2018-08-19: Creative white balance

I recently watched a Luminar editing tutorial discussing technically correct vs creative white balance.  Since I am almost always shooting outside, in changing light conditions, I don’t have a shots with a grey card in it to actually come up with the technically correct white balance.  I tend to leave my camera on auto WB, and then adjust it as needed in post processing.  But the tutorial still got me thinking about the different mood and feel that an image can have, depending on the choice of colour temperature.

I decided to play around with this concept a bit with a few images that I took on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.  We took a short flight from camp to the coast and took a drive through the dunes, where it was warm and sunny with clear blue skies, but once we were at the coast line, low cloud and fog swirled around in strong winds, causing subtle, but rapidly changing light conditions as we visited a seal colony, explored a few of the wrecks along the coast, and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beach.

On a previous trip I had flown over a portion of the Skeleton Coast, and found the abandoned buildings and shipwrecks fascinating to see, so having the change to see some of the wrecks up close was really interesting for me.  The different colours and textures of the rusted, twisted metal against the natural sand, rock and water provided lots of options for photos.

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A portion of wrecked boat on the Skeleton Coast.  Here I chose to play up the blue of the background water and intensify the textures in the rusted metal.  I feel the cooler tone of this image intensifies the feeling of desolation I get from this image.
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Taking things in a different direction, this image is much warmer, as well as a bit faded and matte.  Combined with the subject, I think it lends a sense of age to the image.  You begin to wonder just how long this boat has been breaking apart on the coast.
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This image would be closest to a technically correct white balance, though given the changing light conditions, all of the images are representative of how the area actually looked at different moments throughout the day.  I thought this small piece of metal looked a bit like the blade portion of a ice skate.

 

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