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Author Topic: Asthetics vs. Technically Correct  (Read 4227 times)
howard smith
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« on: March 25, 2005, 02:40:31 PM »
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I think A looks blue because it is. Compared to "daylight," overcast is blue because the illumination is mostly scattered light - blue.

Image B is less blue because the setting compensates for some of the overcast blue.

Image C is "correct, and maybe closer to what you "see" because your mind also does some color correcting.

Artistic license is a license to kill. Take it, then you can do what ever you want. If you "screw it up," pull out the artistic license.
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John Camp
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2005, 03:32:40 PM »
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I tried to get into this discussion a few weeks ago, but not many people seemed to be interested. I use photos as a note-taking method for paintings; the paintings don't come out looking like photographs at all, but I wanted the color notes to be right. I drive past one particular landscape almost every day, and finally got around to trying to work it out in paint. The problem was, I'd get the painting going, and the next time I drove past the actual landscape, I'd notice that all the (remembered) color notes in my painting were wrong. Even the relative colors had shifted in what (to me) were unpredictable ways. That's because the light was *always* different. I'd encountered this problem before, but usually I took color notes right on the site with colored pencils, and I'd go with the notes; also, I didn't drive past other landscapes all the time. This is a common problem: Grandma Moses once joked that she'd never seen blue snow. That's because she never looked. Of course she'd seen blue snow -- if she hadn't she wouldn't have been able to see any snow at all, all she would have seen was something that looked like a burned-out highlight. The only thing that gives snow definition is various shades of blue or grey...She just thought it was white. It's not, except under certain "white-like" conditions. So -- the point of this is, **there are no absolute colors.** Local colors are essentially a fiction; you can watch a color card change by moving it around in a room, with different lights on it. So is your photograph too blue? Well, do **you** think so?
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2005, 04:25:29 PM »
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There is no such things as the "correct" color.  The human eyes and brain perform all sorts of color correction relative to the actual light in the scene as objectively measured by instruments.  Some people are even red-green colorblind; clearly, their eyes and brain work differently from others, so different people don't even see the same thing in the same way.  Given that, I'd suggest giving your images any color balance you feel like without worrying about "correctness".  In the case of this image, the bluer versions do indeed give a more "cold" impression than the more neutral one, which I think works much better for this photo.  Photo "B" suggests "cold early morning" to me in a way that "C" (and even "D") doesn't.

Lisa
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slrnovice
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2005, 04:57:09 PM »
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Hi everyone,

I'm glad you addressed this topic.  I know this sounds naive in the extreme but I got a quite a surprise when I compared the images from my 20D and my old fuji S602.  I took shots of the spring growth on a bramble bush using both cameras.  Comparing both sets of photos, the fuji shots came out quite yellow and the canon shots rather blue.  Suddenly I began to doubt my own eyes, what was it I had really seen?  I've read plenty of articles where reviewers say the images from the camera under review has some colour cast or other so I should know better but I suppose there is nothing quite like seeing it for yourself.  It made me wonder about what was accurate because 'accurate' was the thing that immediately sprang to mind as desirable.  Maybe that is a little naive too *grin*

slrnovice
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laurel fink
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2005, 06:30:44 AM »
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My response assumes that the technology is in place: a camera that captures RAW or provides the ability to fine-tune white balance in the camera, and a properly calibrated monitor. Here goes:
Before processing any digital photo image (I shoot mainly RAW), I take some time to look at the image when I open it in Photoshop, and try to re-invoke the emotional response I had when I first shot the photo. Whatever adjustments I make, whether to color balance, contrast, or otherwise, are driven by my goal of reflecting in the image that emotional response which motivated me to shoot  away in the first place. Having said that, a good understanding of how color casts and other technical considerations tend to be experienced by the viewer (e.g., blue = cold) is essential to acheiving the image I want.
Color balance, and any other technical consideration in the digital (or wet) darkroom, are nothing but tools for us to employ to create art. These tools should assist us, not drive or control us.
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2005, 02:23:04 PM »
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Howdy Gang,
Got a question that I'd like some feedback on. With various images I've posted over time, the most common feedback comment is to do with colour balance. For example, I posted an image of the northern Bruce Peninsula on a bright, sunny morning, and in one location, folks said it was way too blue (they may not all have had calibrated monitors, but I know for sure some did). I shoot in RAW and use the Daylight setting in the camera then adjust accordingly if it's a cloudy day, etc., in PS CS via the Kelvin temperature scale rather than go with presets. That may be changing now that I'm using NC for my RAW conversions/processing, and it seems pretty good at making some colour corrections (I should state, my monitor is calibrated every 2 weeks using the latest Eye-One calibrator). However, sometimes (often?) the "technically correct" (i.e. colour balanced) image where I adjust using the Curves in PS CS and setting a white and black point, looks more correct, but doesn't convey the feeling of the moment as well (blue=very cold, which it was). If I leave it alone (other than minor adjustments), then a number of folks say that the image is too blue/red/whatever. That's the asthetics/feeling side of my shot. In short, my dilemma is which way to go - with artistic licence, or what is more technically correct. Below are 3 photographs. They are all the same shot. It is important to know that the time of day was before sun-up on a morning that was heavily overcast and had just finished snowing. In Photograph A, I left the WB "as recorded" (daylight). In Photograph B, I adjusted it to a "Daylight/Cloudy" setting in NC 4.2. Photograph C was colour corrected using the PS CS Curves I mentioned above, and is the most "technically" correct (but not really what I saw). I would like opinions and thoughts on which you like the best, and if possible, why. That would really help me clue in on how much "artistic licence" I can get away with, without ruining the shot . Many thanks!





Glenn
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dandill
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2005, 03:30:44 PM »
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I think you are entitled to adjust the colors to achieve the feeling you intend.

A suggestion, however, is to use WhiBal to be able to get the color "true," should you wish.

Michael's WhiBal review
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Dan Dill
glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2005, 03:59:51 PM »
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Thanks guys - very interesting discussion. Dandill, thanks especially for the link. I'll think about that little tool, but the part that caught my attention was where they said the auto WB works pretty good. I gave it a go on the photo from within NC, and it is by far the best result (asthetically and technically) from my perspective.

  ), so I know exactly what you're saying.

Thanks, and further comments/ideas most welcome.

Glenn
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2005, 04:41:39 PM »
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Good point Lisa. Maybe the "answer" in this image's case would be to do a colour correction to Photograph D, then add some blue back in, so it's not overdone?  "B" does have a mild correction, but nothing more.

I admit to finding the comments here quite encouraging though. My "preference" is to have colour casts that suit the image. It sounds like this is a better route to go than to have the "technically correct" (whatever that may be, now that I've read what folks have said here) colour balance.

Glenn
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 11:17:40 AM »
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Well I don't seem to be able to retreive any of these images referred to, so I'm talking blind.

Accuracy of colour is a terribly demanding science. It's necessary when producing colour charts of Dulux paints, for example, or recording fashion shows of terribly expensive gowns.

If there's no commercial requirement to get exact colours, then as far as I can see all that's required is that the monitor match the printer output. Produce whatever colours you like. Or, if you have to earn a living from this, produce the colours that other people like.

Okay! Call me a cynic if you like  Smiley .
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2005, 02:00:07 PM »
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Sirnovice & Ray,
Thanks for your input on this, and I do apologise for not responding sooner.  I've been tied up elsewhere for the past couple of weeks or so.  In the process of moving images around I'm afraid I deep-sixed the ones for the post here, but no matter.  I do appreciate your input, and certainly I don't find you (Ray) to be a cynic.  That's the reality of shooting for others, but in the end I have found (helped by responses to this thread) that I shoot for what I like, and others seem to have gotten along fine with them as well.  For example I do like the "blue" in a hazy day, and in fact like hazy days (although I would prefer they were hazy due to natural particulates and humidity as opposed to sulphur and nitrous oxides  Huh ), so to show that, I think now I would leave the colour balance as is, or even enhance the effect to some degree.  So, I guess I'll go with what feels right at the time and see what happens.

Thanks again for your input.  It's much appreciated  Smiley .

Glenn
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glenndavyphoto
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2005, 11:49:44 AM »
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Yup, I think you just hit what I was seeking right on the head  Smiley .  It's that 'emotional response' that you spoke of that clicked with me in your reply.  Thanks for this, appreciate your input  Smiley .

Glenn
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