Sunday, January 25, 2009

the exact moment I understood the importance of white balance

Learn from my mistake.
I vaguely knew about white balance, and always relied on the automatic setting for my photos. I knew my ice and snow photos had a blue tint to them when I was at Lake Louise, but somehow I thought it was too complicated to set it manually. On our last evening at Lake Louise, I went out to take photos of the sunset, and when I previewed this photo on my camera screen, it was so clear to me that this was not the golden glow I was seeing. Luckily for me, I had read the D60 manual so many times,.. it is bedside reading! So, in that freezing cold instant, I thought "I don't have time to run up to the room for the manual. I have to give this custom white balance a try, cuz the sun is going down, and I have all blue photos!"
Well, miracle of miracles, Nikon has made the solution pretty idiot proof. As long as the idiot takes the time to give it a whirl! So, on the D60, when you go to the settings for custom white balance it pretty much walks you through the process right there on the screen. I had remembered that you can just shoot a photo of a patch of snow for the test shot. And so this is what I did. And it was really as simple as that!
And from one minute to the next, on my last day of vacation, I became the master of white balance. Please learn from my lesson and give it a try! Especially with the snow shots!

12 comments:

Rachel said...

As if you weren't already, you are now my official hero in the photography world. I so needed someone to kick my ---- about this. Lucky the winter's not over, and I know I'll be getting plenty of chances to try this out. Thanks, Martha!!

ELK said...

Martha ~they are both surreal looking ~

painted fish studio said...

great tip, i'm tired of blue snow! i'm hoping to upgade my silly little powershot soon so I can fiddle with settings.

Char said...

I love the different effects WB can give a shot. I typically leave mine on sunny unless there are special conditions or I'm inside.

Andie said...

Wow. Just wow. That is a striking difference!!
Beautiful shot of course.

leaca said...

Don't you just love when you have a "ah ha" photography moment. =]

BatSpit said...

OK, you've convinced me not to fear setting my camera manually, although i still maintain it is intimidating!

Jodi Renshaw said...

Ok --- great advice --- but can you tell me how to test my white balance on snow with the D300 --- because I am not a mamual reader :( ... though I really should be!

Anyway - great that you were able to find out on your own. I will try to do so as well.

Happy Shooting!

Love,
Jodi

margie said...

i came over from nikon sisters. just this week i have been struggling with the blue tint. duh. thank you. who would have thought the camera could help!!

jackie said...

I had just learned about white balance more in relation to indoor pictures with flash. So I'm glad to see you putting the info here as well with respect to snow shots. Funny thing is I like the blue of the snow shots. Not in all cases but in some for sure.
p.s. with your help my learning curve is going to be a lot less steep!

Sebrina said...

Awesome!! I remember my first snow shots.. I could not figure not what the heck the problem was :) Finally after much reading I figured it out. Good for you. The shot is lovely!

e.o.w. said...

Wow. I've been wondering bout this and your two illustrations make it perfectly clear!