PART 4 LIGHT – EXERCISE Judging Colour Temperature 2
For this second part of the Exercise, I went back to the subject I used in Part 1 and retook the three images taken in sunlight, shade and evening light, but this time using 3 different White Balance settings, namely ‘sunshine’, ‘average’ (AWB) and ‘shadow’. The results are shown below.
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1. Middle of the Day – Sunlight
1.1 White Balance on ‘Sunshine’
1.2. White Balance on ‘AWB’
1.3. White Balance on ‘Shade’
To my eyes, there are significant differences between the colour temperature shown by the subject in each of these 3 images with the WB on Shade shot showing a warmer, more orange cast, the shot taken on AWB being the lightest (most white) and the shot with WB on sunshine being a median. The shot taken on AWB is probably the nearest to what I actually saw but is my least favourite as I find the warmer, more colourful shots more engaging and appealing.
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2. Middle of the Day – Shade
2.1. White Balance on ‘Sunshine’
2.2 White Balance on AWB
2.3 White Balance on ‘Shade’
I then moved the subject into the shade and took three more photographs. Personally, I do not find the differences between these three images as pronounced as in 1 above and I am not sure if this is an anomaly or a real occurrence. I intend to repeat the exercise with a different subject when time allows. Even though the differences are not marked, as with Series 1 above, the AWB shot appears to be greyer and cooler than the other two images and the shot taken with WB on ‘shade’ is again the warmest although there is little difference between this and the ‘sunlight’ setting. Again I prefer both of these to the AWB shot.
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3. Evening Sunshine
3.1 – White Balance on ‘Sunlight’
3.2 White Balance on ‘AWB’
3.3 White Balance on ‘Shade’
During the evening, I put the subject in direct sunlight as the sun was approaching the horizon. The difference in the temperature and quality of the ambient light was obvious when compared with earlier in the day, being warmer, more orange coloured and casting longer shadows. As with the previous two series, the ABW image is the palest and least interesting of the three. Next in warmth of its colour is the image taken on ‘sunlight’ setting and this is probably the nearest to what I saw at the time of taking the shot. Using the ‘shade’ setting has resulted in an image which is the warmest and most orange-red in hue.
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What I have learnt from this exercise is that what the eye sees is not necessarily what the camera records and therefore it is important to be aware of the nature of the ambient light and to select the correct White Balance setting to achieve the desired result. By coincidence, I have recently learnt to sometimes use the ‘shade’ or ‘cloudy’ WB settings in ordinary daylight sunshine situations in order to achieve a warmer effect in my images.
I was interested to discover that using the Average White Balance (AWB) setting in each of the 3 situations resulted in cooler hues in the images. I am aware that some photographers, including Drew Buckley who recently took me out on a day’s tuition, tend to only use the AWB setting and then adjust the temperature and hues in later post-processing. This is certainly one way of doing it, but I would prefer to try to get as near to what I want in camera at the time of shooting.
Since doing this exercise I have been even more aware than before of the nature of the ambient light at different times of the day and under different weather conditions.
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