Let’s All Process the Same RAW File #8

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

Week 8 – here we go!

This week the RAW file challenge was to process Andrew Beck’s RAW file of an underexposed hippo and create a natural looking image from it.

I found this exercise very interesting as it taps into Lightroom’s strength of recovering details from the dark areas of an image.  With a natural image in mind it is always important to try and keep pure black somewhere in your image and still have detail in the shadow areas – sometimes tough to do but not impossible.

Here is a gallery of all the images we received during the last two weeks.  Check them out and try and find a common theme running through the collection of images.  Look for common mistakes that people are making or thing that make a particular image stand out.

Think of things like contrast – is it too much or too little.

Think of color balance through the entire image as well as the hippo itself.

Look at how the image is cropped and how it affects the overall look and feel of the image.

Week 7:  Image Gallery

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Some nice results and good to see that most of you were able to recover details from the dark areas.

Now let’s quickly talk through the images.

In the video below I quickly scan through the images looking for common themes and discuss a few finer details of the images that were sent in.  After that I run through a quick process of the image to give you an idea how I would go about it.

Then, and this is always the exciting part, we take a quick look at the RAW file for next week!

Week 8:  Video

Video Timeline:

  • 0:00 – Intro and a look at all the images received this week
  • 14:30 – Live process of the hippo image
  • 21:00 – A look at, and some thoughts on, the new RAW file for the week


Week 8: RAW File

So, with all that out of the way let’s look at next week’s RAW file.

First thing you have to do is download the ZIP file by clicking on the image below.

 Week 8: Processing Rules

Right, as you saw int he video – you watched the video didn’t you? – this week you have to create two images from this RAW file.

The first image needs to be natural.  You need to rescue the details, drop the exposure and bring back the rich colors of the scene to create a natural looking wildlife image.  Natural!

With the second image you can then get a bit more create.  For this one you need to create a black and white or sepia toned image.  This images lends itself to very interesting conversions so here you can let your creativity run wild.

For both the above images you are still only allowed to use Lightroom or Camera Raw.  No PhotoShop or external plugins yet!  The exercise here is to know and understand all the various sliders in Lightroom and max out your artistic vision by playing around!

So, to recap here are the rules for this week’s challenge:

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  • Image 1: Create a natural looking wildlife image. Natural!
  • Image 2: Create an ‘arty’ black and white or monochrome image.
  • Only Lightroom or Camera RAW allowed.
  • No Photoshop or external plugins (yet!)
  • You are allowed to crop and use the special adjustment brush
  • Resize your files to 800px on the longest side
  • Email your two images to photography@wild-eye.co.za
  • Closing date for this challenge – Thursday 29 November 2012
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That’s it!

Time to get stuck into Lightroom and work your magic!  Remember that your approach on the two images will be different. The first you will go for a natural looking image so when processing the image look for natural colors, not too much or too little contrast and so on.  When you then get stuck into the second image you can let your creative self run wild.  Don’t hold back!

As always, if you have a RAW file you would like to submit drop it to me in an email at gerry@wild-eye.co.za and I will make a plan to get it into one of the upcoming videos.

Thanks a lot to everybody that has been joining in on these RAW file challenges.  It’s great to see so many people get involved and how we all process and see the images differently.  That’s what makes what we do so much fun!

Good luck and look forward to seeing your results!

Until next time!

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 0

  1. Andrea

    This all looks very interesting.

    I don’t have lightroom .. can I use Adobe Photo Raw conversion? It probably can’t do as much. I usually then take into photoshop and process further.


    1. Post

      Hi Andrea! You are more than welcome to use Camera RAW. It’s pretty much the same processing with a different use interface. Look forward to seeing what you come up with! 🙂

  2. Mark Gray

    Hi there Gerry,
    I was trying to think what I done, And I think you might be right I was using RAWTherape and it may be a little oversharpened in fact I think I sharpened it while at the full size when then re applied the sharpen again after resize didn’t realize I had done it, It was probably late at night and probably did it in a rush I have to remember to wear my reading glasses when playing with the photos I have Finally got lightroom up and running again so I will try that next time,

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