Exercise: Managing colour

I’m happy to report that I don’t often record colour casts, more thanks to the cameras than my judgement probably, but recently I have been experimenting with flash and gels, and setting custom temperatures on the camera and that has produced quite interesting effects  that appear as colour casts before post-processing.

My first example is a straightforward mistake, where I set the white balance to “flash” in a room lit by tungsten and the flash didn’t fire. Ignore the quality of the image, this is for illustration of colour casts not fine examples of my photography :-).  I was able to restore better colour by clicking on “auto” in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).Vase cast_0223 Vase no cast_0223

The next example is more subtly wrong and produced by a combination of tungsten, halogen, daylight and flash. The mistake was produced by the flash not firing, and I’ll discuss my growing disgust with Nissin strobes in another blog.  This time I had to go into ACR’s “custom”white balance and  manually adjust the colour temperature, from 2950 to 2650. I also adjusted the “levels” histogram to boost the highlights and mid-ones.

Family cast_8572

Family no cast_8572

The third photo was at the V&A ice rink where the lighting was disco-style and may even have been correct, but I didn’t like it so it was considered a colour cast and adjusted in Lightroom, using several sliders to selectively adjust all the colours, exposure, tint and colour temperature. This wasn’t a case of finding accuracy but of personal preference.

Rink cast_0139 Rink no cast_0139

Finally a real oddity where I had chance of finding the right balance because the environment was bathed in red, making difficult to see and giving me a headache. I didn’t want to use flash in there because it might have interfered with the other visitors experience. I took one photo but was subsequently unable to “recover” any colours because the red light overpowered my camera. Instead I merged several post-processed versions in Photoshop until I was happy with a monochrome image.

Tate cast_0025

Tate 2_0025

Tate 3_0025

All files were shot in RAW although on different cameras. I recently bought a Canon 60D as a back-up to my old 5D, and then found that Adobe do not provide ACR for new cameras unless you buy their software again, so I settled for Lightroom instead of the Photoshop upgrade, and I am very impressed with its correction facilities which I find to be much improved from my Photoshop CS4.

About watlvry

Flaneur for my own ailments; government and corporate hypocrisy; guitar stuff; the music business; home made videos featuring home made tunes played at home; a bit of golf; and of course photography. Specifically "art" photography (doesn't exist) and contemporary photography ( sadly does exist in all its grotesque reality).
Gallery | This entry was posted in Part 3: Processing the image, Project: Optimising tone and colour. Bookmark the permalink.

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