I follow photography conversations on a couple of different web sites, as do many of us. I also take photography trips to various areas with tour guides, again, as many of us do. Recently I took a guided photography trip to Costa Rica. One of the things I like about taking these trips is meeting new people, mostly other photographers, and talking about our shared love of the craft. This trip I was reminded about the seemingly apparent divide over shooting JPEG format versus shooting RAW format.
This topic is one that comes up routinely on photography web sites. While I decided long ago to shoot using the RAW format, many photographers have chosen to shoot using JPEG format; I really don’t care about the decisions that someone else makes regarding their photography as long as it does not affect me. I’ve found, however, that many people are vehement about the choice they’ve made and they want others to make the same choice or they simply to argue the point for some reason. I love to debate and discuss any issue about photography but some of the people who make comments on the various websites or in a one-to-one discussion seem to feel compelled to push the point. On the trip to Costa Rica I met someone who seemed to feel compelled to push the point on why he shot in JPEG format. I believe that there are reasons to shoot both ways, depending on the circumstances.
Hawk Before Editing-1
Click for an enlargement
Hawk After Editing-2
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500 lens, 1/1250 at f/5.6, ISO 250, +1/3 EV, matrix metering. This photo, like all of my photos, was processed in Lightroom and then in Photoshop as needed. In this case, after using Lightroom, it was as simple as using Photoshop to remove a branch that poked into the image area on the right.
Click for an enlargement
This person, I’ll call him Mike, appeared to believe that shooting in JPEG was a badge of honor of some sort, “I take photos straight out of the camera,” he said. He intimated, in one of our conversations, that what I did, shoot in RAW and edit (sometimes with a bit of “slight of hand”) was somehow “less than” what he did. He went so far as to say that processed photos did not look real and that his photos were “real.” In his mind, apparently, if you did any processing at all the resultant image was not realistic. I told him that I was a photographer who wanted to do art, not photo-journalism. I said that my photographs did look real and that they represented the scene I saw. I showed him some of my finished work and his comment was, “they're ok.” I’m not really sure what that meant but I accepted it and attempted to avoid any further conversation with him. The very next day he approached me at breakfast (before I had even had my coffee!) and showed me a shot that he took and said, “this is my art.” The shot, which was nicely done, was of a bird in flight with a blurred background, a scene that many photographers favor. I told him the shot was very nice and moved away. I don’t know why he felt so compelled to prove a point of some sort; I told him very early on that one of the reasons that I loved photography was that it is, to me, a solo craft in that I take the photographs I want in my way; I don’t have to consider what someone else wants when I’m taking photographs, only what I want and if I’m happy with the end result.
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