02 Mar

Why I’m starting to shoot RAW.

By Silver Blue

RAW? You mean like…naked? No, gentle readers. With most cameras these days you can shoot one of two ways: JPG or RAW. With JPG, the camera applies the White Balance, any exposure compensation you may have selected, picture styles, etc. and then compresses the file into JPG format and records it to the storage medium.

RAW, on the other hand, takes the data as recorded by the image sensor and records that to the storage medium without applying compression or any sort of modification to the photograph (some cameras store your settings in a “sidecar” file that goes along with the RAW file).

The difference? Well, using my Canon T3i (18 megapixel), my JPGs are about 5 or 6 megabytes per photo (may be more, or less, depending on the complexity of the photo – more complex means less compression, ergo, larger file sizes). RAW files are in the range of 18-20 megabytes per photo, because every pixel gets recorded. Also, a JPG is ready to be viewed, uploaded, emailed, resized, etc. from the memory card where a RAW file needs to be processed and refined.

So why bother with RAW, you might ask, given that the files are larger and there’s more manipulation that is required in order to turn out  usable images?

Since the Canon T3i allows me a way of shooting RAW + JPG at the same time, I thought I’d play with it and see if RAW served any purpose other than my High Dynamic Range (HDR) that I’m learning to do.  I’ll let you decide.

The JPG:

Now, the same photo, taken from RAW, and processed out:

RAW format allows you to retrieve detail and texture from areas that have been plunged into almost complete darkness in the JPG compression.  The lower photo matches what my eye saw, visually.

(In order to be honest, you CAN retrieve SOME detail from a JPG, but what’s lost is lost. This was probably the best that could have been pulled back out of the shadows of the JPG, but if you look, the colours are slightly off, and there’s more digital “noise” in the photo.)

I could have possibly tweaked colour sliders and brought back the yellow cast of the approaching storm, but… it’s more work, and every time I make an edit to a JPG file, it’s considered a “destructive” edit (unless I go through making multiple adjustment layers in Photoshop), whereas the original RAW file is never altered. All the adjustments are kept in a sidecar file and are editable at any time. Now, next week, or 10 years from now. (Provided, of course, that the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn’t end on December 21, 2012.)


Silver Blue, who wonders if I’m getting into the intricacies of photography a TAD too much. LOL.


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27 Feb

I’ll be watching over you…

By Silver Blue

I’ll admit, the idea of having a guardian angel is a nice one. To think there’s someone on my side, watching over me. Ergo, when I went for a walk and caught glimpse of a statue at the end of a walk, I knew I had to capture it.

Something about how your eyes are led, up the path, to the angel was something I liked.

In a more abstract sense, however, was this:

Which I can’t explain, but it’s almost as if the tiles are acting as glyphs to represent a guardian angel as well, flitting here and there.


Silver Blue, who still, after all this time, listens for the brush of angel wings.

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24 Feb

In a FOWL Mood

By Silver Blue

Took the day off from work because I’m sick of the only days off from work being those days that I am… sick. I have things that need tended to on the weekends normally, so no time for play there. Here comes the word that it will be in the 80s (in February!), and strong, potentially destructive thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Time to use the camera! What to shoot? What I did, put me in a FOWL Mood!


Hey Mr. Seagull, can’t you read? No fishing or crabbing!!!

I love the form of the gull on the wing. I don’t think this one’s name was Jonathan Livingston, however.

They did perch and peer at me, however. Determining that I had neither Cheese Puffs or bread to feed them, however…

…they soon took to flight.

Personally, I think I was in a flight path, today. 😉

Bye-bye blackbird. The one in the middle was obnoxiously noisy. You can see the open beak.

Mister (or Miss) Dove was looking for lunch. Like most doves, this one was shy and quickly darted behind the tree.

I’ve photographed these pier ruins over the years

(This was from 1995. You can see how little remains, and with each nor’easter and hurricane we get, more disappears…)

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for lunch as well.

As are these Canadian Geese, which no longer migrate. Is it due to the weather, or because people are feeding them?

Finally….just to prove that the weather was good for all…

Not a hare was out of place. 🙂

There were many more photos that are worthy of sharing…but they’ll have to wait for another way.


Silver Blue, who really enjoyed being out in nature today….

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22 Feb

We’re lost…in this… masquerade…

By Silver Blue | 1 comment


As you know, I’m very big on my “blues”. Including those that are intermingled with the “silvers”. Thanks to my friend, $tar$hine (a/k/a $ally and her “hubby” James) I have a beautiful masquerade mask on my mantle (say that six times fast!)  It blends with the “cobalts” (and candles) so well, and it brings me a great deal of joy.


Silver Blue, who says “Masquerade…also known as a facade…where people put on a coat of paint and be what they ain’t.”

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18 Feb

The Phoenix Rises Again!

By Silver Blue

This time, courtesy of my friend Lynn, who handcrafted this far, FAR too nifty fob for my camera bag!!!

The silver and blue chain is of a Byzantine style (a/k/a chain mail), the crystals are Swarovski, and the pendant is 100% Phoenix. Created in my colours of silver and blue, it is beautiful, and was a complete surprise. Many thanks to you!!

Whilst I was out and about today, I hit the clearance racks at Kohl’s department store where I found a number of nice items including some frames for the 10″x13″ photos I have (what’s the deal with the odd size??? Standard is 11″x14″. I think Sears Photo is attempting to scam and go cheap. Still, I managed to find two (the only two they had) nice wooden frames for the 10″x13″ photos (one of me, one of the “fearless five” [the five grandchildren on mom’s side of the family]), and for all of $3, this framed item…which spoke such volumes to me it HAD to come home:

I had something like that typewriter growing up…and the case it was mounted in as well (it’s actually SCREWED to the bottom wooden piece that was fabric covered). I wonder, in fact, if it might still be residing in my parents attic, just waiting to be rediscovered….


Silver Blue, who asks that you listen to my story, I wanna say I’m sorry…don’t go in such a hurry…listen to me…

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28 Jan

I’ve got an angel… in my pocket…

By Silver Blue

Or, at least… in the garden across the street.

Processed through the watercolour filter, I think she’s quite exquisite.

I ordered a new camera lens tonight. 18-200mm, which will give me the wide angle I need, along with a decent mid-range zoom lens. A one-stop walk around. As much as one lens can be. It better be good, though. It cost as much as the bloody camera did. The difference between the men and the boys is the price of their toys, right? Well… Uh… I guess so. 🙂


Silver Blue, who believes in Guardian Angels, just not the way that you might think they watch over us.

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27 Jan

In Another Place and Time…

By Silver Blue

Years ago, back when my Grandma (on Mom’s side) was still in this part of the multiverse, I would go back every summer for a visit. For the first 8 or 9 years of my life, the month-long visit was divided between both sets of grandparents (2 weeks with one, 2 weeks with the other). Then, it became visiting one side, and spending most of my time with Grandma.

Grandma lived across the street from two sets of railroad tracks. So, from a very young age, I developed a love of trains. My favourite boxcar was the “Illinois Central Gulf”, which was bright orange, marked with a white “i” in a black circle. (see an example at http://www.flickr.com/photos/prairiestar/2787689454/ )

There was a mainline, and one that crossed the river via a trestle, and which, I believe, made a stop at the local lumber yard.  It was creepy (to me) to walk across the trestle, as it was a long way down if you fell off, and I have a VERY active imagination. Did I mention it was a long way to the bottom (or into the river, depending on where you’d land)?

Sometime in the late 80s, I think, they took the trestle (and rail line it carried) out; however, they left the support stanchions.

Here, you can see how the plants have overtaken what used to be the trestle.

Another stanchion:

I guess it was just easier to remove the railroad ties and rails than it was to attempt to demolish the concrete:

Here, you can still see the spikes from the old ties driven into the concrete.

I’d often wondered how old the trestle really was. Getting around for a few more shots gave me a glimpse of something:

There appeared to be… dates embossed in the stanchion!

Zooming in a bit closer:

Indeed! It clearly shows 1928. The other side either said 1917 or 1947.  The tree covered it to the point that I could no longer read it. This photo was taken 2 years later, and shows how overgrown it has become:

I don’t know when, or even IF I’ll ever be able to get back to get any further photos before the stanchions are either destroyed by man, or by the ravages of time.

The other line? It’s still in use:

Of course, the “Illinois Central Gulf” boxcars are no more, but the memories I have live on… in that other place and time.


Silver Blue, who sometimes, when I hear that lonesome whistle blow, yearn for the past, when trains still had cabooses.

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25 Jan

Things that catch my eye

By Silver Blue | 2 comments


Survived a very stressful event today at a local hotel. Probably the largest public relations for my College — the event of the year (and this is my 13th one — they don’t get any easier). Involved a morning session for 400 and lunch for 300+, and two lectures. So, in order to keep my wits, sanity, and sense of humour, I did what I do best.

I look… up.

The “X” doesn’t appear in the hotel’s name, so I don’t quite know why they’re on the light fixtures. Still, I liked it, so it made its way to the memory card.


Ahh. Curves. Curves are soothing. A break from the harshness of right angles and points. The other side of this shot would be…

Something that looked like this.  One thing I’ve learned, however, from my online photography classes. When set in automatic mode, your camera will meter for the available light, and attempt to give you a scene where the highlights are exposed correctly. Only one problem with that.

By doing so, you’ve lost all the details in the shadows. Fortunately, by using a fill flash, I was able to capture a greater range.

I wouldn’t have thought of using a flash in such a bright situation, normally. Of course, now I think differently.

Silver Blue, who attempts to find ways of flushing stress from himself that causes no harm to others, but also helps bring me back to centre.

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24 Jan

You can colour my world…

By Silver Blue

By removing most of the colour from photos, you can change the mood and effect.

The neighbours have the right idea. As long as it’s not red wines. They give me migraines.

A welcoming snowflake.  Nice and perriwinkle.

Then, there’s where a bell SHOULD have gone…

Finally… my fascination with the red berry bushes continues. Very exciting in colour extraction, I might add!

Something about isolating a colour or two makes far more of an impact with a photo, I think.


Silver Blue, who says today has been long enough, and I’m ready for some serious sleep.

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Days of Silver Blue

May 2024