Urination In My Station! A ramble on white balance in the Subway.

I really wish shooting color on the subway was easier.  I really do.  I know in your mind, you are asking yourself, “what’s the problem Jeremy?”  Well, the fluorescent lighting of the subway makes the photos come out green.  And now you’re thinking, “Illustrate that for me homeboy!”  Well, I only aim to please.

Here is an un-color corrected photo in the Lorimer station:

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Here is a version that I have color corrected (no other manipulations besides more magenta on the white balance):

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Notice the difference?  The un-corrected photo looks like it was tinted by nuclear farts.  It’s an awful, vomitous color.  But even the corrected photo still doesn’t look perfect and this just goes to show you that color correction cannot fix everything.  Why is this so frustrating?  Well the red in that photograph just provides a great example of some of the vibrant, saturated and synthetic colors present on the train.  People dress down in lilac purples, sun spotted old yellers and ferrari red bedazzled jumpers.  But capturing it in color… no matter how hard I try… just doesn’t work because of this light.

Here’s a photo of a guy I caught pissing in Union Square:

I just am never happy with the results of color in the subway.  This forces me to really focus on my black and white down in that rabbit hole of a transportation system.  Not that this is terrible… au contraire… I LOVE BnW!!  And in some ways I am happy that the crappy lighting forces me to shoot in monochrome.  Here are some fun ones I have taken recently:

Digital photos are always captured in color but can also be changed to BnW in post.  So remember, if you shoot film in NYC and want to shoot in the subway, shoot black and white!

Snappy Trails!

-j

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