What Color Is Your Umbrella?
Going Out? Don't Forget To Take Your Gray Card
"Black is the color of my true love's eyes."--traditional English song
Making photographs in a factory
presents lots of technical challenges. Obviously, there are lighting
problems posed by working in a big building with 50-foot high ceilings
and mixed-color light sources. When shooting digital images under weird
lighting conditions, the most obvious solution is to create a custom
white balance using the flip side of a Kodak Gray Card. (It's
white in case you've never noticed.) That was an acceptable solution
up to a point. At this factory, the color balance varied within 10 feet
of the last place I'd shot. Just when I thought the camera's
white balance was perfect, I'd take a few steps to the left and
the color, especially skin tones, would look sickly.
For digital photographers on
a budget but who still want correct color, the ExpoDisc (www.expodisc.com)
is an easy, inexpensive way to get good white balance and accurate exposures
on the first shot. It's a diffusion filter sandwiched with compensating
filters that are individually tested on a color analyzer to correct the
white balance before final assembly. You make an exposure with the disc
in place and select that image file for your custom white balance and
let the camera make the adjustments. This is a faster and probably more
accurate procedure than using a gray/white card.
Color Tricks With Photoshop
The package also includes 15 custom filters that are currently only compatible with Microsoft Windows. To run the Actions, you'll need Adobe Photoshop 7 or CS. Most will work on Photoshop 6, but I didn't test each one so can't guarantee which ones will work or not with that older version. To view the movies, you'll need the QuickTime player that's available free from the Apple website (www.apple.com/quicktime/download). The CD costs $65 plus $3 shipping and handling within the US.
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