Month: May 2015

White Balance In Mixed Lighting

Unlike your eyes, a digital camera does not see whites as white. It sees the colour of the light that is reflected from the scene. Many cameras have settings for automatic white balance, and for specific scenes like sunny, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, etc. And when you know that a scene is lit by just one predominant light source, you can help the camera by setting the white balance to the appropriate lighting. Or you can let it figure out the scene for itself and use automatic white balance. Automatic white balance is where the camera figures out the lighting that is illuminating the scene. It does that by comparing the scene to the many thousands of scenes programmed into its memory. There’s a practical problem when you are taking photos in a room with mixed lighting – maybe fluorescent, with a tungsten spotlight and some daylight from a window, etc. It is hard for the camera to set the white balance correctly and it is hard for you to choose a setting that matches the …

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, …