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| p.1 #3 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice? |
I downloaded your raw and analyzed it. On my calibrated monitor, the "as shot" colors look good to me. Hard to tell with this shot since there is no true neutral anywhere.
Yes, the birds feathers might be white, and the beak is probably black. But that's the problem with picking neutrals from an image. Things that the mind's eye thinks should be white, black, or any neutral tone in between are rarely true neutral. Once you get a good gray card and place it in images, this lesson becomes clear. When you set white balance on the gray card, and then again on different objects that you think should be neutral, huge differences are common. White, black, or gray clothing is a good example. Few items of clothing are really neutral.
But having looked at your raw and reading your description, I'd bet your monitor is off. I say this because I find no "magenta" cast in the image. The proof of that is in the numbers. In ACR, place a color sampler in the water at bottom of the image (where there is flat tone, no detail). On my sample point I get RGB=91/99/109 under the "as shot" WB.
Then set the WB using a point somewhere in the feathers. Don't pick the brightest or darkest point in the feathers. Go somewhere in between. When I do that, my sample point in the water becomes RGB=77/98/128. Now compare those RGB numbers. The Green value only changed one point (99 vs. 98). Green is the opposite of magenta. If there was a magenta cast in the "as shot" version, there should be a huge difference in the Green numbers.
The Red value went down (91 to 77) and the Blue value went up (109 to 128). That indicates the "as shot" version has a Yellow cast, not a Magenta cast. Again, if you are seeing a magenta cast, I'd suspect the monitor. The RGB numbers don't lie, but monitors do.
I get a pleasing image by setting WB on the feathers. The water goes to a vivid blue, the feathers are definitely white, but there is little color in the back feathers. That's because they are brown, and setting WB on the white feathers takes out a lot of red and yellow.
When you are forced to pick a neutral point in an image to set WB, avoid highlights and shadows. Try to find a midtone. Midtones generate much more accurate WB settings. And do the WB before you do any other tonal changes.