Blarney Canon 40D Cork Ireland Photography Photos Sigma 18-200

Photographic Knowledge

Photographic Knowledge

A little knowledge goes a long way. It better. I’ve read all these magazines and most of the books here but have I absorbed all of it? Hardly. I’ve since almost given up on buying photography magazines because they repeat the same old guff year in year out. Possibly with the exception of Black and White magazine which still holds my interest.

As I twittered earlier, I’m going to go back to shooting Jpeg again for a while unless the situation is more challenging. The Canon 40D produces 14MB RAW files but only 3MB Jpeg files. I have 285GB of space on an external drive (backed up to another identical drive) so space isn’t an issue, it’s the rate at which space is being used, often for photos that definitely don’t need the flexibility of RAW. Dumping those beauties to DVD is a right pain when each DVD will only store the equivalent of a few days prolific shooting. Bluray here we come!

I was going to post another Tour of Ireland photo today but these magazines are going up in the attic so the opportunity presented itself. Yes, that’s an issue of UNCUT. Spotted that down in Midleton last year. It had an article about Queen’s new tour. Still haven’t read it actually.

PS. Will has canceled the Pink for October event. Instead there’ll be a photowalk on September 20th. As luck would (not) have it, my wife has a driving lesson at 11am that morning. Must comment on Will’s post.

Aperture ƒ/3.5
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/25s

By Donncha

Donncha Γ“ Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

10 replies on “Photographic Knowledge”

The magazines in Sweden is incredibly technique focused at the moment, and repeat the same things over and over. There’s only one small magazine that focus on other things and that’s Camera Natura (wildlifephoto).

I’ve also gone back to jpg for a while (when digital). I discovered i rarely used the things you can do in Lightroom with raw, the things needed I can do in Photoshop (or GIMP).

Oh my God Donncha. We will have to hide inside the houses if the missus is on the streets practicing driving πŸ™‚
Hard drive space is an ardent problem for me also even though I have more then 1TB of space. My camera is producing 27Mb file in Raw but yet I refuse to shot in Jpeg. You will find my reasons here

Mattias. The processing you refer to ( I presume Curves and levels) can be easily achieved by opening the raw file in CS3 as a smart object. The advantage of this is that the processing is completely non-destructive and will allow you to future re-processing is you feel is needed.

I am applying a rigorous selection after I upload the shots to my computer. Blurry..deleted. Compositional issues..delete. ..etc.
This is a simple formula to be applied πŸ™‚
1000 shots = 300 rubbish + 200 crap + 200 acceptable + 200 tolerable + 80 reasonable good + 15 good + 3 excellent + 2 stunning (and those last two are a matter of luck πŸ™‚


I’ve said it time and time again, the greatest problem with digital photography is storage. It’s been prophesied that in years to come there will be a media blackspot regarding this era, as millions of softcopy only images will go missing, be deleted, or are otherwise unreadable (due to corrupt data or unsupported legacy media). A media blackout will be caused fundamentally because we just don’t make prints of our digital images. Think of all those old photographs you have, of your parents and grandparents. You have a positive proof, but the negative is long since lost.

So lets take a totally random figure out the air… 75,000 images say (totally random :). 75k x 14MB = a rough terrabyte. Thats not too bad but for something as precious as photographs you’d really want tripple redundancy at least, and thats a lot of platter space you need to buy.

Something I’ve been thinking about recently. Storage media used in cameras, such as compact flash cards, has become fairly cheap. Would anyone start thinking about using CF cards as if they were rolls of film i.e. used only once and then stored away with the set of images still on them? The only thing that puts me off is bit corruption. If only they could invent non-degradable memory storage, it would solve a lot of problems.

1TB of storage is no more then Γ’β€šΒ¬170. But who needs to store that amount of photos? I usually back up everything I shot in a year on DVD’s.

Mattias – yes, all you need to do is buy one magazine each month for one year and you’ll have all the “technique” articles you’ll need. πŸ™‚

Ovidiu – you should include your blog url in your comments! Subscribed to your blog a few minutes ago, but can you change your feed to show full posts please?

GG – The amount of digital media some people produce means they need to look at fancy backup solutions and yes, it scares me too that all of this could disappear. Whenever there’s a power cut I’m made sorely aware of how fragile all my digital memories and archives are. I wouldn’t be too gone on using flash cards as permanent storage. I tend to move archives to new disks once a year or two. Jpeg is years old now and it’s likely to be a “standard” for another 5 or 10 years, but that’s not long. RAW is another matter altogether.
I have 600 C64 disks at home, a broken 1541 disk drive and no way of getting the data off them. ‘Course they’re almost 20 years old now and probably wouldn’t be readable anyway.

Ovidiu – I have 2 1TB external drives. Whenever my laptop drive starts to fill up I dump the older photos to one drive. The other drive is a backup drive and backs up my laptop’s home directory (including photos), and each night makes a copy of everything on the first drive. I’m a bit behind on my DVD backup but I think I could fill about 4 or 5 DVDs..

Out of interest, here’s my data usage, by year:
8.4M 2000
17M 2001
1.5G 2002
9.3G 2003
15G 2004
86G 2005
80G 2006
73G 2007
55G 2008

I shot significantly less photos in 2007, but they were RAW files. Chews up space.

“But who needs to store that amount of photos?”

Donncha does πŸ™‚

I hope youre making duplicates of your images. DVD dyes degrade after 5-10 years, even with the likes of Taiyo Uden discs. I’ve lost data already on some of my oldest CD-R’s.

1TB might be relatively cheap in monetary terms, but its a lot of data to have read and rewrite every couple of years to combat magnetic migration on the disks platters, which otherwise ultimately leads to data loss. Its even more time consuming if you are keeping redundant copies. Thats if youre really paranoid of course.

No matter what way you store your files, always incorporate redundency into your archiving solution, you just never know what might go wrong πŸ™‚

I am always interested in this debate. It’s a sticky one.

A lot depends on the sort of photographs you take. For example, I shoot a mixture of jpg and RAW for a very simple reason – RAW is in my experience practically unworkable if you shoot over 80 photographs a day. As I occasionally shoot sports competitions I can come back with something like 1500 photographs in one day.

I think – pretty much like the zoom/prime argument – each format is suitable for different purposes. When I am doing landscape or more arty stuff, it is RAW. When it is sports, it is jpg.

Sometimes I think we forget that although we try to reduce the world to simple yes nos (after all a computer workds that way), it rarely is that simple.

With respect to storage, fully agree. But this is not solely an image problem. It is already recognised that much data on historic mainframes is difficult to extract now. Mostly I print off some of the more classic photographs and the concept of photobooks is changing how I look at the print now.

After that, I don’t know how much future proofing you can do. Interestingly enough, despite having the biggest personal archive of kitesurfing photographs in IReland (probably) I would be stunned if anyone was really interested in them in 10 years time never mind 100.

Donncha: I would never rely on CF cards as a sole means of archiving. I thought of them more as an “original master copy”, a way to physically organise shoots, a means to bring back a bit of nostalgia for the old days πŸ™‚

Treasa: Never try to predict what people will think in a hundred years. Just have at a look at an auction some day and see how much people are willing to bid of everyday items of the past. And remember, Van Gogh took his own life thinking his paintings were worthless.

P.S. Strangly enough, this is my second time writing this comment. I lost the original version because my internet connection had a poop attack just as I went to post it.

Treasa – like GG, I would not underestimate what people will like looking at even in 10 years time. I look at photos of Cork in the 80’s and some streets are unrecognisable. In ten years time styles will have evolved, as will the wetsuits. Your images will be an important snapshot of this time!

GG – just yesterday I was cleaning out my office and found a load of old photos from my pre digital life. I have a small box of them. Looked through the first couple of packets. Lots of snapshots, never really got into “arty” photography until I went digital, but snapshots were nice nostalgic reminders of the past!

There are two main reasons I keep the Raw files. One is because the RAW on itself acts like an archive and second is because I hope that future developments in RAw processing will allow me to save files that at the moment are..un-savable :), However, this will not apply to any Raw file, and here is the problem. Keeping a Nef file does not guarantee me that this file will be usable in 20 years. If we look at what Adobe is doing with their DNG files, it looks like the Raw of the future is gonna be ONLY in DNG format. So the question is, is it worth keeping the Raw files in proprietary format or convert them to DNG??
Donncha? 55GB? What have you done?? I had 76Gb only from a two weeks trip to France :). 80% was of a dubious quality but however…

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