Monochrome Raw

Monochrome Raw in my day was called black and white photography. I was a young kid when I started doing photography. I was probably about thirteen or fourteen at the time. Any how it was during the early Seventies when black and white photography was still popular and color photography started booming. And I remember back then; when I was taking photographs and developing my own photographs in the darkroom, how those images looked while being developed and how nice those images looked as they started to appear in the developer tray and throughout the rest of the developing process. And as time went by I also started doing color lab work and left the black and white photography behind, because color prints was getting cheaper to process and it seemed that hardly anybody was shooting black and white any more. And it was just the other day when I was looking back through the many photographs that I had taken in the past and among them was a few of the black and white pictures that were eye-catching. But what really stood out was the nostalgic look the black and white prints seem to have even after all these years.

Even though yours' truly only started getting into digital photography about four years ago and I never really give it much thought of using my digital camera to take black and white photos. I was more concerned about getting more pixels and high-resolution shots with my camera and I went from a JPG format to shooting just in a raw format, for better image editing. I have Canon 5 D Mark II and a Canon 50 D and it never crossed my mind to use the Monochrome setting; because shooting black and white has been the furthest thing from my mind with a digital camera, until now. Just the other day I was at the park with my camera taking photographs of some interesting subjects; I just happened to remember about wanting to try the Monochrome setting on my camera, so flip the dial and take a few shots. As I scrolled through the images on the LCD monitor I could see the black and white shots and they looked pretty good. When I down loaded my camera card to the computer to view the images through Photoshop; I couldn't find the Monochrome shots, all my images where in color. It was then I realized that shooting in raw format the camera records images in color with all my cameras settings.

I know with the click of the mouse I could make as many Monochrome images as I would like too with my editing software, but that's not my point. I want to have a digital file of a black and white photograph that is just that: black and white; a file that has no recorded color pixels in it. As it turns out if you set the cameras' setting to a JPG format, your Monochrome images come out black and white. If you're like most people; especially photographers, you want the best of both worlds. And on most digital cameras you can set the image quality for raw and JPG to shoot those files at the same time. I always thought this was the silliest thing to do because you're using up more file space. But now I actually see a purpose for it because; if I'm out taking photographs that I'm not sure if they would look good in black and white, I can set my camera to Monochrome and set the image quality to raw and JPG at the same time. So when I take a picture, it gives me two different files; a JPG black and white, plus a raw color file with the same file number. And this gives me a choice of what file I want to keep.

Article by Alan Slagle

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