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  • Stephenie Hollyman

Setting Manual White Balance

Around 8 pm, just before sunset:


The author drove east on Highway 120 to reach the Olmstead Point overlook on Tioga Road. The timing was perfect. What photographers call “sweet light” magically illuminated the east shoulder of Half Dome. Practically speaking that means a color temperature of 3200 K. Warm and inviting.


To even out the extreme contrast between foreground and Half Dome, she stacked 3 graduated neutral density filters in a holder an 80-200 mm f2.8 lens. This allowed the overly- bright part of Half Dome to fall within the dynamic range of her camera’s sensor while preserving some detail in the foreground.


Alternatively, she could have set up a tripod and shot HDR. She performed a manual white balance. If she had gone "auto white balance" the camera would have tried to bring the warm color temperature within a "normal range"...i.e. daylight.

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