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Message added by aveschapinas,

Folks: it's not OK to take other people's photos to edit and re-post. Just like we don't correct each other's spelling and grammar, we don't take it upon ourselves to decide that someone's photo needs correction. In addition, as has been emphasized before, you need to respect copyright.

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@IKLland is this better? I forget to turn up the brightness on the laptop screen so I'm constantly overexposing with the little bit of simple editing I do. Thanks for pointing that out! Ratings on these less overexposed photos appreciated. Sorry about that. What do you think of them now? Anything would help improve them.

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@Tanager 101If you shoot in RAW format, you have much more flexibility when you edit. Basically, when you shoot in jpeg, the camera chooses the contrast, exposure, and colors for you. When you go to edit it, because the camera has already "chosen" those things for you, you don't have much control over what you do in editing. You can try to adjust those things, but the results won[t be as good as if you shot in RAW and had control yourself. For exmaple, if you blow out the exposure(too bright on a white bird, like ur pelicans), and you try to fix it in editing with a jpeg file, the white areas will become gray and you won't get good results in the overexposed areas. 

When you shoot in RAW, the photo that you see on the back of your camera when you take it is not the final photo. You MUST edit the photo to some degree to get it to even look good, and you also MUST edit the file. Otherwise, you won't be able to do anything with it(upload it, etc.) So, if you don't do anything to the photo duirng editing(even cropping counts), you can do anything with the photo. In other words, you must at least crop it. When you see the photo on the back of the camera, it won[t look good in terms of contrast. It will be flat, in other words. When you edit it, you have complete control over contrast, exposure, and color, etc. If you kinda blow out the exposure on a white bird, you can recover it in a RAW file and it will look fine. If you blow it out too much though, it wont be recoverable. 

The bottom line is that if your simply looking to document birds, shoot in jpeg. If you want the best possible photos, shoot RAW, Just know that you must at least crop every single RAW photo in order to use it. Another option is to shoot in RAW+jpeg. This saves one raw file and one jpeg file for each image. Persoanlly, I shoot full raw. The photos that arent as good that I still keep, I'll just make a quick crop to. RAW+Jpeg takes up twice as much space as a RAW or JPEG photo, so just keep that in mind. 

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I agree with @IKLland, RAW files contain a lot more data and when it comes time for processing, allows for more flexibility in editing.

Having said that, learning how to process digital images as good or better than the camera manufacture's digital image processor can be a challenge. Processing RAW images can also leave you with a photo worse than the camera's JPG image, if you don't know what your doing.

As previously mentioned, shooting in RAW can have great advantages, it's not for everyone though. I now shoot in JPG for a few reasons, less and less of an interest in post processing being one of them.

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Photographed yesterday.  I was watching this immature Eastern Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a utility pole.  It dove/glided down from the pole to the roadside ditch directly next to my car, perhaps 30 feet away!  Although I anticipated this, way too many of my shots cut off wingtips, tail, half the bird... some frames didn't even have a bird in them at all.  I even remembered to zoom all the way out from 600 down to 200mm--I usually forget to do this.  Photographing birds in flight while seated in a car is tougher than you might think. Many of the pics I managed to keep in frame were not tack sharp.  Seems my Sony a9 struggles with fast moving subjects coming towards the photographer.


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