Raw Power

My first blog entry will be a relatively short one. I just wanted to demonstrate just how much you can push a RAW file in Photoshop or Lightroom. The 2 images seen here are actually the same shot, before and after processing. 


The dark (almost completely black) image is one that I took accidentally at Ennerdale in The Lake District. I was shooting long exposures using a remote shutter release and accidentally closed the shutter a few seconds into what should have been a 2 minute exposure. I decided to have a play with the file just to see what I could do with it and the result was quite surprising. As you can see, the second image is somewhat different to the first and while the results aren’t perfect, it is a useable image. Had I taken the image in jpeg it would have been completely unusable as you can’t push the processing anywhere near as much as with RAW files. 

Obviously when using your camera it is far better to get the correct exposure at the time of capture, but I think this clearly demonstrates how much you can recover from a RAW file which is underexposed. The same cannot be said for an overexposed image however. If the highlights are blown, there is no recovering them and your image will be unusable. Recovering shadow details in high contrast scenes is one example of where you might need more extreme processing. Shooting in RAW will allow you to correctly expose for the highlights, knowing that you can easily pull back details from underexposed shadow areas.