JPG Verses Raw

A few of today’s images have never been shown here before, and for most of those that have, it was some time ago. They are jpg originals, not converts. No RAW files.

I decided to take a look in my oldest mobile hard drive the other day. I peruse this device about once every year or two. I often forget I have it. Most of the images that reside there are digital originals rather than old film converts.  At the time I was filling that device, I had no software for working on RAW files. I shot all original jpgs for that time. Even my film transparencies were at that time, copied into the jpg format. The general criticism of jpgs as an original picture format, is that they contain too little information. In other words the subtle differences in color and tone are not obvious and will be missed. That can be a major issue with fine art print creation, but of course, the sharing of images on the internet is done almost entirely in the jpg format. There are PNG files and such, but they are usually an enormous sized image.

In any matter, it was fun to take a gander at yet another group of old images, but ones that I rarely see. When I viewed many of those old files, I was reminded of the moments when I made the images, although with some of them, I had no recollection of their conception. 

I have made a lot photographic macros (close-ups) in my life in both digital jpgs and RAW, and before that with film transparencies, a few color negatives, and some black and white negatives.  I have used an assortment of macro lenses, extension tubes, telephoto lenses and just plain old cropping after the fact, to bring viewers up close. Intimacy can be a valuable tool in photography. Macro photography is an intimate endeavor.

I know not when or where I created the image below. Some sort of a thistle maybe. Early spring with a plant that will soon “flower out”?

I know this, I would love to be back there at that moment, with that light which is making those plants pop and sparkle and glow and speak to me. I used no flash, reflectors or artificial light of any sort. I’ve made a lot of images like this in my life, and I only wish I could relive those moments again. This is a subject that most people, and many photographers would walk right past. I would imagine that I was first attracted to the light, then the plant. In many ways, photography is about light. This humble image, is in fact my personal favorite on this page.

With no light, there is no image. With powerful light, including dramatic light as you see below, a simple photo can make a powerful statement.  I made a proper exposure on those blossoms with that sidelight, and that exposure drove the shadowy areas into darkness. I did not create the drama, I merely managed to capture it, and then shared it allowing nature to speak for herself.

There’s a lot of ways, to compose any given subject. The same song performed by different musicians, or sung by different vocalists, will be different. The same subject recorded photographically by different photographers, will inevitably be different. Even the first and second image below have different feelings to them, just by the amount (or lack of) space around the flowers. 

Let us move on to some wild animals.

This jpeg original was made many years ago (2003) in South Dakota. The male Bighorn Sheep Ram you see, was very much wild although accustomed to people being in the area. The photo was created with a 300mm lens and tripod. I was kneeling in the grasses in Custer State Park. As best as memory serves me, I was not of much concern to him until I made this final image, and I then backed off and moved away. As I said, if memory serves me.

I love being in the presence of wild animals. Especially when they accept me within their normal area of safety. I always tried to take advantage of the circumstances, but not my subject. There is a time to quietly move away.

Once again if memory serves, I was nearly laying on my stomach with my tripod at its lowest level as I made this side view, eye level image of a Bull Frog. I actually do fairly well remember making this photo at Bong State Recreation Area in southern Wisconsin.

There is something about getting down to eye level with critters like this. We enter their world instead of catching them in ours.

Small creatures such as insects are wildlife too. Getting close is necessary and it is the only way to feel a connection to them through pictures.

I do not remember the moments when I was photographing either the grasshopper or the beetle, but I am sure I said thanks, and left them where I found them, and moved on. I always did.

Note that I used no electronic flash with the grasshopper. Much like that one flower image with dramatic side light, the lighting here was close to the same, and I believe it helps this simple image become somewhat unique and drama filled. That “bug eye” if you will, is looking at you.

This dew covered beetle was ambling along on a leaf when I focused and clicked the shutter. I employed the aid of a sturdy tripod. You can feel that this “little critter” is on the move by the posture of its body. The pose if you will. Notice that I left some space in the direction it was walking even though that protruding body part to our right did not allow me to use a composition where the entire beetle was left of center. We still see the whole insect and we still have some room for it to walk.

I should note, that this file when I removed it from that hard drive, was actually a TIFF file. Yet another seldom used format. I simply used a software program to convert it to jpg.

This American Bittern believes that I can not see it as it blends in to its environment, both because of its color/markings, and its pose. I left it just as I found it.  Whatever it is, it’s downright pretty.

Grasses are a subject I loved to photograph. In particular, Foxtail Barely Grass. Even better, in autumn. It has beautiful colors and it flows into an assortment of differing designs and poses. Delicate yet hardy.

Then of course, there is dew + Barley Grass. Guaranteed to add some sparkle to any subject. This one also has the warm morning sun on it.

Well there we are, a few old jpg originals I had forgotten about buried in an old hard drive.

I hope you got something from the presentation. I know I loved reliving those moments as best I could remember them.

Regardless of what formats or what cameras we use, a picture can potentially live a long, long time. Longer than the one who made it.  There are reasons why photographer/artists such as Ansell Adams and Galen Rowell continue live on long after their demise. Adams began photography in the 1920s and Rowell in the early 60s.

If I ever accomplish anything by sharing photos on this blog, hopefully it will be to inspire each of you to get your camera, go out and create.

God Bless,

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