Blue Snow

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Heretotherephoto, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Heretotherephoto

    Heretotherephoto TPF Noob!

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    I know I have to adjust white balance but not sure what way. My snow shots are turning out bluish. My last camera did not do this, or correctoed for it automatically. I have a D90 now. Any hints. I may just go out and play around seems like the best way to go.
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Which WB setting are you using now?

    Daylight should work fine for that. Even Auto should do a pretty good job most of the time.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    White balance is the key. The colour of the snow changes wildly with the proportion that is light directly by the sun compared to how much blue or even white sky it sees. Cameras do mostly guess work at trying to figure out what is "white" but there isn't really a one shop fits all approach.

    - If you know you are going to be in the same set of lighting conditions for a while try setting a custom white balance.
    - Or try pre-selecting a different white balance like Daylight or Shade or something as Jeep mentioned above.
    - Also white balance can be biased, so if it is only slightly blue then try setting it to an - Auto Whitebalance with a +2 bias (if your camera allows, which on Nikons involves holding the WB button and moving one of the thumbwheels).
    - If you're in dramatically changing conditions, then shoot RAW and pick your white balance in post.
     
  4. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recommended shooting raw and having the flexibility to change it later. I like to set white balance using the ºKelvin settings, to at least get close. Blue sky, overcast, or mid-day sun, and snow, all make for very blue light, sometimes 6000ºK+. You can start around 5500ºK and move up from there while taking a few test shots and then you will get the hang of it.

    Personally I shoot RAW, so I really don't bother changing white balance in camera all the time. If I know for a fact what the light source is, than I'll go ahead and set the camera, and save a few seconds in light room. The only real reason I do that is to have all the images look pretty good when I first take a look. My fist step, before doing any adjustments is to assign star ratings to them and filter out the bad ones and keep the ones that I do want to spend some time editing.
     
  5. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Definitely shoot in RAW and then you can fine-tune the WB after the fact. Sometimes you need just a portion to have a different WB. You can use Layer Masks in Photoshop, like I did on this photo. I used the 'Auto' WB for everything but the snow. Using Layer Masks, I used 'Curves' and used the eye dropper to set the snow white. It made it almost too white, so I set the opacity to try and make the snow exactly like I saw.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Heretotherephoto

    Heretotherephoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info folks. I have to admit I had been one of those who really didn't like editing digitally. Thought it was cheating. The more I learn thought the more it seems like a good way to go. Same thing I'd do in a darkroom if I had one. Guess I better learn photoshop. I have GIMP for basic cropping and for putting a watermark but haven't used it much beyond that. Can Photohop elements do the things mentioned above? Can it use a RAW file. I like the idea of that but currently don't have the software, unless GIMP does it without me knowing.

    Also, I would love to start doing panoramics. Does Elements have the stitching ability like Photoshop does?


    Thanks
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Photoshop elements cna certainly handle RAW files - just make sure you installed the RAW codec off the CD that came with your camera. Also there are 2 ways of opening files in to elements - either rightclicking on teh RAW shot and using open with - or if you open up elements you can go to file-open and select a series of RAW shots to be opened. You can then process them all at once (as well as do some limited batch editing if you have a series of shots which are the same - simply highlight the shots in the left hand menu for batch work)

    As for pano stitching I belive elements 6 and after have the pano stitching feature.
     
  8. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I usually just do a custom white balance on the snow, gets me close (I shoot in RAW so I can tweak it later).
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't forger that your camera will have come with Nikon software that can handle your RAW files etc.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Elements can only edit images that are in 8-bit mode. Elements has only rudimentry masking, Levels and Curves adjustments.

    Most digital cameras capture RAW images in 12 or 14 bit mode and when converted, can be output as 8 or 16-bit files. For editing in Elements the 8-bit color depth would be the only choice available to you.

    There are some big advantages to editing in 16-bit mode, one being smoother transitions between colors, minimizing the chances of banding and posterization. The issue is known as color-depth or bit-depth, not to be confused with color-space.

    An 8-bit color depth only allows 256 colors per channel (0 - 255).

    A 12 bit color depth allows 4096 colors per channel. (0 -4095)

    Ultimately, any image has to be converted to the 8-bit color depth for output, computer (web) or print. However, by editing in 16-bit mode many image problems like the aforementioned posterization and banding can be avoided.

    For commercial purposes, working in 16-bit mode as much as possible is highly desireable, which for Adobe software means Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 4 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 (latest release level 2.6, release 3 is currently in Beta testing). Even better is Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 4 Extended (scientific and 3D cpabailities) along with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.

    Elements has "Photomerge" which is used to stitch panoramic images.

    Ansel Adams, one of America's most famous photographers, said 80% of the work he did on his images was done in the darkroom. As new techniques and chemicals became available, he would frequently experiment by making new prints from his negatives. I have 4 different print versions of his "Moon over Half Dome" image that display changes he made in toning materials, print paper contrast, and print developing chemicals.
     
  11. Heretotherephoto

    Heretotherephoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info. I had also looked a little at creative suite and lightroom as alternatives. I may go with that as we ultimately would like to see more of our photos being sold.

    As far as the camera coming with a disk yes it did. i did not know this would allow upload of files in RAW. Can they still then be edited using Gimp or just displayed on my computer? Sounds like the answer would be yes. Unfortunately I am back on my week on the road so I have to wait until I get home sometime next week to play with it. Really should travel with the camera. We had an amazing sunset the other night at 30,000 feet and the view from the front office was great. Just scared of busting it.
     
  12. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And the same thing that *somebody* is doing if you take your film to a lab.


    If it helps, think of it as processing instead of editing. Things like adjusting the WB, curves, contrast, even some cloning (dust spots, etc.) aren't really the same as "editing" to me... "Editing" for me would be like cloning out (or in) an entire person or some other thing like that.

    Even that is completely fine too, if that's what needs to be done to achieve whatever it is you wanted to do. Sometimes there's no way around it...
     

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