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Oh No…Not JPEGs!  [Continued]

I was not only new to computer editing, but I was also just at the beginning of my digital shooting journey.  I always kept my camera set to shoot JPEG’s simply because of rumors I had heard which said that Raw shots always came out looking flat and needed editing.  I figured that since I didn’t know how to edit, I had better play it safe by shooting only JPEG’s.

Weeks turned into months and finally Taylor said, “You know enough now about editing to turn out some pretty good looking images.  I think you should start shooting Raw.  Next Thursday bring in some Raw shots and we’ll start doing some real editing.”

Me, shoot Raw?  If man could reach the moon, I guess I could learn to edit Raw images.  Anticipating my next lesson, I really wanted to impress Taylor with the shots I’d bring to the drawing board.  I debated on where to go shooting and what to shoot…the picturesque Rockies, a tiger with his kill in Tanzania, perhaps star trails in a wide open western sky.  After careful consideration I ended up in my New Jersey backyard where I took pictures of some potted plants.

As we approach the dramatic portion of this story,  just a little background about Taylor and the Apple Geeks who work at the store.  Yes, they are all geeks…nerds of the highest caliber.  I see a ram as a horned animal.  They see RAM as Random Access Memory.  If I see a mouse,  I want to get the hell out of his way before he attacks, leaving me with rabies.  They use a wonderful toy for navigating around a screen.  To me a curser is a guy who screams out really bad words in the produce section of the supermarket.  I wouldn’t survive two hours working at the Apple store.  Taylor, however, is one of those brilliant geek nerds that, after a full day at the store, probably goes home to work on his hobby…computers.  Taylor is also a photographer who shoots weddings on the weekends.  Of course, he always shoots in Raw.

Thursday arrives and here I am, eager to begin my lesson.  Taylor greets me, we get seated at the computer, and I whip out my SD card which contains the world’s greatest collection of images of potted plants…all shot in Raw.  Taylor was incredibly impressed with my shots, expressing how excited he was to see my images of some of the least exotic plants in the universe.  We got through the lesson and I was convinced that I was now the king of editing Raws.  Taylor’s day at the store was now over and as I packed up he strode out the door since his shift was over.  As I was about to leave, I saw a commotion among the other Aperture instructors.  The geeks were buzzing like a swarm of bees in a sunflower patch.  I just couldn’t leave without finding out what the hubbub was all about.  Perhaps a new computer or iPhone was about to be launched.  After all, in the computer world, this was about the biggest thing that could happen.  I approached Chris, King of the Geeks, and asked him what the frenzy was all about.  As if announcing that an asteroid had just struck Cleveland, he said, “Taylor’s shooting JPEG’s!  Yeah at his weddings, he’s now shooting JPEG’s!”  I heard the buzzing coming from the others…”Hey, did ya hear?  Taylor’s shooting JPEG’s.”  “Yeah, I heard he’s shooting JPEG’s!  He’s shooting JPEG’s!”  Two things immediately came to mind.  First, how could a group of intelligent adults be so excited about what format some wedding photographer is using?  Second…Oh my God, I finally know how to edit Raws and my instructor is shooting JPEG’s!

I left the store laughing, expecting that the following morning the New York Times headline would read, “Taylor’s shooting JPEG’s!”  It didn’t.

Well, after four years of learning Aperture to a fault, Apple discontinued the program.

Taylor quit Apple and went on to a successful career as a full time photographer.

I moved on and learned Lightroom and Photoshop.

To this day, when I go back to the Apple store, I visit with my favorite photo nerds and I never leave without reminding them of that exciting day, when they were all abuzz with the news of the decade…Taylor’s shooting JPEG’s!