Judging Colour Temperature 2

In similar fashion to the first part of this exercise, I needed to take a series of photographs of a neutrally coloured subject in different light conditions. This time however, I would use three different white balance settings in my camera for each shot thus making three images from each situation.

First, I would take the subject at midday with the white balance (WB) set to ‘daylight’, ‘shade’ and ‘auto’ respectively. I would repeat this series taking the subject and midday in deep shade and finally as the sun headed towards the horizon.

Below are the photographs I took and my observations of the results. As always with colour cast on photographs, it is purely subjective. There is no right or wrong colour, only a preference of one over the other by the viewer.

The daylight white balance gives quite a cool, neutral rendition of the image with a little warmth in comparison to auto. I use the term ‘neutral’, as the human eye is most used to seeing this type of light making it the ‘norm’. At midday and either side to a certain degree, the daylight appears colourless. In fact, this is because our eyes and brains are so used to it that it becomes a mundane colour. The reason we enjoy sunsets and sunrises is because they are much less common and the warm oranges and reds excite our eyes in their comparative rarity. In theory this is the ‘correct’ WB to use for the situation (according to the camera). The shaded white balance radically warms the image up. As I would expect, auto white balance is similar to daylight although is actually a little cooler (bluer).

The shaded subject with WB set to ‘shade’ easily gives the coolest image here and is very close to the way I perceived the scene. The daylight WB is slightly warmer but looks a little odd. Auto WB doesn’t cope too well with this scenario and warms the image up quite a lot in comparison to the previous two.

The scene here is with the sun behind me but slightly clouded and heading towards sun-down at about 630pm. Daylight WB is still giving a very cool rendition of the scene. However, shaded WB is very warm indeed and in this photo is almost sepia in appearance which I quite like (usually I tend to steer clear of images this orange/warm). Auto WB mimics the daylight setting but with just a little more warmth.

As with the first part of this exercise, these images were all taken in the JPEG format giving me no recourse to change the white balance in post production.

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