White Balance – The Call Of The Wild

Setting a weird white balance in the camera is not a good idea unless you mean to do it.

For example, I have read of some photographers who will set tungsten lighting for a scene lit by some other part of the spectrum. Or of photographers who put coloured gels over a small flashgun and alter the light that way.

I think the conventional wisdom is that you can pull anything ‘back from the dead’ with RAW files. I recall reading an article by Ctein, though, that made the point that even RAW files bake in some information and discard other bits of information. And lighting and the part of the spectrum that is captured is one part of that information puzzle.

Where I am going with this is that I normally leave the camera on auto-white-balance. But sometimes I knock cameras off their regular settings.

I have done that with Nikon cameras a couple of times. I will be holding one of the buttons and spinning one or other of the dials, and… Bingo, I have changed a value I didn’t intend to touch.

Part of the problem comes from me not looking at the dials as I am spinning them. I get overconfident that I know what I am doing, so I do it by touch. Big mistake, sometimes.

Five years ago when we were on Dartmoor when I inadvertently set white balance to something very odd.

Whatever I did, all the photos from the day came out with the colours looking distinctly ‘off’.

And although I was shooting RAW, I have never been able to rescue an image I am happy with. If I correct one colour, another goes awry.

I Had Another Go At Getting A Good Image

Today I have been making greeting cards, and I was looking back through the photos of the ponies on Dartmoor and had another go at resurrecting one of the photos.

I am not happy with it, but I recall the scene with the horse so clearly that I want to put it up here.

When I saved the JPEG to upload to the web, I called the image ‘The call of the wild’. I think that name is true to the feeling of what it was like to be on that lovely moor.


Click on the image to see a larger version. You may have to click again once the image comes up, in order to see the largest-size version of the image.

Here’s the article – Up Close With Ponies On Dartmoor – that my wife wrote when were on Dartmoor. There are other photos there too, so you can see how the shots came out then.

Free Vote On Fox Hunting?

From a Telegraph article of 6th March:

“The Prime Minister has pledged to give MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act if the Tories win the election.

“People in the countryside must have “the freedom to hunt”, David Cameron has said, as he backed a repeal of the foxhunting ban.

He said that the act “has done nothing for animal welfare” and that he shares “the frustration” about the hunting ban.”

Cameron On Fox Hunting

He has a strange idea of animal welfare – ripped apart by dogs is OK, apparently.

A free vote for a repeal that he has declared he supports will be seen as a test of his Government – especially if he introduces the vote early on in the life of this new Government.

Support this petition to David Cameron to withdraw the vote.

38 Degrees Petition

Edinburgh from below the Castle


This is a view over Princes Street in Edinburgh, looking down from below the castle. I took it with my iPhone using the ProCamera app in HDR mode.

One thing I have learned about the HDR mode in the app is that it likes sunlight. Give it sunlight and it beams.

I know that if I was being critical I would criticise the flat, wiped-out pale green leaves of the trees in the middle distance – but overall, I like the image and I don’t care so much about its failings.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Fuji X100s



I posted this photo as part of last Thursday’s Bloghop, and I thought you might be interested to see quality of the images from the camera. So here is the full frame. The woman was standing on the High Street in Edinburgh, trying to drum up business for Mercat Tours. I asked to take her photo and she was willing.

It is a strange thing though, don’t you think, to be asked for a photo? I’ve been asked a couple of times, and I am flattered and at the same time I also wonder ‘why’ – and I see the same thought process in the faces of the people I ask.

I have asked all kinds of people whether I can take their photo and I see a flicker of a question mark on their faces and then they almost always say yes.

woman-closeup And here is a crop from a small part of the full frame. Is is approximately 1/150th or 0.6% of the entire frame, so it gives you an idea of how much detail the camera is able to capture.

The camera has its limitations in that it is a fixed-lens camera with a focal length equal to 35mm in full frame – the same as a 35mm film camera. So no zoom – except with your feet.

Although the files are very detailed, there is a strange almost plastic quality to the images. I was talking to another Fuji owner a couple of weeks ago and he remarked on the same thing.

It’s in contrast to Nikon images, which have a kind of grittiness. I am guessing that either the Fuji is applying some kind of noise reduction that is smoothing even the RAW images or The images aren’t at their best in Photoshop. That’s possible because they are X-Trans files, which are slightly different to most cameras.

If it is a setting in the camera, then I have yet to find it. Not that that means a lot because although I have had the camera for several months I am still finding my way around the menus. It has by far the most idiotic (quixotic) set of menus and buttons of any camera I have owned.

A few weeks ago, through inadvertently pressing a button, I ‘lost’ a setting that I had got used to, and it took me ages to find it again.

But – and it’s a big but – the camera can produce some lovely images and it is small and compact. And it has an optical viewfinder. That’s a huge plus for me. I can’t work with the LCD in the back of some compacts, and SLRs with big viewfinders are much bigger cameras. I can slip the Fuji in a jacket pocket easily.

This is a photo of a comedian who appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. I forgive the camera all its buttons when it can produce files like this.