Never throw away old Raw files
A friend, Frank Peele, told me this maxim several years ago. His reasoning: software is always changing, improving, and can take images captured years ago and give you a knew way to look at them, edit them, make them better, or give you a new presentation.
All of the images in this gallery were taken during a trip to Glacier National Park, in 2009. We were on the east side of the Rocky’s, north, toward the Canadian border. Many of them were taken at the St. Mary’s entrance near the Glacier Inn. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
The Nik Color Effects Pro and some 55 filters contained within the program gave me a new way to bring out feelings experienced when the images were taken, but unable to express until four years later. That’s a long wait.
Very useful software, for doing a lot of things quickly.
But a large learning curve.
But worth it…what do you think?
It was nearly freezing on this New Year’s weekend visit to Manhattan Beach Pier and surrounding beach area. All images were taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro1, and either the 18mm or the 60mm lenses.
December is a Great Time to shoot — Winter Light
In Joshua Tree National Park there is a famous trail marked as the “Boy Scout Trail.” It’s a good seven miles, but along the way there are beautiful rock formations. A friend noted he had spotted flocks of Big Horn Sheep.
Here are some images taken over December 2012. All of them were captured with the Fujifilm X-Pro1. Some were taken along the Boy Scout Trail, others in different park locations.
The Fujifilm XPro 1
You can get some amazing images, with wonderful texture, with just a few moves. I now can user four lenses with this camera, including a Canon and a Minolta, using converters to make them work. Total investment, under $100 for two different converters. I already own the manual focus lenses, once the top of their class back when film was the rage.
And I now have a new workflow that calls for shooting both a Raw image and the finest jpg I can get, opening them both in PS, converting them both to LAB color space, and copying and pasting the L channel from the jpg onto the L channel of the RAF file. Why? Because the in camera jpg conversion software is as good as it gets. If you want to work in 16 bit, you can, and while you loose only the L channel to 8-bit, the color channels, specifically A and B in LAB color space are untouched. Then convert back to RGB and you are good to go. And why all these steps? Because you get considerable detail in the L channel of the jpg that is not present in the RAF file. Dan Margulis teaches that if you want to sharpen an image, it is best to do it in LAB and only on the L channel. This is a variation of his teaching.
None of these images were sharpened.
These images are all processed in either Silver Effects Pro, the black and white conversion software, of Viveza, the same company’s color adjustment software. Can go from out of the camera to a finished product in about three minutes each.
Learned a new conversion technique
I use the Fujifilm X Pro1, a wonderful camera, but translating RAW files into a file that can be manipulated in Photoshop is not as easy at it sounds. There are other software programs available besides those built into Photoshop, including RPP, which works only on Macs. But, it does a pretty good job. Attempting to determine the amount of sharpening is not easy.
New (for me) method, using LAB luminance channel for sharpening and keeping details.
Always searching for new conversion software, and I think I found a technique that I like. Open in PS, no changes in ACR, no sharpening in images here. Requires you set camera settings sharpness +1, highlight tone -2, shadow tone -2, then shoot both jpg fine and Raw files simultaneously. Then open both images as LAB files, select and copy the L channel only of the jpg file and then paste it onto the L channel of the RAF file. Convert back to RGB and modify to taste.
Takes 15 seconds once you get the steps down, but gives lots of details and no need to sharpen. I like the look, obviously. If you are working in 16 bit format, it really doesn’t matter because you only overwriting the luminance channel, or the black and white information,. You loose nothing in the A and B channels.
Far more subtle details, and you need not sharpen the file when you are done.
Here are four examples, converted in B and W. Note the detail.
Finally bought the software, and here are some first images.