Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Little More Light in My Digital Darkroom

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

My computer handles CS3 fairly well, but it’s over three years old, so, of course, that means in computer years it’s a relic. That’s one of the reasons I had put off exploring working at 16 bits. I suspected that working with the larger files would only create more headaches than it was worth. But then, I read an article, or saw a tutorial (I no longer remember the source) that mentioned the increased elasticity of a 16 bit RAW file, and I was in a mood to experiment.

I know I have a tendency to be suggestible when I read or listen to experts, so I could be kidding myself. But, I am hooked. While it's true that working on a file that size chews up the memory at warp speed; I was surprised at how much more I could wring out of the material. When I used the approach for some photos I took using ISO 2000, I was grateful to have access to more depth and to be able work with pixels that were just a little more supple. The photo above appealed to me because of the story. Lancer was dealing with abandonment issues—Night had been taken out for a ride—and the herd next door must have looked appealing to our lonely gelding.

While I will continue to work predominately with 8 bit files, I now feel comfortable turning to the memory-hogging 16 bits when an image needs some extra TLC.