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Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!
  
 
billsamuels
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


I've always wanted to try to slow down a stream and get a nice white flow like many FM people get, but what I didn't think about is that not all 10-stop ND filters are created equal. I have a relatively expensive 77mm Hoya, but I got a Gobe 10 stop on Amazon for my Zeiss lenses which take a 67mm filter, and it threw a strong orange cast onto the photo, which I wasn't sure if it was because of the fall foliage scene or the cheap filter. I used a Carl Zeiss 25mm F/2 ZE lens on a Canon 5DS R camera (expensive gear, cheap filter).

The stream didn't come out as slow as I thought with a 30 second-stop at an F/6.7. The shot below was one of the last attempts and when I figured out the first set of photos weren't sharp, and I know the photos were sharp before I put the filter on (MF lens), so I closed down the lens to increase the depth of field.

The color-cast improved in post w/ Lightroom when I re-set the WB to "custom" from daylight. It got rid of a lot of the over-yellowing. Then I tried the color bars to improve the color balance; the stream really was that yellow.

So I'm wondering, short of needing a longer lens opening than 30 seconds, how is the color balance now? I think the branches across the stream are a bit over-exposed, but that's my opinion. I tried darkening it, but the whole photo got dark. I could go further with Google Nik - Viveza, but unfortunately, the photo was an experiment and the tree to the right made it a sub-par photo anyway. The purpose of this photo, as I see it, to see how the filter worked with the lens and the camera, and with Lightroom. I learned a lot from this photo so far as a first-time using a ND to slow-down a stream, but I would like to see what I need to do to make the best of what I have.
Thanks for any comments to make it as good as it can get!
Thanks,
Bill





Eastern Sierras, Fall 2017

  Canon EOS 5DS R    Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 ZE lens    25mm    f/6.7    30s    50 ISO    +2.5 EV  




Oct 31, 2017 at 05:26 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


Tough lighting for this sort of scene. Best when the overall brightness is low, that way a long exposure will give more equal shadow and highlights to start with. I see some green and magenta in the water that looks odd. The background trees are too bright for the rest of the scene.

I suspect that you would have milky water at 5 seconds or less.

I agree however, a cheap ND filter is a recipe for color cast.



Oct 31, 2017 at 09:42 PM
DaleBerlin
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


Hi Bill, pretty shot. I imported your image into LR, and it tells me there is yellow/ orange in about everything. I sampled the tree bark, the rapids, the bright rocks, and the bright dead wood. All contained yellow and orange. Either there is a lot of reflection from the leaves going on, or you didn't get all the filter tint out. I also see some purple bottom center.

I have a Lee Big Stopper, and it has a blue tint. Lee provides a LR adjustment to compensate for it, but I usually just use it for black and white. Doesn't Hoya or Gobe provide LR adjustments for their filters?

Im sure others will chime in, but even with the yellow overtone, I think it still looks nice.



Oct 31, 2017 at 10:09 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


I'd like to see the sooc (for analytical purposes) of one with & one without the ND to understand what influence your filter is having on your color.

Also, the +2.5 EV compensation has me with a if it is part of the equation or not.

50 ISO
30 Sec
f/6.7

50/25/12.5/6/3/1.5/.75 (3/4>4/3) 1.33/2.66/5/10/20 = +10 stops
16/11/8/6.7 = +2.5 stops

Which kinda works out similar to the 10 ND + 2.5 EV, which takes me back to why +2.5EV above the Sunny 16 (EV 15) levels for your exposure? This kinda goes along with your opinion about the branches being overexposed.

The extra exposure might help open up your foreground shadows that we are seeing, but I don't think it helps much for key lighting areas. Since you are obviously working off the tripod for a 30 Sec shutter, you could very easily capture a second exposure for the foreground and composite / blend the two.

Granted, the shutter speed won't go beyond the 30 Sec mark for a longer exposure, but reducing the exposure, i.e. will let you have a SHORTER shutter speed. I don't think that a full 30 seconds is necessary to achieve the motion blur of the creamy / milky look you are seeking.

I've seen wonderful images of the milky stuff with only 1 Second shutterspeed. That is a relationship of your water speed, your focal length and your distance to subject. While 30 seconds might sound like it will get you more, I think it got you more overexposure, without any real gain in your motion blur for your creamy vibe.

The gestalt of this one (as my beloved just walked by) is "looks nice", but that's not what your question is, as this simply didn't turn out quite as you were striving for. To that end, I'd start with a proper exposure for you key lighting, with a shorter shutter speed and a lower exposure.

It might be worth noting that 245-255 (96-100% return of illumination) are tonal values that represent specular highlights. The point being that white is less than specular reflection ... again suggesting of the overexposure for your key lighting / subject areas.

Also, I notice some purple in your shadow area. Not sure if that is ND filter related, adjustment related or simply Canon interpolation related. Will know better with sooc to compare.



Nov 01, 2017 at 01:19 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


If I had a questionable filter, I'd shoot a gray card, properly exposed, with and without the filter. Then I'd know. It ought to also let to color correct the test shots in Photoshop so you would have a starting point for tweaking the color balance to taste.


Nov 01, 2017 at 03:36 AM
billsamuels
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


RustyBug wrote:
I'd like to see the sooc (for analytical purposes) of one with & one without the ND to understand what influence your filter is having on your color.

Also, the +2.5 EV compensation has me with a if it is part of the equation or not.

50 ISO
30 Sec
f/6.7

50/25/12.5/6/3/1.5/.75 (3/4>4/3) 1.33/2.66/5/10/20 = +10 stops
16/11/8/6.7 = +2.5 stops

Which kinda works out similar to the 10 ND + 2.5 EV, which takes me back to why +2.5EV above the Sunny 16 (EV 15) levels for your exposure? This kinda goes along with your opinion about the branches being overexposed.

The extra exposure might help
...Show more

I think the purple fringing is from perhaps the filter? As you can see, the photos below don't have that, but the overexposed photos don't have the purple cast to it.

I'm not sure how you get the nice flow because the first photo below is shot w/o a ND filter, but it was fairly slow and there's no flow at all. You say focal length and distance from the subject. I was pretty close to the water and I did use a wide angle lens, so I guess if I had used a zoom lens, maybe I would have gotten a more milky river?

What do you think given the photos below?








This is NO FILTER using 1/20 sec, F/8 and same camera and lens. It pretty much looked like what you see here.

  Canon EOS 5DS R    Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 ZE lens    25mm    f/8.0    1/20s    50 ISO    0.0 EV  







This was the first photo I took w/ the filter. It was too dark so I began lightening it up by increasing the F/stop

  Canon EOS 5DS R    Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 ZE lens    25mm    f/5.6    2s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







This is the shot before the shot I altered in LR, but it's basically the same shot, same settings.

  Canon EOS 5DS R    Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 ZE lens    25mm    f/6.7    30s    50 ISO    +2.5 EV  




Nov 01, 2017 at 04:45 AM
billsamuels
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


AuntiPode wrote:
If I had a questionable filter, I'd shoot a gray card, properly exposed, with and without the filter. Then I'd know. It ought to also let to color correct the test shots in Photoshop so you would have a starting point for tweaking the color balance to taste.


I never thought of that. I carry a grey card w/ me, so I guess I could have done that. My only question really is how do you get Photoshop to tweak the color balance based on the test shot of the color balance card?




Nov 01, 2017 at 04:54 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


Just from a quick check, the 2s exposure still seems to give a nice milky-ish look without blowing it out. Exposure wise, you might be looking at closer to 4-5 sec, maybe 8, tops.

Gotta run, will look at it more tonight, but here's a very quick adjustment to the 2 sec exposure with changing ONLY ONE parameter ... levels, gamma slid from 1.0 to about 1.6 or so.

Still needs more to be addressed (tonight), but I think "all is not lost" on the 2 sec version, and we will likely learn a few things along the way.







Nov 01, 2017 at 12:10 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


billsamuels wrote:
I never thought of that. I carry a grey card w/ me, so I guess I could have done that. My only question really is how do you get Photoshop to tweak the color balance based on the test shot of the color balance card?


Eyedropper sample. An even better solution would be to use the X-Rite Color Passport. You shoot the target, then use the included software to create a custom color profile, which is much more comprehensive than just a WB adjustment.



Nov 01, 2017 at 12:25 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


Yup, if you've got the X-rite card or can otherwise create and use a custom profile, that should do the trick. I confess I've never tried creating one.

FWIW, I carry a cleaning cloth that's the proper gray. On the down side, being a limp cloth I can't stand it on its own and must drape it over something. On the plus side, if I drape it so it folds into a shape that catches light from different directions, sun and shade, I can compensate to varying light color in the same shot, if I need to get super picky about color balance. I can also carry it in a pocket or use it to protect other kit, and, I use it to clean my lenses, especially my eye-glasses.




Nov 01, 2017 at 07:03 PM
 

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AuntiPode
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


As Doug mentioned, you can use the eyedropper on a gray patch (or other known or fairly guessed) point in an image and read the red, green and blue values of the point. A truly neutral gray should have the three colors all the same. You can use a color balance layer to adjust color balance until the eye-dropper color values are even. I'm guessing you can google the subject to find a good explanation of how to do this in Photoshop.


Nov 01, 2017 at 07:07 PM
billsamuels
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


dmacmillan wrote:
Eyedropper sample. An even better solution would be to use the X-Rite Color Passport. You shoot the target, then use the included software to create a custom color profile, which is much more comprehensive than just a WB adjustment.


Doug,

I don't have an X-Rite Grey card, but I do have another brand grey-card. And I've been put off from using it because when I used it once in late June to take photos of the State Capital building of California and put the photos on FM and asked the question about color correction, everyone said that grey cards were totally useless and I was wasting my time, AND I had done it wrong.

It was a bright sunny day and I held the card at a 45 degree angle to the sun and zoomed the lens to the card so that the card took up 100% of the frame and shot the photo on the "Custom" WB setting. Then I reset the white balance based upon that photo of the grey card.

If the grey card is as good as an X-Rite grey card, then could I just use that photo and save an eyedropper sample of that photo, then use it to reset odd WB's like the above mentioned photo w/the ND filter?

I have an X-Rite calibration tool for my NEC monitor and the corresponding software and their software is above my price range. That is unless the NEC/X-Rite software also has a color-card in it for making color profiles?



Nov 01, 2017 at 07:42 PM
billsamuels
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


RustyBug wrote:
Just from a quick check, the 2s exposure still seems to give a nice milky-ish look without blowing it out. Exposure wise, you might be looking at closer to 4-5 sec, maybe 8, tops.

Gotta run, will look at it more tonight, but here's a very quick adjustment to the 2 sec exposure with changing ONLY ONE parameter ... levels, gamma slid from 1.0 to about 1.6 or so.

Still needs more to be addressed (tonight), but I think "all is not lost" on the 2 sec version, and we will likely learn a few things along the way.


I think you're right - I don't see much difference in the way the river looks between 2 seconds and 30 seconds, except it does seem that I lose a lot of control w/ a 30 second photo.



Nov 01, 2017 at 07:48 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


billsamuels wrote:
If the grey card is as good as an X-Rite grey card, then could I just use that photo and save an eyedropper sample of that photo, then use it to reset odd WB's like the above mentioned photo w/the ND filter?

I have an X-Rite calibration tool for my NEC monitor and the corresponding software and their software is above my price range. That is unless the NEC/X-Rite software also has a color-card in it for making color profiles?

The Color Checker Passport is lots more than just a grey card. It is also relatively inexpensive at $98.
Here it is.



Nov 01, 2017 at 07:55 PM
lighthound
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


Bill, if you are not thrilled with your ND filter and it's color cast effects and you just want to capture the long exposure appearance of smooth silky water, you can do this in full daylight without using an ND filter at all.
You can achieve the same effect by shooting multiple identical exposures then blend them together in PS.
There are many tutorials out there on this if you are interested. It's more work when you get home but saves a chunk of change upfront.
I personally decided not to go that route a few years ago and bit the bullet on a X4 10 stop ND filter from Breakthrough. ND's are great tools to have in the bag for many reasons.

Dave



Nov 01, 2017 at 08:01 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


A couple possible iterations (color / mono variants). Many variants are available, as these are just a primer to get you thinking a bit.

The last two are blends between the OP and the 2 sec. Registration might be off a tad, but you get the gist.






















Nov 01, 2017 at 11:54 PM
billsamuels
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


I really like #3 - what did you do to get it that way?

Also, why would the branches that are all tangled up on the left shore turn pinkish/purple on me? It was a lot worse than in the photos I posted, but I had to really work at it to get rid of most of it, and it's still present. What would cause that?

It kind of looks a lot like the same discoloration you get with the Zeiss 100mm ZE traditional lens if the F/stop is wide open and it's really bright. That's an age-old problem with that lens, but I never heard of it with their 25mm lens plus the lens was shut down pretty good, F8. My guess is it wasn't a lens defect as far as I know?



Nov 02, 2017 at 07:33 PM
beanpkk
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


The-digital-picture.com reviewed 10-stop ND filters and found that the one from Breakthrough Photography was not only the best for minimizing color cast but also just about the cheapest. It's an interesting review -- worth reading.

Just FYI,
keith



Nov 02, 2017 at 09:17 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Tough photo - cheap 10 stop ND + awkward lighting...help!


#3 is the 30 sec exposure blended / masked over the top of the 2 second exposure (with tweaks, etc.). I masked some of the left side to render it darker, but it could have easily been brighter as well.

Armed with both exposures, there is a whole host of options about how you work to present the scene.

As to the purple-ish is the branches, that typically is corrected to compensate for some lacking of green in the WB adjustment. Post up the example if you like, so we can take a look.



Nov 03, 2017 at 12:05 AM







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