system. So for the past two hours, I’ve been in a nightmare of “What am I doing? Will my filters ever work again?”

I think I’ve got them working but I haven’t gotten a grip on Studio 2 yet. Therefore, I installed both Studio 1 and Studio 2 and I think — but I’m not sure — that I may need both of them, for a while, anyway while they get Studio 2 sorted out.

The various plug-ins with which I’m familiar don’t seem to operate in Studio 2 — or if they do, they work quite differently. It’s going to take me a while to figure it out. If I know Topaz, before I figure it out, they will send me three more downloads which will fix the things that don’t seem to work as they should. Just when I think I need to get in touch with them, I get a fix from them. Each little fix is an improvement over the previous one.

Thus I want you to know no matter how completely confused I am at the moment, I’m sure somehow, Topaz will make it right. They always do.

That is what I call excellent customer service. They have always treated me well and in return, I think they are the best. I really don’t know how I could process pictures without their filters!

BI-WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: THE INTERESTING EDIT – Marilyn Armstrong

Photo Challenge: Edit

Three pictures using impressionist, graphic, and HDR styling.

A pole in the water – Abstract Impressionist
And here it is again, Cezanne-style, though not looking all that much different.
Rope on a boat – HDR with some graphics
And a Cezanne-style version …
If Cezanne painted my garden

DINGY – NOT ALWAYS WHAT YOU EXPECT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Dingy


I thought I knew this word. It could be a little boat, often a little boat that lives on a bigger boat and is used to back and forth from the shoreline. It can also mean a little bit drab, or perhaps not entirely clean. It also can mean a sort of grubby off-blond hair color … or a faded hair color.

What I did not know is that it’s also a photographic term, meaning grainy and maybe a bit dark. Not shiny, maybe a bit fuzzy.

It is in the same category as grunge or grungy  — which is sort of like a softened version of HDR, but grainier and not as sharp. Also, things that are described as “chalky” frequently are also dingy.

It isn’t the same as “softened” because soft means taking the edge off the picture. Used a lot in photographs, especially of older people who don’t want to see every wrinkle and skin discoloration.

So these two are both dingy pictures. They look a bit antique and the light is subtly striated. Who knew, right? Yet another definition for a term you won’t find in the dictionary.

ORDER!

“Order in the court!” The judge banged the gavel and the audience sat up, almost at attention.

“There will be a quiz on Friday,” announced the biology teacher. The classroom came instantly to order.

Orderly chili bowls

My life is not orderly or it does not seem so to me. Life is organized insofar as I know what’s coming and when, but orderly? Is it the same thing but with a different title?

Spice – ordered?

I have a lot of shelves carefully laid out with various items, old, older, and not so old. But they are laid out by size, shape, and how well they coördinate with other things. I balance the pictures on the walls. I carefully place things on the mantel so they look “a certain way.” But orderly? I’m not sure I know how to put things in order. Does stowing all “important” papers in a big bin count?

Painted dolls – in order?

It’s worrisome. The books are in the bookcase, but attempts at creating order have never been effective. The same goes for DVDs and CDs. They are in the case … but order?

I know Garry and I tried to agree on what “order” might be. Do we  set things up alphabetically? Do we put items together by genre? All science fiction here and the westerns over there? What about all those “other” books that never really fit anywhere. Will we remember to put them back in the order from which they came?

Oh, wait. My kitchen is almost in order and my dishes are definitely in order. That’s it. Dishes. Got it.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

THINKING ABOUT THINKING

I have no doubt my dogs think. They have a short-term version of planning and will work together to accomplish a goal. Like opening a gate — or dismembering a toy. Surely they would hunt together if they had something to hunt. Dogs are, after all, pack animals.

They communicate. We watch them. They sit silently staring into each other’s eyes. Then they get up, together, and go out to bark, or to the kitchen to remind us they need to eat, now please. I suspect they believe we won’t remember to feed them unless they remind us.

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What forms do their thoughts take? They don’t use words. Even though they understand some words if we use them, I doubt that’s how they form ideas. So they must employ their other senses. How much is visual? Do they also think in sound and scent? It’s obvious they know what they want. They can be remarkably clever and creative in getting it … but how can they plan with no words?

Now and again, I try to “think” without words. I always fail. Inevitably, anything in my head comes with narration, conversation, and a lot of subtext.

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Dolphins and whales talk to each other in some version of language, but words used human-style is apparently species-specific. We can teach other creatures to understand and sometimes even use words, but it’s unnatural for them. Only people need words. It’s not only how we communicate, it’s inherent to our understanding of our world. It’s the way we categorize everything, remember anything.

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Ideas and concepts can’t exist without words. Language has the hooks on which we hang everything, real and conceptual. We are the only species that needs a spoken language and the only one that writes. Along with the opposable thumb, it’s how we rule the earth.

If we were to lose our languages, we would probably lose it all. I don’t think thumbs would save us.

THE FIRST SNOW DAY – TOPAZ SIMPLIFY

Last week, Topaz had a 1-day filter sale. “Simplify” was available for just $20, so I decided to give it a whirl and see what it can do. It was snowing pretty hard when I got up this morning. Bummer. It was predicted, but the last one missed us. I had hoped this would miss us too. So, if snow is going to fall, I might as well take some pictures.

 

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It turns out, Simplify offers a good selection of ways to render a photograph as art. It includes many painting styles including, impressionist, oils, acrylics, watercolor and more. My favorites are sketch, pen-and-ink, and line art. If you have the right photograph — for line art of any kind, you need strong contrast– you can get some very interesting and fun results.

Here are two versions of the same picture. I’m loving the way they came out.

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