White Balance

White Balance Test
Identical scene photographed with 3 different White balance Settings

White balance is a digital cameras means of compensating for the ever changing color of light in our lives.  The stake in the ground in terms of light color is sunlight.  Accepting unobscured sunlight as normal then gives us a point of reference for all other light sources.  For instance, when clouds rollin the light changes from white to slightly blue.  To compensate the camera adds a slight amount of orange to off-set the blue.  If you move from cloudy conditions into shady conditions the light is even more blue so the camera now adds additional orange to bring the final image back toward white.  When we move indoors the tungsten light is very orange, so the camera compensates with blue.

Looking above the flash image is balanced for natural white light from the studio strobe and all looks as expected.  Next I switched the White balance to Tungsten and forced teh camera to add blue, very noticeable.  Lastly I moved the white balance to Shade and the camera adjusted as expected by adding orange.  As you can see, white balance settings can be used to intentionally color your pictures.

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