Hunt White Ballance

Post date: Aug 15, 2013 12:7:18 PM

There are two basic approaches to photography 

1. "Amateur" (point and shoot, snapshoot) and

2. "Professional" (let's do Everything Needed for great photo)

These are opposite points. You may find full spectrum of combination of photographic activities and passivities between them. Just as you'll find full spectrum of light an colors between black and white!

Speaking of colors, our contest is about getting correct and natural, real colors into our photographs! So, is your White really White? Let's check the subject!

About Light

Our raw materials from wich we produce photographs is called - Light. It comes from different sources, from Sun to different lamps.

Light "rays" are de facto electromagnetic waves carrying small particles called photons. EM waves travel, reflect (photons bounce at certain angles from surfaces), part of photons get reflected at their way, and in certain conditions, light temperature gets cooled down. 

So if there is no visible light source, no photons to run, we have darkness, ending in the black. On the other side, we have the reach light, full of photons running at certain wavelengths, being extremely bright, that we call White. All the rest is in the middle of these two extremes!

But, is the White light really white (or black really black)? Or are there many shades (nuances) of white and of black? Yes, of course!

Each light has it's temperature, which correlates to the wawelength and finally is represented by what we know as colors. 

Sunlight travels about 5 times longer through the Earth atmosphere in the very morning and very evening (dawn and dusk), compared to noon. The light cools down a bit, to purple in the morning and to yellow gold in the evening. Our eye can calculate what's white, camera has to be told.

The process is called White Ballance and exists in three forms: Automatic recognition (as set by some software in the camera); Preset (also by camera software) and full manual selection. 

We usually switch either to Auto WB or some preset WB mode (Sun, shade, clouds, bulb, neon, flash). Preset is usually better than Auto WB. And if the camera let's us to do full manual WB settings (using piece of 18% gray paper as reference point), then we may get to really best color settings (and White ballance)!


White Ballance Function in Camera

Digital and video cameras have the built in function to set the referal point of white - the White ballance. We use it to tell the camera what do WE consider to be white (color temperature) and camera then sets many other parameters to correctly interprete all the colors (and light, too)! 

Camera's built in Auto WB function is the way to help us a bit, to outsmart us, along all the other automatics that may take care of the pictures instead of us. 

All that automation give the desired mean values, but not very creative images. In fact, with camera set to full auto, it's irrelevant who operates it! 

To be more creative in photography, one must learn how to cope with WB and other aspects of photographic creativity, too. And we run this contest to let our Lighthunters and friends to work on the subject and compare the achievements!

If you think it's too much for you, or that everybody loves your beautiful images, please calm down and give it a try! You may end in the very small group of people whos images love other professionals, clients, editors... people who really know and do care about the photo quality! 

What Will We Try?

We'll try to produce images that fit contest assignments, e.g. pairs of images, where one photo is shot with Auto WB and other with Preset for that light conditions! You may even try to experiment by setting the WB full manual and check how does it compare to Auto and Preset! 

Both potos in the same pair should: 

- show same motive

- from same place

- equaly composed

- with same camera light settings (ISO, Apperture and Exposure).

Both resulting images should:

a) be saved as is

b) reduced size to 1024 pixels long edge (good for internet)

c) NOT altered regarding to colors, light, contrast etc... 

d) be posted into contest, marked with DxA for Auto WB and DxM for Preset WB, where x means the contest assignment (1 to 7)

We shall assign 7 different situations to be photographed by any camera. You go Hunting The Light and Photos of the Day and other awards (Art, Tech Excellence, ...)!

Even if you miss any award, the best one you already have... your creativity! 

Have a good light and colors, too! 


Meet you in our weekly Facebook photo contest: Hunt White Ballance