Category Archives: b – the colour of light (natural light)

Judging colour temperature 2

The second part of the exercise asks you to repeat the exercise (i.e. using a full sun, shade and late light) but in doing so vary the white balance setting using daylight, shade and auto settings.

The logical think would have been, I suppose to use the same subject for all nine shots but this option was not practical so I used different subjects for the three scenarios.

For the Sunlight one I used my sister’s dog basking in the sun in our lounge:-


Auto white balance setting










Daylight (sun symbol) white balance setting


Shade white balance setting

Interestingly, according to lightroom the colour temperature settings for Auto and Daylight were very close (4900 and 5000 respectively) while shade was 7200.

For the shade shot I used our coalbunker at the bottom of the garden I left the blue net on it as I thought it would be interesting to see what happened to that.


Shot taken with auto white balance



Shot with white balance set to daylight


Shot with white balance set to shade

Again the auto and sunlight are similar, well more than similar in this case as the colour temperature for both is 5000, the equivalent value for the shade version being 7200 again as might be expected.  Both the auto and daylight versions give a colder version of the real thing (with the daylight bringing in a tinge of green in the concrete).  The shade version, as you hopefully expect, is the most accurate rendition.


Shot with white balance set to auto


Shot with white balance set to daylight



Shot with white balance set to shade

In this case the colour temperature of the auto shot at 5200 was slightly higher that the daylight 5000 and shade was obviously 7200 again.  Note how the shade version darkens (to my eyes almost adding a hint of brown) the sky and the whites(?) of the building.  Of the three I think the auto is the best rendition and in some ways you would expect this to be the case as the shot was not true sunlight nor shade so those two settings were always going to misrepresent the scene to a greater or lesser degree.

As I shoot in raw I don’t use the white balance much as I can alter it if necessary in post processing and, in any event, auto white balance is usually pretty good for most situations.

Out of interest I applied the Lightroom presets for daylight and shade to the auto shot of the buildings and these are the respective results:-

DSC03806-3 DSC03806-4

For daylight Lightroom uses a colour temp of 5500 slightly above that of the camera and likewise the shade temperature setting is 7500 so not too far out but enough to make a difference.  This variation will have to be kept in mind.


Judging colour temperature 1

The object of this first part of a two part exercise is to take three shots of the same subject (with white balance set to Daylight) in full sun, in shade and at the end of the day with low sun.

As it happened I had no friends face available on the day I was shooting so I decided to use a chair as a) I thought it would stand out quite well against the lawn on which it was placed and b) the colour was very neutral.


DSC03682 DSC03683-2

As it transpired I thought the colour was too neutral so used this stool instead:-


Stool in direct sunlight, spot metered on the nearest leg.

In the first shot the colour of the seat is washed out and the texture of the wood is not obvious but my recollection was that the effect of the light was not as strong my head was telling me essentially that this was the same stool and that nothing, including its colour had changed too much yes it was brightly lit but the blueness of the seat remained and did not appear as washed out as in the photo.



Stool in shadow

This shot gives a good idea of the differences in colour as seen by the camera highlighted by the two patches of light on the seat.   While I was aware of the patches I was not as much as the camera appears to be of the disparity in the light and shade.   Being in the shade makes the top darker as one would expect but that was not how dark I recall seeing it.  I basically just saw the stool and did not see as dramatic a colour change.


Stool in late afternoon night

This last shot is the most accurate in terms of my perception of the stool,  the top is, or is near enough to, that shade of light blue and the wood has that washed out look while still retaining its grain.

I repeated this exercise again after writing this (without taking photos just, as it were, to check again my perceptions) and as far as I could tell again my perception of the colour changes were not as variable as the cameras.