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Saturday, January 23, 2010

White Balance

I'm still getting used to my new camera, and have been experimenting quite a bit with all the features I read about in the manual. One cool feature that I know I will use a lot in the future is the 'White Balance Calibration'. Sounds like a topic for MLK day, but what it means is that I can calibrate my camera to recognize 'true white'. I've always know about the settings on the camera that you switch to depending on whether you are shooting under fluorescent lights, outside, in the shade etc, but I've never had a camera where you could customize this setting.

In the past, I took pictures of sunsets, mountains etc and then had to play with them in iphoto and photoshop to get the colors right. I always had to warm them up with a bit of red. Now I think I know what was going on. Today I took these two photos at the outlet to Buskin Lake. The top one I calibrated the white balance by using snow in the shade as the true white. In the second photo I just set the camera to average white balance (AWB), and I think the camera chose to made the pink snow on pyramid white. So instead of a photo showing the glorious pink sunrise reflected onto Pyramid I just had a white mountain.

In the future, I still think I will play with the colors in iphoto and photoshop but it certainly is nice to be taking photos that are far more true to the real colors. It also makes me feel better about all the 'photoshopping' I did in the past to get the colors right. I had always felt like I was cheating somehow, and creating an alternate, more beautiful reality. Now I realize I was just getting the colors back to where they were supposed to be.

The bottom photo is doctored a bit (not with the colors though) while the top two have only been resized for the internet with no doctoring at all. To make them perfect I would probably have played a bit with the contrast and light levels so that you can see a bit more in the shadows. By the way, 'aint it scary that there is no ice on Buskin Lake in January? Patrick

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