Thursday, April 5, 2007
Fun with color temperature
I started working on an Out There project about local athletes who excell in their outdoor sports like mountain biking, rock climbing or snowboarding. I wanted to create a style that would continue throughout the series of portraits.
I decided to play with color and color temperature. The human eye adjusts to the different color temperatures of light. We see white light when we are in a room lit with florescent lamps, but the real color of the lights is green. That's why when you take pictures in an office or school your pictures look green. Or when you take a picture in your living room without a flash everything is orange. Digital cameras and film don't adjust automatically. Without getting too technical, light is measured in Kelvin. The colder the temperature of light the warmer the color and the hotter the temperature the bluer the light. A candle is 1850 K and produces an orange or reddish light. A light from the sun on a bright sunny day is about 6500 k. So how does that relate to my project? Yesterday I photographed snowboarder Jill Baker-Haight. I set my digital camera at 3200 k (about the same of an incandescent light bulb) and used two strobes with warming gels to light her. The bright daylight of 6500k turned blue because the camera thought the light was oranger. The warming gels lowered the temperature of the strobes (normally similar to the bright sun) creating a nice warm light on Jill.
I should finish this project this summer so look for it in The Gazette this fall.