Power of a RAW file

One of the examples I showed during our processing portion of our workshop in Apalachicola was a single frame snapped at sunrise.  As the sun was cresting the horizon I took one exposure for the sky, so naturally the foreground lost a lot of detail by doing this.

I was using my Sony A7R, which is a 36MP Full Frame Sensor.  I knew I could get away with pulling quite a bit out of the shadows due to the sensor recording all of that information at the point of capture.  To show all of the workshop participants what kind of power the sensor and RAW file had, I walked through a quick processing tutorial on that image.

Here is the RAW file straight out of the camera:

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm, F/16, 1/40th second

Now see how much detail I could get out of the shadows just using Adobe Lightroom?  I could've gotten a lot more even, but I this was as much as I really "wanted".

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

ISO 100, 27mm. F/16, 1/40th second

You can see how pretty much everything in the foreground came to life with just a few sliders in Lightroom.  Like I mentioned earlier, I could have pulled more data that this out of the shadows, but doing so really started to look very unnatural to me, so this is where I decided to stop.  Sometimes, I am still amazed at how much data is in the RAW files that come out of this Sony.