March 14, 2008 | 7:32am
Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL.

Another Thursday to look back on how far I’ve come..or remember where I began. Yes! This Thursday is throwing all the way back to the month I purchased my first DSLR. It’s funny because I still remember the lady behind the counter asking, “You’re gonna spend how much on a camera?”

Yep! My catch phrase was: “I am photographer. I snap!” Well, that phrase didn’t last very long for obvious reasons.

What’s the first thing on the to-do lit of an aspiring photographer? Right. To the beach for a sunrise shot. Man, this is probably the best sunrise shot I’ve ever taken. The sky, the waves, the clouds aren’t blocking the sun, but they’re still present. I thought I would go to the beach every weekend to get a shot just like this. It never happened. You either capture that particular scene for that morning or you miss it for the rest of time.

I’m only disappointed because I didn’t know how to shoot in RAW when I bought the camera. “What is RAW?” I’m glad I asked. 🙂

“RAW” is the equivalent of a film negative. You take a film negative to a store to get developed. Well, with digital cameras, we have RAW files. The RAW file can be developed into JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. Also, before the RAW file is exported into one of these file types, you can expand the dimensions of the photograph. (Ultimate spiffy).

For example, I took this photograph with a Canon Rebel XT. If you do not shoot in RAW, the camera saves the scene as a JPEG to dimensions set by the camera. The Rebel XT will give you a JPEG print a little smaller than 8×12 inches. However, if the same scene is shot in RAW, you can use Canon or Adobe software to enlarge the dimensions of the RAW file up to 24×36 inches, if not higher.

Once you enlarge the RAW file, export it as a JPEG (or another file type) and you’ll have a much larger print at full resolution. As you know, JPEGs cannot be enlarged at all because you will start to lose resolution. My point being, I did not shoot this scene in RAW, so an 8×12-inch print is the largest I can get.

If you have any photography questions for me, leave them in the Comments Section below.

Happy Friday Eve. 🙂
Eric Christopher Jackson

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