Welcome back to the fourth installment of our Mazatzal Mountain tour via the Beeline Highway. With the current heat wave, our bus feels more like a scene from Romancing the Stone, filled with hot and sweaty people trying to stay cool with all the windows down. It’s so scorching outside that even chickens tied to the grill seek shade.
Of course, leave it to Queen Anne to pick the hottest week for our trip to the dentist in Algodones, Mexico. We left our comfortable haven in the Weaver Mountain foothills, where the air conditioner doesn’t run all night, only to be greeted by 115°F heat in Yuma, the lowest point in Arizona. Queen Anne’s flip-flops even melted away, forcing us to make an emergency shoe stop at a Zapata store. The trip’s highlight was the customs house with no waiting lines—small blessings in the sweltering inferno.
But enough of the heat woes; let’s escape to cooler grounds. This week’s destination is just a few miles north of our last stop, but we’ve left the Sonoran Desert behind. The newer section of the highway bypasses the shady beauty of Sycamore Creek, where there was always a respite from the sun. The creek lies on private property, and I imagine the owners are delighted to be rid of the traffic.
I pulled over near Iron Dike, a black rock mound, to capture this week’s featured image, Saddle Mountain Silhouette. In this shot, we gaze beyond the hilltop and the intricate jumble of mountains and canyons to Saddle Mountain—a fitting name for its distinct profile. Standing at 6529′, it doesn’t make the top ten of the Mazatzal’s tallest peaks, but its imposing presence seems to watch over the surrounding lesser hills.
After capturing this shot, we took a refreshing detour down the old road, seeking relief from the heat under the cool canopy of sycamore leaves. Though the creek’s flow was modest, it still managed to cool the air, acting like nature’s swamp cooler.
We’re thrilled you’re along for the ride this week, and we hope to have you back next Sunday for the conclusion of our Mazatzals photo tour. Before we part ways, we invite you to visit my website and view the larger version of Saddle Mountain Silhouette by clicking this link (Jim’s Web Page) and exploring the second version on my Fine Art America site (FAA link). In the comments section below, we would love to hear how you’re coping with the heat.
Until next time,
Techniques: The Advantages of Shooting in RAW
In the early days of digital photography, cameras were limited to saving images in JPEG format. However, modern digital cameras now offer the option to shoot in RAW format and JPEG, providing photographers with greater creative possibilities.
RAW files contain unprocessed and uncompressed data straight from the camera’s sensor. Unlike JPEG, which applies compression and processing, RAW files retain the original data, allowing for more flexibility during post-processing.
One of the significant advantages of shooting in RAW is its ability to provide a color depth of up to 16 bits per channel. The extra bits mean smoother gradations and a more accurate representation of colors in the final image. In contrast, JPEG images are limited to 8 bits per channel, which can lead to a loss of color information and visible banding in gradients.
RAW files are stored in an uncompressed format, ensuring that all the fine details and information captured by the camera sensor are preserved. In contrast, JPEG files are compressed, which can result in a loss of image quality and visible artifacts, especially in areas with high contrast or fine details.
RAW images can capture a more expansive color space, allowing for more vibrant and accurate colors in the final output. On the other hand, JPEG files, due to their compression and limited color depth, may exhibit color shifts and loss of detail, particularly in highly saturated or subtle color areas.
Shooting in RAW gives photographers more creative control over their images. It enables them to adjust to exposure, white balance, contrast, and other settings after you’ve taken the shot. This flexibility allows photographers to fine-tune their images to match their artistic vision and achieve the desired look.
When editing RAW images, the adjustments are non-destructive, meaning the original data remains intact. This safeguard ensures photographers can revisit their edits and make changes without compromising image quality. In contrast, directly editing a JPEG file can result in losing quality with each revision.
One of the significant benefits of shooting in RAW is the ability to convert and save images as PSD (PhotoShop) or TIFF (the Competition) files while retaining all the layers and adjustments made during editing. This feature allows photographers to maintain a master copy of their edited images, enabling future adjustments and re-editing without losing image quality.
While shooting in RAW is essential for maximum creative control and image quality, there are instances where photographers may need to save images as JPEGs. Converting the final edited image to JPEG format reduces file size and ensures compatibility for web uploads, social media sharing, or submission to specific platforms.
By shooting in RAW format, photographers have the flexibility to fully explore their creative vision and create stunning images that retain the true essence of the scene.