Thursday, 8 September 2011

Light: Project - The colour of light

Exercise: judging colour temperature 2

Aim:  The aim of this exercise is to take three sets of three pictures, midday shade, midday sun and evening sun with shade, sun and auto WB settings and to interpret the results.

Approach and results:  For the first part of this exercise I used a day when the sun was in and out of the clouds giving me the opportunity to get the shots in reasonably quick succession.  Grabbing the short bursts of sunshine available meant asking Katya to run out into the garden at short notice and me taking the pictures as quickly as possible, so the portraits aren't particularly good!
These first 3 pictures were taken when the sun was behind the clouds.  The first image uses AWB and is rather cool.  There appears to be no adjustment for the shade.  It was still a bright day so this may be an issue.  The 2nd picture has the WB set to shade.  This has corrected the previous cool and is much more representative of the actual light.  The 3rd picture uses the sunny WB setting and has consequently produced a cool image much like the AWB shot.  If anything the AWB shot is the coolest of the 3.
light=Shady, WB=AWB

light=Shady, WB=Shade

light=Shady, WB=Sun
These next three pictures where taken when the sun was out.  The 1st was with AWB and again is the coolest of the 3.  The 2nd shot is with the WB set to shade and has warmed up the image.  Although I find this the better of the 3 images, it is not representative of the conditions.  The 3rd shot is with the WB set to sun.  This is the most accurate, being slightly warmer than the AWB but cooler than the shady WB.
light=Sunny, WB=AWB

light=Sunny, WB=Shade

light=Sunny, WB=Sun
These last three pictures were taken using the low evening sun.  They were taken in quick succession as the light was changing rapidly.  The first shot was with AWB and, in this case is the most accurate.  The 2nd shot is with the WB set to shade and is far too warm and yellow as you would expect.  The 3rd shot is with the WB set to sun and is the coolest of the 3 images, but only slightly.
Light= late sun, WB=auto

Light= late sun, WB=shade

Light= late sun, WB=sun
Learning points:

The auto white balance from my camera is slightly on the cool side for portraits.  I prefer a warmer result.  This would not necessarily be the case for other types of shot but warmer skintones are generally more flattering.  I've never used the scene modes on my camera but it makes me wonder what result I would get if I set it to portrait.
Interestingly the AWB in all cases above has produced a similar result to the sunny WB.
If I'm not getting the WB I want I usually set it manually on the Kelvin scale.
It's worth taking note exactly how your particular camera judges scenes so you know what expect in future.

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