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Author Topic: Color temp (and tint) for sunsets  (Read 3734 times)
jani
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« on: June 26, 2005, 04:40:31 PM »
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What white balance settings should I use for sunset photos? I've a camera claiming 4000 (-4) but I kind of like it better closer to daylight.
I don't recall exactly where I read something approximating the following advise, but I try to follow it myself and I think it's pretty good (assuming a monitor that's not too uncalibrated):

There is no single setting that works for sunsets, since almost every sunset is different. Even within the same sunset as it progresses (example).

You can pick a single white balance for images taken within a few minutes, unless the light changes too quickly.

First, adjust the white balance in wide steps (+/- 1000k, for instance, don't treat this as gospel), and try to figure out which setting is closest to delivering interesting colours. Then fine-tune. (I often have problems deciding which I like best, I might even make two versions of the same photograph.)

After adjusting the white balance, adjust the tint.

Then correct exposure, brightness, contrast, shadow/highlight compensation, etc. as needed. You may want to go back to the white balance shortly before finally converting from raw to do minor final adjustments.
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Jan
dlashier
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2005, 04:13:47 AM »
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The WB treatment of sunsets varies widely by camera, so you really just need to experiment to find what you feel gives the best result with your particular camera. With my Canon 1D I found that (surprisingly) auto WB works best for sunsets. I find this unusual as previous cameras tended to balance out the warmth of sunsets leaving them on the cool side.

The first three photos were AWB while the other two (5299 and 5318) which were exceptionally cool with AWB and required substantial adjustment in the raw converter.

If your camera's AWB doesn't provide a good starting point for adjustment I'd suggest using trying the sunny, cloudy, and shade presets at raw conversion time and possibly tweaking from there.

- DL
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2005, 11:38:36 AM »
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Most of us came to digital capture from film photography, and just accepted the "daylight white balance" provided by slide film. Those beautiful warm tones just before sunset are the result of daylight balanced film recording light with a very warm color temperature. I've gotten consistently good results leaving my Eos-1Ds set for daylight white balance and RAW capture. resulting RAW files provide the warm color we remember from film, and the white balance can always be fine-tuned after the fact.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2005, 02:49:48 PM »
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What white balance settings should I use for sunset photos?  I've a camera claiming 4000 (-4) but I kind of like it better closer to daylight.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2005, 08:12:56 PM »
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The reason sunsets are colorful is because as the sun gets lower in the sky, blue is being filtered filtered out in progressively increasing amounts. The exact filtration effect varies day to day depending on atmospheric dust levels and many other factors. This gives the sunset its red/yellow color. The decision to white balance so that white is white or to retain the golden look in the image is a creative one, and there is no "right" answer. If you want the image to look like it is lit by a sunset, use a WB somewhere in the vicinity of daylight. If not, then a much lower color temp setting is appropriate.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2005, 10:22:50 AM »
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AWB on my 20D made for pretty dull skies.  Daylight and Cloudy were much closer.

Thanks for the help!

Edit: Nice photos, btw.  I really like "030214-08739".
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