The color of light
Yesterday we went to a children’s museum with our grandsons. One of the areas of the museum has a whole bunch of exhibits about light. One of them featured colored blocks in a booth with a constantly changing light source. It was fascinating to see a yellow block change to orange and then to white. I decided to try to capture the essence of this experiment with my camera. When I took a look at the pictures on my computer I saw that the Auto White Balance was “fooled” much of the time. I opened up the RAW file in each case and use the eyedropper tool to set the white balance by clicking on the desk surface.
Here’s what I would call a “normal” view of the blocks
In this shot the Auto White Balance was really off
By adjusting the white balance I got this – which is what my eye saw
Here’s another from the camera
And the WB adjusted version
So here are the same blocks in three different lights
Note the shift in red to dark red and then orange. And the blue to turquoise and back to blue.
Here are three more unadjusted shots that have picked up a blue cast
Correcting the white balance though gives very different results
So here are all the variations that we saw (these have been adjusted to correct white balance)
Two points to take away from this:
- Keep in mind the color of your light source
- Shoot RAW and check the white balance to see if you can get a better result.