Saturday, December 27, 2008



Yesterday evening, I met my mom at the Washington Mormon Temple to drop off a photo she had requested. I left the house early so I could take pictures at dusk. The top photo was taken much later than dusk, but I wanted to capture the reflection of the temple in the strategically placed pond near the visitor's center. I know I posted pictures from this year's Festival of Lights last week, but last night's shots turned out so well, I figured I'd post another one.

Playing with the settings. On the left, a photo using the tungsten setting.
On the right, all settings for white balance were automatic.

The two photos above are why I like photographing buildings and structures around or immediately after sunset (the same is true for sunrise.) The light is soft and lacks the glare of daytime light. What I like about these photos is how the effect changes based on one simple setting--white balance. In the case of these two photos, one was taken with an auto setting and the other with a tungsten setting.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 12/08


Bob Crowe said...

Interesting discussion (and good pictures!). Each of the settings has it's purpose. I read recently that the hour after sunset is the best time to shoot outdoor Christmas decorations - that's how I set up my Christmas Day post photo. Good technical advice.

Virginia said...

Listen to the Bobster, he's our go to guy for tech help.
I just learned something too. White balance can make or break a photo but I have learned when I forget to turn of tungsten and it's all blue you can sometimes fix it with Levels. It's always something.

The Artful Eye said...

Simply, magical!

babooshka said...

Us photographers call the hour before sundown and sunrise the "golden hour" where light is supposedly at it's most optimum for all sorts of images, but night shoots are best as dark as can be and the photographer teases out the light. You did a marvellous job on these. Hops e you had a wonderful Chritsmas and keep up with the photography.

Maya said...

Wow! All of these are just gorgeous!!

D.C. Confidential said...

Bob: Like you, I've found the same to be true about the light after sunset. With all of the buildings and monuments that are lit up around here, I find that to be the best time of day to photograph them. (There have been exceptions, of course. Like my photos of the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise.)

VJ: I only recently discovered the tungsten setting on my camera and find that for some situations--particularly klieglight lighting on monuments, which can be very bright and wash things out--it's a great setting. Learning all this stuff is so much fun, isn't it?

Andrea: Thank you!

Babooshka: Thanks for providing the term for that ideal hour. It truly is golden. Hope you and your partner had a happy Christmas and an equally happy New Year.

Maya: Thanks! I love photographing Christmas lights.

Dusty Lens said...

I will speculate the first image is auto. (i shoot auto white balance - I also shoot in RAW mode, so I adjust color temps in post processing).

Great point about white balance, it will make or break a photo. And the hour after sunset, the sky becomes a rich dark blue and building details are still highly visible. However, I also enjoy the dark of night when the sky is black and the lights become the subject.