A few months ago I was taking pictures at a theater performance. The light was dim and constantly changing due to a heavy use of projectors. I had to shoot at ISO 6400 using Nikkor 80-200 at f/2.8 using shutter speed around 1/50-1/80 sec. I was shooting RAW using auto white balance. Previously it was not a problem for me to adjust the white balance in Lightroom.
This time, though, most of my photos came out red. They look like purely shadows of red. Any idea why this happened and how to avoid this problem in the future?
Thu 04-Sep-14 06:55 AM | edited Thu 04-Sep-14 06:57 AM by shipsupt
Is it possible that the projectors were just throwing red light during this part of the performance? It is interesting. If you drop the saturation from the red and orange channels there is no other color there.
Perhaps it might be worth putting up one of the photos that was not all red.
It might also be worth putting a message in the Stage, Clubs, & Concerts forum as there are quite a few active stage shooters who could help that might not check this forum.
What was your white balance selection? Did you try correcting white balance? Even a red image like this can have a corrected white balance that removes color cast. IR images start with something like this in many cases but a corrected white balance resolves the issue.
Here's a real WAG, probably for stage shooters.....
If lighting levels were that low, assuming the use of just one spot each of several colors. With a shutter speed of about 1/80s is it possible you exposed this at the peak of the red light and the "valley" of the other colors as they cycle on/off with the 60 cycle current? The red and others lights would be on different circuits.
were you shooting B&W the day before and left the red filter on ???
You mistakenly had a custom white balance active from a previous shoot? I've done that one.
Really curious to hear the "final answer". Sorry you had this rotten luck.
Roger It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
I was shooting RAW as I do most of the time and WB was on Auto. The only filter I had on was a standard UV filter. I could not adjust the color by using only temperature scale in LR. I had to start playing with individual color to get something remotely close. But that meant finding a right point in multi-dimensional space instead of usual 1D.
The workflow you describe for a correct WB is similar to the workflow for WB with IR photography.
I wonder if Auto WB was the problem. In the dim light, it is possible the camera had an error in trying to create a WB. With modern DSLR cameras converted for IR only, you cannot set a custom WB and Auto does not work. The required color temp and tint adjustment is outside the possible range. You might try setting a WB manually on one of the presets. Just try them manually and check the LCD to determine which one is best.
Here is a link to Lifepixel's discussion of setting a WB for an IR image. You'll find the images look very similar to your photo. With many cameras, the only choice is to set WB in post. There are also some guides for Lightroom WB.