Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

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White Balance

May 7th, 2009 · 2 Comments

I ran into something interesting while at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, which illustrates the way white balance works in a digital camera. If you are asking your-self “what the hell is white balance?”, don’t worry about it.

In the optical section, there was a room illuminated in strong yellow lights. My daughter took a rest and I thought I’d experiment a bit with the white balance settings of my new camera. Here is the room:

With the strong yellow lights, I snapped a photo of my daughter in the chair under each of the white balance settings. Experimenting to see which setting would give the best correction. Then, I used the “white” board as a target to set a custom white balance setting. Snapped a photo:

Surprise, the image came out monochrome.  The custom white balance setting must subtract a color from the image, and subtracting something from itself equals 0.  The correction removed all color from the image.

Here is what the room looked like in white light (flash):

Tags: photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John LeJeune // May 31, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Wow! Is ths the PRE setting on a Nikon?

  • 2 WhiskeyCreek // Jun 1, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Yes, I googled it, its white balance preset on Nikon. Its called custom white balance on Canon. Pretty interesting effect…

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