How Can I Get This Shade of Blue Sky?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by M4/3, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I got this photo off the internet and would like to know how I can get that same very appealing (to me) shade of blue out of an Olympus E-PL1 or OMD camera? I have not been able to figure out how to do it in Olympus Viewer. Is that shade of blue associated with a certain brand of camera? Or do you think the shooter used a polarizer to get that color? Or do you think the shooter used a certain image editor? Thanks.
  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Polariser filter will provide good deep blue sky and contrast with clouds.
  3. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    Plus possibly some post processing from the raw file...
  4. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    It helps to start with a blue sky. The sky is not always the same color you know.
  5. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    This is a strange question. If you can see such a sky, your camera should too. If the photo is not coming out like you see it, you may want to look at your camera's settings (probably - most specifically, white balance).
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Lots of options/approaches to getting what you want.

    First, exposure. The clouds are bright and the sky is also brighter than the scenery below the horizon. If you expose for the scenery the clouds and sky will lighten, and probably the clouds at least, and perhaps the sky as well, will end up as clipped highlights. You don't want clipping in the sky and you also don't want to over expose the sky or you'll end up with a light blue sky that may look washed out. The first step is definitely getting the exposure right for the clouds and sky.

    Then there are your options for getting a really deep tone to the sky. As Ian said, a polarising filter will help a lot there. Without a polariser, or even with one if you still want a darker/deeper tone to the sky, you can try increasing the saturation of the sky in a program like Lightroom which allows adjustment of saturation for individual colours (you probably don't want to increase the saturation of every colour in the photo) and you could also try decreasing the luminance of the sky slightly to darken it and increase contrast with the clouds. Adjusting the saturation and luminance of the sky will leave the tonality and brightness of the landscape area untouched but you could also work on it if you wanted by lifting the shadows.

    Another approach would be to take several shots, bracketing your exposures, then combining the images to produce a HDR image.

    And finally, if you want to go overboard and throw caution to the wind, you can combine all of those methods.

    One warning: if you're going to use a polarising filter, watch your choice of lens. Polarisers can produce a sky that lightens towards the edges of the frame if used with too wide a lens so I'd avoid the wider options in the wide angle range if I were using a polarising filter.
  7. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    remember to avoid using a Linear polarising filter as many AF systems do not work effectively with this type, go with a circular polariser as they work with all digital sensors / AF systems.

    A quality polariser not only helps enhance the colours / reduce reflections form water / glass etc, they also cut through haze and increase clarity / contrast but at a cost exposure wise.
  8. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Circular polarizer for one thing will help. Secondly, I generally get these results when I shoot 180 degrees from the sun. High Noon sun usually in my experience doesn't produce these shots. Usually away from the sun a few hours after sunrise or a few hours before sunset produces the best skies I think. Haze and particulate will also make the sky appear less than blue, too.
  9. Olympus cameras don't do sky blues very well. They have too much tendency towards cyan in their default raw colours and especially their jpeg colours. You need to isolate and adjust the saturation and luminance of the blue/aqua/cyan etc colour channels to make them look more natural, although I find the example image to still be darker and more saturated than I would like.
  10. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Polarizer filter + 2 Stop ND Grad filter to allow for better exposure of the hills in the foreground. Bump up the saturation in PP as well
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Hi Ian,

    My understanding is that linear polarizers are just fine to use with contrast-detect auto-focus (CDAF) systems as are used in all :43: cameras and that it's only with phase-detect (PDAF) systems that circular polarizers are necessary. Is that incorrect?
  12. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK

    This appears to be an area where there is no definitive answer and certainly DSLR's with half silvered mirrors suffer from linear and there have been cases where even CDAF systems have not performed as they should.

    I would certainly err on the side of caution and go circular but the choice is not mine.
  13. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I agree with you that if I were buying a filter I'd probably opt for spend the extra couple of bucks for the circular polarizer, for "future proofing" if for nothing else, but AFAIK linear polarizers should work fine with CDAF.
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

  15. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I use both CPL and linear on MFT with no problems. Local camera stores only have CPL in stock - that should be a clue (they have no MFT gear).
  16. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    DSLRs just about killed sales for linear polarizers so my local stores stopped carrying them. Is what I've been told.
  17. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    I assume be "shade of blue" you are referring to the hue and not the saturation. With some RAW converter, Adobe's is one, you can not only adjust the saturation on a color by color basis, but can also shift the hue of individual colors.

    If you using either Lightroom or Camera RAW, via either Photoshop or Bridge, you may find that shifting the blue "channel" toward the cyan/aqua will get hues similar to the sample.
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
  19. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    Should work just fine

    I have a few (very old) linear polarizers that I bought from Spiratone Camera about 1975. I use these on all my MFT cameras and have never had any problems. I suspect that there may be some slight advantage to the newer circular ones but so far I have not discovered what they are.
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