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iSpot Forum

Photographs for ispot

Hi,

I nearly always take photos in RAW and JPG. This allows me to tweak the raw file to bring out more details if the there are too many highlights or shadows. For uploading to iSpot I resize the raw file to jpgs to about 100-200kb which seems good enough without loosing the detail and small enough to upload. I still retain the original RAW file which are about 16mb but I guess there is no need and could just keep the resized jpgs.

So after the preamble my question is what do others do with their flora and fauna photos?

I have found little advantage in using the RAW format - in practice the quality difference is insignificant compared to file size and concomitant slow processing time (not to mention compatibility issues). The only thing to remember is that each “save” reduces jpg image quality slightly. I regularly upload jpgs up to about 2Mb (uncropped plant photos, for instance).

I have yet to investigate the Optimum size for iSpot Obs. There is an issue with pictures that cannot be enlarged via the viewer in iSpot and I suggest that 200kb is too ‘weak’.
I find it a chore reducing and saving (not overwriting) pictures just for iSpot - but I frequently have to
The server accepts pictures up to 8Mb but ‘dense’ pictures often take an age to load and are cluttering the whole site. Amadan above has it right, check out his recent, praiseworthy and fully enlargeable
https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/787718/at-cross-purposes

I have a mac laptop and have set up Services using Automator which add options to the right click menu when in Finder. So I have them set to reduce jpg photos on its longest side to 1400px, 1024, 800px and save them in a folder called surprisingly “Exported Photos” which produce jpg files between 100 - 200kb.

I also have Lightroom which can bulk export RAW files to whatever size (kb or pixels) I set.

I didn’t think about the option to enlarge the photos which I guess makes ID easier to see zoomed in detail. I’ll add another service to create a bigger kb file size and use that from now on.

I was trying to keep the file size small to ease and speed when uploading.

Every now and again I think I ought to try RAW format - to handle images with a greater dynamic range that JPEG mode can handle.

They can look good when downloaded, but at around 20Mb (with my camera) per image - and three times that if I’ve used bracketing - my typical day’s collection of well over 100 photos takes an age to transfer.
My ageing software really struggles to manage RAW images, and any applied enhancement (for wildlife, I restrict myself to cropping, brightness/contrast and sharpness) take some time. Also, I find the actual adjustments more sensitive, and the preview (where available) less accurate.
In short, a lot of the time I end up converting to jpg at some point. I’ve tried comparing the RAW and (unretouched) jpg images - sometimes the difference is noticeable (say, with a butterfly on a flower in bright sunlight, or the subtle shades of a rather dull moth), but often it is minimal.

The photos in my recent records where all taken in bright sunny weather and I made sure I or the camera wasn’t casting shadow over the subject. Usually I have set my camera to take RAW+JPG but for those it was jpg only. RAW is useful when you want to tone down highlights and brighten shadows. It does take time to tweak each image fortunately I have a stand alone version of lightroom and once I tweak the first image I can apply the same changes in bulk to the others. So will probably use jpg only for iSpot photos.

I now have a menu option to resize to 2400 pixels on longest edge of photo which gives a 1.5 - 2mb image jpg which I use so it can be zoomed on iSpot.

Another issue when considering resolution of the image is that there is so little depth of field (and high likelyhood of camera shake) when taking closeups that taking a 50mb image compared to a 2mb image may actually give you no extra information.


I wrote this about 10 years ago and is due for an update to include smartphones etc but the OU photo course is also due for an update and I am working on that first.

Although not an iSpot subject I did the OU photography course two years ago and learnt quite a lot and no longer just leave the camera on IA or P mode and use Aperture or manual a lot more. I did give quite a lot of feedback at the end of the course. It was mostly a good and enjoyable course and I passed which is always a bonus.

I agree about the 50mb image not giving more info especially for macro and close up photos.

Ade