Sunday, 28 August 2011

Part 4 Light–Project:The Colour of Light

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 1:

The objective here is to make three photographs taken in three different types of light; i.e midday sunlight, low angle sunlight (close to the horizon) and at midday in shade. The camera’s white balance setting was left at sunlight/daylight for all three images. I then compared the colour of the images. I used a fixed focal length lens of 35mm for this exercise.

7370: 1/4000s f8 ISO800 (oversight) WB Daylight Early morning sun


7384: 1/125s f5.6 ISO200 WB Daylight Midday shade


7386: 1/500s f11 ISO200 WB Daylight Midday direct sunlight

Conclusion: This pale grey pottery jug standing on a neutral grey base gives a good indication of the colours of daylight in different situations. Low angle sun (8:30am) shows a distinct yellow cast throughout, on the base, the pot and the fence panel in the background.
Midday shade provides a much bluer light, the blue decoration of the pot seems more intense and the grey baseboard has a definite blue cast.
Direct midday sunlight (August) has rendered the pot and the baseboard to be neutral “as expected” in colour and as matched by the camera’s colour temperature setting.

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 2:

For this second part of the exercise, the objective is to make three exposures under each of  the lighting types and to apply a different white balance setting for each using the daylight(sunlight), shade and Auto white balance settings.
Midday Sunshine – Shade
Direct sunlight settingDSC_7389_Sunlight_web Shade settingDSC_7390_shade_web
Auto settingDSC_7391_auto_web

The Auto White balance appears to have rendered the scene nearest my perception of  the colour. The shade setting is too warm and the direct sunlight setting is too cool.

1/90s f4.8 ISO200 35mm

Midday Sunshine – Direct

Direct sunlight setting
Shade setting
Auto setting

The shade setting has again made this too warm but there appears to be little difference between the Auto and the Direct Sunlight settings apart from a very slightly bluer cast on Auto.

1/500s f11 ISO200 35mm

Low Evening Sunshine – Direct

Direct sunlight setting
Shade setting
Auto setting

The only real difference here from the midday images is the expected yellow cast from the direct sunlight setting, the shade is too yellow and  the auto is again slightly blue but less so than at midday.

1/350s f9.5 ISO200 35mm

Judging colour temperature, conclusion: I have noted my preferred setting for each of the types of light above. Over the years I have become aware of colour temperature and learned to compensate for its effects on film, by the use of filters and with digital by camera settings and post processing. It is interesting to note that by using RAW files, I can apply each of the white balance settings in turn to a single frame. I like to see an orange/yellow cast in a picture with long shadows. It seems unnatural otherwise. Conversely, when making images in snow, I prefer to dial down the blue cast produced from a blue sky.

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