Monday, February 27, 2012

RAW vs. JPG - Which do you like better?

First I will state, for the record, that in no way do I know what I'm talking about when it comes to photography. I am pretty clueless actually. OK, Now that I got that cleared up.... these are just my thoughts & opinions. Feel free to sneer or laugh at me.

I want to talk about shooting in RAW vs. JPG. Ever since I got my DSLR and started learning about photography, I have been hearing about RAW vs JPG. There have been tons of article & blogs published on this topic. Just google it and you'll see what I mean. So much confusion. So many opinions.

I won't lie - I have been scared terrified of RAW until I actually tried it a few weeks ago. I also read this blog post on "Click it up a Notch" which inspired me to attempt shooting in RAW.


Most digital cameras are set up, by default, to process and compress the pictures you take immediately after capturing the image (JPG) on the camera. This keeps the file sizes low (using JPEG compression) and takes care of color correction, including white-balance, tint, and exposure, so you don't have to. However, some people prefer to have more control over how each image is processed by shooting in RAW. Most DSLR cameras have the ability to shoot in RAW mode. This mode does not compress the images at all and leaves them completely unprocessed. {Unprocessed?? Oooh Scary!}  If you want to read up about some uber guru-technical stuff regarding RAW, go here.

Here's MY 'unprofessional Mama-razzi starter' view on things:

RAW Pros
  • RAW files are not processed on the camera like JPGs are.  Basically, you get to decide how the photo is processed, and not the camera. 
  • You have total control over what comes out of your camera. When I started editing my RAW shots, I could not believe the broad range I had over controlling the exposure, white balance, tint, hues, etc... etc... Wow! This is a keeper my friends! RAW has my vote for YES!  
  • Editing every file might take a little more time but I now see what the big deal is! I was a 'editing' freak before this, so what's the difference if I have to edit RAW now? Not a lot of change for me. And it's so much fun! 
  • Easier to fix "mistakes" in photos like exposure, lighting, colors, etc. 

RAW Cons 
  • These files are uncompressed & take up way more space on your memory card and on your PC. The average RAW file on my camera is about 22Mb per image, and the average JPG is about 6Mb. Yup, that is almost 4x larger if you are doing the math. 22Mb per image can fill a memory card up pretty darned fast. 
  • RAW images can not be viewed by 'any old' program. You need to open them with Photo-editing software that can process RAW files, then edit & convert them to a TIFF or JPG format for easier viewing, printing & file management. This can be costly & let's face it, time consuming to edit each shot. 
JPG Pros 
  • You can take an image SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera) and print, upload to facebook, email, etc, without editing it first. 
  • JPG images are the most popular & compatible! 
  • JPG's take up significantly less room on your memory card & hard drive. 
  • Sharper straight out of the camera than RAW (unprocessed)
  • Let's face it, JPG's are just easier
  • Can do quick edits without having to process too much

JPG Cons
  • (JPEG) JPG's are compressed and you do lose some of your image quality & depth because of this.
  • JPG's are processed by your camera, including color correction, exposure, white balance... As opposed to RAW, which are "waiting to be processed" by you once you upload them.   
Camera Setting

 I'm sure most DSLR's have this ability now (I just found out mine does! Dooohh!) - My Canon T2i  has the option to shoot "RAW + JPG" at the same time. So in other words, I snap a picture, and my camera saves it as a JPG and as a RAW file together. When I upload to my PC, I will have one JPG & one CR2 file (Canon's file type for RAW).  This way gives you options. Pretty cool. Check your camera manual to see how to change this setting. 

Photo Editing

Everyone has their own way of processing/editing. I am still trying to figure mine out. 
But so far, I like to pull the images into either Lightroom or Photoshop Elements (PSE) organizer... and use Lightroom or ACR (Adobe camera raw) to adjust the exposure/colors... then PSE to finish editing. PSE 10 and Lightroom recognize CR2 Raw files. My Photoshop CS3 does not know what to do with CR2's, and I have to use DNG converter (Adobe's file converter that converts some proprietary camera files to editable RAW files)- What a pain in the you know what. So... I am trying out PSE 10 now and I have to say, I like this better than Photoshop CS3... so far. That can change tomorrow knowing me! 

Last but not least

Back your photos up! Do not fall victim to the "My PC just crashed and I lost all my photos" monster! Back your photos up somewhere other than on your own computer! I use an external hard drive that I back up to at least 2x a week. But there are many other methods of backing up. I don't care what you use, just make sure you do it... 


I thought this would be a fun topic to discuss only because I have just "seen the light" recently and wanted to shout it out - Try RAW if you haven't yet. See if you like it! I sure do!

Here are some shots I took at the park the other night. 
You can kind of (hopefully) see what I mean .... 

Here is the SOOC RAW below. 
Considerably darker & not as sharp with zero processing.                                                         

Here is the SOOC JPG below. 
I notice it's a little brighter right away.

I edited both files below (RAW & JPG) file in PSE and used 2 actions with the same opacity levels & cropping on both. 
I used CoffeeShop's "Sunny Pop" and then "Velvet Cream". By the way - I love the Coffee Shop blog's free actions
(I am a big fan of light & bright if you haven't noticed!)

Here is my Edited JPG ... Kind of bright and flat in my daughter's face and hair. 

Here is the edited RAW file. The action actually took care of her eyes too - brightened them up without me having to mess with much else- and defined her face very nicely. The image (to me) looks deeper. I was also able to sharpen this up much nicer than the JPG. 

I am sure there are other {better} ways I could have fixed these photos - but I just wanted to show quick a comparison for my post. 

What do you prefer for yourself? RAW or JPG?  
If you tried RAW, do you like it? 

Edit 2/29/12 - I had to add this as the most incredible find - Amazon is offering Lightroom today for $89. If you were holding off on pulling the trigger, here is an excuse to buy it ... This is a great deal. Check it out HERE on

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cabin Fever


This is week 8 of Project 52 from My 3 Boybarians ... The theme is Cabin Fever.

Normally by this time of year, I have some serious cabin fever. But this year has been just a little different... we've had some "milder" days this winter. We haven't had much of a winter here truthfully- and I'll take that any time!

With that said, I still want spring to be here. Soon. The last few days have been almost 60 degrees, so I picked up Julianna from daycare and went right to the park (and my husband met us there too!). We have a mix of spring fever and cabin fever... and a couple of trips to the park was the cure!

First time on the Merry-Go-Round .... She liked it but then jumped off. 

Walking with Daddy across the bridge at the duck pond. 

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Julianna is 21 months old

Julianna is 21 months old today. I know I say it all the time, but I can't believe how old my little girl is getting. She will be 2 years old in 3 months! I can't believe it! I really need to start thinking about what to do for her birthday party... Mickey Mouse Clubhouse maybe... who knows. I know this - it is going to be a simple party. Easy. Simple. Small.

Word of the day: WOW! (Julianna says it all the time. "Wow Mommy! Wow Daddy!")

Here are some milestones we have hit in the last month with Julianna ... 

  • Throws ball overhand (to the dog) 
  • She jumps 
  • Follows instructions very well (i.e. Julianna please go put your bottle in the sink... Julianna please sit on the sofa so we can put your shoes on)
  • She says about 10-15 words. She is not a big talker yet. I know other kids her age are saying more words than her, and I know I'm not supposed to compare, but I can't help it! 
  • Julianna is a very observant child. She watches EVERYTHING. We go to the park, and she WATCHES all the kids playing together. She watches the kids interacting. We call her the "Quiet Observer". Ha! 
  • She can open & close doors
  • Julianna doesn't like when "things" are out of order; such as when a magnet falls off the fridge, she runs to get it and stick it back on the fridge. If there is a piece of garbage, she picks it up and throws it out. 
  • She can walk down stairs and up stairs with us holding a hand. 
  • Able to put a simple puzzle together 
  • She understands EVERYTHING we say to her. I can't believe how fast she figures stuff out. 
  • She plays a simple game of hide & seek (hiding behind her chair back and popping up when we say "Where's Julianna??" 
  • Julianna can put her shoes on (not always on the right feet though)
  • She colors all of the time - She loves to color in her activity books. 
  • If she is doing something she shouldn't be - and you ask her to "put it down" - She jumps and drops what she is doing, and runs! She KNOWS she shouldn't be picking dog food out of Pepper's bowl... 
  • She can stack 7 blocks or more
  • She asks Why? And Where (like "Where's daddy?")
  • She wipes off the table with a napkin when we are out at a restaurant (Gee, I wonder if she got that from Germ-phobe mommy & daddy who always wipe down the table with an antibacterial wipe first LOL) 
  • She dances up a storm to music on tv or the radio. 
  • Julianna loves to 'pretend play' now - like going grocery shopping with her cart. She puts the groceries in and off she goes pushing her grocery cart like she's in Shoprite! 
  • Julianna eats really well. Loves her chicken, fish, beef (only if steak or meatballs, not burgers), & pizza.  This kid could eat pizza every day. Then again so can mommy & daddy. She loves all fruit & can eat a whole banana in less than a minute. She loves yogurt & milk. She does not like creamy stuff like mac& cheese or grilled cheese... or Alfredo style sauces. And NO veggies still - so we give her Ella's organic veggie pouches with dinner, and she loves those. Go figure?! So for now, those will do! We keep trying to give her veggies... and she keeps chucking them to the dog. 
  • She is wearing size 2t pants - and 3t shirts. (Uh yeah, the kid is tall!) 

Things she does that we are LOVING:

  • You ask her to pick something up and put it somewhere else, she understands totally and does it. ("Julianna can you pick up your broken crayon and throw it out in the garbage?" - and off she goes to throw it out happily!) Can I get a HOORAY!?!
  • You ask her to "touch" your nose or give you a kiss - and she touches it with hers like a kiss! (picture below)

Julianna's stacked blocks

Julianna loves to grocery shop...

...And loves to color. She keeps her crayons in a small shoebox. 

... And loves to have fun with Daddy! 

...And loves to have Daddy read to her. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Just dreaming of sitting outside on a warm summer evening drinking some nice cool lemon water....
(then I realized it is 40 degrees out. Bummer)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Please help ... I might crossover and need some advice!

OK ... so as some of you may know, but most of you probably don't, I am a tech geek. I won't classify myself as a Guru because that I am not. But, I love new tech toys and new gadgets. I am always looking to improve and try new stuff! I have been thinking about a MacBook Pro for a couple months now. Something about Mac fascinates me lately... not sure what... but it's calling my name. "Buy me..... Buy Me....."

I am a bit nervous since I have never actually touched a Mac before. Well, once actually, and then I ran away. Macs are always segregated from the PC world. I worked in IT, and never touched the Macs in the building... they had their own support. We steered clear of those scary monsters.

I am going to try and hit the Apple store in the next few days to check out the MacBook Pro in person. I am quite intimidated. That is a big statement coming from someone {me} who normally jumps headfirst into anything PC! I can fix a PC, fix software, update programs, and figure out {just about} anything with PC's. It is a bit nerve wracking to think about buying something that is so different than my fail-safe Windows PC that I can recite the file structure of in my sleep. Anyhow, enough blabbering.

So I have 2 questions for you ...

1. Does anyone out there in blog land have a Mac Book Pro (or Mac computer) and how do you like it?

2. If you went from Windows to Mac, how hard was the crossover? Was it easy to pick up the MAC OS and get used to it? What about your licensed programs on your Windows PC? Was it hard to get everything switched over? I talked to Adobe today and they told me my Lightroom will crossover... but my Photoshop CS3.... uh.... there's issues there. I would need to come up with another solution {gulp}.

Help me to make my decision buy a MacBook Pro!

And just for fun.... 

Pepper picture

Julianna picture

Friday, February 17, 2012

True Love

Project 52 - Week 7 - True Love

I have been participating weekly in "My 3 Boybarians" Project 52 challenge since the New Year.
My first thought this week was to take a picture of my true loves- my husband & my daughter.... 
.... but neither of them would sit still for me long enough to take a picture... 
So instead - I ended up with some pictures of my beautiful flowers that my husband brought home for me on Valentine's Day.  Kind of the same, right??

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your Toddler This Week , Dinner & Valentine's Day

"Your toddler this week"
Yeah - many of you moms out there know what that email is. Or you get the "My baby this week" email or "My pregnancy this week" and so on.  It's that weekly email you get from Babycenter that tells you what to expect (or not expect) from your child this week. I have to say, I love these emails. I look forward to seeing if it matches what Julianna is doing ... or if it's way off for us. This week, it hit right on the money! Julianna is 20 months and 3 weeks. Here is what they said:

Don't let your toddler's unpredictable behavior keep you from enjoying an occasional meal out. Treat yourself! Choose a family-friendly restaurant – any place with a kids' menu, crayons and paper, and a din loud enough to drown out squeals and whines. Take along a few small toys and snacks (crackers, cubes of cheese, cut-up fruit) to keep your toddler occupied. These diversions should buy you enough time to enjoy most of your meal.

Unpredictable? You can say that again. Happy one minute, tantrum the next! It's par for the course at her age - but I still like to be reassured that this is 'normal' behavior. We typically do follow all these rules for eating out (as we do eat out at least once a week). We go to a child-friendly place that is usually loud, and we bring her crayons & coloring books, small toy, plenty of snacks, etc. We are usually able to keep her occupied for about an hour including the meal. Anything that goes over an hour, we are then playing on borrowed time. Sometimes she will make it fine past an hour..... Other times, we have to rush-rush to get the check & bolt out of there once she hits her 'expiration' point. The good thing is, we have been bringing her out since day seven {gasp!} and I feel that by her going out with us all the time, this has helped her to adjust when we are out now. But she is still a "toddler". She has her limits, and big ones!

My husband and I love taking Julianna out with us. But I will say, we really do look forward to getting a babysitter and getting out of the house alone for adult time. As parents and a married couple, you still need that. Don 't let anyone tell you different. Adult "couple" time is super-essential. Dinner, good conversation and a nice glass of wine. 

 Happy Valentine's Day ! I hope you are all spending it with your Valentine sweetheart, whether it be your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, dogs, cats, kids, or pet mouse! Everyone needs a Valentine!

I am making Colombian Flank Steak for my husband tonight. Yummm. It's one of his favorite dinners that I make! Thursday, we also have a nice night out planned for us. I'm very much looking forward to that! 

photo credit:

Here is an unrelated (but funny) picture of Julianna with Pepper. Check out Pepper licking the binkie as soon as poor, unsuspecting Julianna is busy with her sippy cup. Evil Pepper. She plays it all cool when Julianna is looking, but the minute she turns her back - Pepper moves in for the kill and licks the binkie!  mmmmmmm!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drink Up

Project 52 - Week 6 - 'Drink Up'

I have been participating weekly in "My 3 Boybarians" Project 52 challenge.
This week's challenge was "Drink Up" & once again, I thought I would need to opt out this week due to brain malfunction of what photo I could post for this.

My husband, Julianna and I went to "Fosterfield's Living Historical Farm" last Sunday, in Morristown NJ. What a great place! They had tour guides in the colonial houses & barns. They had all kinds of farm animals for the kids to touch and interact with. They had some demonstrations lined up like Wood-chopping & Ice-hauling, like they used to do in the old days! If anyone lives in the Northern NJ or NY area, try to make it to Fosterfield's and check it out if you can. It's part of the Morris county park system too.

So back to what I took a picture of for my theme of "Drink Up" - I walked through one of the colonial houses and they had these neat antique bottles lined up in a milk crate and I thought it would make some interesting stuff to photograph. Well - then it hit me... I could use these bottles for the "Drink Up" theme! I think the glass bottles were used for milk and maybe cola ... those are drinks - Bingo!!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Julianna loves her sippy cup with the straw. She nurses it like a glass of fine wine. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kudos to the NY Giants

Congratulations to the New York Football Giants on winning Superbowl XLVI!!
What a great season this has been! Hats off to Eli and the Giants! They worked hard and forged on even through some bad losses this season.
I don't know how many of you are Football fans.. or worse, how many of you are Patriots fans (teehee!)? What a great season this turned out to be for the NY Giants. And I love that they beat the New England Patriots for the 2nd time in the Superbowl in 4 years. To me, that's as good as the Yankees beating the Red Sox in the post season!

Right before the Giants played their first playoff game, we bought a Giants balloon in the store. Julianna loved this balloon, carried it everywhere and the Giants kept winning. We brought the balloon out into the living room for each playoff game ... and the Giants kept winning against all odds. So, really, we had to keep the balloon or I thought we would cause the Giants to lose! Superstitious I suppose? I think the Giants won because of our balloon. I really do. I might keep it until next season! Maybe it will give my Yankees good luck - ya never know?!

Julianna likes to run with the Giants balloon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lately .... what's been going on?

So I have some random pictures from the past couple of weeks.. no particular theme or order to them. Just stuff we had going on.
I really am getting the "Winter Blues" lately. I really am wishing for warmer weather. I need some 75 degree & sunny days soon - please?! I know it's still far away in NJ. And I refuse to acknowledge these "freak" 50 degree days as balmy. Sorry, but it's still cold. Hummmpphh. {Yes that's me frowning here!}

We had our first & only snow here a couple weekends ago. The snow was gone in a day. This has been a weird winter, only one snowfall so far. And I guess that's a good thing since Julianna HATES the snow. Hates it! 

Julianna was happy that Daddy picked her up out of the snow and put her on his lap! 

Julianna not liking the whole snow-suit thing. Not at all. 

Julianna doing "Touch Down" with Grandpa!

Julianna loves to read. 

Radiant flowers to brighten up the gloomy winter days. 

Yayyyyyyyyy! The kid loves to do this. Not sure why. 

I had to take this picture. Pepper is always thinking "What about me???". 
She lays all smushed up on the other side of Daddy while he reads Julianna a book. You can see the jealousy on her face! Ha!

Pepper - our Jack Russell/Doxie mix. 


Julianna can stack 6 or 7 blocks now. Big deal, right? It is for us. That's a huge milestone at 20 months! 


And at the end of this post, we hit 60 degrees earlier today (wed) and I ran my daughter to the park after work so we could embrace that half hour of light before it got too cold to play outside!

This kid loves the park!

This was an accident... but actually came out kinda cool, huh?

Maybe we'll get some more warm days to enjoy at the park! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shadows {P52-Week 5}

Shadows - Project 52 - Week 5

I have been participating weekly in "My 3 Boybarians" Project 52 challenge.
This weeks challenge was "Shadows". I had an outdoor photography session with a photographer this past weekend. I posted about it here. I made sure to take some shadow photos for this challenge.... Good thing I remembered!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Part 2 - Photography mentoring

Part 2 - Photography mentoring at Jockey Hollow (National Park) in Morristown, NJ

This past Monday, I posted about my Photography workshop session with Adam Turow. I posted mostly outdoor shots then. I did want to keep today's photos separate, just to break things up. These photos in this post were taken in and around the Wick House in the Jockey Hollow Park. I thought it was a neat building on the inside...

For those interested, here is some Wick House history.
Wick House is located in Jockey Hollow, where George Washington's troops took up camp & lived in the winter of 1779/1780. This area of NJ has an abundance of history, and for that, I am rather grateful to live here and be able to experience it.

Back of Wick House. I can't wait to come back here in the summer to get some colorful shots!

Wick house cooking utensils 

A bedroom in the Wick House, with some colonial clothes draped across

Made bed in Wick House

General St. Clair's jacket

Back of Wick House


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