The Digital Photo Guy

Tag: white balance

Win a Photoshop World Workbook – Photo Contest

by on Oct.21, 2009, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips

It’s time for a new photo contest. This time, the theme is holidays. Being American, I’m partial to Thanksgiving during this period. For readers from other countries, the photos must reflect some sort of national celebration. The contest is open to registered readers of this site. Registration is free. The contest is open now and submissions will be accepted until December 8, 2009. The winner will be announced in time for them to receive the prize by Christmas 2009 unless they happen to live outside the USA in which case, all bets are off as to ETA.

PhotoshopWorld Workbook

800+, 8.5" x 11" pages

The prize is a Photoshop World Workbook from Photoshop World 2009 in Las Vegas. It is 800 pages of PS tips, tricks and hints from virtually every class at PSW. For a peek at the contents, see this description on my site. Because the book is heavy, I’m asking the winner to pay US$10 via PayPal for shipping.

Photos will be judged on three criteria:

  1. Exposure – is the photo correctly exposed. Correctly does NOT always mean right edge of histogram at right side and left edge touching the left side. Many photos look better when one side or the other is pulled in to achieve a specific “look”. Color balance will also be evaluated.
  2. Focus – is the photo in focus or was blur used artistically. If your portrait has a sharp ear but blurry eyes, it will be noticed. Not only must the important parts be in focus but the unimportant parts must not be distracting. Controlling DoF is an integral part of good photography, it will be evaluated.
  3. Composition – what is the emotional impact of the photo? Does it tell a story or do the colors/shapes/lines/negative space evoke an emotion? Does the photo engage the viewer? Does it create tension through unanswered questions? More than anything else, I’m looking for photos that have impact, that makes me sit up and notice.

Since I am the sole judge and arbiter, here are some of my biases. As much as you think your kids/grandkids are precious, I rarely find any redeeming artistic value in photos of children or pets. On the other hand, I love landscapes, portraits, wildlife, birds, flowers, still life, architecture, old things, new things, shiny things, rusty things and just about anything. See photos on this site to get an idea of what yanks my chain, floats my boat, tingle my toes and, in general, makes me happy, sad, excited, thrilled, thoughtful or otherwise emotional. BTW, I’m also not a fan of street photography unless your name happens to be Henri Cartier-Bresson.

All photos must be resized to 640 pixels along the longest side and no larger than 1MB. Send it to me via e-mail or post it on your own website and send me a link. If you send a link, it should be a link to one photo. In other words, don’t link to a page with a gazillion photos and expect me to figure out which is your entry. The photo must have been taken with a digital camera (any type, make, model) and the only edits allowed are crop, color correction, levels and sharpen. No composites or collages will be considered. HDR will be accepted but the more it looks like a single frame, the better your chances. Each person is limited to three (3) submissions. Once a photo is submitted, it can be withdrawn but not replaced.

The purpose of this contest is to promote photography as an art. I want people to elevate their photography beyond snapshots of Fluffy & Rover at the backyard barbeque. I want more people to see the potential within themselves. Even if all you ever take are photos of your kids/grandkids, I want you to make them into art, not simple snapshots.

Legal stuff – By entering a photo(s) in this contest, you affirm that you are the photographer with all rights appertaining including, but not limited to, copyright. You agree to hold harmless the owner and publisher of this site and contest promoter from any claims, past, present and/or future arising from any actions related to the photo(s) submitted by you or in your name. By submitting a photo(s), you agree to convey an irrevocable, non-exclusive 5 year license to The Digital Photo Guy (Lee Otsubo) to display the photo(s) and use them for teaching purposes. All other rights remain with you. Any part of this agreement/contest may be modified by The Digital Photo Guy without notice.
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White Balance Trick

by on Mar.12, 2009, under Photo Editing

I’ve seen lots of articles, columns, books, brochures, etc titled XYZ Tips & Tricks but never took the time to figure out what constitutes a tip and what is a trick. When I started to write this post, I nearly titled it White Balance Tip but quickly realized it was really a trick. How did I differentiate between a tip and a trick? I decided that tips are better, faster, easier ways to accomplish a task. So, Photoshop keyboard shortcuts are tips and setting white balance to AWB in RAW is a tip. Tricks, on the other hand, are ways to accomplish a task using some non-standard method or tool. I learned this trick last month at Bosque del Apache, NM in Artie Morris’ workshop.

Not every morning or evening results in spectacular light or soft warm glow. Many days are just plain while other days are just plain ugly. The photo below (left) is of a plain daybreak at Bosque. The middle photo is the same photo with white balance set to 7200 Kelvin in Adobe Camera RAW. The last photo shows a similar scene 5 minutes later with white balance set to 7200 Kelvin.

3210_awb   3210_acr   3218_7200k

I realize they’re two different scenes but the shot on the right has a richer color than the photo in the middle even though both were adjusted for 7200 Kelvin white balance. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because the camera is working in 14 bit mode while the PS version is 8 bit.

The point is, it’s easy to dial in a higher or lower white balance to get the image you want. Even if you decide you don’t like it, if you shoot in RAW, you can dial it back in ACR and you won’t have lost anything except a moment of your time to readjust it.

To get a warmer (redder) image, dial in a higher Kelvin temperature (7000K or more) and to get a cooler (bluer) image dial it back to under 3000K. This is my favorite from that series. One bald eagle was calling the other and eventually both were sitting on this snag in the main impoundment as the sun rose to the east.


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