Why I shoot NEF RAW, and other superfluously obvious information

by Reviewer Rob

I was in Portland last weekend to finish up distributing a few hundred copies of issue 50 that had the Bundy Militia story in it. Ammon Bundy was on the cover in an article where Sarah Glass Shafer met him briefly at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff near Burns, Oregon, in January of this year, and on the back page was the article of her interview with militia spokesman LaVoy Finnicum. He’s the one who was eventually killed during a traffic stop with police about a month later after repeatedly taunting officers that they would have to shoot him. It was videoed by occupants of the vehicle he was driving as well as from police helicopter circling overheard. Very unfortunate.

So anyways, this is one reason why a couple of days before I arrived the not-guilty verdict in the federal trial of standoff participants was received as such good news by many members of the local public in Portland, and ehy it was important to get more copies of issue 50 up there ASAP. The recent verdict was the culmination of a big news story nationally.

While up there I had time to do some sightseeing, and there’s lots to see in the northwest. Portland is a fine combination of Big City and Great Outdoors because you’ve got all the elements of civilized society around you, yet wilderness is only a short car ride away. Witness the Willamette River: it’s a large tributary that flows into an even larger river, the Columbia, which can provide fresh water and power 365 days of the year. In the summer I’m a sure it’s an unending form of aquatic recreation too.

As for my photolog post, here it is:

I always set my cameras to shoot both JPEG and NEF RAW large/fine images. It takes up more space on the card but that’s okay, I just buy larger and more memory cards and more hard drives to archive shoots. I began shooting both several years ago while doing wedding gigs when the brides and grooms that hired me to shoot their ceremonies didn’t have the computer apps or know-how to process RAW images and needed their photos to be ready right away. But I also always wanted to have the RAW files on hand to do their custom image work separately. Below is an example of why.

The top photo is the original version. It was how the jpeg file looked when created, but the NEF RAW image was identical to it in appearance. The two below it contrast the limitations of the jpeg image against the versatility of the RAW file. Both were adjusted on in Photoshop until the best results could be achieved. The depth of color and detail retention of the RAW image at bottom can not be disputed, of course. Look at the wake behind the boat, and at what’s looks like a small sheltered cove only partially visible under the boat dock walk ramp in the upper left of the photo. You can see right into it in the RAW pic while in the jpeg it’s only a murky shadow. The state had experienced a very rainy October and although the image was slightly over exposed the brown color of the early November river water was well captured in RAW and brought out by the photo processing app. In the jpeg version not so much true color was recorded.

Clearly you should love shooting RAW and never settle for less.

Back to the subject of Portland. When I return, and I hope to very soon, I want to take my 600mm f4 and get some shots of the volcano Mount Hood. It has glaciers on it all the time and looks breathtaking at a distance against a cloudless blue sky.


Image technical data:
camera: Nikon D5300, Manual setting, Pattern Metering
lens: Tamron AF 18-270 f3.5
focal length: 270mm
160/sec, f11, ISO 1000


Here's the unedited jpeg original version. It's how the NEF RAW image looked upon creation as well.
Here’s the unedited jpeg original version. It’s how the NEF RAW image looked upon creation as well.
The jpeg original version, after editing in Adobe Photoshop CC.
The jpeg original version, after editing in Adobe Photoshop CC.
The NEF RAW image after finished editing in Adobe Photoshop CC.
The NEF RAW image after finished editing in Adobe Photoshop CC.

Leave a Reply