Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'll Never Forget again.... White Balance and Image Play Black

The best lessons learned are the hard ones. You know those hard lessons that make your heart sink or maybe make you want to hit something, or maybe just make you want to say a few choice words?...yeah those lessons.  The hardest so far for me was the lesson I learned about the importance white balance and playback.  Here's the story ~

Let me put the lesson into perspective for you.  It was the end of June, forecast was 97 degrees and I had signed up for a Walking Tour of the Canal Walk in Richmond Virginia.  I'm not sure how long the walk was in miles, but at 97 degrees and high humidity, I'd argue with anything less than 3 miles!  People were dropping off like flies at different stages of the walk, my feet were hurting, I had ran out of water and I was HOT, but I hung in there til the very end. 

There were two goals for the day - practice using the aperture priority mode and learn about the history of the James River Canal. I knew with all the tall buildings downtown, it would be a great opportunity to play around with depth of field.   What I had not counted on was what I saw when I got home.......

This is where my hear sank....

This would be where a few choice words came in....

The good thing is, I was back and forth between automatic and aperture priority modes that day, so I do have some salvagable photos.  The bad news is everything that I really, really liked that captured great depth of field...WAS BLUE!! The other good news is...remember black and white??...saved the day again! 

Lesson Learned:  Everytime I take my camera out, I need to remember to check the settings and I need to learn which settings aren't automatic in the professional modes and always check before shooting.  The second thing is check my shots often in preview.  If I had done that earlier, I would have seen the blue photos and been able to fix the issue from the start.  And third...white balance, white balance, white balance....get it right!!!  So...what happened? 

Prior to this outing, I had been practicing with different white balance settings indoors.  The photos taken on this day while in automatic mode came out great.  I have very little control in this mode, the camera chooses the settings it feels are appropriate and that's that.   However, in apeture mode, that's a different story.  The camera allows me to change many more settings, and our friend white balance, just happens to be one of them.  The blue you see in these photos, happen to be the result of taking pictures outdoors in bright sunlight, using an indoor white balance setting called Tungsten B.K.A....household light bulbs. 

Needless to say, I haven't made that mistake again, and I preview just about every shot before moving on to the next one if time permits. It may take longer, but it is so worth it in the end. 


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