Last week I uploaded the following photo to flickr, showing the south end of the Berwyn platform during Chicago's first major snow storm of 2012:
Nikon D7000 w/ 16-85mm, 1/20sec at f4, ISO400. © Andy Marfia 2011 All Rights Reserved.
At the time, I debated between that version and the following:
© Andy Marfia 2011 All Rights Reserved.
I thought I'd let my blog readers see them both. Of the two shots, I find the first to be more attractive, but the second is closer to what the camera recorded-- it's a more accurate document of the moment. This was at the very tail end of the blue hour, so there really wasn't much blue in the sky-- it was more of a deep, dark purple. I wanted it to be closer to blue, so I adjusted the white balance from 2850k to 2000k when I processed the RAW file:
I also made an adjustment to the orange channel (dropping the white balance that low had turned the orange lights into a soft yellow and I wanted to retain the orange):
If you have a preference between the two, leave a comment and let me know? Note: there is no right and wrong answer. Night photos are tricky to process-- city lights can be a variety of color temperatures, and sodium vapor lights (which are in decline but still prominent in Chicago) often leave the world a garish orange. Whether you like that look or not is quite subjective. For me, it varies from photo to photo. Also, sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air and convert everything to black and white.