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Author Topic: Towards Evening (cityscape warning)  (Read 4424 times)
Shirley Bracken
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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2010, 04:35:12 PM »
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You are so right.  I am learning what to look for to get the white balance right.  I might get lucky and get something right every once in a while but knowing how I got it is better!
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ssbracken.com  (Formerly Bumperjack)
bill t.
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2010, 04:45:47 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
I'm gonna use this image to try and bribe property management to letting me take some pix from the other end of the dock.
That has worked for me.  But if it doesn't, put on a hard hat, an orange vest, and a tool belt and walk out there like you own the place.  If anybody challenges you, just say "How 'bout those Seahawks!"

A stitch does not a pano make.  And I do see an interesting 2.5:1 pano lurking there in the upper-center part of the picture, but needing to be re-shot with a longer lens.  No fair cropping to get a pano.
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Justan
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2010, 05:15:45 PM »
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>That has worked for me. But if it doesn't, put on a hard hat, an orange vest, and a tool belt and walk out there like you own the place. If anybody challenges you, just say "How 'bout those Seahawks!"

That’s an option! Heck something similar worked at the WH

> A stitch does not a pano make.

Fair but when does one become another?
 
> And I do see an interesting 2.5:1 pano lurking there in the upper-center part of the picture, but needing to be re-shot with a longer lens. No fair cropping to get a pano.

I agree that framing just that area would be good. It would be even better if shot from one of the crains. It is a very rich area. Returning on a clear(er) night is a near term project.
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RSL
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2010, 05:45:31 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
A couple of weeks back I came across a guide for finding a gray point using PS. After your comment, I looked again today and naturally couldn’t find that one but this works and also is very close to your results. http://www.pearsoned.co.uk/Bookshop/article.asp?item=1239

Yes, Scott Kelby has explained Dave Cross's method of finding a middle gray in a number of his books. If there's nothing in the picture you can be sure is middle gray, it's about all you have to go by. On the other hand, though I've used it many times I've never been overwhelmed by its accuracy. In the case of this picture you can be pretty sure that those deck houses are either white or gray. The problem is that the paint on the deck houses probably is dirty, so when you use the dropper you want to make sure it has at least a 3 x 3 sample size so you don't happen to catch just the single pixel that's off-color. But something that's white can be discolored by the source of the light that's illuminating it. Outside, during the day, under a bright blue sky, something white probably is going to have a lot of blue in it. At night, under incandescents, white's probably going to have a fair amount of reddish yellow. Before you try to judge any of this you need a carefully calibrated monitor. But in the end, as we've said several times, it's up to the author to decide what the color balance should be. Mike and Slobodan like more blue. I like less blue, but not as much less as in my original, quick correction. I like your last mod best of all.
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Shirley Bracken
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2010, 07:06:59 PM »
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Not to be stupid but since I'm photographing paintings, can't I just put a gray card in the frame when I shoot the picture and use that as my neutral gray??

Great link, thanks!
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bill t.
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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2010, 07:25:19 PM »
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Yes but the quest for Middle Grey assumes light always comes in a package labeled White.

Light comes in lots of different color biases that greatly effect every surface it illuminates including middle grey.  And while our brain tends to  neutralize the color of non-white light, we are psychologically affected by color temperature and color castes in ways that are best conveyed in photography by letting some of that show through.  We need to at least make a nod to what the ambient light is doing.

Also, too-rigorously applied grey balances can lead to odd color crossovers and clipping elsewhere in the scene.  Other interesting criteria for selecting an appropriate scene color balance are to minimize the number of color crossovers, or minimize the amount of color clipping.
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John R
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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2010, 08:15:51 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Yes but the quest for Middle Grey assumes light always comes in a package labeled White.

Light comes in lots of different color biases that greatly effect every surface it illuminates including middle grey.  And while our brain tends to  neutralize the color of non-white light, we are psychologically affected by color temperature and color castes in ways that are best conveyed in photography by letting some of that show through.  We need to at least make a nod to what the ambient light is doing.

Also, too-rigorously applied grey balances can lead to odd color crossovers and clipping elsewhere in the scene.  Other interesting criteria for selecting an appropriate scene color balance are to minimize the number of color crossovers, or minimize the amount of color clipping.
Excellent points, and that's exactly what I find whenever I try to "fix" colour shifts. It works mostly where there is almost no other colour to be affected, like in a forest under a green canopy. And I often find it destroys or minimizes a mood in many images. So best to just try and see how it goes. Sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.

JMR
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Justan
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2010, 09:14:27 AM »
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> Yes, Scott Kelby has explained Dave Cross's method of finding a middle gray in a number of his books. If there's nothing in the picture you can be sure is middle gray, it's about all you have to go by. On the other hand, though I've used it many times I've never been overwhelmed by its accuracy.

Agreed on the accuracy. I came across another video article a couple of weeks back that takes advantage of an averaging too in PS to find an average point in tone but doesn’t reduce it to gray as part of the process. It produced good results in my brief tests but danged if I can find the atticle again.

> In the case of this picture you can be pretty sure that those deck houses are either white or gray. The problem is that the paint on the deck houses probably is dirty, so when you use the dropper you want to make sure it has at least a 3 x 3 sample size so you don't happen to catch just the single pixel that's off-color.

I’ll definitely remember to draw from a bigger sample size. What I originally selected as the white point was one of the light bulbs. In trying to find what I thought a suitable white point, I tried several bulbs and some of the white painted areas. The brightest whites caused most of the image to wash out and most of the other "white" samples took the image down a notch or two.

> I like your last mod best of all.

Thanks! That demonstrates the value of good feedback

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Justan
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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2010, 09:42:30 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Yes but the quest for Middle Grey assumes light always comes in a package labeled White.

Light comes in lots of different color biases that greatly effect every surface it illuminates including middle grey.  And while our brain tends to  neutralize the color of non-white light, we are psychologically affected by color temperature and color castes in ways that are best conveyed in photography by letting some of that show through.  We need to at least make a nod to what the ambient light is doing.

Also, too-rigorously applied grey balances can lead to odd color crossovers and clipping elsewhere in the scene.  Other interesting criteria for selecting an appropriate scene color balance are to minimize the number of color crossovers, or minimize the amount of color clipping.

Excellent observations!

To put some of that slightly differently, when shooting around sunrise or sunset tones shift dramatically and the eye of a viewer who was not there at the time the image was captured is sometimes obligated to make a leap to “get it” due to the lack of expected reference points. Getting the viewer to make that leap can be a challenge.

As a newbie to using white, gray, and especially black points, I find that the tools have a greater value in facilitating getting the most from tone ranges and helping to remove color cast(s). Setting absolute reference points is not necessarily their main purpose.

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RSL
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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2010, 02:40:32 PM »
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Quote from: Shirley Bracken
Not to be stupid but since I'm photographing paintings, can't I just put a gray card in the frame when I shoot the picture and use that as my neutral gray??

Great link, thanks!

Shirley, In spite of the caveats that have been expressed, all of which are quite correct, that's still the best way to do it. If you have a properly calibrated monitor and proper lighting for the paintings, you can use a gray card in the shoot, click on it with the middle-gray dropper, then simply compare what's on your monitor with the actual painting. The difference is that when you're photographing a painting you want the final colors to be as close to the original as possible. In the case of Justan's harbor photograph, that's not necessarily part of the assignment.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2010, 07:24:04 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
Setting the white, grey and black points is a new thing so I’m appreciative of any feedback you’d care to provide.

By "Setting the white, grey and black points", I assume that you meant setting certain areas to true neutral tones, by using the eye droppers, etc.

More often than not, true neutral tones may not exist in many images, such as yours. Many use the eye droppers to remove an image's casts. But some images' casts, as in yours, are desireable, and should not be removed. Before using the eye droppers (or any other method to achieve a neutral tone), you should evaluate whether true neutral tones do indeed exist in an image first. The exercise is not as simple or intuitive as one may think.

Applying neutral tone corrections to areas that are not true neutral tones will not only change those areas, but will change the whole image, sending you down the wrong path. Kind of like taking the wrong exit on the LA Express. Back tracking can be painful.

You may find this thread helpful.

http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00VNcE

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