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Archive 2013 · Shooting in golden hour WB question
  
 
wilt
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Shooting for a 'color accurate' WB will obliviate the 'golden' nature of lighting about the time of sunset. One has to decide for oneself just how much 'accuracy' vs. 'emotion content' one whats to convey for a particular shot!


May 12, 2013 at 07:18 PM
gschlact
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Fred,
I hear you. Your minor tweaks are then your memory / subjective based, not objective. And so the same challenge lives on. I still like my idea of the Reverse WB button to apply the exact cast. Maybe we will need to try this with a mostly transparent layer in PS and see how it works.

Steps as I see it to try:
1. Pick daylight WB
2. Shoot gray card / white card in funky light
3. Import gray card shot and scene shot into PS
4. Sample the casted gray card
5. Duplicate layer for scene shot
6. Creat layer and full with sample casted color and make semi opaque.
7. Duplicate basse scene layer under the cast layer
8. Do white Balance on the duplicate base layer to remove cast
9. Adjust transparency of cast only layer.



May 12, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Photon
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


gschlact wrote:
Fred,
I hear you. Your minor tweaks are then your memory / subjective based, not objective. And so the same challenge lives on. I still like my idea of the Reverse WB button to apply the exact cast. Maybe we will need to try this with a mostly transparent layer in PS and see how it works.

Steps as I see it to try:
1. Pick daylight WB
2. Shoot gray card / white card in funky light
3. Import gray card shot and scene shot into PS
4. Sample the casted gray card
5. Duplicate layer for scene shot
6. Creat layer and full with
...Show more
I have done similar things in PS before finding approaches in Lightroom that are easier for me.
It's worth mentioning that sometimes we want a different color rendering for different parts of our scene. For example, shooting a portrait at sunset, you may want the sky colors to fully reflect (or even exaggerate) the red tones you see, have the skin tones show some golden warmth but not the actual colors of the sunset light, and perhaps even wish to have some foliage retain some of its daylight green rather than going completely yellow.

If you want to retain a "record" of how you saw things at the time, it is possible with a static scene (that is, light not changing extremely fast) to shoot different areas - sky alone, landscape features, people - at various Kelvin settings. Note which ones look the best to you. Then, when processing a raw image including all those elements, you can copy the various white balances that worked best. Layer two or more versions of the file in PS and selectively mask.

Most of the time, I just use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to make local tweaks to the white balance, after setting the overall WB to suit the greatest area.

As for the "reverse WB button", I in fact sometimes set a balance by keeping the dropper (for a reading, not a click balance) over an object that I want to have a certain tint whose numerical value I have predetermined. Then I adjust K and tint until I get it.



May 12, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Monito
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


wilt wrote:
Shooting for a 'color accurate' WB will obliviate the 'golden' nature of lighting about the time of sunset. One has to decide for oneself just how much 'accuracy' vs. 'emotion content' one whats to convey for a particular shot!


Exactly. Colour balance is a judgement call if you want anything other than dead neutral. Outside of catalogue work there is little call for dead neutral.



May 12, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Monito
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


gschlact wrote:
So how do you recommend setting the camera to accurately capture (from a display perspective) the white paper under Pink light for the proper shade of pink? Say I drop you in the middle of nowhere and all they have is a funky shade of pink and you are going to shoot the white paper essentially looking like that funky shade of pink. How do you set the WB in camera to accurately portray that shade of pink? Any of the WB fixed settings may or may not have the proper assumptions to reproduce the proper shade.


There is no proper shade. The perception of pink is only a perception, a construct in the mind of the viewer. Everybody looking at that paper under that light will have a slightly different perception. If you change the background (by moving the person viewing), their perception will change.

Context is king.

http://web.mit.edu/persci/people/adelson/checkershadow_illusion.html

The A and B gray are exactly the same shade but the context makes the difference.




May 12, 2013 at 07:59 PM
jcolwell
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Cool example, Alan. I agree that the greys are the same. OTOH, the letter "B" is darker than the "A", which is opposite to my impression when viewing the entire image.







May 12, 2013 at 08:21 PM
AJSJones
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


I understood the question as a version of "forensic" colour reproduction, as in quantitative accuracy of the image data in terms of spectral distribution etc. As monito said - dead neutral for catalog work, for example.

Guy used the phrase
"...this question is in relationship to replicating the actual image color that you observed when shooting."
In camera terms, rather than "subjective" vision and interpretation (like the brain's white point compensation), it would be
"...this question is in relationship to replicating the actual image colors that were present when shooting."

It would seem then as if making something look white when it was being lit by golden light would be an inaccurate recording of the light in the scene. In fact anything other than recording the accurate colour (as measured, say by a spectrometer) would not be "acceptable in court, m'lud".



May 12, 2013 at 08:48 PM
jcolwell
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


AJSJones wrote:
...It would seem then as if making something look white when it was being lit by golden light would be an inaccurate recording of the light in the scene. In fact anything other than recording the accurate colour (as measured, say by a spectrometer) would not be "acceptable in court, m'lud".


...and that's why you should use RAW files.

The post-processing is up to you, but when you start with a RAW file, then is what it is. I mean, it is what it was. At least, as far as it could be captured by the camera.

gschlact wrote:
...(please don't give me the shoot in RAW and adjust later answer, this question is in relationship to replicating the actual imiage color that you observed when shooting)...


I did read this. Maybe I just don't care what you think. OTOH, maybe you could try a different approach.



May 12, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Monito
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Here's a colour balance illusion:







Context is king.



May 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM
jcolwell
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Monito wrote:
Here's a colour balance illusion:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-ZezXI8AVYc/Rzrzq8PcTSI/AAAAAAAAAyw/4wYhB3moi4E/s400/Holy%2BCow.gif

Context is king.


Subjective is Queen.



May 12, 2013 at 10:04 PM
 

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OntheRez
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Monito wrote:
Here's a colour balance illusion:

Context is king.


Very neat illustration/trick/perception/ Am I the only one who had a small line of flashing opposite color (on the cow) after the 30 second stare? Objective reality indeed



May 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM
gschlact
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


AJ -
EXACTLY!!! thanks.

Monito - Perception, although it can be influenced by different variables, Will remain constant with the same variable for the same person. So referencing these changes is irrelevant to my thread which was about reproducing accurately the Same perception for oneself.

-Guy

jcolwell wrote:
...and that's why you should use RAW files.

The post-processing is up to you, but when you start with a RAW file, then is what it is. I mean, it is what it was. At least, as far as it could be captured by the camera.

I did read this. Maybe I just don't care what you think. OTOH, maybe you could try a different approach.




May 13, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Gunzorro
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


I follow the method described by Fred: Shoot AWB, then make minor WB adjustments as part of PP. Trying to chase neutral WB is a fools errand, as the overall balance is never really neutral. When you try to shoot to neutral, there is a lot more PP to make corrections.

Cameras are really quite accurate at gauging WB in long exposures, even with multiple types of light sources.

Having shot a lot of buildings and cityscapes at twilight, the two main light sources (when balance for illumination) are not neutral. One side is blue to blue/violet, and the other is orange to magenta. The balance between the two is not neutral. Later at night, tungsten/quartz, sodium vapor, and fluorescent lighting plays an increasing part in the WB interplay.

In PP, you can start by finding a known objects, such as white or grey building, and have that as a starting point to establish believable WB.

We aren't forensic photographers, so we don't need to represent a neutral WB. All we need to produce is a BELIEVABLE WB -- one that satisfies our memory and and makes a plausible reproduction.

Special use, like gelled flash to shoot against long exposure ambient, are another matter and have different WB needs.

Taking WB to a forensic level is outside of the aesthetic most photographers strive for.



May 13, 2013 at 12:55 AM
AJSJones
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Gunzorro wrote:
I follow the method described by Fred: Shoot AWB, then make minor WB adjustments as part of PP. Trying to chase neutral WB is a fools errand, as the overall balance is never really neutral. When you try to shoot to neutral, there is a lot more PP to make corrections.

Cameras are really quite accurate at gauging WB in long exposures, even with multiple types of light sources.

Having shot a lot of buildings and cityscapes at twilight, the two main light sources (when balance for illumination) are not neutral. One side is blue to blue/violet, and the other is
...Show more
Not disagreeing with what you say, but Guy's question was specifically
"I ask because I want some best method to have the screen display the observation." I interpret that as "I want to see what it was really like (without any messing) before I tweak anything to either 1) what I like or 2) what I think I actually observed with my eye/brain"



May 13, 2013 at 01:13 AM
gschlact
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


AJ- again, exactly. Using above example, I want to see and reproduce what that gray building looked like under the Sodium lights, not its daylight neutral gray.

In my case, the face or whatever under the pink light or golden hour light on the hair or summer white dress, or red rocks of the canyon etc etc, non neutralized but instead showing / representing the Cast we observed

Guy



May 13, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Eyeball
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


gschlact wrote:
In my case, the face or whatever under the pink light or golden hour light on the hair or summer white dress, or red rocks of the canyon etc etc, non neutralized but instead showing / representing the Cast we observed


The problem is that your eyes DO neutralize the colors in a way that decreases with the amount of color bias present (in other words, the neutralizing effect is not linear). How are you going to account for that?

The way your eyes neutralize/balance colors may also depend on the colors used.

How your eyes attempt to neutralize/balance a scene can also be affected by the colors of the objects in the scene. This is what makes camera auto white balance a tricky thing.

If you were really nuts about it I guess you could go out and do sample comparisons against a calibrated monitor in the field but I think it would take several samples in a variety of conditions and at the end of all that I'm not sure you would have anything any better than just eye-balling it in post like most of us do. You would essentially be trying to profile your vision under varying lighting conditions. You'd also need to consider how much your color perception might vary from your average guy, particularly when extreme color bias was present.



May 13, 2013 at 02:09 AM
cgardner
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Our perceputal baseline for "normal" in mid-day sunlight. That's why a sunset is considered "warm" not "normal". Warmer than what? The mid-day sun baseline.

So a logical baseline for recording that "warm" sunset as perceived by eye is to set the camera to Daylight WB.

Actual color perception shifts based on expectations. We perceive a white shirt as white in any light because our brains assume it is white and adjust perception to make it so. AWB and Custom WB are methods to simulate that human perception trait with the camera.

AWB does it bases on content in each image based on the assumption (not always correct) that the brightest content is neutral. The advantage of AWB is it is automatic. The disadvantage is it doesn't always guess correctly and there is no consistent WB baseline across files making batch correction problematical

Custom WB only works correctly if the target used a known neutral object like a commercial gray card and the creative intent is to eliminate color bias, like the green bias under a tree canopy when shooting portraits.

In video where there's often a need for non-netural color bais and continuity between scenes Custom WB will be used but with "warm" / "cool" / "green" cards. A warm card has a blue bias, which shifts the camera WB warmer towards yellow. A cool card has a yellow bias to give the record image a cooler blue cast. Green bias is often used in film to create a monochrome look because skin under green light has a dull gray pallor. You can find sets of cards like that at B&H.

If a series of photos with wide, medium and close-up crops of a person sitting next to a camp fire taken with Daylight WB and viewed separately the warmer than normal (per daylight baseline) color on the face would seem normal for the shots where the source of the light (fire) is in the photo, but not for the close-up where the context of why the face isn't "normal" is absent.

Will the too warm face, seen alone, seem like a techincal WB error or will it trigger an emotional reaction that the person is in a warmer than normal place? That will depend on context clues in the photo. If it is outdoors it will likely evoke an "it's a warm place" reaction. But it the background is a light plain seamless like studio portrait, the viewer will likely assume the background is actually white and the shot has a WB error.

Sunset portaits are also an interesting paradox because the background sky is warm, but with a clear sky the face pointing toward it will actually have a cool cast (relative to Daylight WB) just as open shade does. So a camera set to Daylight WB will record the sky warmer as seen by eye, but the face may look too cool by comparison. Why? The brain assumes the face is in the same light as the sky (warm), when it actually isn't. The observer in person focusing on the face will not notice it being cool either any more than they would standing in cooler shade at noon.

What will the viewer of the photo think is "normal"? A slightly warmer than normal face. What I'll do in that situation set the camera to Daylight WB (for a consistent "seen by eye" normal baseline) then have the subject hold a gray card. The camera will record the card with the cool sky bias but in PP I can click correct on the card to "snap" it and the face to neutral and the sunset a bit warmer, then by degrees I'll warm it up a bit until the face looks "normal" based on my in person memory.







May 13, 2013 at 02:34 AM
AJSJones
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


Guy - it seems people either don't get it or are telling not to do what you want to do.

We learn a lot by looking at the stars and the spectra of their light - red-shifts for distances, atomic composition, even now atmospheric component gases on exoplanets. Do you think those guys "eyeball" the white balance till it looks nice or do you think they have calibrations and standardization protocols to ensure accurate recording for those studies. SInce we can't even see the stuff they record, there's no eye-brain axis involved, just the data , ma'am. I think that is what you would like for your images - then play to your heart's content later, right? Raw data is raw data, but it doesn't necessarily reflect "the true spectrum" until it's calibrated and converted. A conversion that does that accurately is what you seek. Then you have the issue of how to present it - monitor calibration print profiling blah blah. Anyone here that "loves" colour management?



May 13, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


I always try my best to get ideal colors and exposure in-camera rather than in post.
Custom WB has its uses but for outdoor photography, I believe, it defeats the purpose. What is the point of shooting during 'golden hour', if your set the camera to remove the "golden" cast?

The camera has no way of knowing if your scene is neutral or have a color-cast. Back in the film days, we had only two WB options: daylight or tungsten film. Digital cameras added more WB tweaks but also more confusion..

Color cast is highly desirable when shooting during dusk, dawn and golden hour. As long as the illumination source is the sun, I believe we should set color temperature close to 5200k (daylight WB) most of the time. I have tried using a custom 5,500k setting for my 5D III and was pleased with the results. Having a preset or fixed color temperature is important and combining many images into a pano.



May 13, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Monito
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Shooting in golden hour WB question


gschlact wrote:
Monito - Perception, although it can be influenced by different variables, Will remain constant with the same variable for the same person. So referencing these changes is irrelevant to my thread which was about reproducing accurately the Same perception for oneself.


Sure, but the variables are never the same.

Not for the same person even at the same time of day or the same place. You just have to look a different angle, or change the background from half sky to all sky or to all grass by changing vantage point or walking around the subject. You change variables simply by asking the person to stand ten feet away from a brick wall instead of ten feet away from a blue car.

Your shirt can make a difference if you are three feet away instead of seven feet.

Perception is very fluid. To think otherwise is just fooling yourself.

The lighting we experience in a room lit by a single 100 watt incandescent light bulb is very warm (3200 K). If you balance for Daylight, a white paper will be very orange. Yet we do not perceive it that way unless we are trained as photographers to really observe carefully. (Most photographers aren't as good observers as they'd like to think they are.)

All you can do is to use the ColorChecker or gray card to obtain a neutral white balance on one photo, including the skin tones of the person or the main object. That way you can find the true colour of the person for reference.

For any change in lighting (doesn't take much) you have two options:

1) Take a new gray card / ColorChecker reading and use that as the starting point for a subjective alteration.

or

2) Put the image side by side with the reference photo and balance the colour so the tones match and use that as the starting point for a subjective alteration.

In either case you have to apply subjective alteration. It is part of the craft and it requires good judgement to make the results pleasing and not 'noticeable'. This is because even though perception is fluid, we don't see "neutral" very often. So we (the general public) expect late afternoon sunlight to be warm, even if we can't articulate why or reason out the clues. People will see clues in the photo such as long angles, softer shadows, etc., and subconciously start applying a warm light compensation, so the photo better be on the warm side of neutral or it will look weird.

How much warmer? That's the taste and judgement of the artist.

Unless of course you are a journalist, in which case, go with either the neutral balance or a standard canned balance ("Hmm, sun shining, OK, Daylight. Done. Incandescent light mixed with fluorescent? Auto. Done.").



May 13, 2013 at 03:36 AM
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