White Balance and avoiding glare

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by padrepaul77, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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    I shot this of the Paris casino a couple of nights ago; it's OK, but there are some noticeable spots where there should be darkness. Obviously the Vegas strip has plenty of lights of all sorts of temperature; florescent, neon, etc. Any suggestions?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    In terms of spots where it should be dark, if you want it to be black, I'd just PP black over the photo. Generally I do this by filling a new layer in black, then using a layer mask to mask-in the black. Feels more intuitive to me and affords more control.

    If it's a part of the image with detail you want to keep, but darken, I generally use an exposure adjustment layer and layer mask with that. Alternately, a brightness/contrast adjustment layer can work, or for those without CS4, copy the image, paste in a new layer, adjust the brightness of that layer, mask it all out, and then mask-in the parts you want darker.

    As for WB, this looks a wee warm to my taste, but that's just to my taste. Key when dealing with city lights is to add magenta tint much of the time, so as to lessen those fugly fluorescents and move them closer to white (this is especially useful with cityscapes at night; few people mind a magenta-ish sky, but most people will think "yuck" when they see sodium-vapour-like, puke green lights).

    The easiest solution is to shoot RAW, and adjust it all in post to suit your taste.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Suggestion Number 1--Avoid the Vegas strip.

    Suggestion Number 2--Avoid shooting bright lights against dark fields.

    Suggestion Number 3--Make sure the lens's rear element is scrupulously clean and free of even the most minute traces of finger oils or camera lubricant or any other hazing or film, of any type.

    Suggestion Number 4--Make sure the front element is scrupulously clean and free of any hazing from any source. The rear element is most critical, but the front can be a cause of problems too.

    Suggestion Number 5- remove any protective filters from the lens front.

    Suggestion Number 6-- Use a lens hood,and if possible, throw a shadow on the front of the lens using a dark cardboard card or a baseball cap or something, to prevent excessive stray light from striking your front element. Light hitting the front element at oblique angles aka grazing light, can cause a lot of problems. Cutting reflections from grazing light is where the new Nano-crystal anti-reflective coatings are a quantum leap forward, and only Nikon and now Canon, has this advantage,and only on very costly lenses.

    Suggestion Number 7--Be aware that bright,lighted objects seen against large expanses of dark "field" are among the most-challenging scenarios for 'conventional' lenses that do not have really high-order lens correction, like the Nikon 58mm f/1.2 "Noct-Nikkor" or the 28mm f/1.4 hand-ground aspherical Nikkor, both of which can render almost perfect performance when shooting in the types of situations you encountered on the Vegas strip. Which brings us back to the easiest way to avoid this problem--avoid the Vegas strip!
     
  4. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    OP, I'm not sure what you mean by there are some noticeable spots where there should be darkness. Are you talking about the light pollution on the sky, or the hot spots where the lights broke through the structure and were directly visible by your camera? Or just the general tone of the objects, such as the roof of the hotel, that should be darker?
     
  5. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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    Well, it doesn't look as bad now that I look at it again, but in the dark night sky there appeared to be some spots that stood out, maybe lens flare or just odd reflections of light or something on the lens; but I don't notice the spots in situations with better light. I'll try elements and see if that can do the trick.
     
  6. padrepaul77

    padrepaul77 TPF Noob!

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    I took a crack at it and just did the adjustment layer thing; of course it darkened the leaves, but I think it's OK...still getting used to layers. Does this look any better? There's still that bright light at the bottom; I could crop it out.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    I think that is a definite improvement.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I think the spots you're talking about are 'noise'.
     
  9. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I wanna play...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Well done Buckster!

    First i was strugling to figure out what sort of things you had done to that picture but after a few layers and layer masks i got a very similar result. I think this just opened a my eyes a bit about how to post process night pictures :D
     
  11. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thank you kindly! Glad you found it useful too! :thumbup:

    Here's what I did in a nutshell:

    [​IMG]

    Edit... I just went back and cloned out the bright light at the bottom. Add another layer above the original for that. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  12. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    This looks also fairly similar to mine. Although I made the sky look blue by simply changing the color balance to very blue (own layer) and then simply used the layer mask to restrict the blueness to sky only.

    The leaves I made look green by first duplicating a layer and then used "Replace color" to make leaves look green. This also required some correction with layer mask.

    I guess I tend to do everything the hard way :lol:
     

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