Assignment 2 for Hallie's Through the Lens digital photography course is white balance. I was really glad to see she'd chosen this, since white balance was one of those topics I'd read about but still couldn't quite wrap my brain around. A day of playing around with the white balance setting on my camera was just what I needed. All of the photos in the collage were shot with the same settings. (Shutter speed 1/500, F11, ISO 200, focal length 34mm - no, there is no special reason for these settings, this is what the camera chose in auto mode so I went with it. I'm still learning how to shoot in full manual mode. Ask me again at the end of the course.) The only difference between the shots is the white balance. Pretty wild when you look at them altogether like that, isn't it.
The tree is a clementine tree that's growing in a planter on my roof. Not hugely photogenic this time of year, but what it lacked in grace and composition it made up for in availability.
Hallie's assignment had actually called for keeping the white balance (and all the other settings) the same and then shooting the same image numerous times over the course of the day. I think Israeli summer sun must be a lot stronger and more consistent than Connecticut summer sun because when I tried that I didn't get a lot of variation in my shots so I went with the varying white balance you saw above.
The other thing that I learned is that the automatic white balance on the D40 is pretty good. It was rare that I found an adjustment I preferred over what the camera selected. (This of course may also reflect the fact that I'm still not very skilled in shooting in full manual mode, if I were fine tuning the rest of it more precisely I might find that I wanted to play more with white balance too.)
The second half of the assignment was to shoot with a white balance that you feel is correct for the lighting. This one, of a palm tree growing in front of my building, was taken in late afternoon full sunlight. The first picture was taken in auto mode. If I'd stopped here I'd have thought it was a fairly good shot.
This one was taken with the white balance set for "direct sunlight" (no additional +/- correction). You can see that the greens are much more vivid and the sky is a much richer blue. The first shot suddenly looks washed out by comparison.
So that's Assignment 2 for me. Thanks again Hallie, this was great. I'm already looking forward to the next one.