Keep the RAW if you edit in DNG?

For awhile now I’ve been shooting RAW images on my camera, and converting to Adobe’s DNG files.  DNG has offered the ability to edit my photos better, a well understood reason, but also to keep metadata, like tags, and gps information, stored in the file.  Features that are not normally associated with vendor RAW files.  This allows me to keep everything in one place for a picture, rather than having multiple files (raw + xmp being the adobe convention).

As I create the DNG files, I also archived the original RAW photos in case something is wrong with the DNG, or I need the original file.

In the years that I’ve been editing the DNG format, I have not once needed to go back to the RAW file for anything.  With that knowledge in hand, I’ve declared that 2015 is the year I abandon keeping the original RAW files around after I create DNG versions.

This idea came up based on my output from a recent photo workshop.  When Neeley and I shot pictures during our London/Paris workshop, we ended up with 120gigs of raw image files (+120 gigs of DNG files), from 3 weeks of shooting. Giving us a total usage of 250gigs of data a month if we were to travel and shoot continuously. Or about a TB of data every 3 months.  I also started shooting video recently, and that eats up even more storage.

Chopping out the original raw files in this equation results in a storage, and organization savings, and a time savings from any backups we decide to do.  The time it takes to back up 120gigs of photos “to the cloud” while travelling is an entertain exercise left to the reader.

So, 2015, the year I abandoned keeping the RAW, and just use DNG files.  This will also be the year I determine if that was a smart decisions.

What do you do?


What’s In My Camera Bag?

Neeley and I recently got back from teaching a photography workshop in Paris and London.  And I remembered that I had yet to followup with my previous post about what to shoot with, graphically.

I carry an olive Domke F2 bag.  I’m on my second F2,  though more due to color choices, then condition.  My previous black F2 is approaching 10 years old, and probably has another 5 in it.

The Domke F2 is a medium-sized bag that hold quite a bit of stuff, with minimal padding, and protection.  Though it’s more then enough protection to prevent damage from bumps/bangs of tossing things in the overhead bin, or putting it down by your feet.  They are shooters bags, designed to be carried and used, not for shipping gear.

The newer F2 bags come with an adjustable 4 slot padded insert for lenses, while the older F2 bags had a non-adjustable 4-slot insert.  Both are movable in the bag, and removable if you want.   After spending a couple of weeks fiddling with the insert, I’ve come to the layout that I use now.  A Canon 5D Mark 2 on it’s side, back facing the back of the bag, right hand of the camera facing up (with a hand strap), lens forward.  This allows me to have any normal or wide lens mounted on the camera and easy access in and out of the bag with it (though I have to flip the lens hood around).  I currently have a Canon 24-105 F4L mounted on the camera.

I place a Canon 17-40 F4L lens in one of the padded slots near my body to keep the weight closer to me.  I can replace this wide angle lens with a couple primes, or a 70-200 depending on what I’m planning on taking pictures of.

The additional padded slots carry my Gopro 3+, along with waterproof and skeleton back, and the wifi remote.  I replace the Xshot stick with a Manfroto Pixi tripod depending on what I’m looking to do with the gopro.  I have a medium-sized USB battery pack for my phone or GoPro if I run out of power, with cables.  I also found myself just carrying a spare phone, gopro, and gps battery in a small ziplock.  I have a small cotton rag I use to wipe things down with, dry things off, etc.  This doubles as added padding if needed.

On the front outside pockets, I have a Moleskin notebook and Space Pen for old fashion note taking if needed.  I also stuff in a LensPen, ThinkTank PocketRocket CF/SD card holder with spare cards, and some lip balm.  I stuff a package of business cards and a couple bogo-ties into one of the pockets.  Lastly I turn on my GPS logger, and leave it in a pocket all day.  See my older geotagging post for some more information.

This leaves both end pockets on the Domke empty, allowing me to put water bottles, sunglasses, flash-units, or other temporary items in (subway cards, small gifts, etc).

Weight can be heavy to light depending on the lens loadout that I use for the day, if you want a three lens zoom setup (wide, normal, telephoto) things can get heavy for all day carry on the shoulder.  It’s important that you take the camera out and carry that independently if the bag is heavy, or learn to shoot with less stuff.

This is how I’ve been shooting for about ten years now, slightly different gear in the bag, but this bag, and this layout.  During our Paris and London workshop I also shot with a much lighter Olympus OMD EM1 micro 4/3 camera.  I’m still debating using this bag as my primary if I were to switch to something like that for most of my camera work.

How do you carry your gear?

Notting Hill Carnival

Yesterday we had a chance to shoot pictures at the Notting Hill Carnival.  Unfortunately London weather reared it’s head, and we had light to heavy rain throughout the morning when we were out shooting.

Many of the floats were delayed in starting due to getting ready in the horrible weather, but in the end they ran.

This was my first time attending this event, but I’ve added it to my list of things to come back and see again at some point.  Though next time, I would love better weather.


Neeley and I took the Eurostar from Paris to London under the English channel two days ago for the first time, the view is spectacular from 250 feet below the water.

The trip takes about 2.5 hours, and drops you off in the newly renovated St Pancras station.  The station is beautiful, but we didn’t take any pictures yet, as we were lumbering around with our luggage.  We will return later in the week to take pictures.

The following day we explored the bank district and ate a wonderful lunch at Simpson’s Tavern, a great lunch place in the heart of the financial district with a long history.

Brick Lane is the plan for the near future as we prepare to host our workshop participants for the coming up Nottinghill Carnival.