White Balance

White Balance is a critical part of photography. If you shoot Jpeg even more so. In this weeks post I will go over how to adjust your white balance and the products and tricks that I use. There are a couple ways to adjust your white balance. The most simple way would be to use one of the settings in your camera. For instance if you are shooting in shade use the shade white balance setting. If you are in florescent light use the appropriate setting on your camera. You get the idea. To figure out how to change your white balance settings refer to your almighty manual.

There are also several products on the market that will help you set a custom white balance, again refer to your cameras manual on how to set a custom white balance. I use a product called the WhiBal gray cards. I hold this up in the scene, in the same light as my subject, and set the custom white balance. The important part is making sure you set your white balance under the same conditions as your subject. There are products on the market that you attach to the front of your lens to set custom white balance, but those are only useful when the light is consistent throughout the scene.

For example, if your subject is in the shade and you are in direct sunlight when you use a product that attaches to your lens you will be measuring the white balance of the sunlight not the shade. There fore your subject which is in the shade will have an inaccurate white balance.

The thing that I do being that I shoot in RAW, is I have my subject hold the card, or I set the card up in the scene, and take a photo. Then in post processing I use my white balance tool and click on the grey card that I photographed. My photo will then always have the proper white balance. I can then proceed to batch process all the images I took under the same lighting conditions. Easy peasy!

My WhiBal card saves me time and frustration, along with giving me the results that I am looking for.

Waterfall Photography Tips

Photographing waterfalls can sometimes be a bit tricky. I prefer the cotton candy looking water. To get that look you will need a couple of things. One is a good sturdy tripod. Second is low light for a longer exposure. There are many ways to create a long exposure, but I will go over some Waterfall Photography Tips.

1) Use a small aperture. Shooting at f.16 or f.22 will block out the light and give you that depth of field that is the signature to good landscapes.

2) Shoot with filters! In this photograph I used a circular polarizer. This does 2 things for my photograph. First it cuts down the light by about a stop and second it takes the reflections out of the water. Notice how I can see the rocks in the stream. Without a polarizer the stream would have produced glare from the sun. Another filter I use is a Neutral Density Filter or a ND filter. I have a couple but the one that I use most is a 8 stop ND. This will help give  me the cotton candy look in just about any lighting conditions. Even in midday sun.

3) Shoot in the shade/ early morning/ late evening. There is less light and will help you get the look.

Use your imagination and make pictures. I made this photograph.  I stood and set up my tripod in the middle of the stream, don't be afraid to get dirty or wet. I needed a tripod because it was a 13 second exposure. The rock in the stream, the orange leaf. I put them there to create the composition I was looking for. Is this cheating? Not to me it isn't. When I finished taking pictures I took the rock out and held on to the leaf for a few other shots I wanted to make. Use the resources around you to fulfill your vision. Photography is about creating and creative thinking.

waterfalls can be difficult to photograph sometimes, but with the right atmosphere and equipment it's fairly easy to make a good looking waterfall image.