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MMA Photography UnderGround >> Wanna read about Photography? kenrockwell.com


1/29/10 12:17 AM
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Bunnymonster
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Edited: 01/29/10 12:17 AM
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If it works for you, fine run with it.

There really is no argument that RAW shooting isn't technically superior to JPEG in every way. You probably won't see the differences in a web resolution jpeg, in much the same way as you won't see the difference between lenses or sensor resolution either.

The differences become far more obvious when you are trying to produce large prints or need to ensure that you have no banding around highlights or blocked in shadows while still maintaining fine details.

I'm pretty certain that the $3,000 computer on my desk can better convert the data from the sensor into a picture than the $30 one inside my camera. If it can't I'm pretty sure in 10 years time, someone will have made one that can.

Factor in the fact that converting on the desktop gives me minute control over ever parameter and I'm 100% sold on never shooting in camera JPEGs no matter what I'm shooting...
1/29/10 10:35 AM
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SnapLocally
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Edited: 01/29/10 10:38 AM
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I put my money where my mouth is; I didn't just make claims based on theory and neglect to back them with evidence; I procured the shots above. Oh, but wait- that's not good enough, because it's "only" screen resolution. Well, I dispelled the myth of your supposed print resolution, too:

I made a 20x30 print from a file no larger than a 2 megapixel camera could produce. I interpolated it from 60 res to 200, gave it a little tweek in post processing, and it looks better than what 90% of what boxing magazines routinely publish. You can count the beads of sweat hanging in the air and the teeth in the fighter's mouths. But of course there's always that pixel-peeping douche with a magnifying glass there to say

"That's not good enough, I can't count their eyelashes!"

There really is no argument that RAW shooting isn't technically superior to JPEG in every way.

 If you're making a direct comparison between the same exact shot taken by the same photographer at the same location under the same conditions, sure- the RAW will look *slightly* better, provided no processing is done to either shot. And since we both know that's never the case, it's a moot point- the RAW shot takes more processing, far more space and buffering time. I don't shoot studio shots, I'm a Combat Sports photographer, and when I'm taking hundreds of shots the last thing I'm going to worry about is fucking around with a camera buffering and swapping out cards, missing opportunities in the process,  that I may take ever so slightly better pre-production shots.

Go ahead BM, post your fight pics. Show me how much I'm missing because I'm not shooting in RAW.



 
1/29/10 3:34 PM
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GregHonda
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Arguing about RAW vs JPEG is like arguing politics, each person has their opinion and it's rare that anyone is going to change it. In my opinion it's personal preference and you should just shoot what works for you. Technically RAW has huge advantages on the post processing side, but if those advantages do not outweigh the downside of shooting RAW, shoot JPEG.

Anyone who says that people that shoot RAW should just "get it right the first time in camera" really no nothing at all about the benefits of shooting in RAW. I myself am no expert in the RAW file format, but I have slowly begun to migrate to shooting everything in RAW+JPEG
1/30/10 1:29 AM
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SnapLocally
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I think I made my position pretty clear: I am a Combat Sports photographer, and I'm dedicated to shooting correctly the first time because in a fight there are no retakes.

Anyone who says that people that shoot RAW should just "get it right the first time in camera" really no nothing at all about the benefits of shooting in RAW
.

Yeah, well I call bullshit, because I've seen plenty of  "photographers" use RAW as a crutch, and rely on it instead if exposing the picture properly and doing a custom white balance- "Why bother, I can just shoot it in RAW!"

Again, as far as I'm concerned, when shots are taken properly to begin with the need for the latitude that RAW offers becomes far less a necessity and far more a waste of time and space. If you need it, use it. I'll employ my current methods, thank you.
1/30/10 4:16 AM
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GregHonda
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I find it funny that you keep stressing that you are a "combat sports photographer," this is an MMA forum, I think most people on here would consider themselves the same.

I think if you ask around, most true "professional photographers" will tell you that they shoot in RAW. By "Professional" I mean people that make a living shooting, not someone that has another job and does photography on the side.

I shoot for a photo wire service and they REQUIRE me to shoot in RAW. I am required to upload a handful of images at half-time of games, and the remaining shots within 2 hours of the completion of games. There is a lot of batch processing and not much individual tweeking of images due to the time constraints. However, if an individual image draws the interest of a major corporate sponsor, or a large publication, I need to have the RAW files to edit individually.
1/30/10 4:19 AM
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GregHonda
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SnapLocally - is your major output for print or for the web? I ask this because for web viewing I agree that JPEG is the way to go, print is a whole different story.
1/30/10 4:44 AM
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GregHonda
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BTW - nice shots SnapLocally
1/30/10 1:15 PM
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SnapLocally
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Edited: 01/30/10 1:18 PM
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I find it funny that you keep stressing that you are a "combat sports photographer," this is an MMA forum, I think most people on here would consider themselves the same. 

No, it isn't funny, it's a category of classification. "Photographer" is very broad- it could be anyone with a camera, regardless of prefered subject. "Sports Photographer" is still too broad, because rarely cover "traditional" sports that one might find on a field or court. "MMA photographer" is too narrow, because although I started with MMA as my primary focus I now shoot far more kickboxing and boxing than MMA, and in fact only shot one MMA event in 2009.  And if you Google "Combat Sports Photography" -with or without the quotation marks- my site is on the top of that list, despite the fact that someone else owns a crappy site of the same name.

I think if you ask around, most true "professional photographers" will tell you that they shoot in RAW. By "Professional" I mean people that make a living shooting, not someone that has another job and does photography on the side.

Really? What does Showtime require Tom Casino shoot in? Because if we're talking "professional photographers" we may as well talk about a guy that that was winning awards before I even picked up my first camera, and is ShoBox's official photographer. And since we're talking about how to achieve the best possible images, let's not just stop at RAW vs Jpeg, let us also discuss experience and equipment- both major factors in this equation.

I'm not arbitrarily pulling names out of hats, I wanted to see how my work holds up against what is widely regarded as some of the best. I have neither the best nor fastest camera (a 40D) nor the best lenses (a used Sigma), and I certainly don't shoot at the highest quality mode- neither RAW, not at the highest resolution, nor even at the highest quality- I shoot at "normal".  A can't tell you what Tom shoots at, but I can tell you he was shooting with a 1D MKIII and the 24-70L- a lens that has more value than my camera and lens combined. The results:

ShoBox: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shosports/sets/72157623029730722/

SnapLocally: http://www.flickr.com/photos/snaplocally/sets/72157623040272262/

You know what's funny Greg, is how my work attracts negative attention of other photographers here. First, Zack Lynch was opposed to me calling my work "MMA photography", and then said my work was all photoshop. Tracy Lee said my work was less photography and more "art". You at one time criticized my work, citing my post processing at the time.


I shoot for a photo wire service and they REQUIRE me to shoot in RAW.

Hey, if I'm being paid good money, I'll shoot whatever the fuck they want me to shoot in. I was once hired by an agency to shoot a triathlon, and they were specific on how they wanted me to cover it. Well, I did what they asked. I also knew that I could shoot better if I just dropped their stupid specifications, but I wasn't paid to do it my way, so I did it theirs. They asked me back this year, but I declined- it pays well, but it's quite boring and repetitive work.

SnapLocally - is your major output for print or for the web? I ask this because for web viewing I agree that JPEG is the way to go, print is a whole different story.

If something I shoot makes it's way into print it's incidental. When I shoot, I shoot to take the best shots I can. When I've done everything to the best of my ability, it will be both screen and print worthy. A sharp, clean, color balanced and well composed shot in Jpeg is most definitely printable. A shot that is missed because the camera is buffering and cards are being swapped out and possibly mismanaged are not. Again, sure, RAW is better in certain circumstances, but "better" is a subjective term, and often means appeasing the pixel-peepers. Well fuck them; those guys are assholes anyhow. ;)

  
1/30/10 1:33 PM
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GregHonda
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I don't think the people shooting RAW are looking for higher pixel counts, I think it's more for the control over WB, exposure, and overall tonal range.

BTW - While I was the photographer for ICON Sports, I got the pleasure to meet Tom Casino, he's a super cool guy!
1/30/10 1:47 PM
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GregHonda
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Those are some nice ShoBox shots (from both you and Casino).
1/31/10 4:29 PM
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solaris9
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A RAW file is:

• not an image file per se (it will require special software to view, though this software is easy to get).
• typically a proprietary format (with the exception of Adobe’s DNG format that isn’t widely used yet).
• at least 8 bits per color – red, green, and blue (12-bits per X,Y location), though most DSLRs record 12-bit color (36-bits per location).
• uncompressed (an 8 megapixel camera will produce a 8 MB RAW file).
• the complete (lossless) data from the camera’s sensor.
• higher in dynamic range (ability to display highlights and shadows).
• lower in contrast (flatter, washed out looking).
• not as sharp.
• not suitable for printing directly from the camera or without post processing.
• read only (all changes are saved in an XMP “sidecar” file or to a JPEG or other image format).
• sometimes admissable in a court as evidence (as opposed to a changeable image format).
• waiting to be processed by your computer.

In comparison a JPEG is:

• a standard format readable by any image program on the market or available open source.
• exactly 8-bits per color (12-bits per location).
• compressed (by looking for redundancy in the data like a ZIP file or stripping out what human can’t perceive like a MP3).
• fairly small in file size (an 8 megapixel camera will produce JPEG between 1 and 3 MB’s in size).
• lower in dynamic range.
• higher in contrast.
• sharper.
• immediately suitable for printing, sharing, or posting on the Web.
• not in need of correction most of the time (75% in my experience).
• able to be manipulated, though not without losing data each time an edit is made – even if it’s just to rotate the image (the opposite of lossless).
• processed by your camera.

The above are all facts. Having said that...

If you cannot or do not want to do any post processing, then you simply have to shoot in JPEG. Taking a picture in RAW is only the first step in producing a quality image ready for printing. If, on the other hand, quality is of the utmost importance (like when you are shooting professionally), and you want to get every bit of performance your DSLR can offer then you should be shooting in Raw.

That being said, I know many professional photographers who do not shoot in RAW for one of two reasons: 1.) they don’t know how, or 2.) they don’t want to take the time to process the images afterwards.

Shooting in JPEG:

When you shoot in JPEG the camera’s internal software (often called “firmware” since it’s part of the hardware inside your camera) will take the information off the sensor and quickly process it before saving it. Some color is lost as is some of the resolution (and on some cameras there is slightly more noise in a JPEG than its Raw version).

The major actor in this case is the Discrete Cosine Transformation (or DCT) which divides the image into blocks (usually 8×8 pixels) and determines what can be “safely” thrown away because it is less perceivable (the higher the compression ration/lower quality JPEG, the more is thrown away during this step). And when the image is put back together a row of 24 pixels that had 24 different tones might now only have 4 or 5. That information is forever lost without the raw data from the sensor recorded in a RAW file.

Shooting in RAW:

If you do shoot in RAW, your computer rather than the camera will process the data and generate an image file from it. Guess which has more processing power: your digital camera or your computer? Shooting in RAW will give you much more control over how your image looks and even be able to correct several sins you may have committed when you took the photograph, such as the exposure.

To take advantage of this you will certainly need to use some software on your computer to process the files and produce JPEGs (or TIFFs). I have found the Camera Raw that comes with Adobe Photoshop CS2 to be very good at processing Raw files (even batch processing them), though everybody has their favorite (RawShooter has a lot of fans). When you load a Raw file using Adobe Photoshop CS2 the Camera Raw dialog will automatically pop up. Most of the time the automatic settings are fairly decent, but you have the chance to change the white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation, and even calibration of the red, green, and blue guns or correct for lens abberation – all lossless.

If the white balance is off I have found that it is much easier to fix using the Camera Raw screen than loading the JPEG and manipulating that – the end result is much better as well. The richness, detail (sharpness), color range and ability to adjust these settings end up being so much greater with a RAW file, even though what a RAW file looks like before processing is anything but rich and sharp. As a side note, all of my work that uses creative coloring was colored using the white balance settings in the Camera Raw dialog.

Part of the conversion to JPEG are sharpening algorithms and as a result, the unprocessed Raw file is less sharp. Two things can affect this, one is the brand of camera (Nikon cameras are generally considered sharper, but this is not true across all models) and the other factor is the user settings for sharpening in the camera. Loading a Raw file in a program such as Adobe Photoshop CS2 will automatically apply white balance, sharpening, contrast, brightness, etc… and can even batch process Raw files. I often use this feature as a first pass and then go back and adjust the settings if needed. This is especially helpful because even if I did everything correct in camera when I took the photo and my conversion software was able to use the full processing power of my desktop computer, the conversion to JPEG could still trick the camera or my computer and only my eye can produce the correct while balance, contrast, brightness, etc…

From this I'd hope that one could see that RAW is definitely of higher quality in terms of containing more data, etc.. BUT that DOES NOT make it better (or worse). RAW isn't just a cheater's way of getting better quality images. JPEG actually loses color detail and so many other things when it is being saved. That's why JPEG is categorized as a lossy file. RAW doesn't do that. Those are facts so there's no argument there unless it went over your head. But the amount of data JPEGs lose may be acceptable for your uses (even if you are shooting professionally).

It's all a matter of what your images will be used for, how they'll be viewed (digitally only, in print, or both), the time you have/want to spend in post processing, etc...

So the "better" format is what works best for your needs. But one can't argue the facts about getting the best possible image quality from a lossless file vs a lossy file.

Make sense? Personally I shoot mostly in JPEG for most of my day to day stuff (i.e. practice shots, landscape, shots for CNN when I write iReports, and other miscellaneous types of shooting). When I shoot weddings, portraits, and children's photography for clients (obviously for which I get paid compared to the other types of shots I take where I do not) I ALWAYS shoot in RAW. I don't shoot in RAW + JPEG cause it takes up too much space. Besides from a RAW file you can easily make a JPEG, but, from a JPEG you can never make a RAW file.

Some people seem to have their minds made up regardless of any new info they could acquire from articles or posts like this one and that's cool. More power to you. But if someone is willing to learn without bias, I hope this helps.
1/31/10 9:05 PM
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SnapLocally
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If you cannot or do not want to do any post processing, then you simply have to shoot in JPEG.

I know many professional photographers who do not shoot in RAW for one of two reasons: 1.) they don’t know how, or 2.) they don’t want to take the time to process the images afterwards.
 

Your statements are both silly and untrue. Jpegs are just fine to work on. Conversely, it sounds like many "photographers" are intimidated by shooting in Jpeg because they're not confident in their ability to nail it right the first time. 

Well, whatever. I hope every "photographer" reading this shoots in RAW from now on. I will nail the action, composition, white balance, and those "decisive moments" the first time, and you can rest well knowing that you have highly manipulatable shots of whatever you took.
2/1/10 12:08 AM
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Bunnymonster
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I will rest well knowing I also have better ones...

Your entire argument seems to be that your JPEGs are "good enough" for your current clients. Which is fine, until you lose potential future clients because your files are in fact not good enough for them. I refuse to accept that there is a single situation where a JPEG file is better than a properly processed RAW image. At worst run a camera profile and the RAW files will look identical...

Probably the biggest limiting factor in the process is screen technology (which only displays 8 bits per channel) and a lot of people's horrid eyesight which couldn't tell the difference anyway...

Post processing is as old as the art of photography itself. Many of the great masters, Ansel Adams springs instantly to mind, spent more time mastering the darkroom process than they did behind the ground glass.

To say that someone would be intimidated by shooting JPEG is laughable. It's similar to suggesting people who refuse to shoot 35mm film, preferring 120 or larger are intimidated...

2/1/10 12:09 AM
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solaris9
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Wow. Sad...you're a very defensive, angry individual. I hope you find and fix whatever it is inside that's eating you. Seriously. You're so arrogant that you failed to comprehend the statements altogether. One day you may realize that although you have some ability in photography that you're current body of work did not warrant such narcissism. There are millions of photographers out there with much more artistic and technical talent.

Additionally, you preach getting the shot right the first time but you're photos have a great deal of post processing (and I know that and you know that someone with a trained eye can see there's a ton of post processing). You sir are a hypocrite, a raging egomaniac, and a cad.

You crack on Ken Rockwell but if you had a website you'd be very similar to him in so many ways.
2/1/10 12:25 AM
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Bunnymonster
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solaris9 - Wow. Sad...you're a very defensive, angry individual. I hope you find and fix whatever it is inside that's eating you. Seriously. You're so arrogant that you failed to comprehend the statements altogether. One day you may realize that although you have some ability in photography that you're current body of work did not warrant such narcissism. There are millions of photographers out there with much more artistic and technical talent.

Additionally, you preach getting the shot right the first time but you're photos have a great deal of post processing (and I know that and you know that someone with a trained eye can see there's a ton of post processing). You sir are a hypocrite, a raging egomaniac, and a cad.

You crack on Ken Rockwell but if you had a website you'd be very similar to him in so many ways.



Pot meet mister kettle.

Can't we all just be friends...

I'll fix the steaks, who's bringing the beers?
2/1/10 1:19 AM
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solaris9
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I wasn't talking to you BunnyMonster. I was talking to mister Snappy
2/1/10 3:21 AM
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GregHonda
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solaris9 - 
Additionally, you preach getting the shot right the first time but you're photos have a great deal of post processing (and I know that and you know that someone with a trained eye can see there's a ton of post processing). You sir are a hypocrite, a raging egomaniac, and a cad.


Why, don't you like your images so over-sharpened that the people look like they are made of plastic?
2/1/10 11:02 AM
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SnapLocally
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BM: "Your entire argument seems to be that your JPEGs are "good enough" for your current clients. Which is fine, until you lose potential future clients because your files are in fact not good enough for them."

No, my argument is that I prepare for my shoots properly, and that my Jpegs are good, period.

For someone so preoccupied with the supposed lack of quality in the Jpegs I shoot, you're doing a poor job of representing your own fight photos, unless you consider your own self-aggrandizing lip service a credible source.

BM:  "I will rest well knowing I also have better ones..." 

Yes, and I challenged you to procure them. 

solaris9: "Wow. Sad...you're a very defensive, angry individual. I hope you find and fix whatever it is inside that's eating you. Seriously. You're so arrogant that you failed to comprehend the statements altogether. One day you may realize that although you have some ability in photography that you're current body of work did not warrant such narcissism. There are millions of photographers out there with much more artistic and technical talent."

Wow, with that kind of scathing review I should hope you take your own advice. Anyhow Mr. Millions, you no doubt consider yourself ranked among those numbers. It's time to put up or shut up.

Let me be perfectly clear s9- procure your own MMA, boxing, or kickboxing action photos taken in ambient lighting, and prove to me that 1. you take everything in RAW, and 2. you're better.

GH: "Why, don't you like your images so over-sharpened that the people look like they are made of plastic?"

Maybe he prefers crooked horizons, over-saturated reds, and unnaturally lightened low key areas that are supposed to mimic an expanded dynamic range. Huh. Whatever makes you happy I guess. 

You haters are funny.
2/1/10 12:14 PM
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GregHonda
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crooked horizons are a result of the photographer not the result of shooting in RAW or JPEG.

I believe that this argument is about file format, not about who is a better photographer.
2/1/10 2:00 PM
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SnapLocally
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Oh, I get it- criticism on post-processing should only be a one way street reserved for Greg Honda.

The fact that you claim to shoot in a better format, which implies a better decision making process on your part, most certainly implies better photography and better photographer.  I didn't say I was superior to anyone here, and in fact I may be the least talented photographer in this current discussion. But, for all this "RAW is superior in every conceivable way" talk, all I've seen is technical specifications and not a single fight photo- the only shred of evidence I asked for. Difficult, isn't it.


2/1/10 2:30 PM
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GregHonda
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You just don't get it do you?
2/1/10 7:21 PM
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Bunnymonster
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I'm not arguing whether you are a fine photographer or not, I'm attempting to give you advice which will make the images you produce better. At the end of the day, you may be able to make up for using inferior file formats with your amazing skill,setup and timing (Vincent LaForet shot the Olympics with a speed graphic once) but doing so you risk leaving money on the table.

What happens when Robert DeNiro is ringside at a fight has a heart attack and dies? This image would be worth a million random boxing pictures, you spin round, frame the shot, oops 2 stops under exposed, or perhaps you get lucky and the exposure is right but the white balance is waaay off, good luck getting paid what you should for that.

Seeing as you want to turn this into a "oooh look I took a picture which contains more interesting elements than you" discussion I'll find and post some of mine, chances are they'll be from some time in 2006-7 as I haven't shot fights in a long time...
2/1/10 11:26 PM
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SnapLocally
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Ok I'll shoot in RAW from now on. 
2/2/10 12:44 AM
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Bunnymonster
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I don't believe you ;)
2/2/10 6:33 PM
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SnapLocally
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 What happens when Robert DeNiro is ringside at a fight has a heart attack and dies? This image would be worth a million random boxing pictures, you spin round, frame the shot, oops 2 stops under exposed, or perhaps you get lucky and the exposure is right but the white balance is waaay off

Lucky me that my camera has an external RAW button just for such an occasion!

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