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02-05-2020, 03:08 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Strangest ways to set white balance

OK, this is just for fun and as scientific as a kick in the pants, but, what is the strangest thing you have used to set manual white balance? I once tried using my dog, (he's white, mostly) but every image came out blue! However, yesterday I used an off white area of a poster outside sainsburys and I am rather pleased with the results. It is a little warm but not as much as "cloudy"










02-05-2020, 03:30 PM - 1 Like   #2
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When I take pictures with water I tend to rely on the foam. It works for the most part.
02-05-2020, 06:41 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
.... as scientific as a kick in the pants.....
That sounds like high-poo-thesis testing.
02-05-2020, 07:02 PM   #4
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Paper paint samples from the paint store.

02-05-2020, 08:51 PM   #5
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I carry a X-Rite ColorChecker and a 18% Kodak grey card in my bag. No problem here.
02-05-2020, 08:55 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Most times that's exactly the problem - the gray card is in my bag.
02-06-2020, 12:03 AM   #7
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I have an expodisc that works quite well but quite often its just me and the camera. I always shoot raw so wb isn't a problem. Winging it is fun though
02-06-2020, 01:01 AM - 1 Like   #8
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For photos of people under artificial light I sometimes use the eyedropper in Camera Raw to take a white balance off the whites of their eyes. But under most circumstances I shoot with a fixed white balance, usually 5600K in the winter and 5200K in direct summer sunlight.

I don't know if it's because there's something weird about my colour vision in some way, but the way I experience colours in the real world hasn't got much relationship at all to the "corrections" that digital camera white balance applies. When I know that I'm looking at something that's supposed to be white I see it as white, but my eyes/brain don't have to shift the colour balance of the entire scene to do that. For example, I'm typing this under warm artificial light but if I pick up a sheet of blank paper it looks perfectly white to me, while the light in the rest of the room still has a strong warm cast. But a digital camera would have to shift the colour balance of the entire scene to make the paper look white, and to my eyes the result would seem far too blue and completely wrong.

Sorry for straying slightly off topic, although hopefully not too far. It'll be interesting to find out what unusual methods people in this thread use to set white balance, but I think it would also be interesting to know how much of the actual look of the ambient light people are willing to sacrifice in order to get those whites white.

02-06-2020, 06:49 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I shoot nightscapes this time of year, and a lot towards the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota. So my white balance is more about killing the orange light pollution from all the gas flares. I shoot at 2800k and edit randomly til I get something not really blue, but the orange isn't outrageous. So what Im saying is, I just make it up as I go, lol. The photo attached was about 10 days ago at about 3am central
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02-06-2020, 08:04 AM   #10
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When working with astro images usually setting the white balance is best done in levels by clicking the gray eyedropper in the darkest area. This is advice I had not followed for over a year and until I did got some strange results. I still don't understand why this produces really good results which is why I had resisted doing so for so long but eventually just accepted that it works and treat it as magic.
02-06-2020, 01:46 PM   #11
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First, I shoot raw. I carry a white/gray/black card in my bag and place it in the scene for a test shot. But if there is something in the scene I can use then I use the color dropper in LR to set the white balance. If I want to manually set a custom white balance in camera I use a white coffee filter over the end of the lens.
02-06-2020, 04:16 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
When working with astro images usually setting the white balance is best done in levels by clicking the gray eyedropper in the darkest area. This is advice I had not followed for over a year and until I did got some strange results. I still don't understand why this produces really good results which is why I had resisted doing so for so long but eventually just accepted that it works and treat it as magic.
Curious!!!

A theory..... We expect space to be black, not colored. But a confluence of light pollution and magenta sensor noise (caused by the interaction of uniform dark current in the sensor and the non-uniform gains used in RGB associated with the filter densities of color filter array) often tints the captured image of empty space. For most monitors and prints, dark grey looks almost black so "white balancing" the weirdly colored sky to gray creates a more pleasing image.

P.S. I always shoot astro with WB set to "daylight" on the presumption that I want stars that are cooler than our local orb (e.g., red dwarfs & red giant) to be red, for hotties (blue giants) to be blue, and for any sunlit planets, moons, and DeathStars to have their daylight colors.

P.P.S. If you get cyan stars, it means the lens is outresolving the sensor and the white light of some celestial pinprick is falling only on a green & blue pixel pair.
02-06-2020, 04:45 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
P.S. I always shoot astro with WB set to "daylight" on the presumption that I want stars that are cooler than our local orb (e.g., red dwarfs & red giant) to be red, for hotties (blue giants) to be blue, and for any sunlit planets, moons, and DeathStars to have their daylight colors.
That is what I usually start with but between stacking, light pollution, and a light pollution filter to help manage it things are just off. I finally paid attention to that advise when I produced this mess.

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
A theory..... We expect space to be black, not colored. But a confluence of light pollution and magenta sensor noise (caused by the interaction of uniform dark current in the sensor and the non-uniform gains used in RGB associated with the filter densities of color filter array) often tints the captured image of empty space. For most monitors and prints, dark grey looks almost black so "white balancing" the weirdly colored sky to gray creates a more pleasing image.
Another good tip I picked up is that the dark area of the image should be sitting at around 30,30,30 with subtractions to clean up gradients and other issues done with an offset of that to prevent crushing clipping the details in the darks. As far as the true color of the night sky it really should be as bright as day if it weren't for all the dust blocking the light. so a very dark gray works. I think since by the time one gets to working with levels where you would correct the white balance your darkest spot should be fairly close to that 30,30,30 point as one sets it during the first levels stretch after removing the light pollution gradient and preliminary fairly aggressive color noise reduction.

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
P.P.S. If you get cyan stars, it means the lens is outresolving the sensor and the white light of some celestial pinprick is falling only on a green & blue pixel pair.
Unfortunately I don't have an equatorial mount with an auto-guider to pull off such a feat as I am mostly shooting long glass chasing deep sky objects.
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