WB for snow

KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
edited November 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
The snow is covering our mountains already, and it is time for me to again take snow pictures. Now equipped with my D800 I wonder if I need to set the WB specifically for snow conditions. I took a bunch on Saturday, and the snow is way too blue. I tried with the WB set for cloudy and sunny, but alas.

So, time to try what Kelvin setting is best. Any suggestions? Lots of snow and ice, and usually rather sunny...
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Comments

  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Here in Vermont, we don't have quite as much snow as Greenland, but we're not far behind. I can't speak to WB, but in snow I do tend to shoot +2/3 EV. You may find that solves some of your issue.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Have you already shot a patch of snow in sun to use as a custom WB preset? Did that help at all?
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    I knew about the EV setting, and the guideline here is +2/3 -> +1 step, and that helps, but not enough.

    I thought about the PRE setting, but have never dealt with that. I guess that is "simply" pointing the camera at some snow in the given environment, and recording that as white:

    1) Press WB button, move the dial to PRE, and select d-1,
    2) Let go and press down WB button until it blinks,
    3) Shoot the snow.

    However, I thought that was for grey cards... does that work for snow as well?

  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I've never used the "Pre-" function as anything other than a way to establish neutral gray (I used an Expo Disk). I'd be curious how this works for you Bob.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    According to the D800 manual page 155, either gray or white can be used with the "Pre" function. I've used it with white before on other camera models, so you shouldn't have an issue.
  • aquarian_lightaquarian_light Posts: 135Member
    Well seeing as how snow is about as white as scenery can get, it will reflect darn near the whole spectrum from the sun, making it VERY easy for the camera to pick a WB in auto mode. Typically there are a lot more colors in an environment which can hide a slight blue cast, but in snow, just let the camera figure it out. I'd bet money on it getting it right.
    D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    edited November 2013
    Cameras meter for 18% gray, not white. Snow throws off AWB a lot, you just end up with the blue cast if you rely on that. I just fix the issue in post.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    I did try to leave it in auto mode, and the snow was blue. I then tried in cloudy and in sun modes, and the results were disappointing to say the least. I'll try meter a PRE of the snow next time, and use the custom WB setting.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    White snow can reflect a lot of blue sky this being more prominent when we see it in the shade. ….if you shoot some tests in auto WB, matrix metering, + 0.7 ev, + 1.3ev, +2 ev. and see which ones will hold highlight details, then from there any other corrections can be done in post. You should be able to adjust the blue and yellow in post both from a saturation and luminance basis. When we look at the snow, our brain tells us it is white even when reflecting blue sky. The camera does not do this.
    Msmoto, mod
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Now I can't until it is sunny again. The landscape up here in Greenland is fantastic most of the time, and right now with sunny days and powder snow it is even better... Especially around 15-hours, just before sun set ;)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator
    Same for lightroom.
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Custom WB - that is the only thing that has worked consistently for me. Expo disk, grey card, etc. Sometimes I "bracket" or take two images, shade for elements, custom WB for snow and combine the image.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Using Aperture I find that the WB tools are OK. I never use Lightroom, and only Photoshop when I need the heavy machinery out:)

    I'll try the Kelvin +500 step-up, and the custom WB settings and see what I get...

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    White balance can be bracketed ;-)
    Page 138 in the D800 manual, you can set the increment at 5,10 or 15 mired.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    Like Tao, custom WB works best for me with snow using the ExpoDisk. I have also had too tweak the expose. That was based upon my D300. We just got our first snow of the season and I did not get out the D7100.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Bracketing is a good idea, at least in the beginning, and when shooting something as challenging as sonwy conditions. Also for landscape pics it is doable.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    I still use a grey card. Anyways shoot raw... a little toying in Lroom will show which kelvin it is to be at
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,117Member
    Interesting, I put my white balance on auto and everything worked out fine.

    DSC_5874

    I never really gave a thought about WB. It just came out okay.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited November 2013
    @NSXTypeR

    If you look at shadow areas (e.g., bottom left corner of your picture), the color of the snow there is quite blue. If you take a loupe in Photoshop you'll see RGB values like (R=67, G=79, B=105). To me however the picture looks natural, and it's ok to have bluish snow in shadow areas if it doesn't dominate the picture.

    So the rule of thumb with snow is to ensure neutral color balance in the highlight areas (properly exposed), and let the rest naturally fall in place. One can go nuts trying to eliminate the blue tint everywhere.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    One of the difficulties in viewing any scene on our computers in which color is critical, is the lack of uniform color balance between all our monitors. It may appear correct in terms of what we see on our monitors, which we may have even color balanced for our preference, but once on the web, the color may be something different.
    Msmoto, mod
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    edited November 2013
    Here is a link discussing white balance in snow ... as well as exposure metering and compensation generally.
    http://bit.ly/Vowp0F

    Post edited by Beso on
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,117Member
    edited November 2013
    @NSXTypeR

    If you look at shadow areas (e.g., bottom left corner of your picture), the color of the snow there is quite blue. If you take a loupe in Photoshop you'll see RGB values like (R=67, G=79, B=105). To me however the picture looks natural, and it's ok to have bluish snow in shadow areas if it doesn't dominate the picture.

    So the rule of thumb with snow is to ensure neutral color balance in the highlight areas (properly exposed), and let the rest naturally fall in place. One can go nuts trying to eliminate the blue tint everywhere.
    @NSXTypeR: I have to agree, it looks far too blue to me. The shadows are far too blue and the trees are no longer green. I added a couple of curves adjustment layers, one that targeted the shadows and the other the midtones. I worked mostly with the blue channel, but did some changes to the green as well. It's not raw, so it's tough, but you'll see that it no longer has as much of a purple/blue cast.
    Interesting points- I never would have noticed that the trees looked more black than green. I guess I should pay more attention to that stuff, and take a look at making a custom white balance perhaps.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2013
    @NSXTypeR: the more you play with your RAW files in post the better your skills will get. The only thing you should pay attention to is to avoid getting to many blown out spots. My recommendation to avoid it is, meter the sky to get the proper exposure, then do not change any of the setting. Re-compose to the spot you what to shoot and fire away. This way, your RAW files will have all the info it needs in post. The LCD on the back of your camera will also help, when you preview the images to see if their are any blow-outs. If the image is dark, by all means DO NOT worry about it...you will be able to get all the colors and proper WB in post.

    Have fun and looking forward in seeing your images on PAD.....cheers.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator
    We should ALL be using some form of colour management! If we only click snaps and put them on flickr i.e. viewing them on our own PC screen only then we cannot know how far out of whack they are. Spyder or Colour Monkey are two I have used.
    Always learning.
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    This is an example of what I got:

    D80_3057

    I don't think it is good enough... The sky was actually not that grey/yellow, and the ice is still turning bluish...
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