Sunday, April 10, 2022

AYWMC: Part 3 Lesson 3: Color of Light

This post is part of a series entitled A Year With My Camera.  
Lesson 3.3 in my own words
  • Color has temperature
  • Measured in Kelvins
    • Candlelight has an orange cast and is the warmest, about 1,000K
    • Daylight is mid-range, about 5,200K
    • Bright blue sky is about 8,000K
  • Artificial indoor lighting, especially, can throw color temperature off.
  • White balance is a function on the camera that can correct color.
    • Auto White Balance (AWB) - the camera guesses at correct color temperature
    • Photo editing software can correct color temperature
    • Manual white balance is the best option - consult your camera's user's manual

This week's project

Choose a subject, preferably white or neutral in tone, and photograph it with different types of light. 
  • For example:
    • Indoor lighting (try various)
    • Direct sunlight
    • Indirect sunlight (cloudy conditions or in the shade)
    • Candlelight
    • Computer monitor light
  • Try one set of images on auto white balance
  • Try changing the color temperature setting manually

I'm behind in my photography homework and don't want to get behinder (😉), so I did a modified experiment to at least become familiar with the concept. I chose an indoor subject with artificial lighting, because these are the subjects with which I notice how much the color is "off." No flash.









What I learned

I learned how to find the white balance adjustment on my camera (Canon M50) and what options are available. Besides automatic, there are a number of pre-set adjustments that can be chosen, as well as manual temperature adjustment (called 'custom'). 
  • Auto 3000-7000
  • Daylight 5200
  • Shade  7000
  • Cloudy, twilight, sunset 6000
  • Tungsten light 3200
  • White fluorescent light 4000
  • Custom  2500-10000
I didn't experiment with the pre-sets, just the custom setting.

I learned that nothing in the photo's metadata records which white balance setting is used. I had to write these down on a card as I took the shots. I also discovered that Gimp has a color temperature function, but it starts at a default setting. It doesn't read what the camera was set to when the photo was taken, but it can be used to correct color temperature after the fact.

All of this is good to know. I think AWB did pretty well, noting that this was without flash. Flash always seems to warm the color up a bit. 

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