Tip #11: Shoot RAW!

White-faced capuchin - Hacienda Baru, Costa Rica
Canon 7D + 300 f2.8L IS @ f2.8
Shoot RAW images, but don’t rely on RAW to save you from a poorly exposed or poorly composed image. RAW files allow for more aggressive changes in post-process, but they will not save you from your poor technique. 

The image that accompanies today's tip was made under very challenging conditions. This white-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus) was moving hurriedly through the canopy. Unlike the more deliberate locomotion of the larger mantled howler (Alouatta palliata), these petite capuchins jump nervously from branch to branch. Your best chance at photographing a capuchin occurs whenever these gregarious monkeys congregate around a fruiting tree. The subject pictured here stopped and hesitated prior to making its leap. While I would have rather captured it in mid air, I fear that the contrast range between canopy and sky would have made for an image of a flying blob. Here, the raw file provided me with the flexibility to preserve the detail between the monkey's dark hair and pale face. Had I shot a jpeg file rather than RAW, it is likely that the highlights would have lacked detail and the shadows would have been dark and muddy.
Tip #11: Shoot RAW images, but never depend on a raw processing to save your from poor technique.
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