Recently, my family and I took a week-long trip to the awesome state of Colorado. I charged my camera batteries, emptied my memory cards, packed my bag, and we were on the road (a few hours later, of course...with all the kids in tow, we don't get out the door as fast as some people!).
We reached the mountains, and I started shooting with my camera set to different exposures, and fiddling with other settings. I had 'puffed up' my knowledge of portrait photography with a lot of books from the library before we had left on our trip, but some of the ideas worked on landscape photos, too.
One subject I kept seeing was the ever-recommended "shoot in RAW, and don't look back." Well, I thought, "Hey, why not try it out?" My mistake.
I failed to read up on it, and switched my image setting from Fine to RAW. I continued shooting like always. Throughout the whole trip, actually.
A whole 32GB card filled with mountains, horses, plants, fish, and other things later...
I came home, and emptied my card. Or, at least, I tried to. Windows Media wouldn't let me see my photos. Photoshop refused to open them for editing. Picmonkey would only take JPEG.
I actually started crying (no kidding) because I thought I had lost all of the photos I had recorded. The great ones and the blurry ones. The family documentations and the just-for-fun shots. Everything. Period.
Google and my Mom came to the rescue. After a while, we figured out that RAW is converted, and all that what-not. But even the converter we downloaded didn't work. So, I had to go through all. my. photos. manually. I had to convert my photos, on-camera, from RAW back to Fine.
But then, another roadblock occurred. When I plugged in my camera to my laptop (my computer's card reader doesn't work), none of my manually converted photos showed up. They had just disappeared!
Well, I started crying again (hey, I thought I had just lost all my work! How would you feel?). Then, my smart Mom told me something to the effect of "Quit being such a crybaby," and proceeded to experiment with the problem.
She booted up her Mac, and slipped the card into it. And here comes the end of the climax.
ALL my photos showed up! I was SO excited.
One problem, though. ALL the photos I hadn't converted back to Fine were still in RAW. And a 32GB card can store over 1,000 photos in my Nikon D3200. And I had barely reached the 400 photo line. And, yes, I'm still going through all my photos on my camera, converting them one. by. one.
But, the good thing is that my photos are okay. Safe. Secure.
And though all the photographers in all the portrait books I read shoot in RAW, I'm content right now to just stick with good ol' Fine. And besides, when I had just got my DSLR, my photographer friend told me to set it on Fine. So, that's where it stays for now.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll kick it back to RAW again someday.