Shoot The Moon A Good Use For White Balance

I haven't discussed the issue of white balance (WB) as yet, nor do I intend to make it an important part of this book since, in my view, the issue of WB is very overrated and does not merit the thorough discussion it once might have. Most, if not all, shooters have come to realize the value and importance of shooting raw files. So. most shooters know that they can tweak—if not change dramatically—their WB in postprocessing. The bottom line for me is this: I opt for the Cloudy WB setting in the camera. as I like a bit more color in my images and the Cloudy setting adds warmth. However, if after loading my work into the computer I feel an image here or there needs to be a bit cooler (or perhaps a bit warmer), I can always tweak the WB at that time.

In addition, when I'm out shooting city scenes at dusk, I will first shoot several expo sures with my WB set to Cloudy and then several more with it set to Tungsten. Tungsten WB is much cooler, much bluer, than Cloudy WB. Plus, most city lights are closer in their natural color (white) to the Tungsten WB setting than they are to Cloudy, which often renders these same city lights a yellow-orange.

With all this—plus out-of-focus circles of light—in mind, the idea of changing my WB from Cloudy to Tungsten occurred to me when I was recently photographing the sunrise through a dew-laden dandelion. In the first example (below), it's clear that this is an out-of-focus ball of light shot either at sunrise or sunset. We come to that conclusion based on the warmth of the light. Yet, when I switched to Tungsten WB. a much cooler light was recorded. Without waiting hours, I managed to shoot the "moon."

Micro-Nikkor 105mm lens, f/2.8 for 1/1000 sec., Cloudy WB

Micro-Nikkor 105mm lens, f/2.8 for 1/1000 sec.. Tungsten WB

SUNRISE, SUNSET 115

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