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  1. #1
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    White balance in the field

    How are yall getting an accurate white balance while shooting in the field? Are you using those little grey or white photo cards to aid in setting the correct white balance?

    One option I suppose would be to shoot RAW but for the time being I actually prefer to shoot Jpeg and try to use the images straight out of the camera with as little post processing as possible.

    Any advice would be helpful

  2. #2
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    I usually use auto white balance and tweak in Photoshop.

    I have an ExpoDisc ExpoImaging - ExpoDisc White Balance that works quite well and is easy to use (except with my Sigma 15-30 which has a built-in hood) and it's smaller than a card. I use this often indoors and still sometimes have to tweak white balance. I rarely use it when photographing mountain bikers because I'd have to do a white balance correction every time I changed shooting direction or the lighting changed (sun behind cloud) and I often don't have time to do this.

    A lot of the time I have trouble with too much red or magenta and using the Photoshop 'color balance' to add cyan and reduce red can kill the punch of a photo, so I've just discovered another useful tool which is using 'hugh/saturation', setting it to red, then tweaking. I don't have the CS version of Photoshop at home, but if I did, another easy way that often works to get the color right is to make a layer copy of the photo, then use auto color, then change the opacity of the layer that you just auto-colored to get the color you want.

  3. #3
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    I'm also interested in what people do. I've thought of shooting raw, but haven't taken the plunge yet.

    Another thing I want to try is white balance bracketing.

  4. #4
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    RAW is your friend in so many ways.

  5. #5
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    Auto WB outside has always been perfect for me no matter what camera I'm using. Indoors is a whole 'nother matter.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  6. #6
    saddlemeat
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    I shoot raw + jpeg, auto wb for the jpeg. Auto wb is why I use Nikon gear. I would only set wb indoors as a rule.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  7. #7
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    raw+jpg is always my fav... lets me be lazy and still have the raw if I really want to manipulate things...

    I typically shoot AWB even inside... lightroom makes batch editing WB super easy
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  8. #8
    csf
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    Well if you're shooting jpegs & not PP then either use a gray card or some other neutral gray color. this isn't as flexible but if you're setting up the shot and not varying your location much then this would work. AB is obviously more flexible, but might let you down if you don't PP.

    I always shoot raw and wb later in LR or PS.
    2004 Stumpjumper FSR Expert Disk

  9. #9
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    Try using one of the standard WB. If you use one fixed WB its easy to batch correct in PS. If you use Auto then eventually every picture has a different WB (pain to Colorcorrect).

    Please try to perfect your jpg workflow. RAW is for lazy people with to much time (think of develop hundreds of pictures!) If you use jpg with a tested set of WB/contrast... then you have more time to ride!

  10. #10
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    I don't know what cameras you all are shooting jpegs with outdoors but my past Canon point and shoots had perfect white balance outdoors using Auto WB. My current Panasonic point and shoots have perfect WB outdoors using Auto WB. My Nikon DSLRs have perfect white balance outdoors using Auto WB. I've never had to use some custom WB outdoors, ever.

    Indoors, with a mix of different light sources or using strobes, that's another scenario. But we're talking outdoor shots, right? Simple, shoot jpegs using Auto WB. That's worked for me for years. OK, shoot jpeg + raw if you feel the need (I do with my DSLRs) but my jpegs always come out color perfect.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  11. #11
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    All may cameras give perfect white balance using auto when shootng in the sun. I often have to tweak photos taken in the shade from all my cameras. My Canon S95 is consistently a little too magenta. My Nikon D7000 is sometimes OK, sometimes I have to play with red and/or yellow. My D70 isn't bad, but needs more tweaking than the D7000, and I almost always have to tweak photos out of my Fuji point and shoot.

    Either I have bad white balance karma or I'm really picky.

  12. #12
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    I find that when dealing with white balance; it all depends on what you are shooting with, what you are shooting, where you are shooting and what is your light source? Having said that; most modern day digicams and DSLRs are so good in AW balance. The other part of this equation is the viewing mode. Is it looking "off" on your monitor or on print? Is your monitor calibrated? Is your printer a good one?
    When I shoot; my cameras are almost always set on Aw balance if I shoot MTB-ing. If I want to have tight control over the image I will also set it for both jpeg + RAW. That way you will retain all the info/quality with the RAW image if you need to draw from them.
    So, you should be able to get decent balanced photos in AWB if you are just shooting outside. Things like time of day (sunlight colour temp); secondary light source(flashes or street lights) or reflective light sources will all cause your image to have a slight shift in colour. Maybe the OP can fill us in a bit more on any other particulars so that we may help him. In the meantime keep shooting and happy riding!

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    ^^^You bring up a good point about monitor calibration. Without a calibrated monitor you don't really know what you are looking at, add a printer and things get complicated real quick. I have noticed that my LCD monitor doesn't drift as much as my CRT did but I still calibrate every month or before a big project. Color management is an interesting and critical facet of the digital photographic workflow. I'm currently using the Datacolor Spyder3 Elite hardware/software to produce monitor profiles, btw.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  14. #14
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    I agree with Donalson. Shoot RAW + small JPG. Always shoot RAW if you can do so memory card wise. It give you the best post abilities.

  15. #15
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    RAW and Adobe Lightroom for mass-WB adjustments (i.e. 30 shots from the same location)
    And not just WB either, anything else like aberrations to gamma.

    AND, it's non-destructive!

    P.S. - it also has the side-effect of being a great file organizer and browser.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  16. #16
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    Highdell - I haven't heard of Lightroom before. It sounds interesting, but I can't get a good sense of what it does vs. Photoshop from their web site. It looks like it is good for overall color correction. What about overall levels, contrast/brightness, and curves? Is that something you use Lightroom or Photoshop for? Does Lightroom allow you to adjust specific parts of the image, or just the image as a whole?

  17. #17
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    Highdell - I haven't heard of Lightroom before. It sounds interesting, but I can't get a good sense of what it does vs. Photoshop from their web site. It looks like it is good for overall color correction. What about overall levels, contrast/brightness, and curves? Is that something you use Lightroom or Photoshop for? Does Lightroom allow you to adjust specific parts of the image, or just the image as a whole?
    Light room is meant to work WITH photoshop - it's a before and after kind of thing.
    "overall levels, contrast/brightness, and curves" yes and much much more; exposure highlights, shadows, clarity, lens correction, meta data, keywording, publishing (FB, Flicker etc).... I could go on and on

    They were allowing free downloads of Lightroom 4 Beta - see if you can find it
    If not, I could send you a copy
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  18. #18
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    Thanks Highdell. I'll look into Lightroom. I noticed that you can download free trials.

  19. #19
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    lightroom is a flow tool... it organizes, makes it very easy to do batch editing and minor photo based adjustments... you can do most of the main PHOTO based editing but to get into the more serious editing you'll need full on PS or elements...

    lightroom and elements makes a great pair...

    https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitl...abs_lightroom4 for the beta4 DL loctaion
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  20. #20
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    yeah, shoot raw and use lightroom to fix WB is the easiest solution. Also, learn to adjust exposure, while you're at it for what I think all photographers should do. You can save so many shots that way. It's way easy and quick once you get the hang of it. You will end up with more shots/time spend since your keeper rate will go up.

  21. #21
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    An 18% gray cleaning cloth can be a very handy tool. Fast and easy to carry around.

  22. #22
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    RAW all the way, and calibrate your monitor.

  23. #23
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    cleaning the body ok, but I would never take lens cleaning material out unless I had too to minimize contamination.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by crs1042 View Post
    RAW all the way, and calibrate your monitor.
    +15 - I did an entire year's worth of editing on an incorrectly calibrated monitor. D'oh!

    Get your workflow right too, so you have a copy of all RAWs and also a copy of final outputs.

  25. #25
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    I shoot with a Canon 1DMKIII and a 1DsMKII, and shoot AWB 100% of the time.

    Adjustments in post are never required for outdoor shots. Indoor is a different story, but that's what DPP and/or Lightroom 3 are for. Adjustments are quick and easy.

    Wedding and Portrait Photography in Buffalo and Western New York by Chad Stephenson

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