Light Has Color? Part 2 – White Balance

Have you noticed some shadows have a little bit of color to them? Clouds for instance; some clouds on mostly clear days have a sort of blue hue to them. I can not help but wonder in noticing this and with the understanding of the how and why rainbows are made we can understand the process of a camera’s White Balance.

Looking at pure light as a simple harmony of ROY G. BIV producing a brilliant “white”, we have laid the foundation to working with camera White Balance. Now camera are not charged only to filter natural sources of light but also other forms of light produced by man-made light sources. Since we have seen that light can be divided into 7 color forms, the basics of our study tell us that we will be dealing with more of 1 color than the other 6. It is possible that we would be dealing with a sever lack of 1 or more colors, but since our color pallette is only based with 7, our filters can be adequately limited.

White Balance is the effort of compensating for the lack of or overdose of a specific color through the use of filters. This is also the job of Image Specialists. One of their most common jobs is “color correction”. So software is outfitted with the ability to manipulate the colors which may lack or overwhelm the captured photo.

For interest sake I have made a list of ways that light is produced, natural and man-made.

Element (Metallic element made to conduct enough energy to glow without quickly exhausting the element’s lifespan.)
Vapor (Gases – Fluorescent, Mercury Vapor and Fire are uses of vapor in proper conditions to yield the production of light.)
Chemical (Liquid – Phosphorescence and Glow sticks)
Electronic (LED)

Take care and do not be afraid to ask questions. Learning is a wonderful opportunity!

Light Has Color?

I can go into a lot of technical terminology and “geek speak” about light refraction contrasted to camera White Balance. However, I want to take this post and use it to discuss the magnificence of the creation around us and another role that light plays in it. Light is an incredible source of science, energy and to me is one of the most interesting subjects of study.

This post was started with the connection between light and color, so let us turn to the topic of the post.

Refracted light is a very specific process of splitting the light ray into exact color bands. While this process is highly scientific in how it is accomplished; it does not require expensive equipment or a high degree of education to verify and study as a curious lay person. Refracting light rays can be tested and demonstrated quite easily with a water hose, water supply and bright sunny day.

With the water hose connected to the water supply open the valve to pressurize the hose with water keeping it to a manageable level for an individual holding it and placing their thumb over the hose connector creating a fan of spraying water. (Appropriate attire for playing in the water maybe preferred as the child in all of us enjoys this simple pleasure.) As the individual with the water hose in-hand maintains the spraying water, turning slowly right or left; the sun will reflect off of the spraying mist and cast a rainbow in the spray.

The water droplets act as prisms, receiving the light and splitting it into the color bands I mentioned above. The light rays are split into 7 bands; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. It may help keeping the colors straight if you put it in this for “ROY G. BIV”.

So, are there colors in light? Most definitely! Before I sign off, updating the blog with this post, I would like to add the definition of “refraction”: “the change of direction of a ray of light, sound, heat, or the like, in passing obliquely from one medium into another in which its wave velocity is different.”

Happy studies!