Old 07-11-2007, 09:39 AM   #26
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Whoa there Jimmy. No need to write an essay about things I never mentioned while repeating yourself. First of all, why don't you want to use any filters if you have them readily available? Secondly, in the shot you used for an example would have a problem with proper exposure even if it was all blue sky because it has so much sky in it.
TRAINS is just asking people who choose to submit photos to get the work done with the camera, and not the computer. In the example you provided, the camera (along with a filter) is perfectly capable of capturing the scene correctly and if you have the equipment, why not use it? TRAINS is simply trying to ensure that people who submit photos can actually take good photos and aren't relying on their processing skills. What's wrong with that?

I guess if submitting a RAW file is too much to ask, then don't submit anything. I'm sure they'll do fine.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:22 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
TRAINS is simply trying to ensure that people who submit photos can actually take good photos and aren't relying on their processing skills.
Ansel Adams would be rolling in his grave, but he is so confused by that statement that he is just lying there, catatonic!
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:17 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
Whoa there Jimmy. No need to write an essay about things I never mentioned while repeating yourself.
I simply answered your question, Mikey. Nothing more, nothing less.

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First of all, why don't you want to use any filters if you have them readily available?
It's my prerogative.

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Secondly, in the shot you used for an example would have a problem with proper exposure even if it was all blue sky because it has so much sky in it.
To the contrary. Blue sky does not blow out when exposed within the proper range (that being enough to give enough light on the bridge and train). Shall I go back to the location on a clear, blue sky day and take a picture to show you an example?

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TRAINS is just asking people who choose to submit photos to get the work done with the camera, and not the computer.
So, for those who shoot in JPG mode it's ok for processing to be done IN CAMERA, but those who shoot in RAW aren't allowed to do that same exact processing (albeit with a bit more control) on the computer? I don't have a problem with Trains Magazine setting rules the way they want. What I DO have a problem with is the fact that they didn't address the difference between shooting in RAW and shooting JPG mode.

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In the example you provided, the camera (along with a filter) is perfectly capable of capturing the scene correctly and if you have the equipment, why not use it?
What part of the phrase "I didn't feel like it" don't you understand? Again, it's my prerogative whether I want to pre-filter or post-filter. Also, I do have the equipment to capture the scene correctly...it's called a computer.

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TRAINS is simply trying to ensure that people who submit photos can actually take good photos and aren't relying on their processing skills. What's wrong with that?
There is nothing wrong with that. But they have certainly limited people to what type of exposure they can take. Unfortunately, as mentioned many times before, the camera can NOT capture the dynamic range of light that the human eye can see.

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I guess if submitting a RAW file is too much to ask, then don't submit anything. I'm sure they'll do fine.
Oh, I'm sure they'll do just fine. And I probably won't be submitting anything based on the lack of "something small" in my area, not because I shoot in RAW. And even if I DID have something to submit, I'd still process it if the exposure deemed it necessary.

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Originally Posted by JRMDC
Ansel Adams would be rolling in his grave, but he is so confused by that statement that he is just lying there, catatonic!
Heaven forbid anyone who uses a darkroom do any processing to change the exposure of a photo.

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Old 07-12-2007, 04:17 AM   #29
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However, if the shot was taken properly, what processing is really needed? Maybe some sharpening, but that should be about it.
This is a pretty narrow (and maybe inexperienced) viewpoint. There is a world of difference in the image that's produced with my 70-200 f/4L and the Kit Lens, and surprisingly, the Kit Lens usually has better colors straight out of the camera than the f/4L does at 200mm. The image that comes out of the camera is "taken properly" in that it's in focus and properly exposed but other circumstances (the sky, haze, the lens, the sensor, the AWB, etc.) are working against the reality of the scene. In the evenings, at 200mm, my images look reddish. That needs to be fixed in post. That result may be my equipment, but it's certainly not because I don't know how to take a photograph...
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:13 AM   #30
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Wow, you guys really like PP. I personally hate it and try to get absolutely everything done that I can with the camera. A computer doesn't capture a photo, a camera does. Of course blue sky doesn't blow out, but it does effect the overall exposure of a photo. If IN CAMERA processing can be done with JPEGs, why can't it be done with RAW files?

Chris: I've never had a problem with the color tone changing from lens to lens. I'm not saying it doesn't happen because I fully believe what you're saying, but I've never had a problem with it which is why I said what I did. In this case, a but more of PP would be needed. I'm sure if you explained it to TRAINS, they would understand.

Bottom line, I must be in a much more film/slide mindset than the rest of you. My rule is that if it's not possible on a slide, I'm not going to do it in digital. I will remove a dust spec however, but I think that's about it.
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:49 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
A computer doesn't capture a photo, a camera does.
Mike, I'm not going to discuss the rest of what you said because it is all a matter of taste and style in my view. But the quote above, well, we are not trying to capture photos, we are making photos to be viewed. So the issue is not what the camera captures but what the viewer sees after the photographer chooses a sensor (film for film body or model of digital body) makes use of a camera containing the sensor, develops (film), post-processes (digital), prepares for display (print making for film, subsumed in post-processing for digital). How various tasks are allocated across those options are a matter of photographer preference and decision; neither the computer nor the camera makes these choices.
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:37 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
If IN CAMERA processing can be done with JPEGs, why can't it be done with RAW files?
Well, that would defeat the purpose of shooting in RAW then, wouldn't it. Those of us who shoot in RAW do so because we prefer to process the pics, NOT the camera. It's like taking your film to a specific developer or doing it yourself because you prefer the way a certain person develops your images. If digital cameras were perfect, we wouldn't HAVE to process the images on our own. And until the day Canon or some other camera manufacturer develops that "perfect" camera, we're going to have to continue to process on our own.

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Bottom line, I must be in a much more film/slide mindset than the rest of you. My rule is that if it's not possible on a slide, I'm not going to do it in digital. I will remove a dust spec however, but I think that's about it.
I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that, at this time, a good film camera and quality film is going to produce a MUCH more true-to-life image than digital. I think even you can agree with me on that.
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by JimThias
I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that, at this time, a good film camera and quality film is going to produce a MUCH more true-to-life image than digital. I think even you can agree with me on that.
Well, I'll argue! Except that I don't really understand. Are you saying that film is necessarily better than even the best DSLRs? Everything I have read says that is no longer true. At least make the argument in terms of the details, like sharpness, noise, dynamic range, etc.

Also, when making this argument, please specify the medium of final viewing of the image. Print? Online? Magazine (in which case, with modern publication practices, that film image has to be digitally scanned!)? If the image is viewed electronically or needs electronic processing before printing (magazine), is the image being scanned with an expensive drum scan process or a cheaper flat-scan process?

I guess I am surprised by the strength of your belief, and the extent you believe in a difference, as indicated in the use and capitalization of "MUCH more".
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:50 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by JRMDC

I guess I am surprised by the strength of your belief, and the extent you believe in a difference, as indicated in the use and capitalization of "MUCH more".
Alright, I suppose I WAS a little strong with the emphasis on "much". How about a bit more?

I was pretty broad with my comments. Yes, there are those grossly expensive digital cameras out there that I'm sure can produce an amazing image. I haven't seen their results personally as compared to the best of film, so I'll hold my judgement until then.

Overall, I'd be willing to bet that high quality film (perhaps in larger format?), at this time, produces a better image than the common DSLR's that you and I are using. Will you agree with that?
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:22 PM   #35
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Overall, I'd be willing to bet that high quality film (perhaps in larger format?), at this time, produces a better image than the common DSLR's that you and I are using. Will you agree with that?
OK, we are opening up negotiations! (Oh, and nice use of the smaller font for "bit"!)

First of all, I think my 20D at ISO 800 beats any Canon film body using the same Canon lenses and ISO 800 film. Hands down. Does the DSLR at ISO 100 beat the film body using Velvia? Well, even that depends. How are you examining the image, projected on a screen (and what quality of digital projector are you using?)? Printed? And so forth and so forth...

Larger format? Well, I personally haven't looked at comparing even medium format film to cropped sensor digital. I'm not sure that is even a fair or interesting comparison.

I guess I am willing to accept situations, maybe lots of them, maybe not, where one can argue film is better than digital, but I found your statement just a wee bit over the top.
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:42 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by JimThias
Well, that would defeat the purpose of shooting in RAW then, wouldn't it. Those of us who shoot in RAW do so because we prefer to process the pics, NOT the camera. It's like taking your film to a specific developer or doing it yourself because you prefer the way a certain person develops your images.
I agree, for the most part. If TRAINS would not budge on only accepting RAW files, you could do in camera processing. I know it's not the right way to do it, but it would be better than doing it with a JPEG. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm sure TRAINS is willing to make exceptions if it's logical. TRAINS aren't the only people requesting RAW files.

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Originally Posted by JimThias
If digital cameras were perfect, we wouldn't HAVE to process the images on our own. And until the day Canon or some other camera manufacturer develops that "perfect" camera, we're going to have to continue to process on our own.
I'm eagerly awaiting that day.



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Originally Posted by JimThias
I don't think anyone is going to argue with you that, at this time, a good film camera and quality film is going to produce a MUCH more true-to-life image than digital. I think even you can agree with me on that.
That's a slippery slope. Film may be of better quality, but it all comes down to what you use to view it.

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Old 07-12-2007, 07:44 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by JRMDC
Mike, I'm not going to discuss the rest of what you said because it is all a matter of taste and style in my view. But the quote above, well, we are not trying to capture photos, we are making photos to be viewed. So the issue is not what the camera captures but what the viewer sees after the photographer chooses a sensor (film for film body or model of digital body) makes use of a camera containing the sensor, develops (film), post-processes (digital), prepares for display (print making for film, subsumed in post-processing for digital). How various tasks are allocated across those options are a matter of photographer preference and decision; neither the computer nor the camera makes these choices.
I was responding to Jim's statement that he uses his computer to capture the photo. The camera is what captures the photo, a computer just fixes the photo and doesn't capture anything.
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:57 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
I was responding to Jim's statement that he uses his computer to capture the photo. The camera is what captures the photo, a computer just fixes the photo and doesn't capture anything.
Well, fair enough that you guys may be in a semantic battle that I stumbled into. And maybe Jim just plain chose the wrong word, maybe instead of "capture" he should have said "generate" or something.

But I disagree with what you say here also. The camera and computer (and developer and printer and etc.) are part of the creative process, which consists of much more than just "capturing" images. A computer can do oh so much more than "just fix" if you use it right. Just like a darkroom can do more than just print. Slides are actually quite limited in that way, although people have done direct manipulation of slides in the past. So, while you are right that the computer "doesn't capture anything," my objection to how you have been writing about all of this is that you minimize the role that the computer can play (for those who choose to use it that way). Photography is much more than just capturing.

Mountain out of a molehill, again? Not my first time, not my last.
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:10 PM   #39
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Well, fair enough that you guys may be in a semantic battle that I stumbled into. And maybe Jim just plain chose the wrong word, maybe instead of "capture" he should have said "generate" or something.

But I disagree with what you say here also. The camera and computer (and developer and printer and etc.) are part of the creative process, which consists of much more than just "capturing" images. A computer can do oh so much more than "just fix" if you use it right. Just like a darkroom can do more than just print. Slides are actually quite limited in that way, although people have done direct manipulation of slides in the past. So, while you are right that the computer "doesn't capture anything," my objection to how you have been writing about all of this is that you minimize the role that the computer can play (for those who choose to use it that way). Photography is much more than just capturing.

Mountain out of a molehill, again? Not my first time, not my last.
You're right, it has become a semantics battle.

I only like to use the computer to enhance or fix something that the camera didn't do. I don't like to use a computer to generate, or create something entirely on it's own. An example would be changing the color of a sunset. Basically, what I'm trying to do with digital is to copy what I did with slides. So anything that wasn't possible with a slide, I don't do. I like the camera to do as much work as possible and only use the computer to fine tune the photo. I guess it all comes down to personal preference and what you believe is acceptable.
If slides could somehow be immediately developed and I didn't have to pay for film (that's a big if), I'd still be shooting slides.

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:59 PM   #40
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Basically, what I'm trying to do with digital is to copy what I did with slides. So anything that wasn't possible with a slide, I don't do.
I guess that if you change "slide" to "print" above, we are in agreement. Well, counting things like perspective control, which was previously doable on equipment (tilt-shift lens), not in the printing process, but is now done in the computer.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:49 AM   #41
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Well, fair enough that you guys may be in a semantic battle that I stumbled into. And maybe Jim just plain chose the wrong word, maybe instead of "capture" he should have said "generate" or something.
Wait, huh? What did I do?!

This is definitely a conversation to have in person while sharing some fine brew.

The film vs. digital debate isn't far off from the vinyl vs. CD debate that I've been involved in for many years as a club DJ. There are some purists out there, and even though I started spinning with vinyl, I have come to appreciate the practicality of CD's, even though some think they don't sound as good as vinyl. But, like photography, there are MANY variables involved that can sway the discussion either way.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:32 AM   #42
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This is definitely a conversation to have in person while sharing some fine brew.
Drop me a line when you head for DC, and I'll contact you when I am heading up your way!
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Old 07-13-2007, 04:15 AM   #43
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Mike B said: Basically, what I'm trying to do with digital is to copy what I did with slides. So anything that wasn't possible with a slide, I don't do.
A noble idea, but what slide film do you use? Nearly every slide film out there has a color or saturation bias of some sort. In addition, slides can't capture the full dynamic range that your eye can see, so does that mean you want your shadows going solid black on sunny days when you shoot with digital, or your highlights blowing out if you want to show some shadow detail?

For me, digital is a way to get closer to what my eye can actually see. To do that involves working with the shadows and highlights in post processing. Digital is much closer to a negative in film terms, in that a negative can be printed dark or light, the contrast changed, areas held back or burned in as needed to give an image that looks like what you saw. You can do the same thing in photo shop and maybe someday cameras will have intelligent algorithms built in that will do it all with jpeg's, but at present camera produced jpeg's are sort of like machine photo processing. They are designed to make the average shot look good.

Trains can make any rule they want, but accepting camera jpeg's from some but requiring RAW files from others is just plain silly. Make a contact print of an Ansel Adam's negative and it won't look as good as one of his finished prints. Ditto for O. Winston Link. Printing a RAW image is the digital equivalent of making a contact print.

As far as film quality vs. digital, I think medium format still has it all over digital, but with 35mm I'd have to come down on the side of digital once you hit the 8 - 10 megapixel range. Read some of John West's comments on his most recent South Africa photos. He says that will be his last film trip, he's going digital. There is a definite film look and I feel that there are places where film does a better job, but if you have to scan a slide, film has already lost out. You'd be better off starting with a digital camera image in the first place.

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Old 07-13-2007, 07:55 AM   #44
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Printing a RAW image is the digital equivalent of making a contact print.
Good analogy, Michael. I'm glad someone else understands my point about RAW files NEEDING processing. I don't have a problem with Trains Magazine setting what ever rules they want, but I DO have a problem with the inconsistency of their rules. If they will allow in-camera processing with JPG files, then they should allow simple out-of-camera processing with RAW files. It's only fair.
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:14 PM   #45
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A noble idea, but what slide film do you use?
...snip...
You'd be better off starting with a digital camera image in the first place.
Michael,
You make some very good points. If film was as convenient as digital, I'd switch back right away. I've only been using digital since late January of this year but before then I used Provia 100F and nothing else. When I switched I wanted the same results I was getting with Provia, just in digital format. I don't have anything against PP, but when I do anything extensive, I always worry that I am some how "compromising the integrity" of the photo. I know that I'm probably not, but I feel more comfortable working with the camera than the computer. So I try to use the camera as much as I can.
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:57 AM   #46
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Mike,

A good photo starts with a properly composed and exposed image, whether it be negative film, positive film or digital. Positive film is the one medium that doesn't really allow further improvement upon the shot. You can't correct framing problems, you are limited to the dynamic range of the film and you have to accept the film's version of the colors, although you can under or over expose a bit to increase or decrease the saturation. I understand that you want this same rigor to carry over into your digital experience, but why be limited, since many of those technical limitations have now been lifted?

Can someone take a poorly exposed and poorly composed shot and using digital technology make it better? Yes. Can they make it as good as one that was properly exposed and composed in the first place? No. I've cropped digital photos to improve the composition (I've done the same thing with scanned slides) but the trade off is lower resolution. Do I feel like I'm cheating by cropping? No. The word cropping comes from the darkroom act of cropping a negative. Composing in camera is a form of cropping and in the best of all possible worlds, we wouldn't have to crop any further, but the world doesn't exist in a 3:2 ratio frame.

Making a photo better may involve presenting the image in a different shape than your 35mm camera takes pictures. If you shoot with medium format, is the world square? How about 4:3, or 16:9 if you are getting into HDTV? When you shoot 35mm chrome slides, you start thinking that the world is 3:2 or 2:3 if you go vertical. Why be limited if you don't have to any more?

BTW, I shot Kodachrome for years, switched to Provia 100F which I really like and I go for a similar look with my digital photos. I do open up the shadow detail more and I do improve my photos where necessary by cropping them. To keep highlight detail, I generally underexpose my images a bit and then restore the brightness of the rest of the image using levels in Photoshop. My RAW images look dark, because I don't want a vertical line on the right side of the histogram which means I've blown out the highlights. For me a RAW image is just the first step in the photo printing process.

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Old 07-14-2007, 06:07 PM   #47
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To keep highlight detail, I generally underexpose my images a bit and then restore the brightness of the rest of the image using levels in Photoshop. My RAW images look dark, because I don't want a vertical line on the right side of the histogram which means I've blown out the highlights. For me a RAW image is just the first step in the photo printing process.
And if cameras could "see" the same dynamic range of light as the human eye does, we wouldn't have to use that technique to save the highlights.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:17 AM   #48
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Mike,

A good photo starts with a properly composed and exposed image
...snip...
first step in the photo printing process.
Michael,
So, basically what you're saying is that digital offers better quality photos (such as shadow detail), so why not take advantage of it? I fully understand what you're saying, but to be honest, I'm OK with the results my camera (D80) gets straight out of the camera, mostly. Of course there are things like sharpness that almost always need attention, but I rarely feel the need to do anything extensive.

I really do not enjoy doing processing and as long as the shot was taken properly (exposure, focus, etc.) the extra work of PP isn't worth the small gains I would get. I shoot mostly in sunny weather, so shadows are at a minimum, and whatever shadows are there, they seem to have enough detail to me. This is probably an effect of using Provia 100F (I guess any film for that matter) for a lot longer than digital.

Personally, I don't like to switch focus from one thing onto another until I feel that I've mastered what I was first focused on. In this case, it's the sunny shot. I've been told that I've got it down pretty good, but I am not yet satisfied and that "perfect shot" has still eluded me. That's not to say that I won't try more and more PP techniques, but keeping in mind how I dislike PP, rarely do I think one of my shots is worth the work. If I am unhappy with a shot of mine and I think I can improve it in anyway with the camera, I'll leave the RAW file alone (sometimes delete) and wait until I can get the similar shot again. I'm sure some of these shots that I've put aside could be saved in PP, but apart of me feels like that is cheating. I'm not talking about a bad photo, just a photo that isn't what I wanted it to be.

I'm sure that as time passes I'll slowly begin to do more and more processing, but at the moment I usually keep it at a minimum. The beautiful thing about digital is that if/when I change my stubborn ways, I can go through all my previous shots and redo them.
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:36 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Mike B.
I'm sure some of these shots that I've put aside could be saved in PP, but apart of me feels like that is cheating. I'm not talking about a bad photo, just a photo that isn't what I wanted it to be.
Mike, it's not cheating. Digital camera sensors have limitations, and if you can get past those limitations with a little PP to bring the image TRUER TO LIFE, why not do it? If you've got some good images that are suffering from the limitations of a camera's exposure range, why not do a little processing and share them? From what I've seen in your gallery, you're a technically sound photographer. Perfect light isn't ALWAYS going to be there, so why pass up getting a good composition just because the camera can't fully process it?

I'm interested in seeing some of these images that you've held back on. I bet they're better than you think.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:36 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
I'm interested in seeing some of these images that you've held back on. I bet they're better than you think.
Holy crap, you actually almost complimented me! I've been told that I'm way too critical of my shots, but I can't help it. I expect perfection (or very close to it) from myself.

I wasn't thinking of exposure limitations when I said that. I was thinking more along the lines of angle/composition, poor exposure (entire photo under exposed for example). I'm just used to shooting slides and when you mess up, you have to go back and try again. If a shot of something special is messed up, I might try to fix it though, but still not too much processing. If I think the shot can be made better with the camera/technique, I'll redo the shot when the opportunity arises. I don't mind doing that as I think it makes me a better photographer (I hope) and I always enjoy a challenge. Plus, it's rewarding to see that you can do better.
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