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HDR and ColorChecker Passport – Part 2.


by eduardoangel – December 11th, 2009

by Brian Matiash

My most recent evolution brought me to a very granular place within photography.  It had to do with achieving proper color and tone.  Ensuring that the foundation of what I would be building was correct and true.  And it happened with the creation of the ColorChecker Passport.  With the Passport, I can now bring assurance and consistency to all of my shots, across any range of lighting conditions that I am in.  It provides me with flexible, custom White Balance options with its Creative Enhancement Target.  It also gives me the ability to create custom DNG profiles using the 24-Patch ColorChecker Classic and then apply them to my bracketed images prior to tone mapping.

What I love most about the Passport is its ease of use as part of my workflow, both in behind the camera and in front of the computer.  It really is simple.  The first shot I take is always of the Passport.  Changed a lens or major shift in lighting?  Shoot the Passport.  Doing this ensures my ability to apply correct and consistent color and White Balance to every shot that will compose my HDR image.


Left Caption: Without ColorChecker Passport White Balance or DNG Profile || Right Caption: With ColorChecker Passport White Balance or DNG Profile

I have done extensive tests and comparisons using the identical HDR workflow.  The first test did not incorporate any aspect of the Passport (no custom White Balance or DNG Profile).  This test is probably indicative of how large majorities of people shoot and process.   The second test incorporate a custom White Balance and DNG Profile, both derived from the Passport shot from that scene. The results, while subtle, provided noticeable and marked improvements to my base HDR image.  I found that the colors in the image were more representative of the actual scene and the tones were much truer and accurate than the non-color managed version.

And then it hit me.  If applying the Color Management to my workflow increases my image quality by even just 2%, it is still that much better than if I hadn’t applied it.  And with the hundreds of thousands of images shared on Flickr, and other similar sites, it could just be that extra 2% that makes your image stand out amongst the masses.


Left Caption: Without ColorChecker Passport White Balance or DNG Profile || Right Caption: With ColorChecker Passport White Balance or DNG Profile

To read Part 1 of this article go here.

About the author:

Brian Matiash is a Boston-based photographer who loves to capture the many facets of urban life, most notably the architecture and street life that make up the skeleton of a city.  Brian is known for implementing the High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging technique to bring out a level of supplemental reality and texture to his photos.

Brian has gained recognition for his HDR work and has been published in various media outlets including The Boston Globe, the Improper Bostonian, and various online photography journals.  He recently had a series called ‘High Dynamic Reality’ on display at the Hudson Street Gallery in Boston, MA.  He was also the Winner for the 2008 and 2009 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk for Boston, MA and Brooklyn, NY, respectively.

Brian was involved in Alpha and Beta testing for the ColorChecker Passport.  It is now used as a regular part of his photography workflow, both in front of the camera and behind the computer screen, because of the improvements to image quality that it brings.

Brian currently lives in Framingham, MA with his wife, Lisa and two dogs, Zilla and Chaca.  You can see more of Brian’s work at http://brianmatiash.com

Categories: Ambient, Cameras, ColorChecker, Education, How-To, ICC, Lighting, Profiles, Viewing, Vision, White Balance | Tags:

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