16 Feb 16. It is too involved a story to explain how I got to this point, but I became aware of a new program over the weekend dedicated to editing RAW images. For those of you who do not know what a RAW digital image is, just stop here and go look at the image. What I have to write today will not be of interest. For those of you who are familiar with the RAW format, please give Raw Therapee a look; you can find it here. I spent some time with it over the weekend and was most impressed; at first look I would say it is an order of magnitude more capable than anything from Adobe!! More importantly, it is a cross platform, open source program originally developed for Linux, much like GIMP. That makes it free of cost and of virus impact. You will need to download the official documentation found here and likely as well the papers found here under articles and tutorials. In as much as this is a very capable piece of software, the learning curve, at least at this point in my study, is somewhat steep. However, from what I've seen so far, it is well worth the effort. This software can read all the RAW formats, and gives you amazing control on their editing. If you are shooting in RAW, or might be considering doing such, do yourself a favor and check this out. You can also edit jpeg files with the program but of course, being jpegs, you are limited by that format in what you can do. After looking over this article on infrared, one of my favorite B&W forms, I knew I had to master Raw Therapee! I've played around with several faux IR programs, but none of them come even close to what Raw Therapee is apparently capable of producing. I was going to share with you a file I converted last year to B&W in an attempt to imitate IR, but decided to hold off on it until I could redo it with the new program and then share them both at the same time for comparative purposes. So instead you are getting a B&W of a spiny sea urchin which I took at the Seattle Aquarium. I'm sure everyone has seen a photo of a sea urchin before, but perhaps, like me, the pictures you've seen have not shown the filamentous tube feet (tubularia) with which the animal moves itself. Approaching 90 feet down in Puget Sound, this is how the urchin would look.
The base image was cropped, converted to B&W, and that was it. Nikon D300s; 18 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200, 1/60 sec @ f /11 with fill flash.