Adventures in colour photography: Study in black and white

Snow is an obvious subject for photography at the moment, but I don’t seem to have had much time for it. Nor, frankly, the inclination to risk life, limb and DSLR gear skeetering along icy pavements in pursuit of interesting pictures.

But sometimes you don’t have to go very far. My cat was sitting on a wall just outside my kitchen door, with the snow-covered garden behind. She didn’t have too much trouble contrasting with the snow and she threw in a mildly evil look, directly at me, as if to complain about having been left out in the cold.

I added one stop to avoid the meter being fooled by the predominantly white tone of the image, but white balance is always an issue with images of snow. There is always a blue cast. The question is how far to go in removing it. In the Lightroom histogram, the snow element of the picture came up as three distinct curves for the red, green and blue components. The curves were similar shape and peak height, red to the left then green and blue on the right. By warming up the colour balance the curves can be made to coincide reasonably well at which point the blue cast has gone.

This is what I did with the cat picture but wonder whether I may have gone too far. The overlap of the curves was not 100% perfect and we get most of the snow coming out pure white but some areas faintly pink and others faintly blue. Maybe I should have left a mild blue cast as I don’t really think there should be any pinky bits in the snow.

Here’s another crack at it. I’ve been less aggressive with the blue cast removal and taken the exposure down a bit to bring out more detail in the snow.

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2 responses to “Adventures in colour photography: Study in black and white

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  2. This picture of my cat, Whisper, is now painful to look at. She was very old, lately struggling to move at all and we found she had a massive tumour. I had no choice but to ask the vet to euthanise her. This happened last week. There was nothing else I could sensibly do but I feel terrible about it.