Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shooting RAW (finally!)

OK, so the closest person I have to a "mentor" in my new quest to learn the art of wildlife photography suggested a while back to begin shooting RAW. I was intimidated by the file sizes and the need to use Bridge before even getting into CS3, and since I have absolutely no experience in either I have been trying to teach myself. I am off school this week for Thanksgiving and thought I'd have much more time to play with this, but it just isn't working out the way I had planned! Anyway, I took my first stab at it today while some of my squirrel buddies were out back but my session was cut short when my indoor cat leaped out of the window I was shooting through to chase my furry friends away! I guess I will have to be more vigilant of where the cats are when I open that screen next time!

I recently attended a beginners photography class where the instructor said that it doesn't matter what camera you have, it's all about techniques. I have also been chatting with members of the amateur photography community that have or have had the D50 that I'm using and the general agreement is that no matter how well you get your composition techniques down... it stinks! I have been pondering saving up my money slowly to purchase a new camera as I am getting quite frustrated, but I have no idea where to begin in researching a new one. I have a couple Tamron lenses which were quite expensive and I would not be able to afford to replace them anytime soon so I am hoping there is something out there that they would be compatible with, Oh well, lots of research to do... maybe over Christmas break! If any of you have any ideas or advice, please chime in! I was misled in my purchase of the D50 by the shop in California I purchased it from so I hope to be more informed this time around. Thanks!


  1. Heather I think the photo looks pretty good. Like mine I can't click on it and make it larger when the photo is embedded with the text, that is why my photos are always first on the blog.

    When learning bridge and the adjustments to raw images I learned just by playing with the controls. I will admitt I only use the first two setting or pages before heading to photoshop so I am probably missing some adjustments I could make. The files sizes are not important as long as you have a way to download or plenty of memory cards.

    You mention using your lens with a new camera. Nikon makes a few that are different than most like the D5000 and the D40 or 50 in that my lens do not work on them and theirs do not work on mine. With the D70, 90 and 300 I have the motor to operate the lens is in the camera with the D5000 and the other ne it is in the lens so to use mine on those or the other way they become fully manual and do not relay infomation. If you lens work on mine the D90 might be the best under $1,000 camera Nikon makes. I really think it takes as good of photos as my D300 and am very happy with it. I almost sold it to get a D300s to partner with the D300 but found that is was a better camera (noise) than the 300s and cost around $800 less.

    I am no camera expert but after owning four different Nikons (I used to use the D2x) and playing with the D700 I have a pretty good feel for the Nikons. When a new one comes out I learn all I can about it and the pros and cons. I have never stepped into the modern technology world but I am a camera geek.

    I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    P.S. we have three cats and not wanting to loose any I keep the screens out in the windows by the bird feeders and keep the windows as clean as I can to photograph through them instead of opening them.

  2. Hi Heather, - their phone number is 1-888-955-6000. That is the best company ever. Once you purchase a product from them, you get 24/7 tech support (a live person who speaks English) for the life of your product. They are so knowledgeable about all products.
    I bought many, many items from them and have never had a problem.
    Plus, they don't charge tax, so if your item is high priced, that saves a good amount of money. Also, they sometimes give free shipping as well.
    I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Heather,

    Nice squirrel shot. I cannot really address the D50 issue but I do know that one thing that cannot be scrimped on is lens quality. When I first bought the 30D I did some shooting with a Canon 75-300 and the pics were very soft. Borrowing some Canon L glass from Willard, I quickly learned that lens quality makes all of the difference in the world.

  4. The squirrel shot is excellent.

    Like Brad, I don't do a whole lot of processing in raw. I mostly use it to make sure the highlights are not blown out and perhaps to tweak the black level a bit, although in some cases with severe problems, I do do more. After initial tweaking in bridge, I apply the more precise adjustments in Photoshop. Most agree that it is best set bridge so that sharpening is for preview purposes only and then actually apply your sharpening in photoshop when you are done processing the image.