Color of Light: White Balance Choice for Deep Shade

by Jim Zuckerman

Church in Bali, Indonesia
Church in Bali, Indonesia
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
I photographed "Church in Bali, Indonesia" when I led a photo tour to this island nation last summer. It was taken at 6 am, and the sun hadn't risen yet. The lighting was akin to deep shade, and instead of switching the white balance setting to cloudy to eliminate the blue color, I used daylight instead. This insured that I would capture a wonderful mood because I knew I'd get the blue tones, and of course I could see the results on the LCD monitor.


I could always change the white balance in either Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom because I only shoot in RAW mode, but I like what this saturated, blue color did to this scene. I think it makes this shot a lot more captivating that it otherwise would have been.

Alaskan Tree Stump
Alaskan Tree Stump
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
I used the same approach in photographing "Alaskan Tree Stump" that was exposed by the retreat of a glacier 4000 years ago. The interstadial stump was taken midday, but the sky was overcast and the ancient tree was in the deep shade giving me the blue tone typical of this kind of soft light in combination with a daylight white balance.


Don't be so fast in using the cloudy white balance setting when shooting in shade. I much prefer daylight because of the moody feeling that a rich blue or cyan color brings to certain images.


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