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The importance of 'good light' and the general consensus as to what good light is in bird photography terms? (1 Viewer)

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi Paul, good for you. I would encourage you to then keep the setting of taking both jpg and raw in the camera (unless this slows the camera down too much). You may find in a little while that you would really like to learn more about post-processing and then you would likely want to have the raw images available.

Niels

Hi Niels,

Cheers. As you suggest, I haven't written off RAW at this stage. The reason being that I don't know how they compare under varying conditions/scenarios. So, until I've taken a whole range of pictures in different light and at different times, I'll compare both and see how they go.

At some stage I will be buying some decent post-processing software but I think I'm a while off that yet as I'd like to understand the basics of what settings work best in varying conditions/scenarios before I move on to anything else.

The biggest difference I've found at the moment is moving the aperture to 3.5 to 4.5 which in limited situations turned out pictures much more to my liking than at 2.8. It's raining pretty much constantly here at the moment, so I'm using the time on my guitar but from Thursday afternoon we get better weather for a few days and so it will be a case of taking pictures of any bird/as many as possible, utilising various settings, and see how they turn out at different times of the day: cloudy versus sunny, both fine jpeg and RAW.

Thanks for the advice,
Paul
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
Paul,

Personally I shoot RAW and only RAW as I find I can tweak an image to my liking much easier than a JPG. I’m not sure if it is true for all cameras that record RAW images but it’s certainly true for Nikon. A JPG file is embedded inside each RAW file, the JPG being a much smaller file is used to display the image on camera much quicker than the larger RAW file.

Here‘s a good description of the difference between the two from Adobe JPG v RAW

As for your original question, post processing software is so powerful these days more or less any lighting can be manipulated into looking good with the right software skills and the right software.

cheers

Mike
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
The main thing about RAW is not losing detail as you tweak stuff. JPG as a compressive software progressively sheds detail. I always shoot RAW these days, converting to jpg for publication only, and I wish I'd started doing so earlier. I don't spend long on each picture either, a minute or two and that's it: not onerous and makes a big difference to the pictures. I just use Canon's DPP software, as well, no expensive Lightroom or whatever.

Gives you something to do on those long lockdown evenings.....

John
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
The main thing about RAW is not losing detail as you tweak stuff. JPG as a compressive software progressively sheds detail. I always shoot RAW these days, converting to jpg for publication only, and I wish I'd started doing so earlier. I don't spend long on each picture either, a minute or two and that's it: not onerous and makes a big difference to the pictures. I just use Canon's DPP software, as well, no expensive Lightroom or whatever.

Gives you something to do on those long lockdown evenings.....

John
Good point. RAW is a “lossless” format whereas JPG’s loose a little data each time it’s saved. I use Capture One and most times I run Topaz Denoise if I've been using very high ISO's in poor light.
I've been shooting RAW (Nikon NEF) since 2005 with my first DSLR a Nikon D70. Running those very early images through today's post processing software is pretty good. This was taken on Boxing Day 2005 in my backyard.
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I do not disagree with those statements about the value of RAW. But Paul is at a stage where his understanding of getting a good result from RAW is not there which is why I told him to switch to save both. Once he is reasonably comfortable mastering the camera there will be time to start using the RAW images to hopefully get something better than the OOC jpg. In other words, for this particular situation I stand by my advice.

Niels
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
I do not disagree with those statements about the value of RAW. But Paul is at a stage where his understanding of getting a good result from RAW is not there which is why I told him to switch to save both. Once he is reasonably comfortable mastering the camera there will be time to start using the RAW images to hopefully get something better than the OOC jpg. In other words, for this particular situation I stand by my advice.

Niels
I agree entirely. It just seems he’s a bit confused as to the differences between the two formats which is why I included the link to the explanation.

At present Affinity which is a UK based company out of Nottingham I believe has a 90 day free trial of their software including Affinity Photo which is superb package to learn image post processing in whichever format he prefers.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I personally use ACDSee as both organizer and editor. There is likely a number of other good brands out there, in addition to Adobe which is usually considered the Rolls Royce of the bunch.

Niels
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Thanks for the replies all.

Mike: regarding Affinity post-processing software, I actually bought it a few days back. I was looking at various things such as upgrading my laptop and buying adobe photoshop but in the end I thought I probably don't have the spare time to justify that sort of cost and it's going to have to wait a while. So, as a quick fix I bought affinity as it was half price/24 quid. It turned out to be a wise decision in that when I looked at the software it's pretty complicated for someone like me, not insurmountable but it will need time to use it effectively. So, that's there for me to use and I'll start to look at it next time we have a bad run of weather.

John: I've come to a similar conclusion for the time being, which is I'm not doing that much to my pictures and I think they look better for it, whereas before I was changing lighting, contrast and various other bits and pieces to the point they lost the feel of a real bird in real nature.

Niels: that's what I'm going with at the moment because I think first and foremost I want to learn about the camera and the post-processing is secondary for me, and because currently I don't really have the time to put effort into both at the same time. I'm still finding fine jpeg is much better by the way, but maybe that's due to my untrained eye.
 

MikeInPA

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies all.

Mike: regarding Affinity post-processing software, I actually bought it a few days back. I was looking at various things such as upgrading my laptop and buying adobe photoshop but in the end I thought I probably don't have the spare time to justify that sort of cost and it's going to have to wait a while. So, as a quick fix I bought affinity as it was half price/24 quid. It turned out to be a wise decision in that when I looked at the software it's pretty complicated for someone like me, not insurmountable but it will need time to use it effectively. So, that's there for me to use and I'll start to look at it next time we have a bad run of weather.
Paul,

glad you bought Affinity Photo and at £24 quid it is to quote a line from one of my favorite films “a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the f****** century”. Having used Photoshop for many years and Lightroom for a few I ditched Adobe when they went to rental versions. Affinity is getting better all the time is almost on par with Photoshop in my opinion. There are loads of tutorials on YouTube to help you get started.
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Paul,

glad you bought Affinity Photo and at £24 quid it is to quote a line from one of my favorite films “a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the f****** century”. Having used Photoshop for many years and Lightroom for a few I ditched Adobe when they went to rental versions. Affinity is getting better all the time is almost on par with Photoshop in my opinion. There are loads of tutorials on YouTube to help you get started.

Thanks for the YouTube tip, Mike. That's pretty much why I went for Affinity, i.e. reviews stated it competes with Adobe at a much lower price. I won't let it sit there and do nothing with it; I'm not the type of person to waste money nor something valuable. It will have to wait for a bit of time, however, because I'm still trying to work out why some of my pictures don't turn out great when really they should have done. I appreciate it's the settings I'm using at that particular moment but I'm trying to figure out what I should be using at that particular moment. Once I've cracked that, I'll get stuck into making the most of Affinity!
 

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