What? Pay $300 for a filter to add color?

after Last week the girls and I headed out to Jasper National Park for a girls and dad weekend. The idea was to have a fun weekend together.

It was a blast. There were memories to last a lifetime and a few photos to boot.

When you only make it to Jasper a couple of times a year, you are really at the mercy of the weather. You can only shoot what nature has given you.
Where I live, in Edmonton, on the flat Alberta prairie, I often have one eye on the sky. If the weather looks interesting I am in the car and chasing skies. Because I can do this, my prairie landscapes are far more interesting to the ones from Jasper or Banff and God knows how boring the prairies can be.

In the parks you almost only have to point your camera to get an interesting shot. It isn’t quite that easy but it is very easy. LOL

Back to Jasper. We were up before the sun hoping for an interesting sunrise on the Maligne River where it drains from the lake. Even though it is often well below freezing there, the water remains open throughout the winter.

We waited patiently for the morning color to come and well, it kinda did but only barely.

The one image above shows the horizon with just a touch of color, how the camera saw it. The other, with color added. Where did that color come from?

I love gadgets as much as the next photographer. I cannot justify up to $500 for a Singh Ray  or any other such filter and with an average price of over $200 I doubt that I will ever be buying one. I only use Singh Ray as an example because they often show before and afters that can be done in camera without the added expense of buying a filter and  I think I have more flexibility in camera and better results without the outlay of cash.

There are pros and cons for adding color in camera or in computer. Aside from the cost, once I have shot an image with filter, that is it. You can’t revert. Sure you can shoot without a filter but that means shooting double of everything. I  shoot extremely fast when the light is falling I don’t want to be pulling filters in and out of my bag. I’d rather be shooting photos.

Changing colors in camera affords me more flexiblity. If I spend $200 dollars for a filter, that gives me ONE color. Do I have to spend another $200 for a different color? I wouldn’t and couldn’t afford that.

Photoshop makes it all very easy to save you money and gives you more options for adding colors. The scene at Maligne had it’s color added through a feature called “color matching”. Google it for the long explanation but the quick and simple one is this.

Find an image with similar tones but different colors that you would like your original image to have. In this case I used a copy of a Rembrandt painting because it has rich, warm middle tones. You open the original and Rembrandt together. Go to IMAGE/ADJUSTMENTS/MATCH COLOR in Photoshop and play with the sliders until you get a pleasing result. It is that simple.

Want a sunrise with soft, pink muted colors? Find a photo with those tone and match it with the original. I keep a folder of images with tones and colors just for this purpose.

I saved myself a few hundred dollars on filters. Unless I get famous enough where filter manufacturers are supplying me with free filters to flog I will happily continue using “MATCH COLOR” in Photoshop.

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~ by Dan Jurak on January 24, 2009.

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