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Author Topic: Looking for Natural 18% Gray  (Read 5173 times)
Mark Howell
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« on: March 29, 2007, 04:08:12 PM »
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I shoot outdoor and landscapes a good bit and like to double check WB using the auto WB eye dropper in PS's Camera Raw engine. The thing is I never know what to sample for neutral gray. I usually end up sampling bark on a pine tree (lots of them around here), asphalt of a road, or even whitest parts of a clouds. The results are okay, but aren't quite as nice as when I shoot with a gray card on the front end.

My question is are there any rules of thumb or elements of nature can I sample for good WB correction on the times I don't use a grey card, such as my whitest points in clouds? I realize there are times when inaccurate WB color is a "good" thing, but for curiosity I always like to see what the true color of a scene is.

Thanks,

Mark
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neilsutherland
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2007, 03:31:55 AM »
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Mark

I think that trying to find a naturally neutral tone in a scene will always be a bit problematic.

I got a useful little gadget called a Whibal which is a small piece of grey plastic that is spectrally neutral (not 18% grey, but that doesn't matter for white balance). It comes on a neck cord and weighs next to nothing. You just take a shot with the whibal in the picture and click on it when you come to use click white balance in your raw converter.

You can find out more and see some tutorials from the enthusiastic Mr Tapes who invented it at

http://www.rawworkflow.com/


Regards

Neil

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ngophotographer
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 11:19:24 AM »
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Hi Mark:

I'll assume you're desiring a reasonable WB to have a good starting place for artistic interpretation.

Here's a couple ideas:

1) Use a "Delta Gray card" and cut it in half, put it in a Ziplock, throw in your bag.  Almost any camera shop, even independent ones in small towns have them and they're like $5-$6.

Place it in the scene.  Done.

2) Most camera bags have a gray interior, some have a color cast, test your bag, rain cover, etc.  If its "accurate" enough, then you're there.  Just take a picture with your bag in it in the same light.

3) Use a gray card, white sheet of paper and do a custom white balance prior to shooting.  Some cameras become warmer/cooler based on whether you use gray or white.

If you notice, I'm not focusing on it being "perfect".  In landscape, the tone, colors, balance, etc. are all part of the artistic interpretation.

If you were doing product photography, I would recommend getting a Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker & EyeOne, calibrating your camera and using it in the scene.  Along with Sinar Braun or Profoto digitally calibrated strobes!

Enjoy the outdoors!!  

Best regards,

Rich
NGOphotographer
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gerry s
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2007, 02:53:40 PM »
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Ive used the whibal for a year or so now when required and it really does the job, check out the video Neil pointed to.
regards.. gerry
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bjanes
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 09:35:48 PM »
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Hi Mark:

I'll assume you're desiring a reasonable WB to have a good starting place for artistic interpretation.

Here's a couple ideas:

1) Use a "Delta Gray card" and cut it in half, put it in a Ziplock, throw in your bag.  Almost any camera shop, even independent ones in small towns have them and they're like $5-$6.

Place it in the scene.  Done.

2) Most camera bags have a gray interior, some have a color cast, test your bag, rain cover, etc.  If its "accurate" enough, then you're there.  Just take a picture with your bag in it in the same light.

3) Use a gray card, white sheet of paper and do a custom white balance prior to shooting.  Some cameras become warmer/cooler based on whether you use gray or white.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111002\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You might also try a piece of toilet tissue  

Bill
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2007, 07:38:15 AM »
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If you're shooting digital, I've found the Expo Disk to work quite well.

I do landscape work, now with the Hasselblad 503 CW and the Phase One P-45 (Plus version on order) and find that pointing the Expo Disk into the scene and taking the exposure, then useing that exposure as the Custom WB works very well.

Jack
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b2martin
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2007, 10:10:24 AM »
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Jack, I understand the recommended way to use ExpoDisc is to point it toward the light source, not the scene.  Do I understand that you are setting white balance and exposure by pointing the camera with ExpoDisc toward the scene?
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Bro.Luke
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 12:07:40 PM »
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Quote
Mark

I think that trying to find a naturally neutral tone in a scene will always be a bit problematic.

I got a useful little gadget called a Whibal which is a small piece of grey plastic that is spectrally neutral (not 18% grey, but that doesn't matter for white balance). It comes on a neck cord and weighs next to nothing. You just take a shot with the whibal in the picture and click on it when you come to use click white balance in your raw converter.

You can find out more and see some tutorials from the enthusiastic Mr Tapes who invented it at

http://www.rawworkflow.com/
Regards

Neil

Hi,

I have almost ordered this after watching the video. I'm partly convinced it could be a real time saver under controlled conditions like a studio, but how does it apply to outdoor photography?

Since as landscape photographer (wannabees in my case<G>) we strive for the quality of light that usually not balanced.

I mean if I put that Whibal card in the light of a beautiful sunset won't it  remove the "color cast" of the setting sun?

I'll probably get this for my "studio" work but any hints on how it's useful outdoors I'd like to see.

Thanks,

Bro.Luke
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2007, 02:40:07 PM »
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Hi,

I have almost ordered this after watching the video. I'm partly convinced it could be a real time saver under controlled conditions like a studio, but how does it apply to outdoor photography?

Since as landscape photographer (wannabees in my case<G>) we strive for the quality of light that usually not balanced.

I mean if I put that Whibal card in the light of a beautiful sunset won't it remove the "color cast" of the setting sun?

I'll probably get this for my "studio" work but any hints on how it's useful outdoors I'd like to see.

Thanks,

Bro.Luke
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Well, it won't remove any color cast until you activate the WB control in the Raw converter and click on the card.  If you want "as shot" that's always there.  At least this gives you an objective standard of what neutral is and you can adjust for warmth or coolness to taste from there.  I use it more for inside, but it's useful for skin tone outdoors as well.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 02:40:44 PM by Tim Gray » Logged
Jae_Moon
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 07:31:46 AM »
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Jack, I understand the recommended way to use ExpoDisc is to point it toward the light source, not the scene.  Do I understand that you are setting white balance and exposure by pointing the camera with ExpoDisc toward the scene?
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The maker of Expo Disc recommends Jack's way when taking open landscape scene.

Jae Moon
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b2martin
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2007, 09:00:04 AM »
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The maker of Expo Disc recommends Jack's way when taking open landscape scene.

Jae Moon
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Jay, I re-read the ExpoDisc user manual and did not find anything where pointing the camera toward the scene for custom white balance is recommended.  Could you tell me where this is recommended?
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