Sunday, August 18, 2013

Playing with photos, Nepal

I wake up most mornings, grab a cup of coffee, and think about pictures. I don't always have time to do anything with photography, but steal a few moments to mess around with pictures when I get the chance. As soon as I learn a new (to me) technique, I obsess about it until I can sit down and crank out a few images using the new technique.

Lately I've been processing my RAW data files. When you take a digital photo, your camera actually records the image as a RAW file and then processes it into a .jpg image. What you see as a .jpg image is a processed, somewhat watered down copy of what you originally viewed through your camera. If your camera also records the RAW data files, you can then pull out details from that photo that you didn't catch in your processed .jpg image. In the camera recorded .jpg image of this photo, the background was so dark that I could hardly see the lady in back and the shelves behind her.

Processing the RAW data file allowed me to pull out those otherwise darkened details. With this image I also used a High Pass filter layer, in the Soft Light blending mode, something else I've been playing around with in my pics. The image is still very grainy to me (low res copy posted here, even grainier), but I'll work on that another day.

I look at this image and wonder, "What if...?" What if I was born in Nepal and not the U.S.? What if my whole village was of a caste that included pottery makers, so I was expected to learn pottery making skills? What would I be doing on this Sunday morning/evening if I were living in Bhaktapur, Nepal instead of Virginia, USA? I liked photographing the people in Nepal, but I wish I could go back and talk with them, ask them some questions, learn more.

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