Jeff Warner PHOTOGRAPHIC, Golden, Colorado, USA

Monday, January 31, 2011

FAQ #1: Why shoot RAW vs. JPEG?

For those of you with DSLRs who are unsure of why anyone would want to use the raw file format, I thought I'd give a quick example of one of the primary benefits of shooting raw. In a nutshell, the raw file format gives you more latitude to correct for image exposure or color problems, problems we try to avoid as photographers, but sometimes cannot.

Below is an image I shot of lightning over South Table Mtn. a few years ago. I had just gotten my camera set up on the tripod and was still shooting frames to get some idea of the light levels (correct exposure, as a function of the distance/brightness of the lightning). A tremendous strike occurred perfectly centered in the frame, but since the lightning was so close, it was severely overexposed (see JPEG example, on the right).

Corrected RAW file on the left, original JPEG from the camera on the right.

Luckily, I had been shooting RAW+JPEG, and it was only 1.5 stops overexposed; using a RAW file editor (Adobe Lightroom) I was able to bring back the overexposed highlights, and produced one of my more stunning lightning images to date. It was actually shown by 9News' Kathy Sabine on the weather segment on the following night, and had I not been shooting RAW, I would have had almost nothing from the night. Lightning is a fickle beast, and by the time my camera was set properly (about 90 seconds later), the strikes had moved to the east side of the mesa, only flashes of light from my location.

There are many other image aspects that RAW files allow you to manipulate, but I'll leave those items for future FAQ topics. If anyone has any questions or comments about anything above, please leave a post here, and I'll answer the question(s) as soon as I can.



Monday, January 24, 2011

Snowshoeing Peru Creek

After an incredible day of knee- to thigh-deep powder at the Outback of Keystone, I decided to let Heidi take the boys skiing on Sunday, and I went snowshoeing. I headed up Montezuma Rd. to the well-used Peru Creek Trailhead, and headed out with camera, in search of snow. Unfortunately, there was so much snow that most of the smaller-scale snowforms were completely covered in feet of recent snow, leaving mostly the macro-scale stuff. Did about four miles round trip and a thousand feet of elevation gain, and took the Montezuma trail back toward the lot. Bailed off the trail above the lot, and the last 1/4-mile was a 20-minute bushwhack through thigh-deep powder; guess I needed my workout for the day. Anyway, here's a few...

Little Temple


Tree to Tree

Cool Shadows

Maid of New Orleans Mine

Apparent cross-bedding (almost resembles rill marks)


Chihuahua Gulch Talus

Snowform II

Toe of Chihuahua Gulch Talus Flow

The Fall Line

Evening Wind over Loveland Pass

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2nd Annual Grizzly Pk. Winter Ascent (el. 13,427')

Nico and Gary joined me on the spur of the moment for our 2nd annual ascent of 13,427' Grizzly Peak, off Loveland Pass. We started at the top of the pass (11,990') at 9am, and it's about 6 miles and 3500' of up/down climbing. Although there wasn't a tremendous amount of snow (as usual, the route is on the windward side, thus gets scoured down to rock in many places), we definitely got some winter weather, including winds of 30-40 mph on the way down. If you are interested in seeing a larger set of images from the day, check out the Grizzly Peak Gallery on the main website.

Good times!

The climb up to Pt. 12,915 from the pass saw clouds pulsing up and down the valley below, alternately drowning us in windy clouds and wonderful, warm sun.

Some of the crew we ended up hiking most of the way up with, and the light winds of the morning.

Nico nears one of the areas with deeper snow; Grizzly Peak is the highest point in the background.

Nico cruises along a little spine above me.

Looks nice to ski from here, but significant avalanche terrain. No thank you.

We near the last step up to the summit, a significantly steep push of about 700'. Note how windswept the ridge is, with the rather large cornice that you wouldn't want to stray too far out upon.

A detail shot of the cornice.

A climber descends the area where the last two images were taken.

By the time we got to the summit, the weather had turned, and we were treated to this for the next hour. At least the winds were not too bad, but it did get quite a bit colder inside the cloud.

As we neared the bottom, the wind had switched directions, and re-deposited much of what had been lee-side snow back onto the trail (usually the windward, scoured side), making for some cool snowforms that hadn't been there 6 hours previous.

Snowform detail, looks like a wave. This was in about 2 feet of snow that had been practically bare rock that morning.

Winds roaring out of the north, over the hill above Loveland Pass.

The final push back to the car found the winds howling at 30+ mph.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jan-11 Shutterbug Magazine Website Review

Since the Jan-11 issue of Shutterbug Magazine is now is off the stands, I can now include the content of the 'Web Profiles' column that recently profiled my website. Each month Joe Farace searches out notable websites of photographers around the world, often with a theme. For the January 2011 issue of Shutterbug Magazine, the Web Profiles column concentrated on aerial photography, and my work was profiled along with three other photographers, including one National Geographic shooter. If you didn't get a chance to pick up a copy of the issue, you can find a link to a downloadable PDF file of the January 2011 Shutterbug Magazine Web Profiles article here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

James Einolf, Luthier

I spent the day documenting the craftsmanship of Colorado luthier James Einolf in his basement workshop. An astounding amount of very fine, detailed woodworking is required to handcraft a guitar. After hundreds of hours of labor, it's astonishing that all the pieces eventually come together into a musical instrument.

Here's the 'subject' and the ambient light I had to work with. Let's just say there's lots of stuff around, and it's bathed in beautiful greenish light!

Woodworking tools of the trade (some of which are themselves works of art), being used to scallop the internal bracing.

Preparing to glue the kerfing to the internal side of the flat top.

5x glasses used to prepare and install the frets onto the fingerboard.
Ebony, Indian Rosewood and Cocobolo fingerboards await mating to neck.

Abundant filing is involved with shaping the neck.

James with a 1926 Gibson L-0 on the left, and Einolf L-0 Serial #51 on the right.

The workshop foreman, Felix, apparently thinks he's also capable of picking a guitar!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

James Einolf's Gibson L-0 replicas

Happy New Year to all! A few more of James Einolf's handcrafted replicas of the depression-era Gibson L-0 acoustic guitar. The following are Serial #'s 50, 54, 55, and 56. If you'd like to see the base set of images these were selected from,  see the Einolf L-0 Gallery on my website. If you want to learn more about James' guitars, please check out his website at