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james

Philippines Wideangle - Filtered & Unfiltered

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Folks,

 

When I dove recently in the Phillipines the water was a bit stirred up and green due to a recent hurricane.

 

I used CC30M filter on my lens and CC30G filters on my DS125 strobes. I'd like to post some comparison shots from the trip for educational purposes. Hopefully MattS and Herbko will post some unfiltered shots for comparison.

 

Here are some samples, at various water exposures, from dark to light:

 

319506765_qhEgf-L-1.jpg

 

319507128_639Eo-L-1.jpg

 

Lighter:

 

319508000_v9Jq8-L-1.jpg

 

319508599_FdTUo-L-1.jpg

 

Lightest:

 

319509326_A4pvb-L-1.jpg

 

319506898_39waX-L-1.jpg

 

Hope this is useful.

 

Cheers

James

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James

 

I like this one the best! It looks like the fish are about to jump out of my screen.

 

319508000_v9Jq8-L-1.jpg

 

 

 

Cheers,

jeff

Edited by tankado

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Thanks James, looking forward to seeing the comparison shots. That would be great! I love the blues.

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Good stuff ... just want to make sure I understand why you did what you did.

 

The water was green and you wanted it to look more blue ... so you put a filter on the lens to help make the water more blue?

 

In the presence of the filter on the lens, you put the filter on the strobe to compenstate and help white balance the foreground?

 

In theory, could you have white balanced with the un-filtered strobes and achieved a similar effect? Does the compensation filter on strobe make the foreground white balance easier/better?

 

Thanks!

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Without the strobe filters everything in the foreground will be 30 unit of magenta pink looking, right? Can you compensate for that in Photoshop without messing up the rest of the photo?

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Without the strobe filters everything in the foreground will be 30 unit of magenta pink looking, right? Can you compensate for that in Photoshop without messing up the rest of the photo?

I would have thought an on-site manual white balance with the strobes firing could compensate, no?

 

I did a similar thing once (for different reasons) and was shooting with un-filtered strobe with a magic-filter on the lens ... I found I could get good foreground color if I white balanced live with the strobes firing.

 

Here's an example:

 

2190006759_295f2b5591.jpg

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In theory, could you have white balanced with the un-filtered strobes and achieved a similar effect? Does the compensation filter on strobe make the foreground white balance easier/better?

Thanks!

No, it is the strobe filter that is actually doing the work. The lens filter is actually optional; it's purpose is to achieve a better white balance before hitting the sensor. Without the lens filter you are wasting a stop (in this case) of your dynamic range to color correction but you can make that choice if you like. With the lens filter you will need to increase your exposure a stop, of course. With radical strobe filters a lens filter may be needed because the raw converter may not have the adjustment range.

 

The lens filter effects everything in the scene so it cannot make the background bluer without making the subject bluer as well. The strobe filter alters the foreground color without effecting the background so it is the filter actually having the effect. It is counter-intuitive and the filter needs to be opposite of the desired effect but that's how it works. Adding green to the strobe reduces green in the background, adding warmth to the strobe decreases warmth in the background, and so on...

 

Looks good, James. I'd like to see comparison shots as well.

 

I did a similar thing once (for different reasons) and was shooting with un-filtered strobe with a magic-filter on the lens ... I found I could get good foreground color if I white balanced live with the strobes firing.

This can be done but it accomplishes nothing other than to allow you to have a non-removable filter. The color balance of the strobe will always determine the white balance of the image. All the lens filter does is change the actual settings in the converter; it does not effect the final image. This behavior is unique to digital. Film has a fixed white balance so filter usage is different between digital and film.

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Thanks, guys! My head is spinning, but I love that feeling.

 

Don't the "hoops" the processing engine has to jump through to white balance the reflected strobe light passing through the lens filter impact what the relative color of the background appears to be compared to the foreground?

 

In other words, say my buddy and I are both framing the same nice puffer against the water column ... I shoot the puffer with a red filter on my lens and an unfiltered strobe and he shoots the exact same shot with the only difference being the lack of lens filter (and any exposure differences due to the filter).

 

We both achieve a nice white balance in post and our puffers look the same. Wouldn't his water look different than mine?

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Jeez - try to keep this simple.

 

The white balance is what it is. You take a shot, then you either accept the auto white balance the camera picks, or you set it yourself. There is no "foreground white balance" and "background white balance." It's global for the whole shot.

 

When you shoot w/ no filter, you set the WB of the shot typically to the WB of your strobes.

 

When you use complimentary filters, you typically adjust the white balance to equal your strobes in the 'cooled off" filtered mode. That means you lower the white balance a bit from what you are used to - and that's one of the reasons why the water looks so nice. But typically the white balance doesn't even need much tweaking because the camera just gets it right.

 

HTH

James

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James,

What WB setting did you use for these shots? #1 and #3 look a little too magenta to me. #2 as well but less so. Nice shots though.

Sorry, one more question, what type of filter (not strength) are you using on the strobe and how are you attaching it?

Edited by loftus

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Thanks, guys! My head is spinning, but I love that feeling.

 

Don't the "hoops" the processing engine has to jump through to white balance the reflected strobe light passing through the lens filter impact what the relative color of the background appears to be compared to the foreground?

 

In other words, say my buddy and I are both framing the same nice puffer against the water column ... I shoot the puffer with a red filter on my lens and an unfiltered strobe and he shoots the exact same shot with the only difference being the lack of lens filter (and any exposure differences due to the filter).

 

We both achieve a nice white balance in post and our puffers look the same. Wouldn't his water look different than mine?

No, your water will look the same assuming you are using the same strobes. The color balance between strobe and ambient is the same in each shot so the image you are capturing is identical entering the lens.

 

What James said is key: there is only one white balance. White balance is always set by the subject so it is always determined by your strobe.

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Hi Jeff,

 

I use these:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1101...reen_CC30G.html

 

They are .3mm thick and can slide between the strobe and diffuser. They are waterproof.

 

I will check my WB settings when I get home tonight and let you guys know.

 

I'm very interested to see more of Herb and Matt's photos for comparison.

 

Cheers

James

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No, your water will look the same assuming you are using the same strobes. The color balance between strobe and ambient is the same in each shot so the image you are capturing is identical entering the lens.

 

What James said is key: there is only one white balance. White balance is always set by the subject so it is always determined by your strobe.

Thanks, Craig. I just went back and re-read a discussion we had back in January on the same topic ...

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=22262&hl=

 

And now I think I ACTUALLY get it. :)

 

Thanks again! I really appreciate it.

 

Looking forward to seeing the comparison shots!

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Looking very nice, James. Judging by Matt's shot as a "before" I think the effect is really significant. It makes a really strong difference.

 

I like the blue in the second of the lightest best - nice and rich, helped to cut the green in the cyans and without pushing the blues too purpley.

319509326_A4pvb-L-1.jpg

 

Overall, I think that the effect is probably a bit strong and maybe a 10 or 20 G/M combo might be better. Certainly worth a try.

 

Thanks so much for sharing.

 

Alex

 

p.s. Seeing as Eric is such a whizz at CMYK conversions and proofing (as anyone who has seen the fantastic print quality of Wetpixel Quarterly will attest) I would be really interesting to see how he finds these blues convert to CMYK for magazine and book printing. That has always been my main concern with this technique adding magenta to the blues.

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These are great examples, James, and there's a marked difference between these and Matt's colors. I've used this filter combo before, though in the 20 strength, and would love to see a comparison between 20 and 30 in these conditions (maybe next time??). I think Craig's done that comparison, so I'll have to look in the archives.

 

I think they turned out really well, and I love how the color contrast came out between the orange gold sea fan and the sapphire background in particular. Good thinking to use filters in those conditions..

 

Linda

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Looking very nice, James. Judging by Matt's shot as a "before" I think the effect is really significant. It makes a really strong difference.
It's too bad they're completely different dive sites and locations :blush:. That, and I've not tried to push saturate the blues too much in RAW (which I could!) because the aRGB to sRGB losses pain me.

 

Now I'm going to have to edit some photos to show the blues from James' dive site...sigh :).

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Now I'm going to have to edit some photos to show the blues from James' dive site...sigh :) .
All right Matt, bring it on partner, let's see what you can do. :blush:

 

Steve

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As a quick example (nothing special) of just the blue comparisons, these are straight from RAW - a switch toggled to a single different setting in DPP (not just a saturation tweak). They're both in aRGB...because the one on the left will just turn purple if I put it into sRGB :).

 

20080527_88W4207w_extrablue.jpg20080527_88W4207w_blue.jpg

 

14bit does give you a lot of color information to push around if desired. I guess I need to find one of mine that doesn't have a sun halo...seems all of James are fairly constant water exposure...your turn Herb. :blush:

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Found one from the deep of Herb and fan without filters:

 

20080525_88W3900_bluest.jpg

 

I reserve all rights to post a less saturated-blues version of this later :).

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Comparing that last one (I agree that the blue is too sat) to James's:

319509326_A4pvb-L-1.jpg

 

James's one (that I liked last night) now looks too magenta. Aaaaaah this is confusing.

 

Alex

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Too magenta was my thought as well. There is obviously quite a bit of subjectivity and personal preference to be taken into account.

I know Craig feels pretty strongly about this, and I understand the reasoning, but I guess the question is whether from a practical standpoint there is any appreciable difference in quality between images taken using filters or images adjusted in processing. It seems with 14 bit image data, non-destructive RAW processing, tools like U-point in Nik and Capture NX which make it very easy to adjust just the water by itself without masking for example, we have a level of control that is hard to achieve with non-variable filters underwater.

Edited by loftus

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I think it is worth making adjustments to kit, such as these, so that images come out of the camera as close to "finished" as possible. This has the potential to speed workflow and reduce RAW adjustments and Photoshop. There is also the benefit of seeing images looking great underwater, which encourages you to keep working on a setup to try and nail that perfect shot. When things look crappy on the LCD it is easy to swim on.

 

I certainly would not recommend use filters that overdo an effect (10 or 20 CC seems about right here). And of course things can be adjusted in post, both for filtered and unfiltered shots. But surely it is worth making adjustments to kit to get things as right as we can underwater, if we can.

 

Alex

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I agree with that, but it seems in a case like this unless you get the kit just right without being able to dial in filtration, you may have to land up doing adjustments anyway.

Edited by loftus

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I do think it would be possible to get it right, although I still remain concerned that add the magenta helps in RGB, but could be a real problem in CMYK.

 

And while you may have to do adjustments anyway, you are starting from a better place. Colour adjustments quickly cause noise in colour gradients, even in 14 Bit RAW (not that I have a 14 Bit camera!). Less is good, if you can. Just because there is a control in RAW that allows you to selectively adjust a colour, it does not mean it is not with penalty to image quality.

 

Alex

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I do think it would be possible to get it right, although I still remain concerned that add the magenta helps in RGB, but could be a real problem in CMYK.

 

And while you may have to do adjustments anyway, you are starting from a better place. Colour adjustments quickly cause noise in colour gradients, even in 14 Bit RAW (not that I have a 14 Bit camera!). Less is good, if you can. Just because there is a control in RAW that allows you to selectively adjust a colour, it does not mean it is not with penalty to image quality.

 

Alex

I know this may be getting a little off topic, and maybe Craig can answer this, but why do colour adjustments in a 'non-destructive' editor cause noise problems? It would seem that when making colour adjustments in RAW one is simply reassigning a digital coordinate within a colour space to any given pixel. Why would say a large colour adjustment create any more noise than a small colour adjustment?

Edited by loftus

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