Corrected version using XRite Color Checker Passport

Color profiling your camera – why it matters

Pretty flower, isn’t it.

But this post isn’t about flowers. It is about color management and what you can do to get your shots closer to “right”. And it is an advertisment. Yes. And I’m not sorry.

So how did I take this shot you ask? Well, the first two steps were what many of you do anyway.

  • I got a custom white balance using a white balance card. That’s the first important step to get the colors right.
  • I used an external light meter to get the exposure right

And this got me this picture:

Tulip SOC

 

The red look much more washed out right out of camera, right? So, how did I get from this to the shot above?
Have a look again, side by side, the uncorrected version on the right side

Side by side before and after applying color profile
Side by side before and after applying color profile

You could of course spend time in post production trying to get the colors right and if you’re good you can do it.Or you create a custom color profile for your camera, using a tool called Color Checker Passport from Xrite. And once you created the profile, its just once click in lightroom. Just apply the color profile in the camera calibration tab of the development module.

And unlike white balance, you don’t need to create a profile for every shooting. You just need to create one per light source, i.e. one for sunlight, one for tungsten etc. After importing the photos into lightroom, you apply the profile that matches the light situation to the first shot and then synchronize the settings. That’s it.

If you want more details, check out their website or have a look at this video, it explains the whole process.

Oh and here is what this little marvel looks like. And it even comes with a white balance card on the backside :)

xRite Color Checker Passport
xRite Color Checker Passport
Crocus, the sign of Spring

Spring

As much as some of us like Winter, I think it is safe to say that we all love it when Spring comes back. The dark long nights are coming to an end, colors are coming back into our life and, in general, we just feel happier again.

But how do we know Spring is coming? We could of course  check our calendar, but that’s just lame. There are some universal signs. Let me show you mines.

The annual bike show

Yes, it is always at the end of winter.  And it also marks the time in the year when men feeling their mid life crisis start to think about doing wild things. Like buying a Harley. But thats a different story.

Men considering buying a bike
Men considering buying a bike

Street Caffees

We all like to start the day with a nice coffee and our favorite news paper.  And there can be no argument that Winter is over when people do this outside. They might catching a cold doing this, but again, that’s a different story.

Reading the news in the sun
Reading the news in the sun

Easter Bunny

The classic fight between Winter and Spring, Easter Bunny versus snow. Usually the bunny wins, only to be … uhmm…
Can we agree that this is a different story?

Easter Bunny
Easter Bunny

Flowers

Well, that’s the obvious sign. Flowers everywhere, screaming “Spring is here” and throwing pollen at everybody who happens to have allergies.  And no, that’s not another story. This would then be another sure sign that winter is over and Spring is here.  :)

Making me sneeze
Making me sneeze

 

 

 

 

Have a Coke!

Have a Coke!

Ahhh Mercandising.

There’s no better way to make sure somebody will be buying your product for the rest of their live than to make sure they have an unforgettable childhood memory.  And what better way to leave a mark in a kids memory than a meeting with a giant polar bear?

Awww isn’t it cuuuuute! So cuddly, such a friendly smile and look, it even got a yummy coke for you! Oh isn’t this a good bear? Yes it’s a good bear!

Now just make sure you have the kid  close to you on your next trip to the zoo.  Specially when you’re visiting the polar bears.  After all, you don’t want your kid to run into the polar bear’s den if it wants a nice ice cold coke. Do you?

Have a Coke!
Have a Coke!
Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

I don’t know how you feel about it, but I am fascinated with storms.  They are a primal force of nature to behold, beautiful and breath taking.

Watching a thunderstorm approach is fascinating, the dark clouds rolling in, the distant thunder getting louder and then the first flashes of light lighten the sky. Even in a safe building, it makes me feel more alive and my heart beat faster.

Experiencing such weather outside with no place to hide is simply breathtaking.  To be on the motorbike and hear thunder the same moment lightning illuminates the road is not an experience I want to repeat anytime soon, but it is also a very fond memory.

Or the day temperature dropped from 80 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 within half an hour and I learned that hail is very painful even when wearing full motorbike gear.

There was also the day in Romania when we thought we might reach the village only to be forced to stop by rain that was so dense I didn’t see the car stopping three meters behind me.  I guess the driver was as surprised to see me when the rain stopped as I was…

So what about you? How do you feel when you see a storm approach?

Stormy Weather 1Clouds

Stormy Weather 2Storm over Lake Zürich

Graffiti

Back to the roots

It has been a while since I posted shots from the street, hasn’t it? Did you miss it?

Ah, you’re too kind! And I have to say, it still is nice to walk the street with a camera, looking around and taking shots of things that catch my eye. To go to places I have not been for a while and have another look. Going back to the roots is an interesting way to look back, as it allows to have a look at your progression.

I realize I take shots differently now, at a slower place. I even work the scene now, taking several shots.  For once the shots were about the city itself, not people on the street. I guess that’s the influence of all the landscape photography I did last year. After all, isn’t a city simply another landscape, one that is made by men?

I think I might explore the city again a bit.

Prime TowerPrime Tower in Zürich. Finally found a way to shoot it without looking completly boring.

Prime TowerPrime Tower and its reflection. hmmm…. Still a boring building

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe city is changing. To the better? May be, but it is definitely less colorful.

Resistance is futileSome places try to resist change while new buildings are reaching for the sky to the left and right. But… can one resist change?

 

Tmax100Testshots (17)

Shaken, not stirred

James Bond was right. He always was, and I should have listened to him.

But no, I, I knew better. Because you know, shaking the coctail can get a bit messy and so I decided to stir the stuff would be the better idea. I mean, the most important thing is to mix the ingredients, right?

Oh how wrong I was. The result was thin, lifeless. It didn’t have any of the magic everybody else was talking about. For over a year, I did it the wrong way. Frank Sinatra might have his own view about *Doing it my way”, but boy was I wrong.  I changed ingredients, temperatures, anything I could think of, but the results were still shatteringly disappointing

And so, discouraged,  I stopped doing it. I had started one, waiting for me for almost three months, but just couldn’t bear another of these stale, boring shots.  Still, I did come back reading about it, admiring the work of others and wondering what I did wrong.

And then, this very Friday, I had an brainstorm. Maybe it wasn’t about the igredients. Maybe, just maybe, shaken or stir did matter. I would not shake the stuff, that would be to much, but just… turn it up side down and back. I admit, I was quite nervous when I was done, emptied the shaker and saw the result.

And boy, did it make a difference!  When scanning the negatives –

Hold on - NEGATIVES?! What are you talking about?

Oh.. Sorry. I thought you know I talk about film development… So, where was I? Ah yes - 

And boy, does it make a difference!  When scanning the negatives, the histogram was no longer huddling all the way on the left side, but stretched nicely across the range.

Beautiful blacks, lovely greys and even delicate whites, they were all here. I guess the film bug got me again.
And a bit of a travel bug as well.

But that’s a different story.

Tmax400Testshots (29)corn wreath, taken with TMAX400

beams-2. Shot on Kodak Trix-400 (35 mm Gelatin Silver)Train station Enge, shot on TMAX400

ReisefieberAll important travel literature, shot on TXAX100 @ 80 ISO
(God, just have a look at the shine on the lens. Like melted butter :)

TX400_Verschiedenes_VS Scan-140126-0027

Winter is here

I know, you didn’t find a new post when you visited this place last weekend.  But you know, I just didn’t have time to do a post, as we got snow!!!!!!!!

It wasn’t massive, but enough to make me grab my old M3, load a roll of film and put on my snow shoes.  And as it was a saturday and everybody is lazy, I even  managed to be the first one on the trail and lay some fresh tracks. Oh joy, oh joy :)

As much as I hate Winter down here where I live my every day life, as much I adore it up in the mountains with fresh snow.  It just looks so pretty, is so quiet and brings back all these cool childhood memories of playing in that white fluffy stuff.

And here you go, that’s the reason why I failed to do a post last weekend.  I know I should feel a bit sorry but you know what?

I don’t :)

Oh, and there is no before / after this time.  This is film – it just looks good, no post work needed ;)

TX400_Verschiedenes_VS Scan-140126-0023

TX400_Verschiedenes_VS Scan-140126-0024

TX400_Verschiedenes_VS Scan-140126-0026

Pictures and thoughts from someone exploring photography

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