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White balance and lighthouses

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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: White balance and lighthouses
    Posted: 14 May 2017 at 20:25
I think this is the best place to post this. I'm really struggling on the right direction to take with images of a lighthouse at sunrise, specifically regarding white balance. Sunrise and it's generally cooler colours give a strong blue hue, but given the viewer 'knows' the lighthouse to be white I feel the colour should be true to the reference point.

In the past I've manually adjusted the lighthouse colour to white (see shot 23 about half way down the thread here), but that worked when the lighthouse was so small in the frame. Here it doesn't work.

I'd like to share with you three different versions of the same image:
1. White balance for sunrise as seen, for whole image
2. White balance adjusted for lighthouse (but losing the beautiful colours of the sunrise), for whole image
3. image 1 but with selective colouring of of the lighthouse

I intend to share the better images from the morning shoot in the Open Views section in the next week or so once I've finished going through the images. But for this critiques corner I am specifically interested in your input on the best approach for colouration PP for such sunrise shots with well known white reference points (such as light houses).

Here are the images, really keen for your input, TIA

Image 1


Image 2


Image 3

A7iii, 15f2, 16-35f4, 35f1.8, 85f1.8, 135f1.8GM, 100-400GM, 1.4xTC // A mount: Sig90f2.8 and Sig180f3.5 Macros, Gitzo Traveller, Flashes+PixelKings website
 



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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2017 at 21:18
Hi Simon, nice image and for me it's 1 or 3 for sure.

The slight blue hue of the lighthouse in 1 doesnt bother me but I know it does to some viewers. However in the selective colouring of 3 I also find you made the lighthouse a bit too light and therefore I still prefer 1 by a very small margin, but maybe if you made the lighthouse slightly darker 3 could be my winner.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2017 at 23:02
#1 has the focus on the sunrise. #3 has the focus on the lighthouse. #2 does justice to neither. I'm; with Pieter in preferring #1 by a slim margin.

Cheers... Brian
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2017 at 23:57
Number 2 is definitely the inferior of the three. The other two are a push. I believe your over thinking this a tad
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ratboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 00:20
Hi Simon, if I had to pick I'd choose number 1 by a cat's whisker. There again, blue casts never bothered me. Cheers Karl
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kerrath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 02:50
I'd go for #1, but I'd push the white balance just a little toward #2. The blue is a bit too strong, but I would expect to see blue in the shadows.

#2 looks to me like there's a big fire in the region, or maybe lots of dust and humidity from a big storm.

#3 looks subtly odd. I probably wouldn't've noticed though. I think #1 benefits from the contrast with the sky.
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 05:55
I like #3. The corrected color helps the building stand out from the ocean better than the almost-matching-color in #1.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 08:48
I prefer #1, for the reasons others given. But I think you have raised an important point, which (in my view) is that what we think we see, what we actually see, and what we know are often three different things.

If you look at the way the eye operates (simplified, it basically 'AC-couples' each of the three colour sensors individually) it does make a pretty good job of colour management in different lighting - it lets us perceive objects in roughly their correct subjective colours despite the lighting balance (colour temperature) being seriously skewed from normal daylight (a blue sweater still looks blue at sunset even though a true white-balanced photo would show it purple). But it isn't perfect, and the colour of white at dawn and dusk is one of those things where we superimpose our belief on top of what we actually see.

I'm told that the camera's auto-WB looks for the brightest thing in the picture and assumes it is white, and that if the brightest thing in your picture isn't white it can screw up. I certainly find auto-WB useless at dusk and dawn because it ruins the colours, but even with manual WB we have essentially the same problem. So, I think you should try to ignore the fact that you 'know' something should be white, and accept that in the light you observe, it is not white at all, because it is not being illuminated by white light.

So what if you know that it would be white if it was in white light? You took the picture at that time because the light was *not* white, so why should you be either surprised or upset that the lighthouse isn't white in your image?

FWIW I sometimes deliberately exaggerate sunsets by choice of WB and other settings, but I don't feel guilty about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 09:16
I think #1 is good enough.

Sunrise and sunset shots are almost always headache for me, if to shoot sun direction, as the pics are different compared to view I can see at the site.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snegren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 12:41
#3 for me. As I have no idea what the sunset looked like (or the RAW you took from it) I cannot say how well you managed colours. As #1 shows blue in the sky it is clear to me that #2 is overly warm. I like how the lighthouse in #3 is brought out. You put it in the image for a reason, so you might as well let it play its role.

For me the 'best approach for colouration PP' is through NIK Vivenza. It avoids the overcooked appearance that you can easily get with WB adjustments.

BTW please level your horizon.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 12:49
looks like I will be the odd one out and say #2... looks most pleasant to look at for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 15:58
Ok, I might have missed if someone already suggested this
Why not:
1. Blend to versions of the shot into one in PS? #1 for sky and #2 for the lamp in the lighthouse.
2. Selective WB in LR, paint the Lamp to the WB you prefer.

What WB have you set in #1? Daylight?
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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2017 at 22:13
Thanks all for your input, really appreciate it and some great points. As ever there's no definitive answer, which at least suggests I'm not totally stupid asking the question . I will have a play with some of the suggestions and see where I can get to. Thank you all for taking the time to consider this and help me out
A7iii, 15f2, 16-35f4, 35f1.8, 85f1.8, 135f1.8GM, 100-400GM, 1.4xTC // A mount: Sig90f2.8 and Sig180f3.5 Macros, Gitzo Traveller, Flashes+PixelKings website
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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2017 at 20:36
Finally got round to sharing the whole set, including image 1 above (albeit now straightened as per a few comments ). Thanks again for the input, find gallery here
A7iii, 15f2, 16-35f4, 35f1.8, 85f1.8, 135f1.8GM, 100-400GM, 1.4xTC // A mount: Sig90f2.8 and Sig180f3.5 Macros, Gitzo Traveller, Flashes+PixelKings website
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