RAW only

I have occasionally swapped back and forth between saving jpeg and saving RAW + jpeg. Well now, after a bit of digging around, I have switched to just RAW. I have a Canon so the file extension is CR2.

As a simple image viewer/reviewer I use Irfanview which displays an image for the RAW file and of course displays the jpeg file. So for a while I have been reviewing 2 files for the same photo, and deleting 2 files each time. A bit silly really. But then I often find that I don’t want to/need to use the RAW file – I am often happy with the jpeg file the camera produces.

I have now investigated the batch processing of RAW files using ufraw-batch and decided that I can create jpeg files quickly and easily from the CR2 files.

It appears that the CR2 file contains an embedded jpeg file that can be extracted using ufraw-batch. I have a .bat file that I can drop into the directory that contains the CR2 files. The file contains the command

"C:/Program Files/ufraw/ufraw-batch.exe" --embedded-image *.CR2

This very quickly extracts the embedded image which is not high resolution but is adequate for cataloging purposes. The batch file couls also be used to rename all the extracted files but I have not seen a need for that yet.

There are many options availalbe for use in the ufraw-batch program. In fact I believe that you can do anything in the batch file that you can do in the ufraw GUI.

A simple batch file containing

"C:/Program Files/ufraw/ufraw-batch.exe" --wb=camera --exposure=auto --out-type=jpeg --compression=87 *.CR2

will create jpeg files for all the CR2 files in the directory where the camera settings are applied and the file size is close to what the camera would have produced. These settings can be changed to suit the CR2 files and the original shooting environment.

Using GIMP to lighten shadows and darken highlights

I tend to use GIMP to edit my photos and one of the things I have found useful is a quick and easy way to lighten shadows and darken highlights.

For those that know some of the terminology and have used GIMP (I don’t pretend to be an expert so bear with me if I describe some of it incorrectly) what I do is use a desaturated, inverted duplicate layer set to “soft light” with reduced opacity.

In more detail:-

When editing your image in GIMP go to the menu option “Layer” then click on “Duplicate Layer”. The duplicate layer will now be active but if you do something else before continuing you will need to click on the duplicate layer in the layers toolbar. We now turn it into a black and white image by going to the menu “Colours” and then click on “Desaturate”. I then usually select “Luminosity” and click on “Ok”. When you have done this a few times you might want to try other options. You can also adjust brightness and contrast but remember that this is supposed to be a quick and easy way of making some improvements to the image. You can get clever with layers and layer masks but if you are into that sort of thing you are beyond this little guide.

Now we can invert the image by going to “Colours” and then “Invert”. We should now have a black and white negative of the original image.

Now “all” we have to do is blend this with the colour original by going to the “Layers” dockable window. Press Ctrl and L if you can’t find it. In this window change the Mode to “Soft Light” and reduce the opacity to give you the image you want. You can turn the duplicate layer on and off to see the effect by clicking the “eye” in the check box next to the duplicate layer in the dockable Layer window.