The side effect of leaving my computer home?
This morning, I got up early and took out my new camera.
I started shooting and then quickly remembered that without my laptop, I don’t have access to the photoshop version that can read RAW files, so I had to switch to JPEG.
Let me try to explain why this is a big deal.
In RAW, so much data is stored that no matter how much you screw up a picture, you can pretty much salvage it with infinite fixes without ever losing image quality.
JPEG is a commitment. Whatever the exposure and white balance setting you choose (not to mention a whole host of other options that can affect contrast, depth of blacks, and stuff I have not even begun to learn about) is locked in. You can mess with it in editing, but every time you save it, the file compresses and you lose data.
On the plus side, JPEG files are a lot smaller so I can fit more on one card.
But what the shift really did was that it motivated me to shut off all of the automatic settings on my camera, even auto-focus.
It was liberating. I feel like I’m approaching taking photographs the way I did when I got my first SLR in junior high school. I’m choosing my f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and point of focus, manually.
And it feels good.
I’m paying attention in a different way — because I have to but also because I want to, and because, I think, I have the energy to attend to a new activity.
I gleefully shot photos all day. Somewhat to the chagrin of my compatriots who maybe weren’t feeling like modeling today. The trees didn’t mind, however.
The best pictures are of Jonah by the river. A muddy, shallow river that he felt immediately compelled to wade in, completely naked.