This image (taken in September2015 just below the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta) is a very good example of why :-
1) I always shoot in RAW (unless just for family happy snaps)
2) I never discard images based on what they look like on the back of the camera
When I visited Banff in September, 2015, I was still new to shooting in RAW. I had always shot JPEG and had managed to get some pretty good shots. My colleagues at APLCC had persuaded me that I should try RAW as there is far more information in the file and it allows you to recover detail from parts of the image that look to be over or (in this case) underexposed. Had I taken this picture in JPEG mode it would, in all likelihood, have been beyond salvage.
The downside to shooting in RAW is that you have to post process the image as it will come off the camera flat and lacking depth. This was my first problem as I started to shoot in RAW before I learned how to process the files. I had some limited experience in Photoshop and none at all in Lightroom. Once again I owe a thanks to Angela Durante Ducat for patiently explaining some key Lightroom workflow tips. I read somewhere that 10% of a good photo comes from the camera, 50% from the photographer and the other 40% comes from post processing! This show that the 40% post processing can turn a dark, boring mess into an interesting landscape.
The above image was taken just after dusk (6.25pm) on a very gloomy evening in very low light. I didn't have my tripod with me so had my camera balanced precariously on a rock with my finger underneath one side to try and get it somewhat level. When I looked at the image on the camera screen I almost deleted it immediately as it was so underexposed. I tried a few more shots with longer exposure time (this one was 1.3s at ISO100, f/18, 34mm) but the longer exposures just created more camera shake.
I'm glad I decided not to delete it as the final shot (below) is one of my wife's favourites!
I was able to lighten the image and bring out a lot of detail in the trees and the mountains in the distance. I also re-levelled it using the river edge as the horizon. Although it would have been better to have brought a tripod and shot the image correctly in-camera in the first place, I think this shows how RAW can give a little bit more forgiveness.