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Old Jun 17, 2006, 10:00 PM   #1
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I'm new to digital SLRs and just got my KM 7D. Tomorrow I'm going to try and take some sailboat racing pictures and the forecast is sunny and hot. I'll be basically using the automatic settings but I'm wondering is there anything I can do to avoid getting a blue cast (especially on white sails) when shooting on these kind of days. Any tips for this and shooting from a moving boat is appreciated.
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Old Jun 17, 2006, 10:46 PM   #2
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You've been getting a blue cast outdoors using Auto White Balance? I haven't seen that problem with my 5D (but, it can be a common problem with digital cameras in some conditions, for example: snow). We don't get much of that (snow) here in Savannah. ;-)

Sometimes a color cast with snow can be helped with a brighter exposure (use a +EV Setting with Exposure Compensation). But, you don't want to overexpose and blow any highlights.

But, chances are, you're just seeing a White Balance issue if you're getting a blue cast. Shooting in raw is your best bet for correcting any white balance related issues (since it's easier to change "after the fact"), or use raw + jpeg (so you've got photos both ways). Shooting raw will also make it easier to correct exposure issues if you're shooting in harsh lighting. Make sure you've lots of memory card space shooting that way, though.

You could also try using a preset white balance (versus Auto White Balance), or even a custom white balance setting (the camera sets the white balance for the temperature of the light from a photographic gray card or white card in the lighting you are shooting in).

If you don't have a photographic gray card, a few white coffee filters stacked usually makes a pretty good target for getting it close. It can be a bit "finnicky" (errors in some lighting, requiring multiple tries to get it set). A trick to setting it with less errors it is to go to Manual Focus and make sure you're way out of focus (of course, don't forget to switch back to AF). ;-) Check your manual and you'll see a section on setting white balance.

As for shooting from a boat, you'd probably want to keep your shutter speeds relatively fast to avoid blur. I can remember seeing something about needing shutter speeds several times as fast as you'd normally need to prevent blur from camera shake shooting from most boats (which makes sense, if they're moving a lot). So, the anti-shake probably couldn't work miracles with a lot of movement. But, I don't have any experience shooting with a KM DSLR from one (other than a river boat cruise at night).

If it's nice and sunny out, chances are, shutter speeds will be fine. But, I'd keep an eye on them and if they start dropping off too much (i.e., less than around 1/500 second), I'd probably consider upping the ISO speed a bit, and/or changing to another shooting mode. If you don't want to risk shooting in Tv or Av modes, you could always use P mode (and just spin a control wheel until your shutter speed/aperture combination in the viewfinder has a fast enough shutter speed).

In sunny outdoor conditions, you'll probably be OK though.

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Old Jun 18, 2006, 8:32 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. I was out on the water Tuesday evening and the color was great (no blue at all). I was using the lens that came with the camera so I really didn't get anything close up.

The reason why I asked about the blue cast is because there's a guy with a Nikon D200 who shoots the races a lot and his photos almost always have a blue cast to them. I don't think he does any post correction at all. I sometimes get it a little with my camcorder but nothing as bad aswith his Nikon. I try to aim for a white sail when I turn my camcorder on.

BTW, what kind of lens filter should you use for these kind of conditions?
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Old Jun 19, 2006, 10:48 AM   #4
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I get a blue cast when its overcast or in the shade using auto white balance, its not bad but its noticeable. When I set the white balance manually to shade or cloudy I get MUCH better colors, brighter and more saturated where AWB left them gray and dull. Bright sun dosent seem to pose any problems for me, and at dusk/dawn the camera gets it just right.

I shoot in raw+jpg so I can adjust after the fact, but I always try to get it right in camera because sometimes I dont shoot raw and I want to have good habits. Plus it still makes it easier and faster to post process.

You might like the effect of a polarizer to cut glare from the water, they are helpful anytime your outside on a planet with a sun, which you'll find is quite often.
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