This eclipse photo shows why dynamic range and shooting RAW are important

Aug 24, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This eclipse photo shows why dynamic range and shooting RAW are important

Aug 24, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Shooting raw or not shooting raw is probably not even questionable for most photographers. But if you’re for any reason still shooting JPG, this example could finally make you change it. What’s more, it shows why the high dynamic range is important, and what you can achieve just from editing a single RAW file.

Photographer Daniel Plucinski captured the total solar eclipse on Monday and retrieved an incredible amount of details from a single underexposed shot.

Dan was traveling light from Michigan, so he didn’t have too much gear on him. As a matter of fact, he shot the photo handheld and without any graduated filters. He used a Nikon D750 and a Tamron 24-70mm lens at 24mm. As for the settings, they were 1/8s, ISO 100, f/2.8. After he took the shot, this was what the raw image looked like:

After some post processing and retrieving the lost details, this is what he ended up with:

Besides the great photo, it’s pretty impressive what’s possible to retrieve from a single shot. Dan says he’ll also try to make an HDR photo because he was bracketing, but he feels this one is more authentic.

So, if you still don’t shoot RAW for any reason, here’s a motivation to start. And if you do, this is a handy reminder of the power of RAW.

If you’d like to see more of Dan’s work, check out his Facebook page.

[via Reddit, photo courtesy of Daniel Plucinski and used with permission]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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15 responses to “This eclipse photo shows why dynamic range and shooting RAW are important”

  1. Alan Gamble Avatar
    Alan Gamble

    Yeah and I kick myself when I look at my earlier travel shots when I thought RAW files were too big and a waste of space.

    1. Dunja Đuđić Avatar
      Dunja Đuđić

      Same here.

    2. Petar Maksimovic Avatar
      Petar Maksimovic

      Yes, but for RAW development anxiety.

      1. Duncan Dimanche Avatar
        Duncan Dimanche

        Ansiety ? Of what ?
        Having files that are easier to process and can salvage a photo if it’s too underexpose or too over exposed ?

    3. Intiaz Rahim Avatar
      Intiaz Rahim

      100% regret not shooting raw from day 1.

  2. Petar Maksimovic Avatar
    Petar Maksimovic

    Yes it’s 2017.

  3. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    Weddings, Portraits = always
    booth and general snapping = jpeg

  4. veryferry Avatar
    veryferry

    A bit too much clarity, if you ask me.

  5. Mike Randall Avatar
    Mike Randall

    ALWAYS

  6. Hector Macias Avatar
    Hector Macias

    I like my files like I like my Old Durty Bastard music… RAW!

  7. David Roma Avatar
    David Roma

    Always, storage is cheap ;)

  8. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    Friends don’t let friends shoot JPG.

  9. Ahmet Avatar
    Ahmet

    How did the Moon/Sun grow in post? Such a good raw file… 1/8 sec hand held… Mmm, steady hand as well.

  10. steve Avatar
    steve

    I nice demonstration of how much dynamic range one can claw back through shooting raw. The ‘after’ photo is definitely better than the before picture. However, there are a few things which irk me about his post processing:

    1) Selectively increasing shadow detail in post.
    It is very clear that he’s used the pant brush to selectively increase shadow detail. This is fine however you can see where he hasn’t gone to the top of the treeline of the edges of the valley with the brush. The tree tops on the left hand hand side of the valley are really dark while the rest of the trees are light. This just shows slopping masking. Getting it right is a rather slow and painstaking procedure but sped up by using the ‘automask’ feature on the brush in Lightroom

    2) Clarity
    The clarity has been turned too high. When you turn up the clarity too far especially in landscape shots it creates this unnatural dark-to-light gradients in high-contrast areas. This phenomenon does not occur naturally. You can see these in the misty valleys in the distant background where the tops of the valley are dark while deeper in the valleys it is darker. Light does not come from a valley it disappears within it.

    After checking out the rest of his photos both these errors seem to be repeated in all his high-contrast landscape shots. My advice would be to not paint with such a broad brush and ease on the clarity slider… my two cents anyway

    1. Daniel Plucinski Avatar
      Daniel Plucinski

      The mist is actually smoke and it does weird things to the light. Unlike mist, smoke is opaque and diffuses light. It’s more dense the closer to the ground you are and thus bounces more light back into the camera. This is why it seems light is coming from the valley.