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Thread: how to whitebalance at night

  1. #1

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    how to whitebalance at night

    What is the proper whitebalance setting at night?
    The picture below was the situation where this question arised. Automatic WhitBalance (AWB) results in colors wich, in my opinion, are not as is.
    My first impression is that colors meets reality at best when whitebalance set to "shade" .
    Am i right?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by d3debian; 29th December 2008 at 05:00 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    The correct (or closest) WB setting depends on the colour temperature of the lightsource that's illuminating your subject - which could be just about anything.

    The most accurate way to get the colour correct is probably to include a gray card in a test shot (like a WhiBal card - or even something like a white sheet of paper/coffee filter if you want to do it on the cheap) - and then adjust the final image to that using photoshop's WB tool.

    In my opinion this is easiest and you'll get the best result if the image you're shooting is shot in RAW mode.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th January 2009 at 09:53 AM.

  3. #3

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    Thank you for your reply,
    In this particular case the subject is the illuminating lightsource. (and chance every minute)
    To make things more easy i give you a link wicht tell you more en better then i can about this scenery.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Warrener

    It is no problem to make the colors look good, the problem is how do i make colors similar as they where in reality. I cannot remember colors that accurate.

  4. #4

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    "In this particular case the subject is the illuminating lightsource."

    Quite probably a very tricky one to work out accurately, although one trick I use in this type of situation is to switch my camera to live view and then progressively change the selected colour temperature until what I see on the screen matches what I'm seeing in the subject.

    Again though, if you can shoot a gray card - without it being influenced by the colour of the building lights - then I would have thought that that would have been a good place to start.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th January 2009 at 09:53 AM.

  5. #5

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    Do you shoot in RAW? If you do, you can easily change the white balance in post-processing. Depending on your PP program capabilities, this can also be done for jpgs.

    You can use an eye-dropper tool over an area that you think ought to be neutral gray, and click on it.

    However, these night-time illuminations may well use lights that don't have a continuous light spectrum, apart from any colours; in which case it can be difficult to get a 'correct' white balance. The best you can then do is alter the white balance in PP until you get close to either what it was like, or what you think it was like, or what you would like it to be -- there may be no 'wholly correct' wb.

  6. #6

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    Thank you all for your reactions.
    Yes, i shoot in RAW and can adjust whitebalance in post-processing.
    I don't have live-view, i can see the pictures afterwards but the screen (eos 400D) is not that accurate i'm afraid. For this case i will adjust colors untill they match the colors i remember, and possible they differ from reality.

    This was my first serious nightphotography. Before i went to this scenery i have practised somewhat at the end of the street where i live. Automatic WhiteBalance was i my opinion good. With this colorfull building AWB seems to fail.

    It was a joy to see this building light-painted by the artist and i learned a lot about nightphotography.

    Maybe i go out for photography at night for pyrotechnics (?.... i mean when new year starts) and fix my greycard to a rocket to send in the air. I shoot my greycard for proper whitebalance and hope somebody will give it back to me. Or estimate whitebalance afterward when i am behind the computer. I think the latter

    I wish you all the best for the coming new year.

  7. #7

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    Re: how to whitebalance at night

    I don't think anyone will mind too much if the colour of any fireworks are a few shades off - here's a shot I took a while back ... no gray card (and not a single accurate colour either!!!) ...

    how to whitebalance at night

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 9th April 2009 at 10:19 AM.

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