Old 02-02-2010, 02:23 PM   #1
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Default Color and sodium ligts

Got stuck, and I don't want to harrash screeners by submitting it again without the proper changes, so I'd appreciate some advices on this:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=777529&key=0

Since low pressure sodium lights are the most common light sources on stations here, I often run into these color issues.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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Looks like a small yellow cast. Hopefully others will contribute their 0.2.

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Old 02-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #3
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I don't think the lighting is a very serious issue. It's easy to fix. Just make the lights whiter which could probably be done with a corrective color cast through Adobe.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:15 PM   #4
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One possible fix - I tried (in PSE3) doing Enhance / Adjust Color / Remove Color Cast and then clicked the dropper on the plow, thinking it should be neutral gray. What I got looks a lot as though I had instead simply reduced saturation on the yellow channel. I like it a little better than the original.

But that leads to a more general conceptual/philosophical question - what/who decides what the "right" color is when shooting under artificial light at night? I look at these threads as they come up from time to time, I see the original shot, I see the changed shot, and I realize that I have no idea which version looks more "correct", although I often have one I prefer, which is not at all the same thing.

Do people who shoot in these conditions a lot just develop an eyeball sense of what is right? And how does that work if one has never been to the location of the shot in question and does not have first hand experience with the temperature/color of that particular light source? Who is to say what is right and what is wrong?

Just curious.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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I try and use layers to adjust color in specific locations if there are multiple light sources. A long night exposure seems to over due the color cast and saturation because of the longer exposure. I try to tune down the cast so that it is closer to what you would see if you were there in person. Sometimes the light sources color is just bad and in that case I will try to make the whites white and change my color balance either cooler or warmer depending on the look I want.

I like your edit above. I may have knocked the blue down some in the sky myself, if it were my own photo.

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:14 AM   #6
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Watch out for the killer jellyfish coming in from the right.

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:43 AM   #7
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The artificial light looks very good to me. In fact I like the shot, it's good. However, if I were the screener, that sickly, over-saturated blue color around the moon would kill it for me.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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The following shots were taken with sodium vapor lights (the evil scourge of the Depot) present. There is some difference, but for the most part they put off more/less a sickely yellow that can be tuned down a little, and can look ok, depending on your situation.

Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 307547
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Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 306231
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Image © Max Medlin
PhotoID: 293354
Photograph © Max Medlin


Also that lens flare needs to be fixed.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #9
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Mercury vapor lights are so much easier on the eyes and easier to deal with in photos, too bad they are about as rare as F units nowadays.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:41 PM   #10
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Gentlemen, first of all, thank you for all of the suggestions.

I've corrected the color casts, I think it looks better now.

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What do you think?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
But that leads to a more general conceptual/philosophical question - what/who decides what the "right" color is when shooting under artificial light at night? I look at these threads as they come up from time to time, I see the original shot, I see the changed shot, and I realize that I have no idea which version looks more "correct", although I often have one I prefer, which is not at all the same thing.

Do people who shoot in these conditions a lot just develop an eyeball sense of what is right? And how does that work if one has never been to the location of the shot in question and does not have first hand experience with the temperature/color of that particular light source? Who is to say what is right and what is wrong?
This is my main problem with these lights, they only produce light at two wavelengths along the spectrum, both of which are orange-yellow. For the eye and camera everything looks yellow and orange, because these simply do not provide the proper light to capture colors correctly.

Sholuld I try to process the image to be the closest to reality, or try to remove as much cast as possible to force the image into the "normal" whites should be white appearance?

As I see the second option is the generally accepted method, cause it ends up with a much pleasing and natural result.
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:03 PM   #11
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May have to crop it more as I see it border line cropping. You may on the next time out shooting at night under street lights try a blue filter over a flash light or just a flash to add some light with full spectrum to the photos?
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:53 PM   #12
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Color balance looks good. What you do is up to you. You can add in the color cast from the light source but it just shouldn't be overpowering, which happens in a long exposure. Think of the light source as you would the moon. Does the moon appear to put that much light out when your there in person? The long exposure brings that out but the moons white light doesn't look bad. So if you wanted to keep the scene as it looked when you were there add the color cast back but keep the saturation of that cast to a minimum.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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This photo had a horrible yellow cast all along the right side on the river and rocks. You can still see the yellow there but I toned it way down so that it was so overpowering and distracting.

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Old 02-04-2010, 03:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
Color balance looks good. What you do is up to you. You can add in the color cast from the light source but it just shouldn't be overpowering, which happens in a long exposure. Think of the light source as you would the moon. Does the moon appear to put that much light out when your there in person? The long exposure brings that out but the moons white light doesn't look bad. So if you wanted to keep the scene as it looked when you were there add the color cast back but keep the saturation of that cast to a minimum.
I'm afraid, if I keep the scene as it were, it'll never get into the db. I'll give a shot as it is now, I like how things "turned" out.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:06 PM   #15
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Well, this time it was rejected for bad cropping. C'est la vie.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf View Post
Well, this time it was rejected for bad cropping. C'est la vie.
The good news is that you must have got the color fixed!!! I was wondering about the original cropping but did not say anything since it was mentioned in the rejection.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
I was wondering about the original cropping but did not say anything since it was mentioned in the rejection.
Personally I like the cropping as it is, but from this point we're heading back to the question of personal preferences.

I took some common nose and side shots, after proper post processing those'd probably be accepted, but in spite of it was a unique operation in Hungary for the last few years, I don't find those interesting enough to be published here.
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf View Post
This is my main problem with these lights, they only produce light at two wavelengths along the spectrum, both of which are orange-yellow. For the eye and camera everything looks yellow and orange, because these simply do not provide the proper light to capture colors correctly.

Sholuld I try to process the image to be the closest to reality, or try to remove as much cast as possible to force the image into the "normal" whites should be white appearance?

As I see the second option is the generally accepted method, cause it ends up with a much pleasing and natural result.
Sounds right.

I don't know what your camera settings were, but when shooting under sodium lights, setting your white balance in the neighborhood of 2100K goes a long way toward removing the orange cast in the resulting image, and makes it a lot easier to correct when you're processing it.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:04 AM   #19
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I can't believe no one mentioned the big blob of something on the right side of the image.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
I can't believe no one mentioned the big blob of something on the right side of the image.
That blob was a lens flare that he cloned out.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
I can't believe no one mentioned the big blob of something on the right side of the image.
The transitions in the sky along with the overhead wires did not helped to get rid of the problem, and after a few clean starts I gave up at this "result" for now.
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