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Thread: The cure for sodium lighting

  1. #1
    Davey's Avatar
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    The cure for sodium lighting

    Took this on way home the other night and the area is bathed in sodium (few minutes away from bridge in other thread) yet somehow managed to eliminate it. The title of the thread ties in with the name of the steel yard

    The cure for sodium lighting

    The cure for sodium lighting

    I kind of like the b&w more but am not sure. I usually prefer colour photos especially of night scenes since it's not the time you really associate with colourful scenes. Problem is what colour there is to capture often drowns in the ocean of sodium glow. I think I got away with it here as although the whole area is sodium bathed the factory has some white lighting making wb tweaks much easier (and my cameras wb got me much closer to natural than usual).

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Hi Davey,

    Again I prefer the colour version and am amazed you manage to get rid of the sodium glow so effectively and still have natural looking colours.

    Is it merely colour temp correction, or do you have another tirck up your sleeve; like colour replace?

    Thanks,

  3. #3

    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Looks really good to me, like the coloured one better, I think I would crop mid way between the foot of the reflection and the bottom.

    Lincs1
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th June 2009 at 09:57 AM.

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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    no real trick just getting more familiar to how my cam guesses the wb point and software really. I notice with my cam if I get a few white lights, especially bright ones as there is a bit too much yellow tone off the dimmer tungsten filament lights, then it seems to regard these as the things to set wb against. It always goes for the brightest bits so if I make sure the most abundant lights are white then it's easier, if they are close to a surface so it's illuminated more strongly by the white light (ie drowns out the ambient sodium) then the cam gets pretty close and it's more of a minor cast than vivid orange soup.

    After that it's just a mix of minor wb tweaks, curves (r/g/b independant), colour balance and photo filter to get them right. Like I say with white in the scene then cam auto gets close, pshop auto col can get closer (but often too blue). With no white lighting I personally find desaturating yellows/orange, setting wb at (or close to) tungsten and minor curves and gentle photo filter(s) ranging from blue to green makes it look more natural. I like night scenes but hate sodium glow, hard to get around that, like living in north UK and hating the rain (I don't ). Main time I am out and about with my camera is night time walks so I have turned eliminating sodium into a hobby

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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Have you tried creating a custom White Balance for Sodium lights?
    I don't know how it's done with Nikon, but with my Canon I shoot a frame that is mostly one color (in this case the sidewalk). Then I set the White Balance based on that image.

    In the sequence below you can see how it pretty much eliminated the orange cast. Perhaps it's a bit too cool, but a lot easier to deal with than pumpkin orange.

    The cure for sodium lighting

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Thanks Dave and Davey (from Dave)

    The Custom WB is a good idea, gets you close to what you need then tweak the colours as davey suggests. Plus if you don't overwrite it, it's still there for next time.

    I know if you're shooting RAW it doesn't really matter, but may as well get it looking right in camera for review purposes.

    Thanks both, 2 really useful posts,

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Davey View Post
    hard to get around that, like living in north UK and hating the rain (I don't )
    I'm sure you DO live in the North UK

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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Davey,

    I like the colored one better too ... I like how smooth the water is. How long of an exposure did you use?
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th June 2009 at 09:56 AM.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Hi Kevin,

    The EXIF data says 15 seconds at f3.3 and ISO64, but remember Davey uses a smaller sensor camera, so the aperture doesn't relate to a DSLR DoF at f3.3.

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    Davey's Avatar
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    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Dave is right it's a mere 1/2.5 sensor. It's 3.3 aperature because cam was set to 3.2 but I was zoomed in a fair bit. Thanks for the tip on sodium balancing, I thought about doing that by setting with white paper under street lights but never got around to it, even though mixed lighting will always give mixed result it would get me closer than auto sometimes does.

    Eitherway shooting raw exclusively means it's not an issue if it's a little out so I really should set a custom wb in camera for sodium so i can get decent preview in camera and cut down pp time in setting wb, although my lcd screen displays stuff quite dark. Ah by "I don't" I refer to hating rain, I do live in north west UK and fortunately it's heat and sun I hate which means I only have a problem for 2 or 3 days a year.

  11. #11

    re: The cure for sodium lighting

    This would make a good industrial pic nice lighting and colors all around this pic should have been cut just below the reflection in the waters to balance it out
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th June 2009 at 09:55 AM.

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    Re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Hi Davey,

    Black and white one for me, I think the treatment suits the subject better. Great comp and processing.

    Peter

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    Re: The cure for sodium lighting

    Oh in case people don't know who robert smith is he is the singer from "the cure". For the record 1. I am not a fan and 2. I don't think it's the same robert smith who owns this place

    Thanks, still unsure what one I prefer I cropped it before scaling down and took a little more off the sky than the bottom of the water, I prefered it that way as the empty space in the water looks nicer to my eyes rather than sky to draw attention to fact it looks so still and that looks better than an equal crop to me at least.

    The water wasn't that calm but was calm enough to almost balance over 15 seconds. I am useless with b&w and tend to be drawn more to colour, especially in night scenes (90% of subjects for me being a nosferatu).

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