car triptych

who invented the white-balance automatic? and who told me to leave it switched on? egad, sometimes i feel sympathy for mike johnston’s ‘the leica as a teacher idea. at least no whitebalance-automatic that, as every automatic, does as good as it can, but doesn’t help me thinking. and getting the balance manually, just by optical impression, was impossible for me, at least at first take.

note to self: one more automatic to switch off on certain occasions. oh yes, and i do this when shooting panos, but here i simply forgot.


  1. Markus, in practice I leave the camera in auto white balance (since I shoot raw, I'm not stuck with the camera's decisions permanently) because the software often comes up with interesting interpretations. I also do frequent WB checks (you might be interested in the two-part WB article I published at TOP some time ago for more on this) but only use them as a reference point, seldom staying with the "accurate" temp/tint settings. While auto WB can sometimes look completely wrong, other times it can look much better, much more faithful to the scene, than corrected settings. Many other times the most satisfying interpretation lies somewhere in between.

  2. Markus, this is a very enjoyable blog. Like, Carl, I shoot RAW too and then almost always alter the WB to taste. I'm really beginning to feel that this is one of the most critical decisions we make as photographers. The whole vibe of the image is affected by even subtle shifts in WB. JMHO 🙂 Peace, Glen

  3. Glen, Carl, thanks for the feedback and the hint to the TOP article. I re-read it and doing so remembered that it was the reason for bying the whi-bal that I did not use in this shot.

    With my Sony A700, auto white balance is usually really reasonable so that I can leave it switched on at least outdoors (indoors its different), but for a series like this I should have switched it to manual (along with exposure) – it would have saved some processing time. But what I learned here as well is that the eye interprets colors different in regard to uniform color areas in the background – the green of the foreground car seems to be different even when its numerically equal.

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