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Old 10-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #11
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KevinM's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,010

Getting the color right on a night shot which includes multiple (different) light sources can be a real pain. With a steam shot, you can sometimes punt and go B&W and people might love it.

Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 300090
Photograph © Kevin Madore

With more contemporary shots, going B&W will probably just kill your views.

I am assuming that you have tried the following:
  1. Using the "Auto Color" option, just to see how it looks.
  2. Using the White Balance Tool in your software to seek out a black, grey or white point.

The latter sometimes works for me. It can be painstaking, but the WB Tool allows you to look at individual pixels, screening for one that is a truly neutral color. When you find one and click on it, the program changes the color temp and tint. The results are often better than what your camera might select if you shot with WB on "Auto".

Another option is to bring a (18%) grey card to the site and shoot it under those lighting conditions for later reference during post. Some cameras can also shoot a grey card and directly read out a color temp in degrees Kelvin, allowing you to set that specific color temp in your camera's white balance setting.

Again, all of that stuff works great if you have consistent lighting. When someone sticks a big sodium lamp square in the middle of your scene (the Durango Roundhouse, for example), you may have to do some selective editing to get the scene looking right.

I would try to get something white looking white. That would be a good start.

My RP stuff is here.

Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.
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