Photo Editor: Raw To The Rescue!

Posted on 15 Aug, 2014 by Scott Jones
Jorge Lorenzo Le Mans Pit Lane by Scott Jones

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I’m pleased to see that, hiding in the raw file’s data, there’s quite a bit of detail. Just check out the drops of sweat on Lorenzo’s brow:
Jorge-Lorenzo-Le-Mans-pit-lane-RAW-file-detail-S

The next thing to do is crop the image dramatically to eliminate so much unwanted fluff and direct the viewer’s eyes to Lorenzo’s. Masahiko Nakjima’s expression is a distraction, so sorry, sir, but you have to go:
Jorge-Lorenzo-Le-Mans-pit-lane-Crop-S

The final image looks like this:
Jorge-Lorenzo-Le-Mans-pit-lane-final-file-S

The result is that I have one of my favorite images from the weekend at Le Mans. If Nakajima-san hadn’t been so close to Lorenzo, I’d probably not have cropped so tight on the left side of Lorenzo’s helmet. I’d prefer if he weren’t all the way over to the right side of the image.

But otherwise I really like the look of this photograph. It’s almost as if there is a fog in the foreground. Lorenzo’s attention on the timing screens comes through the white haze perhaps more dramatically than if the entire shot were perfectly clear.

The point is that if this image had been burned as a JPG at the time of exposure, all that detail in Lorenzo’s face, the drops of sweat, the dynamic range recovered via the raw file, would’ve been lost.

Raw Rules!

Photo Editor posts are intended not as examples of what YOU should do, but as examples of the decisions the author made to achieve the results he or she desired. We hope these posts will suggest possibilities of technique and editing to help you find the look you want for your own images.

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