2301 – Little White Lies

Sunday earned its name. It was mostly sunny and I drove up towards a mountain pass to get even more of the white splendor.

I took photos for around an hour and came home with the good feeling of having a bunch of safe bets. Imagine my horror when I began to process them and found that they all sucked. Each one of them.

How could that be? Somehow the colors were all completely off and whatever I did, I found no way to reconstruct what I had seen. It was as if the camera had failed to record it.

Well, of course I know that cameras suck at photographing snow. They all do. The Kodak did, the D200 did, the D300 did, although in a surprisingly different way than its predecessor, the LX5 did, so what had I expected? Why shouldn’t the OM-D suck at this when all others do as well?

Maybe I am too spoiled by the sensationally good automatic white balance of the OM-D. Sensational that is, as long as we don’t have snow. If we have, everything goes down in a sea of blue. In fact, it’s not always that way, but the combination of blue sky, white snow, sunshine and harsh contrasts is brutal.

I think these three images are pretty good. They are far from perfect, they don’t exactly look like it looked when I was there, but at least I think the images are believable. Why? I think it’s because they are white enough. The snow is white enough. I think contrast in the snow is important, texture is important and we don’t want to see the snow burn out, but at the same time snow has to look white. Not gray, not blue, certainly not yellow, no, it must be white. Almost. With just a tiny little amount of color. Just a little. Not too much, but leave it out and the whole image is dead. It’s pretty hard to find the right balance and that’s the reason why you see this today and not yesterday when it was shot.

Am I satisfied with these images? Well, not really, but I’ve spent so much time with them, it’s enough. I am snow-blind ๐Ÿ™‚

The Song of the Day is “Little White Lies” by Ella Fitzgerald. Hear it on YouTube.

2 thoughts on “2301 – Little White Lies”

  1. These images look nice to me though not having witnessed the original scene makes it difficult to judge the accuracy of your post-processing efforts. Shooting snow (or white sands on our beaches) is always a little tricky. With snow I used to add 2 stops of exposure when metering off the brightest part of the scene. Once upon a time I carried a grey-card and metered off that. Though in your case it sounds like it was mostly the white balance that was off but that seems odd to me. I haven’t shot snow in a long time but I don’t recall having it look blue on a sunny day. If I failed to adjust the exposure it used to look grey. Perhaps my memory is failing me.

    One thing for sure: our eyes and our brains are truly amazing at automatically taking care of such bothersome things ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. The problem are the deep shadows. They get incredibly blue on such days. In fact I think they are. They are lit by dark blue sky and white, sunlit snow. One has an intense color, the other has not. The result is blue. But, of course our brains also compensate for that. Yes, it’s tricky ๐Ÿ™‚

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