Over the next several months there will be opportunities to improve your ability to produce better bird photographs. To begin the process, a series of posts describing: camera exposure (“exposure triangle”), focal length, camera image sensors, camera types and their application and common equipment (e.g., flashes, tripods, heads), and other topics of interest. After these articles, we will host a couple of field trips where local amateur bird photographers will demonstrate how they use their equipment and help others increase their knowledge of their cameras. Following the field trips, different photographers will show their editing (post-processing) style for several pictures taken by those attending the field-trips. At a minimum, there will be demonstrations using (1) Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and (2) Topaz DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI. If you plan on submitting some of your photographs for editing during the demonstrations, please consider taking your photographs using your camera’s RAW setting. During the editing sessions, there will be discussions on photograph composition. It may be beneficial to calibrate your computer monitor.

Why a RAW file instead of a JPEG image? A JPEG file has been processed (“developed”) by your camera while a RAW file contains significantly more data (“digital film negative”) that will permit additional processing flexibility. Your camera may permit saving both a JPEG and RAW file for each image. A JPEG file is significantly smaller but tonal, color data, and other information is permanently lost. For example, a JPEG file can have up to 16.8 million colors but a RAW file can have up to 68.7 billion colors. With a JPEG file, the white balance is applied by the camera while for a RAW file you retain control over balance during editing. Lost detail due to overexposure or underexposure cannot be recovered in a JPEG file but it may be possible to adjust and reveal detail with a RAW file. There is a better opportunity to sharpen and reduce noise with a RAW file. There are certain disadvantages of RAW files. They must be edited, are not standardized across manufacturers, and are significantly larger thereby requiring more storage capacity.

Why calibrate you monitor? Because each screen displays images differently. The same image will look different on a different screen. Also, when you print your photographs, they can appear significantly different than what is displayed on your screen (e.g., drab, dark). There can be other reasons too, so try to use a professional local printer (e.g., f/32 in west Knoxville) that will help you resolve printing problems. Additional information about monitor calibration is provided at: https://tinyurl.com/wpd6k47e.

Popular monitor calibration tools are produced by datacolor (https://spyderx.datacolor.com/). The cheapest model is more than adequate. There are other manufactures who produce similar products. Again, calibration is only a suggestion.