Photo Lesson for Wednesday

I know that there are myriad photo lesson Web sites out there in the vastness of the Internet. (It is a series of tubes, after all.)

Today I reminded of a very valuable lesson about the importance of white balance that I think the world should at least have the opportunity to read. So with a little Fleetwood Mac on the iTunes (Don’t Stop/Yesterday’s Gone – the live version with what sounds to be a marching band accompanying them) let’s get down to it.

Backstory: As I was riding my bike to Gooch today from my voice lesson I passed the awesome tree shown above, which is right outside of the Honors Center. You can tell spring is coming just by looking at the tree, and for once I noticed it. Hey, sorry tree. I’ve been busy lately.

So as luck would have it, my camera was waiting for me in The Pacer office. I let Will borrow it yesterday to photostaff Cheryl DeYeso’s art show. He left his in that place that he lives. Not sure where that is exactly…

Anyway, I get up to the office and throw my stuff in my chairs—yes I need two, one for sitting and one for stuff—and then grab the camera.

Unsure of go about shooting the beauty in the world outside, I headed to Tomi’s office for a morning Reese’s break. Then it occurred to me: Tomi’s window looks down on the tree, adding a unique perspective to my tree.

“Perfect!” I think. Only there’s one problem. The blasted rain has covered Tomi’s window in a stippling of water droplets, but I decided they would just have to add to the effect.

I saddle up to the window and move the blinds, then take my first few shots. It takes a little time as I wait for students to be out of the shot (or in the shot if they are interesting enough).

Tomi comes in about half-way through my shoot.

“What are you doing?!” she asks in a typical Tomi voice that could just have well been asking why I had been stupid enough to staple my fingers together or something.

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot this tree. Have you noticed it lately?” I responded. Her curiosity satisfied, we both went about our business like nothing was strange about me hovering over her computer desk to photograph a tree. She’s cool like that.

The lesson here: I kept wondering what I could do to fix how gray/blue my first few photos were. I couldn’t capture the light as it actually showed up in front of me, and it was frustrating. But then I came to my senses—too blue (cool) means white balance! A quick switch from auto white balance to the cloudy preset was all it took to yield the difference shown in the comparison photo at the top of the post. Pretty much awesome.

That does it for today. Just remember to keep white balance in mind when in the field on a cloudy day!

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