Desert Botanical Garden at night

22 09 2010

Learn something new every day. A great thought to incorporate into life. Even though a member for four years, I never realized the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden stays open until 8:00 in the evening. With the desert heat, there seems incentive to for a visit to this outdoor natural environment. As the sun sets, it’s a different world.

Unlike the “Flashlight Tours” during the summer, the entire Garden is open for exploration. Taking my camera on the trip, I was pleased with the effects of both the natural setting sun and the Garden’s own lighting. Kicking myself for not including the tripod, I still enjoyed the challenge of getting good looking pictures.

In recent months, I’ve been shooting RAW imagery, something unknown to me six months ago. Of course, I saw the “RAW” setting on the menu, but it didn’t mean anything. Talking with another photographer, I discovered RAW is just what it says, “the raw image captured by the camera.” The photos take significant chip space—only 185 photos on a 2GB card as opposed to 680 for JPG photos—but the photo quality is amazing.

Just as learning to shoot different films and speeds, there is a learning curve between shooting compressed JPG and uncompressed RAW photos. The latter has twice the pixel density of the compressed image, 48 bits of data per pixel compared to 24 bits for JPG. It also requires installation of camera-specific “codecs” readers. In my case, identifying RAW photos means seeking the “PEF,” Pentax extension on the file name. Every camera generates its own extension and requires its own codecs. It’s not possible to tell from the photo with this article, because the resolution is dropped from 300 dpi (dots per inch) to 96 dpi for the web, but the RAW image is so much richer than a compressed image, I’m not going back.