Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Light: Project - The colour of light

Exercise: judging colour temperature 1

Aim:  the aim of this exercise is to understand the effects of colour temperature and white balance at different times of the day.

Approach and results:

I chose to shoot three pictures of my partner whilst on holiday.  One in full sun at midday, one in shade at midday and one as the sun was dropping in the late afternoon.  The camera's white balance was set to sunny.  As this is a direct comparison I haven't done any post processing.  At the time my thoughts were that the midday sun was neutral but harsh, the shade was neutral but softer and more even and the late afternoon sun was warmer but not overly warm.

This first image is the sun at midday and is fairly accurate if a little cool.  You can see by the shadows that the sun was almost directly overhead producing a very harsh, unflatering light.  The second image is midday shade and the image is definately cooler or bluer than it should be.  The sunny WB has overcompensated in the shade.  The late afternoon image is not overly warm.  I think taking the shot later still would change this.  The colours look warm but the skin tone does not.  The defocussed lavendar in the background is certainly warmer than earlier in the day (the main reason we were there).

Midday sun

Midday shade

late afternoon sun
 Learning points:

If you chose to control the white balance it is necessary to change it to suit the scene and not, for example,  just leave it on sunny on a sunny day.  It is important to know what you camera will do at certain WB settings.  I don't think I was aware that the sunny WB would cool down the shadey image quite so much.

If you use AWB it is important to get to know what your camera will do.  My experience with my camera is that if left to it's own devices in shadier situations the images can be on the cool side.  Particularly in woodland or tree shade.  In tricky situations I will use the kelvin scale and the live view to adjust the WB.

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