striking a balance

Ever since I started shooting with digital cameras back in 2001, I have struggled with white balance.

First off, I don’t want my photos to be white. I prefer images on the warm side.

I know some photographers who carry around a gray card to set their white balance. Others use the in camera function to set it. Some figure out the color temperature of the light and set their camera to the correct Kelvin temperature scale setting.

I do one of two things- cloudy or auto white balance.

Cloudy warms things up and auto white balance does a pretty good job of guessing.

Sometimes though I will come about a situation like this one where there is a combination of daylight, tungsten and fluorescent.

The auto white balance did a pretty good job of making it look like it did.

That concludes my once a year “technical talk” blog post.

© 2009 Scott Strazzante

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11 Responses to “striking a balance”

  1. thank you, strazz…for making me not feel like a turd for using AWB most of the time.

  2. I used to use AWB – but now I shoot RAW, then back on the computer in Photoshop I set Auto and tweak…. But shooting Raw may be the reason I have filled a 1 TB external drive….

  3. Wow. This is just fantastic. So many different levels.
    The blue buildings vs the orange stairs. The upper border is a great touch too.

  4. friggin’ sweet frame

  5. With every street photo, you make me love Chi-town even more…There’s just so much going on in this composition. Wow. Thanks for sharing!

  6. So much going on here. It feels like three pictures so well organized into one. Absolutely beautiful.

  7. I had to laugh at this, cause I use auto and cloudy all the time and feel like I’m missing something cause either setting always does the job to my eye. Hehe

  8. Hello, thanks for a great photoblog. I would also highly recommend rocking the RAW as you can make lossless changes to your white balance in post processing. Memory really shouldn’t be an issue as most SLRs can handle a 16GB+ memory card, and really the cards are super cheap anymore. There is also this cool lens cap you can buy that has a white translucent center. Shoot once with that, and then take your picture, then in post process you can get true white on the capped image (or warm if you prefer), and then use the same setting for the money shot.

  9. gorgeous shot. so many interesting things to look around for…

  10. TORI!

    Wow, I’m surprised you don’t shoot RAW at ~5500 (and shift +-2000 as the ambient light changes), and just worry about WB later.

    I find that AWB just makes colors look awful sometimes if there’s not a decent white/grey reference in the picture, and is sometimes hard to correct. Also, it’s much much easier when shooting a series of pictures that belong together, as the colors don’t shift from picture to picture, which is a huge pain to fix in post since they all require different adjustments. At least with 5500 for everything, you can easily make changes across the board and still maintain uniformity.

    Anyway, great picture. Miracle that you were able to get sky, the marquee, and the subway light all well-exposed.

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