Hidden Treasure

There is an Army photo contest that I am looking to enter.  And while going through my photo library, which contains well over 10,000 photos, looking for some images that would be suitable for the categories of this particular contest, I discovered this particular gem.  

Wu BaBa shooting the sunrise at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan.

It was a photo that, at the time I took it over 4-years ago, didn't stand out.  In fact, because I shot this looking into the sun, I felt the exposure had washed out the sky and silhouetted the foreground far too much to be usable.  However, with marvels and improvements of my photo editing software, I was able to dial down and bring back the color of the sky while still bringing out the detail of the foreground subject, in this case my father-in-law, taking a picture of the same sunrise.

For this very reason, I am always hesitant to delete images solely based on bad exposure.  Sure, I will boot photos that are blurry or poorly composed, but the camera sensor of most DLSR cameras capture more light data than we realize - and certainly more light data than is first displayed when it the image is downloaded onto your computer.  

This is also a perfect example of why I always shoot RAW images.  This being photographers' lingo for setting the digital camera to save the image file on its memory card with all of its light data without compressing it.  The alternative to this is to shoot JPEG files.  We a camera converts its light data into a JPEG, it generally will process the image (typically sharpening it and adding some sharpening and color saturation). However it also compresses it, which causes it to loose image quality and the ability to go back and really pull high levels of details for the shadows and highlights of the image.

I don't think I could have salvaged this image a couple of years ago based on the capabilities of the leading photo-editing software applications. However, as my software has improved, it has given me cause to go back a filter through my portfolio looking for hidden treasure that I had once dismissed.  

Carl SanfordComment