The Light of Maria

Maria was just like a lot of women her age. At 19 she wanted to finish college and enter the life of an adult ready to face the world. It was a world full of change and uncertainty, but she could manage. She had always managed before. Before college she had experienced no real challenges in high school or before that. She was smart and self confident. She was articulate and had a command of English beyond her peers. Life had been good to her.

Maria’s memories went back to her early childhood. She remembered playing with her neighbor friends in the suburbs of friendly Salem, Oregon. Her parents owned a small Mexican food restaurant that they had run since as long as she could remember. Even though they told stories to her of their Mexican heritage, they told her that they had dreamed of a better life in America and had moved their just before she was born. Her parents made a pact with each other to speak only English to Maria from the time she was born to help her feel just like any other American girl or boy without the potentially traumatizing stigma associated with being a Mexican immigrant in the American culture of the 2000’s. Maria’s English was impeccable.

The essence of White Balance

Setting “white balance” with your camera and why it matters

The quality of light that you make available for your image captures will help improve the impact of the images you show to those whom you will wish to present your images to. This post is designed to show you how the “color” of the light in any given situation can affect your images and how you can control and “balance” the color of the light using a white object as a reference to present the colors in your composition as close to their native or “natural” color tone as possible.

The white balance control settings will vary from camera to camera so although the principles of controlling the color quality of light are generally the same, your camera will have its own unique menu system and methods for setting “white balance.”

The “challenge” of getting the colors “correct” in your composition.
If you are taking pictures outdoors when skies are overcast and dull, the tendency of the camera is to produce images with a blue cast. Greens will be unnatural and dull. Whites will have a blue cast and flesh tones will tend to be more lifeless. When you are taking pictures inside using artificial lighting images will tend to be more yellow if the lighting is tungsten (standard light bulbs) based or other odd color casts if captured under florescent lighting.
Here is a good article on what color quality is and how to control white balance in your image capture.

It’s all about the light.

When someone asks me the question, “What is the most important thing to start with in learning how to be a better photographer?”, I answer with “It’s all about the light.”

How bright is the light?

Where is the light coming from?

What is the color of the light?

Is there more than one light source?

Should I think about adding an artificial light source?

Is the light falling uniformly across the primary subject matter in my composition?