What can -5° F to -10° F do?

Started Jan 23, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP VisionLight Veteran Member • Posts: 4,499
I forgot to include some tips on the images

An important facet of photographing under blue skies in the snow and ice is getting the overall color temperature of the image correct. As we've all seen, snow and ice easily reflect the sky, particularly the shadows, and the image comes out too blue. The easiest way to defend against this effect, other than precisely setting the color temperature in camera, is to shoot in raw.

Since I shoot almost 100% raw+JPEG these days set to Auto White Balance, I had the raw files to work with for these images. But I was in for a surprise. Both images, the shore with train tracks and the frozen river, both had some areas where the white balance was perfect as I remembered it. AND areas where it was way off. So in this case, I could have used either raw or JPEG. In the shore with train tracks image, the shoreline up through the river and through the mountains and sky were in perfect balance. But the tracks and surrounding shadowed snow were an unnatural deep blue. I had to select this area only and adjust the temperature until it blended with the rest of the image. In the frozen river image, the color temperature from the camera was beautiful for the top 80% of the scene, but the ice floes around the dock were a very unnatural blue. Once again I selected only this area to blend it with the colors of the rest of the scene.

Which file, raw or JPEG, did I choose? The raw in each case. The reason was two fold. First when dealing with color correction, the more bits you have, the better. I converted the 12 bit raw files into 16 bit TIFF files (4 "wasted" bits I know) before opening them in Photoshop CS6, which can work in a 16 bit space (or even 32 bit when needed). JPEG files are only 8 bits. On my 30 bit monitor, precisely adjusting color was now very easy. The second reason was sharpening. In camera sharpening of the JPEG files is by USM. I prefer not to use USM unless really necessary and particularly find its effects disconcerting in bright, contrasty outdoor scenes. By using the raw files, I could eliminate all sharpening before creating the TIFF files, then reapply it with the various tools and plugins in Photoshop that I can precisely control. The JPEGs were still valuable though, as I could use them as a reference if I went too far in any direction with the post processing.

Hopefully these tips will further help people get the most out of our versatile SX50s.


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