Glass box

Glass box (RAW)

RAW file processed in Lightroom

New York City. These two images are another test of the high contrast black and white setting in the Ricoh GR vs the same RAW image processed in Lightroom. Each process has its strengths and I’m glad that modern cameras give us the ability to make two files, the original RAW and the in-camera processed JPEG.

There’s no downside to shooting this way except it makes for more work later. So far, I’m enjoying the work and the results.

Glass box (high contrast JPEG)

High contrast JPEG processed in camera

Succulent test

Succulent 1 (JPEG)

Succulent 1 (JPEG)

Succulent 1 (RAW)

Succulent 1 (RAW)

Santa Monica, California. We took a walk down the palisades park overlooking the Pacific Ocean which my mother thinks is totally boring but I love. We’ve done it many times but I’d never shot the large succulents on the side of the walkway. Edward Weston came to mind as I thought about what these might look like using the Ricoh GR’s high contrast black and white setting.

I have the GR set up to take both RAW and jpeg and have the JPEG set to this high contest grainy filter.

I got the images home, got them into lightroom (all of them, RAWs and JPEGs) and decided to do an experiment.

I cropped them all the same so there were three sets of two images, one RAW/color, one high contrast monochrome (I took more but only kept these).

Then I processed one of the RAWs as high contrast black and whites experimenting with Lightroom’s various presets and tweaking as needed. Then I copied and pasted the settings from that one onto each of the various RAWs, something I do regularly when I want settings across a set.

Then I compared the converted RAWs with the high contrast JPEGs processed in camera.

I like the RAWs better. They’re less stark and the grain is gone (although I can make it again if I want) but there’s a lot more detail/information and I was missing that in these stark high contrast JPEGs.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the high contrast setting and will keep it because it allows me to use it on the LCD to look for light and contrast, but when I want more detail I’ll use the RAW files and process them in Lightroom. No doubt at times I’ll want the look of the JPEG and will use it. It’s nice to have options.

In this series, in case you can’t see it, the high contrast JPEG processed in the Ricoh GR comes first, the same image in RAW processed by me in Lightroom second.

Succulent 2 (JPEG)

Succulent 2 (JPEG)

Succulent 2 (RAW)

Succulent 2 (RAW)

Succulent 3 (JPEG)

Succulent 3 (JPEG)

Succulent 3 (RAW)

Succulent 3 (RAW)

PTLens and image correction

I’m experimenting with an application called PTLens which corrects pincushion/barrel distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and perspective.

In this case, the 24mm end of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L causes distortion in the perspective on buildings left and right of center.

Lower Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal

Before (above)

Lower Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (corrected)

After (above)

The image would need to be cropped to remove the black areas left and right of bottom center.

I heard about this application from one of my favorite photobloggers, Sam Javanrouh who no doubt uses it a lot on his wide angle urban landscape images.

Vitamins with Lightroom

Vitamins with Lightroom

The pile of vitamins I choke down every morning with a glass of orange juice looming behind.

This is my first attempt to process a RAW image with Adobe’s new Lightroom application.

You can download the public beta of Lightroom at Adobe Labs. There’s just an OS X version now, Windows version coming soon.

I have never been a Photoshop user: I’ve never felt the need for such a high-end application until now and frankly, I’ve never found its UI very inviting. However, now that I’m attempting to broaden my photographic horizons, post-processing seems like an important area to explore.

I’m a Macintosh person. Always have been and always will be. The system requirements on Aperture gave me pause before it was so poorly reviewed (I use a 1.67 Ghz G4 15″ PowerBook as my sole computer) and so, I was starting to consider PhotoShop or at least Elements.

All of that said, I must say that I love iPhoto. Its tools are crude compared with any of these other applications but the application is so easy to use that I’ve had no problem using a “consumer level” app for my “pro-wannabe” photography.

I’ll be attending Macworld this week and I hope Apple releases an upgrade to its iLife suite including a new version of iPhoto. Even if they do, I’ll continue to experiment with Lightroom because it looks great, will run easily on my computer, and I applaud Adobe for releasing it as a public beta. I would think (hope/pray) that the retail cost of Lightroom will be much less than the cost of Aperture or Photoshop.